Author: Nancy Barter


About Nancy Barter

Nancy manages Olin's Alumni & Development Office where she has worked for eleven years to engage worldwide alumni of all Olin programs.

Photo, above: Tom and Catherine Holland and their children.

Tom Holland, EMBA ’12, has always been drawn to a life of adventure. As a young man from central Illinois, he participated in Wilderness Adventures, an adventure travel camp headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with program offerings all over the world. Founded in 1973, Wilderness Adventures is for students ages 11-20 and seeks to inspire their leadership capabilities while adventuring through the most pristine natural spaces on the planet.

“That month-long summer experience opened my eyes to the person I could be. I was also exposed to the thrill of outdoor adventure,” Tom says. “I found that the experience was a unique way to educate the minds of young adults. I didn’t know it was possible to receive leadership education in wilderness areas.”

Tom’s experience led to him pursue a degree in secondary education from WashU (LA’02), and after graduating, he became a high school teacher. While teaching high school social studies, he continued to spend his summers leading backpacking adventures for kids in Wyoming.

“The mountains became an extension of my classroom—one where I could grow young adults into the best version of themselves. Using the metaphor of wilderness challenge, we deepened our understanding of ourselves,” he says.

Eventually, Tom went on to become the Executive Director of a residential summer camp program in Wyoming. In his new role, Tom decided to return to Washington University, but this time as a member of Olin’s Executive MBA Class 38.

“The EMBA program, much like that summer adventure so many years ago, challenged me in new ways. I found myself learning from both my professors and my peers. Further, they challenged me to dream big when it came to my professional life in the camp and adventure travel business.”

Following his EMBA experience, Tom took on a new job as CEO of the American Camp Association. There, he served as an industry spokesperson and worked with thousands of summer camp programs in the United States to improve the quality and availability of programs to children.

It was during his tenure at the American Camp Association that he was contacted by the owners of Wilderness Adventures, the program he attended as a teenager. They expressed their desire to pass the torch of leadership after 43 years, and wondered if Tom and his wife, Catherine, would be interested in taking the step into business ownership.

“We were thrilled to be approached with this opportunity and to direct such a fantastic company. With over 25,000 alumni, Wilderness Adventures has been a leader in the camp and student adventure travel industry since 1973, and we look forward to continuing that legacy.”

With hundreds of students coming from all over the United States and many international countries too, the program has global reach. And after just over a year at the helm, it is easy to see that Tom is putting to use the skills he acquired at Olin. While remaining true to the core programming of electronics-free youth adventure travel expeditions in national parks and wild areas around the globe, Wilderness Adventures is launching a day camp program for a younger audience in Jackson Hole.

A surfing excursion with Wilderness Adventures

A surfing excursion with Wilderness Adventures

“It is our goal to inspire the next generation to dream big. I was issued that challenge through my experience with Wilderness Adventures all those years ago, and Catherine and I look forward to being stewards of that mission for years to come.”

During the month of March, Wilderness Adventures is offering a $200 program coupon for the children of Olin alumni who wish to enroll in the summer of 2017.  To claim your coupon, email, with the subject line: OLIN20.

Written by guest blogger KC Friedrich, Senior Associate Director of Development, Olin Business School

CATEGORY: Career, News

On Friday, April 21 Olin Business School will recognize the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Honorees followed by a very special gala to commemorate our Centennial. The evening begins in a spectacular tent on Mudd Field, and the Gala will include various entertainment, festive food stations and cocktails, a fun photo booth, and an interactive digital exhibit showcasing Olin’s rich history.

We will not be hosting a traditional sit-down dinner, but there will be ample gourmet food to enjoy and a variety of seating on every level of the building. The evening will conclude with a celebratory fireworks display as we embark on Olin’s second century of excellence. The exciting and commemorative event promises to be a night to remember.

Distinguished Alumni Awards & Centennial Gala

  • Bill Broderick, MBA 1976
    Partner (Retired), Edward Jones
  • Lee Fixel, BSBA 2002
    Partner, Tiger Global Management
  • Nina Leigh Krueger, MBA 1994
    President, Nestle Purina U.S.
  • Dave Moellenhoff, EN 1992, EN 1992, MBA 1994
    Co-Founder & Former Chief Technology Officer,, Inc.
  • Rick L. Ryan, PhD, MBA 1994
    CEO, Apertus Pharmaceuticals, LLC; General Partner, Cultivation Capital Life Sciences

Dean’s Medalists

Mahendra R. Gupta, PhD and Sunita Garg
Former Dean and Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management

Emerging Leaders Celebration

  • Arvan S. Chan, MBA 2009, MHA 2009
    Vice President, International Markets, Centene Corporation
  • Chuck K. Cohn, BSBA 2008
    Founder and CEO, Varsity Tutors
  • James A. Mourey, BSBA 2005
    Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing, DePaul University
  • JD Ross, BSBA 2012
    Co-founder, Opendoor
  • Meghan O’Meara Winegrad, MBA 2006
    Senior Director, Product Management, Express Scripts

For more information or to register for these events, visit the
Olin Celebration Weekend website

Questions? Contact Anne Peterson at or 314-935-5872

Mark your calendar:  All events are complimentary! Consider making a gift in honor of Olin’s 100 years of excellence!


Deibel Family

Recently, alumnus Todd Deibel, MBA ’97, took a few moments to catch up with Olin Alumni & Development. Check out Todd’s thoughts on how his Olin education helped prepare him for his career:

What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

I recently acquired and manage a company called Second Sight Systems, and I can honestly say I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my career. This can largely be attributed to the high-tech industries we serve (utilities and communications) and the incredibly talented people I get to work with every day.

Our company focuses on three areas: utility engineering services, industrial wireless systems, and communications tower services. We have positioned Second Sight Systems to be at the forefront of supporting customers who are investing in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) through our partnership with General Electric. We are also a tier-one supplier to Ameren for their Smart Grid modernization program. If you’re a technology nerd like me, there is absolutely no better place to be!

Olin certainly shaped me in a way I didn’t see coming. Through the Weston Career Center, I landed an internship at Texas Instruments and found my calling in the technology space.  Upon graduation, I took a position at Intel Corporation and had the fortunate experience of living and working in Silicon Valley, Germany, and the UK. I can guarantee you none of this would have happened had I not attended a nation-wide leading MBA program like Olin’s.

What Olin course influenced your life most, and why?

Operations with Dean Kropp is where I really felt like I hit my stride at Olin. Relative to my impressive classmates (kudos to the full-time MBA’ers of 1997!), I honestly felt over matched in just about every other class I attended. However, Dean Kropp had a presentation style and message that resonated with me, and it just clicked. To this day I think he’s one of the most brilliant, charismatic instructors I’ve ever come across, and his operational philosophy stuck with me as I managed multiple companies over the years.

(Quick side story: As I was getting to know him during my first year at Olin, I constantly addressed him as “Dean Kropp” (by his full name) and eventually I realized he was in fact not the “Dean” of the school but rather, “Professor” Kropp!  He never let me live that one down…God rest his soul!)

How do you stay engaged with Olin?

I have remained involved with Olin in several ways, but the two areas I focus on are mentoring students and providing scholarship funds. Mentoring both undergrads and graduate students of Olin is a humbling experience.

The talent level in these students is truly impressive and at times while I’m meeting with students I’m not exactly sure who is mentoring who!

I can guarantee you I get just as much out of our discussions as they do. It’s a great experience to get back on campus and to hear the stories of these students, and to act as a sounding board for career opportunities. In addition to this, my wife Jeni and I established a scholarship fund, and it’s been incredibly rewarding to get to personally know the students who are impacted by these funds.

Why is an MBA education important?

An MBA will force you to confront your weaknesses and help round out your managerial skillset. There is nowhere to hide in an MBA program. For example, no matter how long you put it off, you will eventually have to sit through a Statistics class! (Believe me, I tried my best to dodge that one.) But once you get after it, you begin to realize how quantitative theories are applied in just about everything we do in running a business. An MBA has a way of not only rounding you out, but also opening your eyes to a bigger world with bigger opportunities, especially coming from an internationally diverse program like Olin.

Learn more about Olin’s top-ranked full-time MBA program and reconnect with Olin through Alumni and Development.

BSBA alum and entrepreneur David Dresner

Founder and CEO of Sleeve a Message and Coast a Message, David Dresner (BSBA ’10), has created a $20,000 scholarship specifically to aid students attending Washington University’s Olin Business School.

Dresner announced the scholarship with the goal to make a quality education affordable for qualified business students from the St. Louis metropolitan area with significant financial need.

“You shouldn’t have to suffer loads of debt just because you are pursuing a quality education,” said Dresner. “Helping the next generation helps all of us in St. Louis. Giving back to the community is one part of our sustainable business model.”


Examples of custom, sustainable coffee cup sleeves from Dresner’s company.

St. Louis-based Sleeve a Message and Coast a Message develop custom coffee attire and coasters for many well-known companies across North America including Bon Appetit, Dark Matter, Whole Foods, Restoration Hardware, Hulu, Target, Dogwood Coffee Company, Progressive Insurance, Au Bon Pain, Lavazza, and Volkswagen USA. Sleeve a Message and Coast a Message’s unique commitment to sustainable social practices has earned them a reputation for continued service to the community.

“David is passionate about his commitment to the St. Louis community and supporting efforts that strengthen the region. Working with David to create this scholarship has been an absolute pleasure. We are grateful for his work, and we’re proud to count him among our alumni,” stated K.C. Cortinovis Friedrich, Senior Associate Director of Development at Washington University’s Olin Business School.

For more information about the Washington University Scholarship, contact Liz Sharpe-Taylor at 315-542-0400 or at For more information about David Dresner and Sleeve a Message or Coast a Message, please visit or

Photos: Olin Business Magazine, 2012.

CATEGORY: News, Student Life

Olin hosted its 20th Annual Golf Invitational at the Sunset Country Club in St. Louis Monday, August 1, 2016. More than 100 alumni and friends of Olin participated in the  4-person scramble, 18 hole tournament. The morning started off a little dreary with some light rain and clouds, but that didn’t stop our teams from teeing off for a fun day on the links.

Congratulations to Scott Pinson, Chad Blatz, Kyle Pogue and John Jones on winning first place!

Congratulations to Scott Pinson, Chad Blatz, Kyle Pogue and John Jones on winning first place!

The golfers gathered for appetizers and cocktails in the club house where prizes were presented. First place went to the team with a dynamic EMBA duo: Kyle Pogue (EMBA’14), Scott Pinson, Chad Blatz (EMBA’14), and John Jones. Each team member received a certificate from Sunset Country Club for a complimentary round of golf.

Congratulations to the winning team and the players who aced each of the special prize categories:

IMG_7646Longest Drive: Turner Peters (MBA’14), Mary Jo Gorman (EMBA’96)

Closest to the Pin: Tom Barry

Putting Contest: Jeff Patton (PMBA’08)

Thanks to all of the alumni and friends who participated in this year’s Invitational.  And many thanks to the generous support from the following sponsors:

Clayton Corporation                               Commerce Bank

Garlich Printing Company                     HIMagine Solutions

Olin’s Graduate Programs Office          Maryville Technologies

                   Merrill Lynch                                             Midwest BankCentre

North Highland Worldwide Consulting

Spartan Light Metal Products, Inc.           Takara Belmont – Koken Division

A very special thank you to AB-InBev for supplying beer for the event.

If you are interested in this event and want to learn more about how you can participate in next year’s Olin Golf Invitational, please contact the Olin Alumni Office at

CATEGORY: Uncategorized