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Startup Weekend in Yuma Successful for Area Student Entrepreneurs

Northern Arizona University and Arizona Western College co-sponsored a 3-day event, March 23-25, that focused on providing professional guidance to area students interested in developing skills and expertise in creating entrepreneurial businesses. Over 70 area students from Mexico, Yuma, and California participated in the activities.

Students were encouraged to register for the event by including a skeleton proposal for a “startup” business. These ideas were presented to the group on Friday evening. Participants then voted to highlight their favorite business proposals. Twelve potential business propositions were selected. Teams were formed that initiated the effort to define, substantiate the need for, and assess the public and financial support necessary to create a functional business enterprise.

Presentations were given by John Courtis, Executive Director of the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, Bosco Noronha, Senior Plant Engineer, Arizona Public Service, Margie Dallabetta, Associate Broker of Long Realty of Yuma, and Arturo Morales, Senior Director of Business Development for APA Federal Credit Union of Yuma. These keynotes provided unique perspectives as to how prospective entrepreneurs can and should develop and validate ideas relating to business goals and paths forward.

Mentoring and coaching to support the student teams was provided by academic faculties of NAU and AWC, and also by volunteers from local businesses. The expertise successful commercial leaders proved to be an exceptional asset appreciated by all student team members. Teams met as groups Saturday and part of Sunday with mentors to discuss and resolve issues ranging from environmental concerns, financial constraints and forecasts, social and educational implications, and data collection involving target customers and evaluation of concepts such as minimum viable product.

Sunday afternoon was the culmination of the weekend as teams were given the opportunity to present their ideas of business development to a group of judges, Tom Rush, Niraj Kohil, Michelle Sims, Joseph Moser, and Jim Adler, who listened and questioned participants regarding their proposed business structure.

Unknown to the students, local businesses sponsored monetary prizes for the top 4 teams. First prize went to team Netwoon. Their business proposal involved the concept of designing a video game for use on a cell phone to identify user interaction with chemicals. Second place was awarded to a team that promoted VetBot, an app created to provide medical assistance for pets. Third place was earned by a group called bRingItOn. Their idea was to develop a personal manager app that could be coded into a ring worn by users. Honorable Mention was designated to Plume which was organized to promote music and art residence in local communities.

Organizers of this event are appreciative of the support of the many sponsors including the Yuma Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, 4FRONTED, the AWC Small Business Development Center, the NAU Yuma Business Innovation Accelerator, the Matador Business Incubator, and entrepreneurship programs from Mexican educational institutions including CETYS, Universidad Politecnica de Baja California, and Universidad Techológica de San Luis Rio Colorado.

The success of this event was due to the combined efforts of many volunteer community leaders, but special acknowledgement should be afforded to Dr. Rakesh Pangasa, Dr. Mike Sabbath, and Dr. Alex Steenstra of NAU, and Randy Nelson, Dr. Linda Elliott-Nelson, and Shahrooz Roohparvar of AWC, for their efforts in coordinating this event.

Written by and photos by Dr. Frank Kidd, NAU-Yuma


#July4thPicChallenge – Department of Business and Administration July 4th Picture Challenge

Snap a picture of yourself celebrating July 4th and post it on our Facebook page or Twitter to enter the Department of Business and Administration’s July 4th Picture Challenge!070216AM

We encourage people that take part in the challenge to post the most creative picture of what reminds them of this special day, but it must include themselves in the picture in some way.

Examples could be selfies with fireworks, pets, military, etc.  The photo with the most likes, comments or shares will be the winner of this contest. Be sure to tag your photo with #July4thPicChallenge!

The winner’s picture will be posted on the Department of Business and Administration’s homepage banner on Facebook and Twitter for a week starting from Sunday, 7/10 through Sunday, 7/17.070216AM2

#BBAJuly4thPic; #BAJuly4thPic; #BBAFourthofJuly #BAFourthofJuly #BBAJuly4thSelfie; #BAJuly4thSelfie;  #July4th #FourthofJuly #July4thSelfie #July4thPic #Fireworks #NAU #NAUBBA #NAUBA

Bien Hecho NAU-Yuma I-8 Cleanup Event

IMG_42161On Saturday October 24th, the Bien Hecho Student Club organized a highway cleanup for mile marker 10 to 11 of Interstate 8. This is part of the commitment to NAU-Yuma Adopt A Highway Project with ADOT. Twice a year, Bien Hecho Student Club organizes and conducts the highway cleanup for NAU-Yuma’s adopted mile of Interstate 8.

Adopt a Highway is a volunteer program of ADOT to help maintain interstate roads. ADOT provided safety vests, training materials, and trash bags for the event. Bien Hecho Student Club provided safety training to volunteers, cold water, and gloves for the highway cleanup.

The student club was formed and started this year with a mission to serve the community and to be a resource and support for other students. Club President, Elizabeth Benitez, and her board of officers organized the event. The highway cleanup was possible thanks to the participation of club members, other NAU students, NAU faculty and staff, volunteers from the YMCA, and other volunteers from the community. Volunteers enjoyed the effects of teamwork and the rewards of making a difference in our community.

NAU Students: Be part of Bien Hecho Club!

What is Bien Hecho? – A diverse NAU-Yuma club for all students with all majors and backgrounds. We are physically located in Yuma.

What does Bien Hecho mean? Bien Hecho means “well done”

Why be a part of Bien Hecho?

  • Receive assistance/give assistance from/to NAU-Yuma students just like you to help support/achieve academic success
  • Help the community that supports our students through volunteering in various organizations
  • Use your creativity to help raise funds for the Bien Hecho Scholarship to help our NAU-Yuma students
  • Share your ideas to help the club be its best and grow
  • Gain experience in leadership
  • Receive a letter of recognition to add to your portfolio (useful for scholarships and jobs)

Upcoming Fall 2015 Events:

  • Flag Raising Ceremony commemorating our WWII Veterans – September 26th at 6:00am-9am
  • NAU-Yuma Highway Clean Up – October 17th at 8:00am-11:00am
  • AWC Family Night – November (date and time TBD)
  • Amberley’s Place side walk sale – November (date and time TBD)

Meetings: Academic Complex; Room 286  From 5:15pm to 6:15pm every other Wednesday.

Next meetings are as follows: 09/23/15   10/07/15   10/21/15   11/04/15   11/18/15   12/02/15   12/16/15

For more information please contact Club President Elizabeth Benitez at or Club Advisor Veronica Smith at or call (928) 317-6443 Monday-Thursday 8:00a to 1:00p.


A curriculum requirement for students graduating with a BBA degree from NAU is a course entitled Strategic Management. During the spring semester of 2015, the students enrolled in BBA 490C at the Yuma Branch campus excelled both during the school term and in events that have occurred post graduation.

NAU Yuma Branch Campus

NAU Yuma Branch Campus

Yuma students in this class spent the first half of their 16-week term learning key academic points regarding the subject of Strategic Management. Then the professor of the course, Dr. Frank Kidd, organized the students into a team that was then assigned responsibility to organize a case analysis for two local business organizations. The first was for a local multi-national company and the second was for a local non-profit organization.

The students achieved remarkable success in developing written analysis of both situations. The owner and senior managers of the multi-national met directly with the students. This was followed by contact by student team members regarding additional information needed to complete the assignment.

The non-profit case analysis of the Yuma Community Theater (YCT) was the second of the two opportunities defined for student involvement. Yuma Community TheaterThis organization is the oldest incorporated community theater in the state of Arizona. However, at the moment, they are facing serious challenges to their path forward based on business parameters that must be managed.

When Dr. Kidd approached the YCT Board of Directors to ask if they would be interested in BBA 490C involvement, the answer was an overwhelming “Yes”. This Board met with the students and a dialog continued among board members that included a local court judge, military planners from the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, and food safety manager for a 4th generation Yuma area farm operation.

Students continued analyzing problems and options for YCT up until the end of the semester. The blending of the academic theory with the practicality of becoming involved with a local community effort to generate an improved business model for YCT was impressive.

Following NAU graduation, YCT held their annual meeting for all members to deal with organizational issues. Students from BBA 490C attended this meeting out of their interest in seeing how the YCT organization accepted their proposals. One month later, Dr. Kidd hosted the YCT Board, 490C students, and their spouses to a dinner at his house where students and board members continued to share ideas and alternatives for YCT’s path forward. Most encouraging was how involved the spouses of students became engaged in the evening’s discussion.

Included below is a testimonial from Mike Finch, YCT President:

The YCT Board addressing the BBA 490C at a classroom lecture moment

The YCT Board addressing the BBA 490C at a classroom lecture moment

In February 2015, Dr. Frank Kidd’s NAU class conducted a case study for our non-profit organization, Yuma Community Theater (YCT). Our Board  presented to the class our business aspects of YCT.  YCT gave very detailed financial information to that class, discussions were held, and questions to YCT were hopefully answered in a way that would ‘help them – help us’.

 After several months, the case study was completed by Dr. Kidd’s students.  The results from the case study were amazing! Although YCT is a small non-profit organization, the students treated our organization’s needs, wants, and wishes very thoughtfully, professionally, and invested a lot of time in coming up with their recommendations to YCT.

After reading the case summary from the students, our organization had second thoughts on whether or not we should proceed with our dream of purchasing and maintaining a building.  The case summary touched on specific information that even our Board of Directors did not take into consideration until we read the case summary.  As part of their case study they provided us with their ‘final recommendations’ as well as action they felt should be encountered now and what actions we should take in the very near future to work towards our ultimate goal of purchasing and maintaining a building for YCT.

YCT hopes that having students complete the case study provided the students the tools to use in real life business decision-making. I applaud every student involved, thank them and wish all of them best wishes after graduation!”

NAU should feel privileged that the professionalism of the university’s students was so well received and recognized by leaders of the Yuma community.

Well done! A testament to NAU student excellence! #NAUBBA

NAU Extended Campus Graduation May 2015, Flagstaff

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NAU BBA Commencement Tomorrow!

Some pictures to get you in the mood for tomorrow’s graduation.

Bien Hecho NAU Yuma I-8 Cleanup Trip

DSCN2464 AdjustedOn Saturday March 28, the Bien Hecho club organized a trip to clean up a section of the I-8 for the NAU-Yuma Adopt A Highway Project and as a way for NAU students and faculty to give back to the community.

The Bien Hecho club once a semester clean the assigned area located on Interstate 8 from mile post 10 to mile post 11 both eastbound and westbound, and, in return, they have a “NAU-Yuma Bien Hecho” Adopt A Highway sign erected  as part of an agreement between Bien Hecho and ADOT.

Veronica Smith, NAU BBA Student of the Month for January, and other Bien Hecho club members organized 28 volunteers from NAU faculty, staff, and students, along with AWC students, and family and friends of volunteers, to help with the cleanup effort.

IMG_8273 AdjustedThe cleanup was organized with the help of AZ Department of Transportation (ADOT) who supplied safety vests, cones, and trash bags. The safety procedures were reviewed with volunteers prior to getting on the highway and all volunteers signed ABOR/NAU and NAU release of liability forms.

The one mile section was split into thirds on both sides (making six total sections), the volunteers were split into six groups and assigned one third of a mile section to clean.

“I felt a sense of pride in the work we did because I know we were making a difference”
– Daisha Cuevas

“The clean-up was a positive experience. It gave me an opportunity to give back to the community”
– Daniel Fitts

The next cleanup is scheduled for Fall 2015.

Gallery of Images from the Spring 2015 Cleanup

NAU Yuma BBA Student Field Trip to Woodman Citrus and R.L. Jones

DSC_0559 AdjustedProfessor Kidd took his NAU BBA students on a field trip to learn about a citrus business and also to meet with executives from Woodman Citrus and R.L. Jones.

Professor Frank Kidd scheduled a field trip so his NAU BBA students could gain exposure to a third generation family involved with lemon production and cooperative marketing in Yuma, AZ. Woodman Citrus is focused on exporting to Asia Pacific. Professor Kidd’s class got an in-depth look at production, processing, and an opportunity to question company executives regarding how and why they have succeeded since the 1940’s in a market that brought together many of the academic concepts  discussed in class.

DSC_0558 AdjustedIn setting up the field trip, Professor Kidd got this response in an e-mail earlier this week from Mr. Tyler Woodman:

“Sounds great. Looking forward to it. We didn’t get to do this when I was at U of A. Our classes never had the exposure that you have indicated you want for your students. I can honestly say I really actually learned something in one class, which was taught by a PCA because he is in the industry and the real world. Not out of a textbook.”

Participants were students Veronica Smith, Erica Milan, Alba Urias, and Woodman V.P. Tyler Woodman.

DSC_0511 AdjustedFollowing the Woodman Company introspection, Professor Kidd scheduled a meeting with executives of the R.L. Jones Company.

Professor Kidd’s class met with R.L. Jones “movers and shakers” in the global business environment. Russ Jones is the owner, who also was an AZ state senator for Yuma until the last election. Others pictured include Shelley Mellon, CEO of the company, and Ramon Cid, Manager of Operations for the local company.

DSC_0547 AdjustedR.L. Jones, corporate, has 600+ employees in over 5 states. It was great that the BBA students had a chance to face-to-face question executives of such a company following their academic exposure to global business strategies from a textbook and lecture perspective.

DSC_0549 Adjusted

Professor Kidd is proud of training his students to market their skills way beyond the Yuma environment. He is always open for suggestions as to how to improve the educational potential that Yuma Extended Campus of NAU provides.

Way to go Professor Kidd and his students!



Career Fairs

Career FairNAU’s Career Fair – sponsored by the Franke College of Business – is scheduled for Thursday, February 26. In order to attend, you must register and registration will open in early February. For more information, use this link –

ASU’s Career Fairs are scheduled for February 10 and 11 on the Tempe campus; March 24 on the West campus. For more information, use this link –