Here, Have Some More Wine News

12/02/2017 11:13


Following on the heels of Bill Bunker’s big reveal of his hidden talents in last month’s blog, which include a refined knowledge of wine (see  I’ve discovered that Jim Downing, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, has a related story of his own.

This past summer, Jim joined 100 researchers, educators, and industry representatives representing 13 different countries at the 10th Annual Conference of the Academy of Wine and Business Research, held at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Dry Creek Valley, California.  

Jim had collected survey data of Northern California wineries in 1999 and 2015 to understand industry-specific systems of entrepreneurship. The September/October edition of Wine and Viticulture Journal (p. 58) noted that among the business management papers, Jim’s was “most interesting….his results showed that older and larger wineries are more focused on entrepreneurial thinking than smaller and younger entrepreneurial firms, but concerns about the external factors… [that include] climate change, cost of labor, etc., are shared by all industry players regardless of age, size, and strategy.”

Jim’s research continues, and is indeed interesting on several fronts. With all this wine expertise at the College of Business, it seems a shame if we don’t figure out some way to share the good stuff in some meaningful way, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

But seriously Jim, congratulations on an impressive contribution to this entrepreneurial domain. The next stage sounds fascinating as well, and I hope you share details with us as they emerge.  Besides the research, it sounds like the making of a great story. The good people involved in the industry have had a tough time this year, adding additional value to the work you're doing to support them.

Redding News

CSU-Chico is committed to the goal of serving the higher educational needs of all the North State. Toward that end, the COB has been persistent in its efforts to provide service in the Redding area.  We have, by all accounts, a wonderful team in Redding enabling us to do just that. Recently, one of them, Accounting Lecturer Marsha Lauck, kindly submitted to a  grueling interview. Let's get to know Marsha better.

Speaking of Stories: Sit By My (Virtual) Fireplace and Read On


Have you ever asked yourself any of the great questions? What makes life good?  How do I fulfill my life’s mission? What is my life’s mission? What kind of parents did David Agoff have?

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, David Agoff shared a memory that really stayed with me for its significance. How can one story come to represent so much? At my suggestion, David has been writing about some of his experiences, ideas, and thoughts. The following is an excerpt from a book he’s now writing under the broad heading of "Lessons Learned."

Treat Others with Respect

One example of treating someone with respect that saved my life, or so I thought at the time, was when I was in junior high in San Mateo, California. I was at a basketball practice and after it ended I was gathering up my belongings and a friend of mine called out. “Hey Agoff, are you ready to go?” I responded, “Yes, be right there.”

At this point a couple of guys that were standing nearby turned and approached me. “Hey, is your name Agoff and is your Dad a cop?”

Now, you had to have been there and seen these guys. They were very big, very rough looking, and did not look too happy.  I said, “Yes.”

“Your Dad busted me.”  I remember thinking, oh great!  But all I could say was, “Oh, sorry.”  I also thought: I wonder what he did…hopefully nothing violent.

 He smiled and said, “Your Dad was cool about it. He treated me with respect. Tell him I said ‘hi.’”

“Sure,” I replied. And then I thought - thanks for being such a good person, Dad.

This was not the only time this type of encounter happened throughout my youth, and I was, and am, very grateful that my Dad always tried to be fair, and always treated everyone with respect. We never know how or when the way we treat people will come back around to us personally. How we act effects a lot more than just ourselves; it has an effect on everyone whose life touches ours.  As the saying goes…what goes around comes around. How have you been treating others lately?


Around this time of year especially, this kind of story is quite a gift, to students and to us. David, thank you for sharing.


Now Hear This

A frequent traveler, Assistant Professor of Management Ghadir Ishqaidef fills her travel-time pursuing connections with family, friends, and great ideas. One source of ideas is a podcast Ghadir recommends to us.  “I find this particular podcast episode interesting… it relates to our lives personally and professionally.”  I agree. Here’s the link to There’s More to Life Than Being Happy. If you don’t have iTunes or an Apple device, check your apps for Ted Talks Daily or Ted Hour for this episode, and more great talks to help you power through the day.

And what else makes all the difference each and every day, and along the way on the highway of life itself?


Imagination: Don't Leave Home Without It


Ever feel like creating a little town where you are in control of everything? Or playing in a giant virtual sandbox of folks exploring the vast reaches of personal creativity? You can do it literally, or through participating in a global group dedicated to the pursuit of the creative.  For the latter, I joined this MIT sponsored group, and you're invited, too.  It's for educators and learners everywhere. Check it out:

Now, for an example of a more literal creation: the railways in the Siegall garage. Visit the railroad and town that Professor Emeritus Marc created here,, and stop by to see it in action if you like! If you keep up with his website (posted in the blog section) you will be able to, ahem, "track" all the changes. 

Finally, this article discusses imaginative ways to link students with the content we’re bringing to the classroom. I was reminded of it perusing the many connections and materials David Agoff and I collected last week at the University of New Mexico's Tenth Annual Mentoring Conference. In a world of constrained resources, administrators and faculty in attendance look to the relational support to fill in the inevitable gaps in the fabric of academia, and in fact, most everywhere.

We all know what mentoring is, but for the sake of a common understanding, we’ll refer to the basic Wikipedia definition for its all-inclusive spin:

 Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise. It is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn.”

Bob Sprague, David Agoff, and I are interested in sharing ideas with whoever is interested, and we hope to find a way to get together and discuss ideas in the future. 

Remember, when the harsh reality of endless meetings and grading starts to get to you…

Example of a charmed motorway on the highway of life. Imagination has no bounds.

The driver may be a madman,but he is confident. Look what he did.