Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 21. June 26, 2008

Day 21. June 26, 2008

The day began with breakfast and an AM Studio with Professor Clark. The content was focused on reading the customer and understanding both spoken and unspoken messages. Cues from the past 2 days in Louisville were used as examples of “understanding the client”.

Following the AM session, the Accelerator teams worked on their Gresham Smith deliverables for tomorrow – we’ll be presenting those at 8:15 AM.

Over lunch, our participants had the opportunity to hear from professionals within the accounting profession – and how the business of professional accounting consulting works. While the students were in Averbuch, our team set up the Law School auditorium for presentations to American Airlines.

Three individuals from the American Airlines team were here to do the final judging of the project: Rob Brittan, Advisor to the Chairman; Jim Butler, Director, SME Strategy for American Airlines, and Chris Koller, Manager within the SME segment.

Our teams had been challenged by this team about 10 days ago to determine how American Airlines can position itself as the leading carrier for travelers from small- to medium-sized enterprises (defined as companies with annual revenue of $1 million - $100 million). Many companies, including American, understand the potential of this segment, often abbreviated SME.

At 1:30 PM, the team competition began. Each team had 10 minutes to present their recommendations to American Airlines for consideration. After their final voting, American Airlines selected Team 7 as the overall winner. Team 1 ranked second and Team 4 ranked third.

Members of the winning team include: Adam Albright, John Del Piero, Lindsey Drake, Chris Harris, Alison Morris, Paige Parkey, Anna Rogers, Jeff Rosage, Chris Skene, Neal Watterson, and Jennifer Wu.

The best “story board” part of the competition was won by Team 4. Team 3 ranked second and Team 7 ranked third. For the research phase of the competition, Team 3 ranked first, Team 1 ranked second, and Team 7 ranked third.

Teams also voted on their MVP (most valuable player) for this round of competition. MVPs were: Yizhen Dong, Miles Maddox, Liz Palma, Tim Johnson, Nicholas Chavez, Amy Brown, Jessica Decker, Jordan Sanderson, Alison Crawford, Lindsey Drake, Austin Reid and Ann Parker Hammond.

Following the American Airlines feedback, our Accelerator teams attended a teaching studio with Professor Froeb who shared insights into risk transfer. The evening was spent on polishing up the last details of presentations to Gresham Smith & Partners. It was another very long evening. The last group left the building well after midnight. Tomorrow is our single busiest day: Business Breakfast, Client Presentation and Career Day all rolled in one. It will be incredible.

Day 20. June 25, 2008

Day 20. June 25, 2008

The day began with breakfast and an AM Studio with Professor Furse. The content was focused on the strategies to deliver solutions on behalf of American Airlines to the SME segment.

Following the AM session, the Accelerator teams worked on their American Airlines deliverables for tomorrow – we’ll be presenting those at 1:30 PM.

Over a working lunch, our participants had the opportunity to refine their elevator pitches and review the postings for the Career Day that will be held on Friday.

At 1:00 PM, the teams shifted their focus to their Gresham Smith projects. Teams are working on a “big idea” for the Nashville thermal plant site (these will be presented on Friday).

At 3:00 PM, Professor Pace held a teaching studio on word of mouth and guerilla marketing.
After dinner, we began dress rehearsals for the American Airlines presentations that will be held tomorrow.

Teams completed their 3 deliverables for the project: PowerPoint slides, Bibliography and Story Board. It was a late night. The last team turned in their final materials about midnight. The presentations look great. I know American Airlines will be impressed with this group of young men and women.

Day 19. June 24, 2008

Day 19. June 24, 2008

Another early AM wake up – when the alarm rang at 5:00 AM, I felt sure there must be some mistake. There was no mistake….

The staff and coaches met in the lobby and 6:00 AM to prep for the day. By 6:30 AM, we had begun to board the buses and load luggage. At 7:00 AM, we left the Seelbach Hilton in downtown Louisville to head to Yum! Headquarters. We arrived at the YUM! around 7:30 for a breakfast and to launch Project 8.

The overview of the firm was provided by the VP of marketing, Tom Marchese, Sr. Director of Marketing, Laurie Schalow, and Sr. Director of Advertising, Matthew McCartin, just to name a few.

YUM! has presented the challenge of creating a fully integrated marketing campaign for KFC, focusing primarily on the millennial generation. The components of this plan should address implications for KFC in marketing communications, customer service, menu components/structure, in-store/drive-thru customer experiences, and look and feel of the restaurants. The plan should also provide a budget and timeline associated with bringing your plan to fruition.

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. Four of our restaurant brands - KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - are the global leaders of their categories – chicken, quick-service seafood, pizza, and Mexican-style. A&W Restaurants is the longest running quick-service franchise chain in America. In 2007, Yum! Brands generated more than $10 billion in total 2007 revenues, including company sales and franchise fees.

Accelerator teams were provided an excellent morning briefing outlining the history of KFC and the current marketing plans. This presentation was followed by a lunch consisting of new dining options KFC is working to release in 2009 from the tasting kitchen. We dined on “new items” and provided testing feedback to those at Yum! working on these new concepts.

From 1:45 - 3:00 PM, the students were given the opportunity to ask questions to each of the speakers. Following Q&A we were provided a guided tour through the Whitehouse – the original building of Colonel Sanders’ enterprise. At the end of the tour a fully interactive, lifelike, statue of Colonel Sanders greeted the students in the museum.

We boarded the buses about 4:00 PM for the drive back to Nashville. The drive provided some welcome “down time” for most of our participants and many were able to catch up on some rest.

The day ended around 7:30-8:00 PM – we’ll “hit the ground running” in the AM with full prep for two big upcoming presentations – American Airlines and Gresham Smith & Partners.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Louisville Slugger

Day 18. June 23, 2008 – Louisville Slugger Museum with Yum!

At 6:00 PM we went to the Louisville Slugger Museum for an opening dinner with YUM! This dinner was great for networking with other YUM! employees and executives, as well as tour a famous attraction of the Louisville area. Keeping the baseball theme of the museum alive, a hotdog and nacho dinner was served.

Around 8:30 PM everyone made their way back to the hotel for an early night off. Having the evening off, the students were available to see a little bit of the downtown Louisville area. The weather was so nice some students went for evening walks, while others went to a local bowling alley. These little breaks are great opportunities for the students to share more personal connections and create lasting friendships.

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Humana

Day 18. June 23, 2008 - Humana

Day 18 began for most of the staff at 4:30 AM. Long before the first Accelerator participant’s alarm went off, we were busy getting breakfast ready, supplies loaded, buses parked, and all the details organized for our two day trip to Louisville. Wake up calls began at 5:30 AM for the teams. At 6:15 AM, we began the process of loading the buses for Louisville. Lots of sleepy eyes….

As you can imagine many took advantage of this four-hour road trip to catch up on lost sleep. While some slept, others watched movies, chatted, and some groups took advantage of this time to work on their upcoming projects.

After our arrival we made our way to the Frazier International History Museum for the Humana launch. Humana, a healthcare provider, provided us with a lunch and an informative presentation on their company and the goals they plan to reach after the project. Their wish is to increase insurance sales of the Hispanic market in the south Texas area. With many students having a Spanish majors and minors, this project is creating a great deal of excitement.

Finishing up the Humana open around 4:30, we all headed to the hotel to get settled in for a bit.

Day 18. June 23, 2008

Day 18. June 23, 2008

The morning arrives much too soon. The teams are up and dressed with luggage at the curb by 6:15. With a lot of coordination, we load 2 charter buses with all the supplies, students and luggage and head to Louisville. With the time change, we should arrive there by 11:30 AM Eastern Time (with about 20 minutes to spare before we launch Project 7 with Humana).

Within minutes of getting on the highway, the hum of the bus and the days of limited sleep take their toll...

Parent Letter from Accelerator 2007 Participant

Parent Letter from Accelerator 2007 Participant. 06.23.08

Today I recieved this letter from the parent of one of our Accelerator participants from last summer. He had been following this year's blog and shared the following. With Mr. Puchon's permission, I have posted his comments below. For folks who wonder why we as the staff and faculty of Accelerator keep the hours we do, this letter pretty well sums it up...

Dr. Burcham:

I was so pleased with what the 2007 Accelerator Program did for my son last year. I kept your web site bookmarked and now check in often to observe what all the fine young men and women are doing this 2008 program year. I can see it is every bit as intense as last year. It has brought back great memories of following my son's time from last year. What a wonderful experience and great way to learn real life business practices. I have told a countless number people about this program.

My son was debating with himself on two options for summer studies last year. I am glad, as is he, that he chose the Vanderbilt program. He never imagined going in what an experience it would turn out to be. He was a changed person by the conclusion, you could see the confidence in himself and a proud sense of achievement at the closing dinner.

Remind the participants to enjoy this wonderful and rewarding time, as it will pass quickly. As you know, the time and effort they are asked to put forth now will be invaluable to them for their future. Keep up the great work with these fine young minds. I wish you and the Accelerator staff many more years of future success.

Charles J Puchon Sr. Proud Parent of Michael Puchon 2007 Accelerator Participant

Day 17. June 22, 2008

Day 17. June 22, 2008

Sunday began at 11 AM with sign-ups for our Career Day (set for Friday, June 27th). There are dozens of firms planning to interview Accelerator participants for both full-time and part-time jobs.

Thus far we have more than sixty-five positions available and counting. This will be a great opportunity, not only for career and internship possibilities, but just as important, valuable interviewing skills.

A spaghetti lunch was served at noon, and without delay the teams set off to their rooms to begin working on the William Morris project from 12:30 – 2:00 PM. Carol and Sarah (shown in the photo) reviewed and completed menus for the next week. We’ve already served over 4,950 individual meals!

At 2:00 PM, the Accelerator teams meet with Thom Meek, an architect known for such works at the Delta at Opryland, the Wildhorse Saloon, and the renovation of Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
Thom answered many questions and gave the teams insight for their Gresham-Smith project.

At 6:00 PM, the teams finished up working on the Gresham-Smith project and enjoyed a typical Sunday dinner of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, classic macaroni and cheese. While they ate Kyle Clay and I briefed the teams on our trip to Louisville, KY. Tomorrow AM we depart to visit the world headquarters of 2 of our partner firms: Humana and Yum! Brands.
We also announced the update for Week 2 of our “Leader Board” – these are the 10 Accelerator participants who have earned the most “points” by winning competitive rounds, being voted MVP by their team mates, etc. They are: Tyler Weaks, Peter Mataragas, A.J. Axelrod, Sarah Leggett, Megan Gilbert, Amy Brown, Jason Levine, Ami Gosalia, Jordan Headlee and Brittany Gowers.

With one more team session left, the groups headed out to work on their William Morris projects before ending the night by singing Happy Birthday to Linda Huber – one of our Accelerator participants. By 9:30 PM, our teams headed out to get some rest before tomorrow’s 5:30 wake-up call.

Day 16. June 21, 2008

Day 16. June 21, 2008

It’s Saturday – our first casual day in a while - with everyone well rested from the previous night’s early closure along with the relaxed dress code, Day 16 started off with chipper attitudes and smiling faces. The students had the opportunity to sleep in, or exercise this morning and were not required to arrive until 8:00 AM.

After breakfast, Professor Cherrie Clark shared feedback from the Bridgestone and Caterpillar Financial executives with the Accelerator teams. Using the new Livescribe pen, she had done complete audio recordings of the company’s discussions as they ranked the teams. She also shared video of the company’s feedback.

Following this session, the teams met to complete their data analysis of the Nashville real estate market and outline their top 3 recommendations for the Gresham Smith executives. This project provides a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about real estate development and the process to create new buildings and city infrastructure.

Abby Smith, one of our Owen MBA students, is helping the Accelerator program this summer by providing assistance with research and proofing the team’s bibliographies. For the past 2 rounds of competition, the teams with the best bibliography / research presented are as follows: For Bridgestone: 1st Place is Team 2, 2nd Pace is Team 1, and 3rd Place is Team 8
For Caterpillar: 1st Place is Team 1, 2nd Place is Team 7, 3rd Place is Team 6

Each team also creates a visual – a 4’ x 4’ storyboard that describes the process the team used to address the issue and determine their recommendation. For the past 2 rounds of competition, the teams with the best storyboards are as follows: For Bridgestone: 1st Place is Team 8, 2nd Place is Team 6, 3rd Place is Team 1. For Caterpillar: 1st Place is Team 2, 2nd Place is Team 6, 3rd Place is Team 8.

Following lunch, we then had a pretty amazing surprise – Accelerator teams were treated to a working studio with the founder of Arista Records - Tim Dubois. He worked with many artists such as Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Diamond Rio. As an “industry insider”, Tim’s information aided the students with their William Morris Agency project immeasurably. Tim spoke for about 90 minutes – then the teams had an opportunity to meet to apply some of the tools he shared. While the teams were meeting, Tim visited with each team – spending about 20 minutes with each to coverer Q&A. The Accelerator teams then met again with Tim as a group for a final round of Q&A.

Sometimes, even coaches have a hard time staying awake – right Scott?

At 5:00 PM, the teams then changed the pace to work on the American Airlines project. Today was a really good day for the teams because they were able to tie up loose ends on several projects, finish research, and any other logistical needs. We ended the day around 8:30 for an off-campus dinner – an opportunity for many of these students to enjoy visiting a Nashville restaurant on a Saturday night. Teams will get to sleep in a bit in the AM – and will arrive about 11:00 AM.

Day 15. June 20, 2008

Day 15. June 20, 2008

It’s Friday – and time for another Business Networking Breakfast. Accelerator teams arrived at 6:45 AM and our 35 business guest began arriving promptly at 7:00 AM. These networking sessions have been a huge success, with companies such as: The Country Music Hall of Fame, Paradigm Health, Manheim, and Universal Robotics – and the Accelerator students have gained valuable networking skills through this experience.

Finishing off breakfast, the teams rushed over to the Caterpillar Financial Corporate office on West End Avenue to present their ideas for making this company one hundred percent landfill free by the year 2020. As unimaginable as this goal may seem, the executives were blown away with the innovative and creative ideas the teams had to offer in making this dream become a reality. When the presentations were finished, and the deliberation was complete, Caterpillar chose Team 2 as the winning team – Caterpillar felt this team best captured the spirit of Caterpillar. Team 4 came in second.

Members of Team 2 include: Alex Alfonso, Emily Butler, CoCo Chalfant, Brittany Gowers, Miles Maddox, Ashley Morgan, Liz Palma, Brett Rudis, Michael Skoumal, Isaiah Toback, and Kaitlin Wooddell. The team coach is Jared Degnan.

Teams also voted and recognized their MVPs. These included: Team 1: Porsche Brooks, Team 2: CoCo Chalfant, Team 3: Nicholas Chavez, Team 4: Megan Gilbert & Tyler Weaks, Team 5: Ami Gosalia, Team 6: Emily Schaefer, Team 7: Neal Watterson & Alison Morris, and Team 8: Kelly Thompson.

After receiving their presentation feedback from Kimberly Pace, the students walked back to Owen and were greeted with a crew of photographers from Gomez Photography to take headshots. Meanwhile everyone enjoyed a working lunch with a group from the Deloitte Team. Deloitte provided a 2 hour studio on a consulting career.

Following the Deloitte studio, the Accelerator teams worked on their American Airlines projects. At 3:00 PM, Professor Willis completed his accounting series for the group. His quick and witty comments make the accounting studio entertaining and informative.

The night was concluded with dinner and two team sessions for work to be done on the Gresham project. With the past two days being jammed packed with events, tonight we closed the day at 8:00 PM to ensure everyone has enough rest for the upcoming week.

Day 14. June 19, 2008

Day 14. June 19, 2008

Day 14 was one of our busiest days yet. We began with a 7:00 breakfast with flexible arrival times in order to provide students with a little extra time to exercise. Our day then promptly started at 8:00 to run through their Bridgestone presentations one last time before the big event.
As 9:00 came, the nervous tension dissipated and the students headed to the Vanderbilt Law School Conference room to greet the team from Bridgestone. 8 representatives of the Bridgestone marketing and environmental teams were on hand to evaluate the work of our Accelerator teams. Each team had 10 minutes to make their “pitch” to Bridgestone. After much deliberation and a close race between Team 4 and Team 5 – Bridgestone declared Team 5 the winner. James Fuqua Ami Gosalia, Aubrey Hammond, and Michael Shatto presented Team 5’s highly polished marketing campaign with ease, immensely impressing the Bridgestone team. Other members of the team include: Andrew Brady, David Dar, Jessica Decker, Sarah Leggett, Sarah Russell and Jeffrey Taylor. The team coach is Ryan Igleheart.

The teams ended the session by voting for their MVPs: Team 1: Marc Levit, Team 2: Brittany Gowers, Team 3: Zach Barrett, Team 4: Tyler Weaks, Team 5: Sarah Leggett, Team 6: Tori Richard & Elliot Steinbaum, Team 7: Chris Harris, and Team 8: Ivan Au. Congratulations to each of these individuals for being recognized by their teams.

With the presentations coming to an end around 11:30, everyone grabbed a quick box lunch before heading to the Gresham Smith & Partners launch. The students were delighted for another off-campus launch, this element adds to the excitement of the program. As our buses arrived in downtown Nashville, we were guided to the Civic Design Center to meet the Gresham team: James Bearden (President), Patrick Gilbert (Senior Associate Architect leading our project) and John Houghton (Senior Planner leading our project). They were joined by David Koellein, Development Associate from Giarratana Development.

Our Mission: Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P) has been retained to prepare a master redevelopment plan for a property located at the site of the old Thermal Plant. The 12-acre site was originally slated to be the new baseball stadium site, but that plan was unable to get funding. Given it’s proximity to the new pedestrian bridge and the downtown area, the site has significant potential and has prompted area developers to re-evaluate the site.

Accelerator teams are to assist GS&P with the decision, evaluate the market characteristics of the property and recommend a course of action for highest and best use of the property. Teams will have 20 working hours to complete the task.

At the end of the briefing, everyone walked to the pedestrian bridge, which overviews the plot of land the students have been asked to develop.

Then arriving back at Owen, our Accelerator teams were directed back to the law school for an briefing by Tony Giarrantana, one of Nashville’s leading developers. Tony shared his view on real estate in today’s market and potential uses of the 12-acre site.

For dinner, our teams devoured a delicious Jerusalem chicken dish and then began dress rehearsals for the Caterpillar presentations that will be tomorrow morning. Each team practiced their pitch in front of a panel of faculty (Kimberly Pace, Cherrie Clark, John English, Carol Barry and David Furse) for last minute critique and review.

As the night came to an end, the students, coaches, and staff headed to their respective rooms for some much-needed rest. We closed the day around 10:00 PM – tomorrow is another big day…

Day 13. June 18, 2008

Day 13. June 18, 2008
As day 13 arrived, the lobby of the Owen graduate school of Management was filled with the muttered sounds of urgency and excitement from the students. We started the morning off early with a 7:00am rehearsal breakfast in order to prepare for tomorrow’s Bridgestone presentations. This will be the second presentation for the Accelerator teams, and as you can imagine, tension is high.

Immediately following breakfast the students were guided through a targeted marketing studio led by Professor Steve Hoeffler. Professor Hoeffler does an excellent job of conveying “real world” marketing examples to which the students can more easily relate -- allowing them to not only gain but retain applicable knowledge for their future careers.

After the session, Accelerator teams then met to work on their William Morris initiative. The focus of today was industry and market research. Teams evaluated date related to the artist – manager – agent relationship in order to better understand the music industry. Managing two groups and focusing on four projects has really kicked everyone into high gear, and forced students to learn time-management skills that will continue to resonate with them throughout the program.

With a short break for lunch and an uplifting assembly on personal branding from Professor Kimberly Pace, spirits were high when the students began their 2:30 final team meeting for Caterpillar. This was a true test of “multi-tasking” -- to see whether or not the students could finish this project while still considering preparation for tonight’s Bridgestone dress rehearsals.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 12. June 17, 2008

Day 12. June 17, 2008

Breakfast began at 7:00 AM and an opening Studio session on Project Management led by Professor Clark. At 9:30 AM, our Accelerator teams went back to work on their Bridgestone projects – we’re now less than 48 hours away from presentation time.

At 11:30 AM, we transitioned through a working lunch (basically “Grab it and Go) and went back to work on the American Airlines projects. Teams are evaluating the SME (Small & Medium Employer) space to determine the right marketing approach for American to use for this market segment.

At 1:30 Professor Hoeffler ran a teaching Studio on Marketing – the 2nd in a 4-Part series he will provide for our Accelerator teams over this 4 week period.

At 3:00 PM, Professor Michael Lapre orchestrated his now famous “Beer Game” an operations / process flow simulation with the remaining 50% the participants throughout the afternoon. During that same time, Professor Pace instructed another 25% of the group on resume development with the remaining 25% worked in an intimate setting with Professor English on interviewing skills.

At 6:00 PM, dinner was served in the lobby – providing a forum for the Accelerator teams to talk about their experiences today with their projects. This PM, our teams held their final project session for Bridgestone. Dress rehearsals are tomorrow and Bridgestone arrives Thursday to see the work of the teams and evaluate the recommendations each group. This evening as the Bridgestone project final PowerPoint and Story Boards were turned in for each group, I was reminded of how far they’ve come --- and how fast they have advanced.

We signed off and ended the day at 10:30 PM.

Day 11. June 16, 2008

Day 11. June 16, 2008

Breakfast began at 7:00 AM with a Coach’s Breakfast to “meet and greet” the 2nd round of Teams. Our 85 participants have been reorganized into 8 new teams for the second half of the program. These new teams will be doing the projects for William Morris Agency, Gresham Smith & Partners, Humana and Yum Brands.

Team 1: Zach Barrett, John Del Piero, Sarah Leggett, Sarah Lunenburg, Miriam Martz, Peter Mataragas, Mandy May, Kelly McCaffrey, Emily Schaefer, Michael Shatto, and Michael Skoumal. The coach is Chase Pattison.

Team 2: Lindsey Bodenstab, Amy Brown, Yizhen Dong, Ann Parker Hammock, Jordan Headless, Jesse Hecht, Lauren Law, Tori Richard, Chris Skene, and Jennifer Wu. The coach is Jared Degnan.

Team 3: Ivan Au, A.J. Axelrod, Eric Bromberg, Porsche Brooks, Emily Butler, Ami Gosalia, Austin Reid, Isaiah Toback, Ben Washburn, and Tyler Weaks. The coach is Kyle Clay.

Team 4: Alex Alfonso, Nicholas Chavez, Lindsey Drake, James Fuqua, Brittany Gowers, Marc Rigsby, Billy Ripley, Wyatt Smith, Elliot Steinbaum, Kathryn Trappey, and Tina Wu. The coach is Patrick Long.

Team 5: Meredith Casey, Patrick Dienes, Andrew Esakov, Tiffany Fisher, Chris Harris, Linda Huber, Tim Johnson, Ashley Morgan, Jordan Sanderson, Kelly Thompson, and Kaitlin Wooddell. The coach is Ryan Igleheart.

Team 6: Adam Albright, Andrew Brady, Kerri Glennon, Eric Jones, Marc Levit, Anna Rogers, Jeff Rosage, Sarah Russell, Brittany Thompson, Neal Watterson, and Samantha Webb. The coach is Ryan McGrath.

Team 7: Catie Burleson, CoCo Chalfant, Alison Crawford, David Dar, Megan Gilbert, Aubrey Hammond, Rob Hunziker, Alison Morris, Brett Rudis, Leo Selya, and Katie Titus. The coach is Sara Gable.

Team 8: Jessica Decker, Kenneth Jackson, Jessica Kwon, Jason Levine, Miles Maddox, Liz Palma, Paige Parkey, Jeffrey Taylor, Matt Walsh, and Tyler Whitmore. The coach is Scott Williams.

Following breakfast, Professor Furse ran a studio session on Strategy – prepping the teams for the new project they will begin today with William Morris. At 9:30, our teams boarded the buses and half the team went to the Country Music Hall of Fame to begin a project with singer / songwriter Eric Church. The other half departed for Ocean Way Studio to meet singer / songwriter Danielle Peck. As they boarded the buses, all our participants were given WMA hats and a CD of the artist for whom they will be working. The rush of energy was just amazing.

Teams spent the entire morning getting to know the artists, their managers, the record labels, and the William Morris Agency team. The teams assigned their member roles over a working lunch and then were able to see the artist in a live performance before returning to the Owen Graduate School of Management at 2:30 PM.

At 3:00 PM, Professor Michael Lapre orchestrated his now famous “Beer Game” an operations / process flow simulation with 50% the participants throughout the afternoon. During that same time, Professor Pace instructed another 25% of the group on resume development with the remaining 25% worked in an intimate setting with Professor English on interviewing skills. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll flip the schedule so that all participants are able to participate in all 3 of these important attributes of the Accelerator program.

At 6:00 PM, dinner was served in the lobby – providing a forum for the Accelerator teams to talk about their experiences today with the record labels, William Morris Agency, the artists, and the afternoon studios. This PM, our teams worked on their projects for Bridgestone. The pressure is beginning to mount – Bridgestone arrives Thursday to see their work of the teams and evaluate the recommendations each group. The evening was a flurry of research, storyboards, PowerPoints, presentation writing, sodas, water, chips, and more work. We signed off and ended the day at 11:00 PM. I’m tired just writing this blog.

Day 10. Talent Night

Accelerator’s First-Ever Talent Night:

On Saturday evening we kicked off the talent night with our own version of Ryan Seacrest – Jared Degnan and the coordinator of the evening – Chase Pattison welcoming the group to Accelerator Talent Night. The evening’s talent began with two country cuties: Coco Chalfant sang “Gotta Be Something More” by Sugarland, and Kerri Glennon dazzled with Carrie Underwood’s, “Before He Cheats.”

Jason Levine played a medley on the viola which included DMB’s “Ants Marching” and the Godfather theme.

Two of Vanderbilt’s Dodecs, Isaiah Toback and Zach Barrett, joined Accelerator staff member Kristin Keiper, to revamp Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin.”

Brittany Thompson looked ready for the red carpet as she sang Whitney Houston’s “On My Own”
and Chris Skene wooed the ladies with his guitar n’ vocals rendition of The Verve Pipe’s “Freshman.”

The crowd clapped their hands and tapped their toes to Ann Parker Hammock’s fiddling. Jeff Taylor entertained the crowd with witty comments in between movements of his clarinet piece—and wound up in second place! (Props to roadie extraordinare Sara Gable who held Jeff’s music with a steady hand.)

Chase Pattison accompanied Alabama boys Wyatt Smith & Pat Long for “Sweet Home Alabama.” Then Chase took the spotlight and shared one of his own songs. Kenneth Jackson took third place for his comedy routine. Coach Ryan Igleheart’s entire team looked dapper in bow ties and black gowns for their rendition of The Five Satin’s “In the Still of the Night.” Kathryn Trappey wowed the crowd with her version of Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

Austin Reid sang the Sesame Street favorite, “Rubber Duckey.” And Tori Richard proved you don’t have to play an instrument to be in a talent show- her limbo was amazing! (How low can you go?)

Kristin took stage again with MBA student (and Talent Night techie) Dan Eckman, and encouraged the crowd to sing the harmonies on “Leave the Pieces” by The Wreckers. Finally, Christon Harris took down the house with a cover by Whitney Houston.

The overall winner was James Fuqua on guitar and vocals with a tune by Flight of the Concords.

We knew we had a very bright group of young men and women here at Accelerator. We underestimated the amazing musical and entertainment talent within the group. It was an incredibly fun evening and a great way for everyone to become better acquainted. Thanks to Chase for all the hard work in coordinating the evening’s event.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Day 10. June 15, 2008

Day 10. June 15, 2008

We began the day with feedback from our Participants on what’s going well with Accelerator, and where are the opportunities for improvement. In order to lead by example, it’s important to set a proper example in knowing how to accept and appreciate candid feedback (an important hallmark of our program).

Things That Are Going Well: Professor availability, Networking, Coach availability (my coach), Variation in projects, Speakers, Classes, Sweet prizes, Professionalism of staff, Team experience, Focus on each individual, Well-run curriculum, Prepared & organized, Support for everyone is evident, Feedback process, Learning from mistakes, Team continuity, Surprises – schedule, Classes assume everyone equal, Rotating team roles, Food, Fun thrown in, Coaching guiding us – not trying to do our project for us, Staff is “First in and Last out” – that impresses me, You all “Lead by Example”.

Areas for Improvement: More “free time,” Exercise time, teach me more time management skills, the rooms are too cold.

At 1:00 PM, Professor Franklin ran a studio on Innovation – focusing the teams on our deliverables for Caterpillar Financial. After his session, the teams began working on their Caterpillar projects at 2:30 PM – moving through the FOCUS model for data analysis and client recommendations.

At 4:30 PM, Professor Kevin Clark ran a studio on Personal Finance – managing money, building personal budgets and investment concepts.

At 6:00 PM, our teams took their dinner into the Averbuch Auditorium to meet with the leadership team of the Nashville office of the William Morris Agency for our project: Paul Moore, Sue Ann Cordell, Kristy Reeves, Jonathan Insogna, and Nathan Towne. The WMA team provided us a great overview of the William Morris Agency and how the firm interacts with the various record labels and artists. Tomorrow, our teams will meet the two artists and launch their projects.

We signed off and ended the day at 9:00 PM.

Day 9. June 14, 2008

Day 9. June 14, 2008

It’s Saturday. While the rest of the world was sleeping in, we began the day with a studio on Innovation with Professor Franklin. Our teams worked on creating innovative ideas for Bridgestone and Caterpillar Financial projects. Following a quick break, Professor Johnsen led a studio on New Media Marketing – the role of the internet, blogs and social networks in business marketing.

Then it was time for a fun surprise. Our charter buses arrived about 10:30 and, while the studio was finishing up, our staff stocked the buses with water and materials for our annual “Urban Adventure.” We loaded the buses and headed out to LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans.
There were lots of “where are we going” kinds of expressions as we arrived at the stadium.

We unloaded the buses and gave a quick debrief to the teams – each team member received a list of clues (written as mind benders) to interesting landmarks in downtown Nashville, a bottle of water, and $10. The objective: each team is to determine the answer to the clue, find that landmark and make a team photo at the landmark. Each landmark is worth varying points (the more complex riddles are worth more than the simple ones). Teams have till 3:00 PM to return to Vanderbilt with their photos for check in. The team that is able to obtain the most points by solving the riddles and getting the corresponding photos wins the competition. The tradition of Urban Adventure is “rain.” This year was no exception. We arrived at LP Field to light rain – but the day cleared within an hour and the teams successfully completed the competition.

The Adventure Race is an opportunity for participants to accept a challenge a bit out of the ordinary and participate in a team process. It’s always an interesting view of the human dynamic to see how young men and women embrace this challenge.

By 3:00 PM, all the teams had “checked in” to the dorms to shower and freshen up. For dinner, we grilled steaks and chicken on the Owen patio and then had our first annual “Talent Night” – a mixture of amazing music, comedy, dance, “limbo” and song. I can’t possibly do Talent Night justice without a posting all its own…. So I’ll do that later.

To end the day, we reviewed the results of the Urban Adventure. After the scores were tabulated, Team 2 was declared the winners of the Urban Adventure. Members of the winning team are: Lindsey Bodenstab, Andrew Esakov, James Fuqua, Rob Hunziker, Sarah Leggett, Ashley Morgan, Marc Rigsby, Anna Rogers, Michael Shatto and Tina Wu. Coach for the team was Jared Degnan. The winning team will join me for a fantastic dinner at Flemings Steakhouse later in the program.

Tomorrow is Sunday. We give the teams a bit of a rest…. We’ll begin our day at 11:30 AM…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 8. June 13, 2008

Day 8. June 13, 2008

We begin week 2 with a 7:00 AM where Accelerator teams get a briefing from their coaches about today’s launch of Project 4: Bridgestone. Teams select their team leader for this round of projects. Kerri Glennon will lead Team 1, Brittany Gowers will lead Team 2, Lindsey Bodenstab will lead Team 3, Samantha Webb will lead Team 4, Aubrey Hammond will lead Team 5, Tori Richard will lead Team 6, Chris Harris will lead Team 7, and Eric Jones will lead Team 8.

Professor Cherrie Clark then ran a 1-hour studio beginning at 8:00 AM on various tools consultants use to assist clients in understand data and making recommendations. The Bridgestone team arrived about 8:30 AM to set up the launch of their Project.

At 9:00 AM, the Accelerator teams moved to the Vanderbilt Law School auditorium to meet the Bridgestone / Firestone executive team and to learn about Bridgestone’s challenge to Accelerator. The firm has invested significantly in environmentally friendly initiatives and processes – yet consumer knowledge of their work in this area is very limited. The team has asked the Accelerator teams to evaluate their target demographic market in the following way:
As "going green" becomes more and more prevalent and mainstream, questions emerge for Bridgestone based on the firm’s unique position and past environmental accomplishments. The company has made significant investments in an effort to establish an identity as an environmentally friendly firm, but these efforts have not resonated with the consumer to the degree that the company had hoped. Bridgestone has asked the Accelerator teams to complete an analysis and determination of Bridgestone Firestone’s position within this strategic landscape. Who is the target “green” audience (general public, first-time buyers, "true blue" green consumers)? What green aspects of the Bridgestone business would resonate with the target audience? Each team will be expected to develop specific recommendations for furthering employee and customer awareness of environmental aspects of the company that will positively impact its reputation and respect. What existing and/or new programs will be most effective going forward and how should the company implement or grow the right efforts that have real impact?

The Bridgestone team stayed for lunch with the Accelerator participants and then visited each of the teams in their “war rooms” for Q&A.
At 3:30 PM, we switched gears and teams focused for the rest of the afternoon on their deliverables for American Airlines – a product for the SME market.

Dinner arrived at 6:00 PM. Following dinner, the Accelerator teams spent the rest of the evening working on their initiatives for Caterpillar Financial. We cleared the building about 10 PM. Our teams clocked 14 hours today in their quest for total Acceleration….

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 7. June 12, 2008

Day 7. June 12, 2008

At 7:00 AM our Accelerator teams joined executives from 42 businesses for a Business Breakfast Social. Participating companies included Aegis Health Group, Blakeford, ConduIT Corp, Dollar General, Gallery One, HealthStream, HCA, Jefferies,, Marsh USA, S3 Consulting, Target, Tiffany & Co, UBS, Worth Properties, Sprout, Regions Bank, TotalPrint, Schneider Electric and many others.

At 8:00 AM, we proceeded to the Averbuch auditorium for an economics session with Professor Luke Froeb. This session was followed by a studio on reading and understanding financial statements (Balance Sheet, Income Statements, Cash Flow Statements) by Professor Germain Boer.

After lunch, the Accelerator teams spent the afternoon working on their consulting projects for Caterpillar Financial. These presentations will be presented to the Caterpillar team next Friday AM.

At 3:00 PM, Jim Bradford, Dean of the Owen Graduate School of Management spoke to the group on leadership. He shared his experiences on Boards of Directors and the challenges of being a CEO in a public firm.

We ended the day with an intensive working session for American Airlines that included a working dinner. Teams are gathering data on the travel needs of small businesses (known as the SME market). They will use this data to create a package of American Airlines services for this specific market.

Today ends our first full week of Accelerator - the teams clocked 13.5 work hours today, bringing our first week to 73.5 total work hours. Tomorrow we will begin Week 2 and the true Acceleration begins…

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day 6. June 11, 2008

Day 6, June 11, 2008

Day 6 is here – and another 7:00 AM working breakfast. Our students have been in suits for the past three days. Our first studio of the day was Professor David Franklin – who led the teams in understanding the “consultative selling” process.

Following a short break, Professor Andy Van Schaack spoke to our group. He shared his experience in using research to design products and services. At 11:00 AM, I the teams met to continue working on their Caterpillar strategy.

Dr. Rob Britton and Mr. Chris Koller of American Airlines joined us for lunch prior to kicking off their Accelerator project this afternoon.

At 1:00 PM, we made our way to the Vanderbilt Law School auditorium to launch the American Airlines project. Rob and Chris provided a strategic update on the airline industry and challenged our Accelerator teams to help the company create a package of services to assist American Airlines in gaining additional market share of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Our teams will have approximately 25 hours to evaluate the SME market, select 4-5 industries within the space to pilot and create a plan to attract and retain the SME customer.

At 4:30 PM, Dr. Steve Hoeffler addressed the group and hosted our first session on Marketing. Steve shared a number of tools oriented to help our Accelerator teams with marketing concepts. He also provided a framework for understanding methods to study consumer behavior.

About 6:00 PM, we reviewed the list of firms attending tomorrow’s Business Breakfast. We are expecting about 45 firms to join our Accelerator participants over breakfast for a networking session.

After a quick dinner, teams gathered to select team roles and begin the process of evaluating the data available about American Airlines and begin a situation analysis. The last team cleared the building just before midnight.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 5. June 10, 2008

Day 5, June 10, 2008.

The day began at 7:00 AM with a working breakfast. Our first studio of the day was Dr. Luke Froeb, Professor of Economics. Dr. Froeb led the teams in understanding the “rational actor model,” sharing many of his experiences from the field.

Following a short break, our Associate Dean, Bill Christie, spoke to our group. He shared his experience in the ground-breaking research that exposed issues in the stock market. At 11:00 AM, I briefed the teams on the various aspects of the presentation model, storyboarding, and clarity of team roles.

After a working lunch, Professor David Furse led the teams in a Strategy Studio. Dr. Furse introduced a variety of strategic tools (Porter’s 5-Forces Model, SWOT, etc) for the teams to use in solving our clients’ business issues.

At 1:45 PM, we made our way to the corporate offices of Caterpillar Financial. After gathering in the corporate auditorium, Kent Adams – President of Caterpillar Financial – addressed the group and engaged the Accelerator teams in assisting his organization in designing a sustainability program to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle the waste (paper, plastic, aluminum, etc) out of the corporate offices. Additional members of the Caterpillar team (Alex Martin, Josef Robinson,
Jeff martin, Erin Bishop and Steve Zanolini) also addressed the group. We were provided an excellent tour of the corporate facilities and completed an hour long Q&A session. We left Caterpillar’s offices about 6:00 PM.

After a quick dinner, teams gathered to select team roles and begin the process of evaluating the data available about Caterpillar and completing a situation analysis. The last team cleared the building just after 11 PM. As I was packing up my laptop computer, I noticed the following email in my Outlook mailbox:

Dr. Burcham:

I just wanted to thank you again for this fabulous opportunity and allowing me to join the Accelerator program. The past few days have been such an adrenaline rush for me. I have enjoyed every minute of my stay here. The first project (Griffin) has definitely helped me gain some valuable experience I would never have gotten from a normal internship. I’m already thinking differently than when I arrived.

Occasionally, my colleagues look at our Accelerator schedule and asked me why I would subject myself to this schedule. This note pretty well sums it up.

Day 4. June 9, 2008

Day 4. June 9, 2008

At 7:00 AM, we kicked off the day with a working breakfast – many teams doing the final portion of dress rehearsals for Griffin. The Morning (8:00 AM to Noon) was our first Operations simulation led by Professor Nancy Lea Hyer. Accelerator teams worked on understanding process efficiency and improvement.

During lunch, 1 representative of each team had the opportunity to visit the presentation room and determine how they wanted to be positioned for their presentations to Griffin.

After a working lunch, Professor Cherrie Clark led the teams in a discussion of preparation for the Griffin presentations and additional training in strategic consulting.

At 2:30 PM, we made our way to the Vanderbilt Law School auditorium where the Griffin executive team had already gathered – we had 8 representatives from Griffin to judge this first competition. Teams presented in an order they selected based upon the time the team completed their “deliverables” for Griffin. Each team had 10 minutes to make their presentation and then 2 minutes for Q&A with the client. Following the presentations of each team, all Accelerator students left the room to vote on their MVP team member (most valuable player) and to rank the presentations based upon how they believe the client (Griffin Technology) will rank their product ideas.

The Griffin team studied the teams’ Storyboards & Handouts as they reviewed the presentations and then ranked the teams from “best to worst” in their product designs and presentations. After the ranking, all Accelerator participants returned to the auditorium to hear Griffin announce the results of their judging. Beginning with the 8th place and moving to 1st place, Griffin shared information regarding what attributes of the designs appealed to the company and which portions of the presentations were not appealing to the company.

The winning team for this 1st round of competition (hosted by Griffin Technology) was Team 4 with 4 of the 8 Griffin votes. Team members include: Amy Brown, Patrick Dienes, Jordan Headlee, Tyler Weaks, Mandy May, Leo Selya, Samantha Webb, Megan Gilbert, A.J. Axelrod, Peter Mataragas, and Jason Levine. Team Coach: Patrick Long. Team 6 was awarded second place with 3 of the 8 Griffin votes. Griffin provided prizes to each member of the winning team (i-Pod peripherals and a speaker docking system.

Following the presentations, the Owen faculty did a full evaluation of the presentation skills of each team. Teams then completed a full peer and team process evaluation. We ended the day about 8:00 PM – a 13 hour day.

Day 3. June 8, 2008

Day 3. June 8, 2008

We kicked off the day at 7:00 AM with a Coach’s Breakfast – the objective was to identify which team members would be part of our “Advance Team” to Caterpillar – this PM, we’ll be sorting the entire weekend’s trash at the Caterpillar Financial offices – an 11 story building housing 900 employees. We’ll be designing a sustainability (waste reduction and recycling) program for the firm.

The Accelerator teams studied the attributes and conditions that drive wealth creation within companies: the need for products and services to be Valuable, Rare, Difficult to Imitate, and the firm must be organized to exploit these attributes.

Professor Pace launched our Communications and Personal Branding sessions. Using the “StrengthsFinder” assessment, Accelerator participants developed their strengths profiles and shared insight with these traits with one another.

This group of 85 young men and women are fully armed with i-Pods, i-Phones (some Blackberrys) and laptops – they are connected – virtually and constantly. They walk around with volumes of information (and tunes) in their heads and even more information at their fingertips. I saw this phenomenon first-hand today as we began research for our second corporate project. With lightening speed, fingers were gliding across keyboards, data was flashing on the laptop screen, and global data searches were initiated.

This afternoon, the Accelerator teams worked to finish their presentations for Griffin Technologies to design a new iPhone accessory (seems only fitting, huh?). Dress rehearsals finally got underway about 9:00 PM. Our faculty team gave the last bit of feedback to our final team at 1:00
AM (lots of coffee). Tomorrow, some 72 hours after arriving, these 8 teams of young men and women will present their design to the Griffin executive team. We’ve begun the journey of transformation.

Day 2. June 7, 2008

Day 2: Project Management, Team Dynamics, Process Management and Project Story Boarding ruled the day. Teams defined individual roles and began the process of understanding the current customers vs. the desired customers for our corporate partner on Project 1: Griffin Technology.

After 2 morning studios (Accelerator overview by Burcham and Project Management by Cherrie Clark), the teams loaded onto 2 chartered motor coaches and 104 of us headed out tot the Griffin corporate office to work on the project along side Griffin employees.

Teams were challenged by Griffin to design an accessory for our client company. Dave Owens, President of Griffin, hosted the Accelerator team at the Griffin offices. After an in depth tour, our teams set up their team meetings in the Griffin Technology warehouse.

We returned to Owen at 3:00 PM for 2 additional teaching studios – one on Personal Branding with Kimberly Furse; the other on Presentation Skills with John English.

After dinner, the teams divided tasks – sending some members out to collect information, capture images and complete research. Others began working on storyboard and final presentations. Lots of Dasani water, Red Bull, and Post Its.

The teams clocked over 14 hours of work today and consumed (while working) over 200 bottles of water, 4 gallons of coffee, a 3 flats of chips, 8 cases
of soda (plus 3 full meals). “Twenty somethings” do get hungry!

June 6, 2008 - Opening Day

The big day is here – we launch Accelerator 2008. The months of work leading up to today seem a distant memory. Amid the flurry of last minute details, my mind is already racing toward tonight’s opening dinner. I see in the faces of our arriving students (who tonight become the “apprentice”) - full of anticipation, excitement, and a bit of worry. I know what lies ahead for them. The next 30 days will be an amazing adventure of self discovery, learning, and growing. They will “do more then they ever imagined.”

Before we “officially” begin, I’d like to thank the many individuals who have worked so tirelessly to make Accelerator 2008 an amazing experience. First – the core team: Carol Barry, Kristin Keiper, Kimberly Pace, David Furse, Cherrie Clark, David Franklin, Jeff Schwartzenberg, Yvonne Martin-Kidd, Chase Pattison, Ryan McGrath, Ryan Igleheart, Patrick Long, Sara Gable, Jared Degnan, Kyle Clay, Scott Williams, Abby Smith, and David Dailey.

Next, a special thanks to the many great Faculty and Staff of Owen. We have a great lineup of faculty for Accelerator 2008: Froeb, Willis, Van Schaack, Clark, Hoeffler, Lapre, Hyer, Boer, Clark, Franklin, Victor, Mahan, Furse, Bradford, Christie, DuBois, English, Johnsen, Moye, Pace, and Vogus.

We appreciate the support and participation of our Corporate Partners – who create with our faculty the “real world experiences” that define the Owen Accelerator experience: American Airlines, Griffin, Caterpillar Financial, Bridgestone, Gresham Smith & Partners, Humana, Yum! Brands, Livescribe and William Morris Agency.

We’ve loaded the warehouse with snacks; we’ve secured over 9,000 meals and stacked over 500 cases of bottled water and soda. Now it’s time to - Learn it. Apply it. Live it. Let’s roll.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Yum! Brands to Partner With Accelerator 2008

The 8th Corporate Partner firm announced for the 2008 Summer Business Institute at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management is Yum! Brands. We're delighted to have this outstanding company a part of Accelerator 2008.

Yum will challenge Accelerator participants to focus on the KFC Brand – to think about how to broaden its market appeal to younger consumers. This may require changes in how KFC engages the consumer in its communications, service, menu, the in-store experience, and how the restaurants look, feel, and function. Key to addressing this strategy is transforming KFC into a brand that is relevant to the Millennia / Generation Y demographic segment without alienating KFC’s traditional customers.

About Yum:

Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. Four of our restaurant brands - KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell - are the global leaders of their categories – chicken, quick-service seafood, pizza, and Mexican-style. A&W Restaurants is the longest running quick-service franchise chain in America. In 2007, Yum! Brands generated more than $10 billion in total 2007 revenues, including company sales and franchise fees.

Humana to Partner with Accelerator - The Summer Business Institute

The 7th Corporate Partner firm announced for the 2008 Summer Business Institute at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management is Humana. We're delighted to have this outstanding company a part of Accelerator 2008.

This year’s Mission: Accelerator participants will be challenged by Humana to research the current Hispanic opportunity in the South Texas area and work to develop a “Spanish” version health plan. Humana’s intent is to educate and increase awareness in this underserved population.
About Humana:

Humana is committed to helping employers manage their healthcare costs, guiding consumers to make informed health and benefits decisions, and giving back to the communities we serve. Throughout our organization, Humana associates and leaders are dedicated to delivering value to customers, members, and shareholders.
Humana offers a range of products and services in addition to group health insurance. Our business units serve the military, individuals, seniors, and many others. We also offer specialty products, including dental coverage.
Humana and its leaders believe companies and employees should have health coverage where prevention comes first, employees feel empowered, and individuals have the financial tools and information to make smart choices for their health needs.

Gresham Smith & Smith will be the 6th Corporate Partner for Owen's Accelerator Program

The 6th Corporate Partner firm announced for the 2008 Summer Business Institute at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management is Gresham Smith & Partners. We're delighted to have this outstanding company a part of Accelerator 2008. Gresham Smith is returning for a 2nd year – their Accelerator project last year was one of the top ranked among the student participants.
This year’s Mission: Gresham Smith will challenge Accelerator participants to prepare a master redevelopment plan for a property located at the site of Nashville’s old Thermal Plant. The 12-acre site was originally slated to be the new baseball stadium site, but that plan was unable to get funding. Given it’s proximity to the new pedestrian bridge and the downtown area, the site has significant potential to be a part of a growing downtown environment and has prompted area developers to evaluate the site.

About Gresham Smith & Partners:
Gresham, Smith and Partners is a practice-led business of architects, engineers, planners and designers focused on the goals of our clients and the growth of our employees. Over the past four decades, the firm has earned a reputation as a comprehensive, multi-disciplined firm with more than 850 employees in 18 offices located throughout the United States and China. GS&P is a private company with widely held employee ownership, reflecting a philosophy of giving the leadership that is responsible for our success the opportunity to share in the resulting rewards.
GS&P is one of the few design firms in the industry that offers professional services to such a wide range of markets. Staying true to our corporate vision of being the best consultant to the built environment, we employ experts in corporate and urban design, aviation, civil/land planning, environmental compliance, healthcare, industrial, transportation and water services who are uniquely qualified to develop comprehensive solutions tailored to meet the needs of the market they serve. This diversity also extends to our corporate culture, which fosters an appreciation of different backgrounds, viewpoints and ideas.

American Airlines to Partner with Owen's Accelerator Program for 2008

The 5th Corporate Partner firm announced for the 2008 Summer Business Institute at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management is American Airlines. We're delighted to have this outstanding company a part of Accelerator 2008. American Airlines is returning for a 2nd year – their Accelerator project last year was one of the top ranked among the student participants.

This year’s Mission: How can American Airlines position itself as the leading carrier for travelers from small- to medium-sized enterprises (defined as companies with an annual revenue of $1 million - $100 million). Student teams will work on concepts and ideas and will propose recommendations to American Airlines.

About American Airlines:

American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a US-based airline and also the largest airline in the world in terms of total passengers-miles transported and passenger fleet size (FedEx Express, a cargo airline, has 16 more aircraft than American Airlines), and the second-largest airline company in the world (behind Air France-KLM) in terms of total operating revenues.
A wholly owned subsidiary of the AMR Corporation, the airline is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. American operates scheduled flights throughout the United States, as well as flights to Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, Japan, China, and India. The Chairman, President, and CEO of AA is Gerard Arpey. In 2005, the airline flew more than 138 billion revenue passenger miles (RPM).