Tag: Alumni



Tom and his wife, Erin, at an Olin event. They have two boys: Benjamin, 3, and Gabriel, 18 months.

WashU Olin students should know: Tom Russell, MBA ’15, is a recruiting rock star for those who follow him into the full-time MBA program. In his roles at Anheuser-Busch, he’s hired numerous Olin students for internships and full-time positions. In fact, he just recently sent a request to have Olin students check out six new positions at the beermaker.

Meanwhile, he’s been promoted four times since starting four years ago, serving now as a senior director “reporting directly to our North America CFO, responsible for managing all of our technology operational expenditures and capital expenditures, as well as our technology excellence program.”

That follows nearly four years of service in the US Army in a variety of leadership positions—including combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

We caught up with Tom to ask a few questions about how his Olin experience has translated to a career at Anheuser-Busch and how it helped him transition from military to civilian leadership.

In what ways are you using data to make business decisions?

Every decision I make at Anheuser Busch involves data; however, data alone does not always tell the complete story—I layer in qualitative analysis to round out the story in an effort to make the most optimal decision. Specifically, in my current role, I am responsible for managing all of our technology OPEX and CAPEX spending in North America so the majority of my data is financial data.

How did your experience at Olin prepare you for that?

My experience at Olin definitely prepared me well for my career at Anheuser Busch—the core curriculum provided me with a strong foundation in areas such as finance, accounting, critical thinking, statistics and corporate strategy—I have deployed the skills and knowledge I learned in each of these courses throughout my four years at ABI. In addition, in my second year, I focused heavily on finance and analytics—it was great to be able to have the flexibility in the curriculum to concentrate in this way.

How do you leverage your principles, or those of your organization, in weighing the data?

One of our principles at A-B is that we manage costs tightly—this means that we put an immense amount of effort into our budgeting and financial reporting processes. Robust financial management, accounting and reporting are crucial to our cost-connect-win strategy. This cost-conscious, ownership mindset provides the foundation for how I think about our financials and all of the decisions I make.

As a military veteran, did you have experience around the world? Do you view yourself as a global business leader? In what ways?

I did have experience around the world—I served combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and also spent a summer in Germany as part of our training curriculum when I was a cadet at West Point. I do view myself as a global business leader—we are a global company, and I routinely interact with my colleagues in South America, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia, to include routine trips to those parts of the world.

Pictured above: Tom and his wife, Erin, at an Olin event. They have two boys: Benjamin, 3, and Gabriel, 18 months.




GiftAMeal is a St. Louis startup founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The following is a press release from the organization.

Andrew Glantz (BSBA ’17), founder, GiftAMeal

GiftAMeal, a St. Louis based mobile app, is stepping up in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that has hit our community so hard. Today [March 18], GiftAMeal announced an ambitious five-point plan to provide relief to struggling restaurants and the most at-risk segments of our society.

GiftAMeal is a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo in a partner restaurant. Just two weeks ago, they announced they had reached 200 partner restaurants, with 400,000 meals provided to those in need.

Founder & CEO of GiftAMeal, Andrew Glantz, explained, “A majority of the community members supported through GiftAMeal are children and the elderly. Schools are closing, and children relying on meals normally provided are facing a new challenge as social services scramble to readjust. At the same time, older community members, the most at-risk population for COVID-19, need our support now more than ever.”

Glantz continued, “Just as the community is struggling, so are many restaurants in the face of public health guidelines designed to contain the spread of this virus. Employees depend on their jobs to pay bills and make rent, and our partners are doing their best to mitigate the effects of this crisis on their staff. But they cannot do it without the support of the public.”

Seeking to assist both local restaurants and those at-risk in the community, Glantz announced the following plan:

Donation program available for delivery/pickup/offsite customers

With the mandated closing this week of dining rooms across the bistate area, Glantz’s team quickly devised a big change to their program that was previously only available to in-restaurant customers at partnering locations.

“We just launched an update to the GiftAMeal app that will temporarily allow users to take pictures off-site to donate meals for takeout, delivery, and gift card purchases. We will do this by lifting the location requirement of needing to be at a partner restaurant when you take the photo and we will move to manual verification. PLEASE support our local partner restaurants that are struggling during this difficult time.” – Glantz

Immediate financial support of hunger relief agencies – $5,000 matching challenge

“Having spoken to Operation Food Search about their needs, we will be making our donations for the next few months early to provide immediate funding to get food to those facing hunger. We may be a small startup with limited means but we’re launching a campaign to match donations, up to $5,000, for our food bank partner. If you would like to contribute, click here: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GiftAMealMatch.” – Glantz

Publicity for restaurants undergoing fast changes

With hundreds of restaurants forced to quickly find new avenues to pay their staff, Glantz is keeping the app’s 35,000+ loyal restaurant customers aware of all avenues to support their favorite restaurants:

“We will keep you up-to-date on the latest with our partner restaurants on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many are expanding take-out and delivery programs to keep serving the community and are implementing extremely thorough health precautions to keep us all safe.” – Glantz

Direct coordination of food donations from restaurants

We are working to coordinate food donations with Operation Food Search. If you know of any restaurant that has a surplus that is interested in donating food to the community, please let me know or have them contact Jack Baran of OFS directly at jack.baran@operationfoodsearch.org. It’s tax-deductible too!– Glantz

Program cost relief for struggling restaurants

In a message to restaurants (who normally pay $49-$149/month to fund the program costs and donations), Glantz extended an offer to self-fund the program for restaurants unable to contribute in the months of March and April so that food donations and restaurant customers could continue to flow at a time when they are most needed. When asked how he came to that decision, he explained,

“We are a small startup with limited means, but this is a time where we can shine the brightest. It’s important to me that our donations continue to flow to hunger relief organizations, and I know that the visibility of restaurants on our platform can have a big impact on cash-flow for these local businesses. I’ve always been struck by the generosity and love of community that our partner restaurant operators have shown, and even if it’s a drop in the bucket, I am going to help however I can.”

The response by the community has been overwhelmingly positive and grateful. Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, commented on GiftAMeal’s fast and community-centered response:

 “We are so very grateful to GiftAMeal for its innovative approach to providing more people with access to healthy food. Socially-conscious businesses like this are changing the way people approach giving, and the generous support of GiftAMeal is making an impact in our community every day.”

The free GiftAMeal app is available on iPhone and Android devices – giftameal.com/download

If you need help during this time, please visit www.operationfoodsearch.org/emergency-response-2020.

Check out www.giftameal.com for more information.

Facebook: facebook.com/giftameal

Instagram: instagram.com/giftameal

Twitter: twitter.com/giftameal




Ryan Richt, MBA

WashU Olin alumni have continued to benefit from their membership in the community many years after leaving campus. This is part of an occasional series of vignettes about the alumni experience. Today, we hear from Ryan Richt, , AB ’08/MBA ’08, founder and CEO, Well Principled

When we meet Ryan Richt, he’s wearing a button-down dress shirt that belies his serious love for data: It’s a design featuring subtly rendered QR codes, which, when scanned, launch the garment maker’s website. Since leaving Olin just over a decade ago, he’s applied that love of data and his business savvy to start two companies—thanks, in part, to an ongoing relationship with WashU Olin faculty mentor Anne Marie Knott.

“We’ve probably had dinner once a month for 10 years since I graduated,” he said. “I used her book to start my first company.”

That relationship continues today. Knott, the Robert and Barbara Frick Professor of Business in Olin Business School, is an investor and chairs the science advisory board for Well Principled, Richt’s year-old startup. His firm leverages artificial intelligence to apply state-of-the-art business research to real-world problems.

In Richt’s model, his company creates “virtual business consultants” that meld a firm’s data—perhaps marketing information or pricing data—with the accumulated knowledge of 30 years of operations research. The consultants automate decision-making based on the firm’s goals.

“It is real work to go through the threads of research and read the back-and-forth between researchers,” Richt said. “Anne Marie and the scientific advisory board help us with that.”

Stay in touch.

Center for Experiential Learning

Business Development

  • Dorothy Kittner, MBA ’94, associate dean and director of business development and corporate relations 314-935-6365 | kittner@wustl.edu

Alumni & Development

Weston Career Center

Executive Education

  • Kelly Bean, senior associate dean and professor of practice in leadership 202-797-6000 | beank@wustl.edu



Tim Edwards

By Megan Oliver, Special to Olin Blog

Two phrases that typically aren’t found together are “excellent wine” and “protecting the planet.” But to WashU Olin alumnus Tim Edwards, PMBA ’90 they couldn’t be any more related.

Since his time at Olin, Edwards has exemplified the core values of integrity, leadership, and excellence with his role as owner of the prolific St. Stephen Organic Vineyards. As a result, last month he was invited to address the United Nations Climate Change Division’s Annual Conference in Madrid about his ideas to finance actions to globally mitigate climate change.

Creating really great wine, with a mission

After leaving St. Louis, Edwards traveled across the world, ending up in the Colchagua Valley wine region of Chile—a country famous not only for its spectacular views and climate but also for its auspicious ability to make wine. There, Edwards purchased the land that would become St. Stephen Organic Vineyards.

In line with Olin’s entrepreneurial pillar of excellence, the primary goal of the vineyard was first and foremost to make the best possible organic wines, something specifically possible in this small corner of the world.

See Tim Edwards’ address to the UN climate conference. The address begins at the 3:29 mark.

Boasting a similar distance from the equator as Napa Valley, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named the Colchagua Valley the best wine region in the world in 2005. Founding his business in this particularly capable region of the planet not only emphasizes his entrepreneurial spirit but also his commitment to being globally oriented, another pillar in Olin’s mission.

The secondary mission of the vineyard was to do something that betters this world. Staying true to the values-based and data-driven pillar of Olin’s mission, Edwards wanted to live up to his social and moral obligations in the best way he knew how.

After researching the effects of global emissions on the environment, Edwards decided that proceeds from every bottle of wine sold from St. Stephen would benefit organizations that are committed to helping the planet. “The idea that we could give a little bit of money to help it seems like the absolute least we could do,” Edwards said.

Speaking at the United Nations

This was the same philosophy that inspired Edwards’ speech at the UN Climate Change Conference, where countries negotiated ambitious plans to limit global warming. In Edwards’ address, he states his belief that the world already has the solutions to the crisis that faces us, but the problem lies in financing these changes.

Very simply, his idea relies on goodwill from major corporations and fostering influential consumer behavior. In order to finance much-needed change, Edwards calls upon Fortune 500 companies to fulfill the same social and moral code he has led by. He explains if Fortune 500 companies contribute, “1/100th of 1% of their revenue stream, that would be $1.4 billion.”

While Edwards understands “that won’t solve the problem,” he does believe “it’s a big step forward.”




Byron Porter was intentional about the name of his young startup. “In an industrial operation, a hum is good,” Porter said. “It means everything is working and there are no surprises.”

With HUM Industrial Technology, Porter is taking that hum to the next level. Using “vibration analysis” and machine learning software, Porter has created a monitoring device about the size of a deck of cards to track railcar movements and anticipate when that rolling stock needs maintenance. In an industry where accidents are rarely small, Porter says ditching 40-year-old technology can solve three problems.

First, by monitoring vibrations—the hum—in railcar wheels, bearings and track, Porter’s sensors and machine-learning technology can gauge in real time potential maintenance issues and even estimate how long before a failure. Porter notes that the industry has experienced 125 incidents related to wheel bearing failures since 2015, resulting in $250 million in related expenses. In contrast to Porter’s real-time, smart technology, railroads today rely on “hot box detectors” spaced 20 miles apart that mea-sure when wheel bearings are overheating. “By the time a bearing is hot, it’s already failed,” Porter said.

Second, HUM could improve the predictability of shipments—a chronic problem. “You’re prepared to unload on a given day, you have a crew scheduled,” he said. “But when the train does arrive four days later, you’ve wasted four days paying a crew for each of those days because you thought the train would arrive.”

Finally, Porter says his innovation could improve safety in the compact, busy and notoriously dangerous railyards where manufacturers receive goods. A more sophisticated, real-time system using machine learning could create a clearer digital map for operators to monitor railcar movement.

“I’m an engineer, and engineers like to solve problems,” he said. “You see people get hurt and operational headaches and you think there has to be a better way. Because I can see a better way, I want to make that happen.”

THE FACTS

Startup Stats

  • Established as an LLC on April 12, 2019, and developing as a bootstrap operation at this point.
  • 4 million railcars are in operation globally.
  • 40-year-old technology tracks railcars and monitors for maintenance issues.
  • HUM applies machine learning and “vibration analysis” to anticipate maintenance issues and track rolling stock.

Team

  • Byron Porter, MBA ’20Founder, CEO and lone employee right now

Competition Participation

  • Third-place, receiving $2,500, in the April 17, 2019, Skandalaris Venture Competition
  • Recipient of a $1,000 grant from the Holekamp Seed Fund

More information: humindustrial.com