Archive for March, 2012

Greenbaum and Altman to be honored as Entrepreneurs of the Year

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business will honor Jerry M. Greenbaum (BBA ’62) as Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year and Jay Altman as Tulane Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2012 Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Award Gala, which will take place on Friday, April 13, at the Audubon Tea Room.

The Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship presents the awards each year to highlight outstanding entrepreneurs in the community. The Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur of Year Award honors individuals who embody the true spirit of entrepreneurship and philanthropic generosity, while the Tulane Outstanding Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes individuals dedicated to improving the community through entrepreneurial initiatives. Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School, and John Elstrott, executive director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute, will present the awards.

Jerry Greenbaum

Greenbaum is chairman of CentraArchy Affiliates, a family-owned business that includes upscale restaurants, retail alcohol outlets and industrial real estate companies throughout the Southeast. Last year, he opened his latest restaurant, the acclaimed Chophouse New Orleans steakhouse, to be closer to Tulane and New Orleans. Greenbaum and his wife, Barbara Axelrod Greenbaum (N ’63), are lifelong supporters of Tulane University. They played a pivotal role in the construction of Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II, the business school’s center for graduate and executive education, in 2003, and they provided significant support for new facilities for baseball, basketball and football in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, Greenbaum joined the Board of Tulane and donated the lead gift to develop a hospitality curriculum at the Freeman School. In addition to his business pursuits, Greenbaum is a stand-out golfer with more than 50 Senior Amateur tournament wins to his credit. He has been ranked as high as the No. 2 Senior Amateur by Golf Digest, and in 2004, he was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame. Jerry and Barbara Greenbaum have three adult children, Gregory, Tracey and Jeffrey, and eight grandchildren.

Jay Altman

Altman is co-founder and CEO of FirstLine Schools, a charter organization that seeks to create and inspire great open-enrollment public schools in New Orleans. FirstLine currently operates five open-enrollment public charter schools in the city, including Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, John Dibert Community School, Langston Hughes Academy, and Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School. Since 1990, Altman has partnered with like-minded parents and educators to provide quality educational opportunities for students in New Orleans public schools. He taught in the city for several years before co-founding New Orleans Charter Middle School. He was also a founder of James Lewis Extension School, New Orleans Outreach, New Orleans Summerbridge and Leading Educators. He served as director of education for London-based ARK schools from 2005 to 2008, where he helped develop a network of British academies, charter-like schools located in complex urban environments in the U.K. He also was instrumental in establishing two training programs there: Future Leaders, a training program for aspiring principals of open-admission schools, and Teaching Leaders, a training program for mid-level school leadership.

The Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship (LRI) inspires and trains prospective entrepreneurs through coursework, community service projects and internships. Students have the opportunity to work with experienced faculty members, network with a regional board of entrepreneurs and participate in a student-based entrepreneurial association which provides a training ground for business development. In 2011, the Freeman School’s entrepreneurship program was ranked 14th in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine/The Princeton Review.

For more information about the Entrepreneurs of the Year and the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala, contact Lina Alfieri Stern at 504-865-5455 or


Freeman expands relationship with China’s Zhejiang University

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Freeman School has signed an agreement with China’s Zhejiang University to begin admitting students from its School of Management to the Freeman School’s Master of Accounting and Master of Finance programs.

Ira SOlomon and Xiaobo Wu

Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon, left, and School of Management Executive Dean Xiaobo Wu signed an agreement in February outlining a host of joint programs and activities.

The new agreement, signed in February by Freeman School Dean Ira Solomon and School of Management Executive Dean Xiaobo Wu, expands a relationship the Freeman School had previously had exclusively with Zhejiang’s Honors College.

“Zhejiang University is one of the top universities in all of China, so it’s a privilege to be able to bring these outstanding students from the School of Management to the Freeman School,” said Dean Solomon. “These students will enhance the classroom environment, and they will also be great connections for U.S. students interested in learning about China and expanding their careers internationally.”

Since 2010, the Freeman School’s Zhejiang Advanced Placement Program (ZAPP) has admitted a select number of students from Zhejiang’s Honors College to the Master of Accounting and Master of Finance programs each year. Under this new agreement, students from the School of Management — the Freeman School’s counterpart at Zhejiang — will now be able to gain admission to those programs as well.

The partnership doesn’t stop there. In addition to the master’s programs, Dean Solomon and Executive Dean Wu signed a memorandum of understanding outlining a host of initiatives officials at Zhejiang hope to pursue with the Freeman School, including executive MBA exchange programs, joint research activities, faculty exchanges, and new energy management and Latin American programs.

“Zhejiang is very interested in Latin America, and that’s an area we have a lot of connections in,” says John Trapani, executive director of the Freeman School’s Goldring Institute of International Business, who helped draft the agreement. “We plan to assist them in setting up programs for entrepreneurs from Zhejiang to visit entrepreneurs in the southern part of Latin America, most likely Chile and Brazil.”

Located in Hangzhou, a center of entrepreneurial activity in China, Zhejiang University is widely regarded as one of the top schools in China. In its 2011-2012 survey, QS World University Rankings ranked Zhejiang as the seventh-best university in China, and in 2011 China University Rankings named Zhejiang the top university in China.

According to Trapani, a strategic partnership is in the best interest of both institutions. “Given the growing importance of China in the world, I think it will be a great benefit for us to bring these very bright students to New Orleans and let our students bond with and become friends with them,” Trapani says. “And from the perspective of the Chinese students, they’re getting a graduate degree from a prestigious U.S. institution, and U.S. business schools still represent the gold standard for management education in China. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Ideas growing for businesses that make a difference

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Ventures with strong connections to Tulane University and the A. B. Freeman School of Business were big winners in last week’s 2012 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, an event highlighting the city’s thriving startup community. Companies founded by Tulane staff, students or alumni won three of the five major contests, each winning a $50,000 cash prize, while many more participated as contestants throughout the week.

Tulane Challenge Winner

NanoFex CEO David Culpepper, left, is congratulated by Tim Williamson (BSM ’87), CEO of the Idea Village, after being selected as winner of the $50,000 Tulane Challenge during the 2012 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

“Tulane graduates and students continue to be at the forefront of the entrepreneurial movement in New Orleans,” said Lina Alfieri-Stern, director of the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship. “Our graduates are discovering that entrepreneurship can be the answer to finding employment in New Orleans, generating wealth for our city and solving our community’s most pressing problems.”

Tierra Resources, a company that aims to create a market for carbon credits for wetland restoration, won the week’s Water Challenge. Company founder and CEO Sarah Mack earned a PhD from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2009.

SOLarchitect Studio won The Big Idea Challenge. Co-founded by architecture alumnus Alex Landau, the firm provides a free, web-based tool to assess the feasibility of installing solar panels on homes.

For a special Tulane Challenge dedicated to innovations of Tulane staff, students and graduates, seven ventures competed for prize money donated by an anonymous alumnus. NanoFex, started by Vijay John, professor of chemical and bimolecular engineering, and David Culpepper won for an innovative solution to remediate contaminants in groundwater using biodegradable materials like sugar cane and crawfish shells.

“The seven teams who participated represent a fraction of the many alumni and students involved in social innovation and entrepreneurship in the region,” Alfieri-Stern said.

Entrepreneur Week is an initiative of The Idea Village, a nonprofit that supports and sustains entrepreneurs and startups in New Orleans.

Highlighting social entrepreneurship at Tulane

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Tulane’s Office of Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, with support from the Freeman School’s Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, produced this video for Entrepreneur Week to highlight how Tulane’s social entrepreneurs and innovators are making an impact in their communities. For more information about social entrepreneurship at Tulane, visit or

TEA announces 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition finalists

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association (TEA) has announced the six finalists for the 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition and Domain Companies New Orleans Entrepreneur Challenge, which together will award $70,000 in cash prizes to two promising new ventures.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition is the nation's only business plan competition dedicated to the principles of Conscious Capitalism.

The competitions will take place at the A. B. Freeman School of Business on Tulane University’s uptown campus on Friday, April 13, with the winners to be announced later that evening during the Tulane Council of Entrepreneurs Awards Gala at the Audubon Tea Room.

The Tulane Business Plan Competition, now in its 12th year, will award a grand prize of $50,000 to the most promising new venture that embodies the principles of Conscious Capitalism. In addition, competition partner and sponsor the Domain Companies will award a prize of $20,000 to the venture with the greatest potential economic impact on New Orleans.

“We received 52 applications from 18 universities in three countries for this year’s competition,” said Court Robinson (MBA ’12), president of TEA. “Narrowing those outstanding entries down to six finalists was difficult, but the exceptional quality of this year’s entrants is a testament to both the growth of Conscious Capitalism and the growing reputation of the Tulane Business Plan Competition.”

The three finalists in each competition are listed below.


Calcula, Stanford University
Calcula is developing novel urological medical devices for the removal of kidney stones without anesthesia. The opportunity is a disruption in the field of urology and has significant patient impact.

EpiQi Sciences, Brigham Young University
EpiQi Sciences is a drug repositioning firm formed to reposition an already-FDA-approved drug from its existing disease to treat anemia of chronic inflammation (ACI). After a projected three-year window to complete repositioning, EpiQi Sciences will license its patent rights to pharmaceutical companies and collect royalties over an extended 20-year patent life.

SODI-CAN, Tulane University
SODI-CAN is a dual-purpose water vessel that stores and disinfects water utilizing solar energy. The project was developed through the Tulane University School of Medicine’s Medical Science Innovation Competition in 2011 with the purpose of conceptualizing a novel method of providing clean water to people. The idea began in Tanzania, where people walk miles carrying water to-and-from water springs, only to suffer from microbial related illnesses with inadequate water disinfection. The introduction of water disinfection methods has been hindered by cost-effectiveness, design limitations, community scale-ups and cultural appropriateness.



Bideo, Loyola University (bid + video) is the world’s first auction exchange for real-time trading of news video and photos. Bideo allows user-creators and citizen photojournalists to protect and sell exclusive images to news publications in a competitive bidding environment. The C2B platform combines free market dynamics, digital rights management, consumer technology and transparency to provide owners of rare, high-demand footage with the framework and tools needed to monetize big media’s soaring demand for this emerging source.

Nanofex, University of New Orleans
NanoFex, a Tulane University spinout based in New Orleans, is a for-profit company that addresses the demand for groundwater treatment by providing a novel, affordable, effective method for remediating hazardous chemicals commonly found in soil and groundwater.

ReactWell, Tulane University
ReactWell develops, manufactures and operates energy efficient underground geothermal reactor systems to economically produce and sell crude oil, bioproducts and other high-value oils, while increasing biomass growth rates. ReactWell is pioneering algae-based advanced biofuel technology by combining proven geothermal technology, bulk open-pond algae raceways, and solar energy to naturally, safely, and cost-effectively cultivate algae to produce valuable crude oil. ReactWell’s proprietary technology converts total biomass and waste into crude oil and other co-products that are cost competitive compared to conventional oils derived from fossil fuels, plants, or animal fats.

The 2012 Tulane Business Plan Competition is made possible with the generous support of the following sponsors: Domain Companies, Freeman School Graduate Business Council, Freeman School Dean’s Office, Baker Donelson, Tulane Association of Business Alumni, Tulane Business Forum, Jones Walker, Legacy Capital, New Orleans BioInnovation Center,  Crescent Bank and Trust/Gary Solomon, Tulane Graduate and Professional Schools Association, Oracle Capital, Ron Ondechek Jr. and Ian Jones.

For more information about the event or to register to attend, visit

TABA co-hosts Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour

Monday, March 12th, 2012

New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Join the Tulane Association of Business Alumni (TABA) on Thursday, March 15, at 5 p.m. for a Tulane Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour at the New Orleans BioInnovation Center.

The showcase and happy hour culminates New Orleans Entrepreneur Week’s Tulane Day, a new program of the week-long entrepreneurship festival designed to highlight some of Tulane University’s most promising technologies, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship initiatives. The centerpiece of Tulane Day is the Tulane Challenge, in which seven Tulane-based entrepreneurs will pitch their ventures to a distinguished panel of Tulane alums with a $50,000 prize on the line. The winner of the Tulane Challenge will be announced during the event.

The Tulane Entrepreneurship Showcase and Networking Happy Hour is co-hosted by TABA, the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, Tulane Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives, the Tulane Office of Technology Transfer and the Idea Village.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rhonda A. Brown at 504-862-8470 or

Burkenroad mutual fund celebrates 10-year anniversary

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

The mutual fund based in part on the Freeman School’s Burkenroad Reports investment research program recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a pair of prestigious honors.

Peter Ricchiuti

Peter Ricchiuti says the performance of the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund has been phenomenal.

Morningstar awarded the Hancock Horizon Burkenroad Small Cap Fund a coveted five-star overall rating, and Lipper ranked the fund as the second-best performer out of 303 funds in the small-cap core category over the last 10 years.

“It’s just a phenomenal story,” says Peter Ricchiuti, professor of practice and director of research for Burkenroad Reports. “I had high hopes for the fund, but its performance has exceeded my expectations.”

Inspired by the “stocks under rocks” philosophy of Burkenroad Reports, Hancock Bank launched the Burkenroad Fund in December 2001 to target companies located in the South with market capitalizations of less than $2 billion, a category that often flies under the radar of Wall Street. Befitting its name, fund managers use Burkenroad Reports as a significant source of research and invest in many of the companies followed by the program’s student analysts.

From less than $1 million in assets at launch, the fund has grown to more than $90 million. Even more impressively, it’s generated a return of 10.59 percent since inception, almost double that of the benchmark Russell 2000 index.

“The fund has outperformed about 99 percent of all equity mutual funds in its lifetime, and if you break it down to one-year, three-year and five-year numbers, the fund beat the benchmarks in those years too,” Ricchiuti says. “That’s unusual because you’re usually going to have times where some sectors or investment styles do better than others. To beat the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 in every period over 10 years is kind of amazing.”

To date, nearly 600 graduates of the Burkenroad Reports program have gone on to careers in the investment field. Ricchiuti says the success of the mutual fund gives students seeking to follow in those footsteps another valuable talking point for job interviews.

“The students not only have Burkenroad Reports to show prospective employers, but now they have the fund to talk about as well,” Ricchiuti says. “To be able to say your recommendations are going into a $90 million five-star mutual fund is a pretty impressive thing.”



Freeman professor to be honored at the White House

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Sherif A. Ebrahim, adjunct professor of management, strategy and entrepreneurship, will be honored at the White House on Wednesday, March 7, as an entrepreneurial mentor and “Champion of Change.” Ebrahim is one of 11 individuals from across the nation being recognized for outstanding leadership in entrepreneurial mentoring, counseling and training.

Sherif A. Ebrahim

Sherif A. Ebrahim

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each year, a different sector is highlighted and groups of champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

“Entrepreneurial mentors help American business owners fulfill their dreams every day,” said U.S. Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Marie Johns. “Mentors contribute their time to provide the counseling and expertise that business owners need to succeed and create jobs. In turn, entrepreneurs and businesses support their local economy and provide goods and services to their neighbors. These mentors are true Champions of Change, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate their success.”

Ebrahim is president and CEO of Strategic Management Group, a nationally recognized private equity firm, and managing partner of SMG Capital, a nationally recognized healthcare firm. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Freeman School since 2008, where he teaches courses including Strategy Development and Implementation, Strategic Consulting, and Corporate and Cooperative Strategy. He also serves as faculty adviser for the Freeman Consulting Group, where he works with students who provide consulting services to businesses and organizations in the community on a non-fee basis.

To learn more about the Champions of Change program, visit


GMAC President and CEO Dave Wilson joins Business School Council

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Dave Wilson, president and CEO of the Graduate Management Admission Council, is the newest member of the Business School Council, the primary advisory board of the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University.

Dave Wilson

GMAC is a $100 million enterprise best recognized as the owner of the Graduate Management Admission Test, presently used by approximately 5,100 business school programs around the world. Wilson has served as president and CEO since 1995.

“Dave Wilson knows more about MBA education than just about anybody on the planet,” said Ira Solomon, dean of the Freeman School. “I’m delighted that he’s agreed to join us as a member of the Business School Council.”

Wilson earned his undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in Canada, his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his doctorate from the University of Illinois. Prior to assuming his current position, Wilson served as managing partner and national director for professional development at Ernst & Young. From 1968 to 1978, he held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was awarded tenure, and at the Harvard Business School. He has published dozens of books, articles, texts, cases and monographs, and he is a chartered accountant in Canada and a certified public accountant in the United States. In 1993, the Province of Ontario honored him as a Fellow Chartered Accountant for his contribution to the profession and the community.

Wilson currently serves as executive chairman of the British North-American Committee and is a director of the Atlantic Council. He serves on the boards of two public companies, Barnes & Noble Inc. and CoreSite Realty Corp.


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