Episode 052: Luke Balderson, Arc3 Gases

For May, we begin a two-part interview with Business Strategy & Decision Making alumnus Luke Balderson. This part 1, dives deep into Luke’s multidecade career in the far reaching and fascinating industrial gases industry.

Luke is a composed, experienced, and highly capable executive in a sector that demands clear thinking and strategic insight. These skills were honed by a remarkable father, a natural inclination to listen and learn, and an education that enables him to synthesize information into a strategic framework. Success in business necessitates understanding the value proposition for your customers, employees, and suppliers, and this can only be accomplished through curiosity and active listening! Interested? Give it a listen.

Episode 051: Roxy Kozyckyj, AdvaMed

For Episode 51, MS-EPA graduate Roxy Kozyckyj joins us. Roxy is Senior Director, State Government & Regional Affairs for the advanced medical technology association AdvaMed and has spent most of her career in healthcare policy, from advocacy, to intern, to analyst, capitol hill fellow, and finally lobbyist.

This experience gives her the ability to see how policy goals that serve everyone, require working, step-by-step through the interested parties. Roxy openly admits game theory plays a role in her work and backward induction seems to fit well here. Think of it this way, start with a policy goal, navigate backwards solving each preceding step, the resulting path theoretically achieving the desired outcome. Sounds strategic to me. Give it a listen.

Episode 050: Andrew Zarkowsky, The Hartford

It’s the end of winter term, and we’re talking insurance; you’ll be surprised by what you hear. Andrew Zarkowsky, MBA 2018, is Technology Industry Practice Leader for the insurance giant The Hartford and specializes in underwriting technology firms.

In this episode, Andrew explains what’s unique about insurance for technology firms and shares how today’s insurance companies rely on technology, data, and research to forecast risk and prevent client losses. Andrew also has an interesting story to tell about his MBA journey and the value of pacing while pursuing your MBA. It’s a story of balancing life, school, and work, and simultaneously super charging you’re learning. It’s a great strategy for anyone who wants to make the most of your learning.

Episode 049: Mollie Markham, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

For February, we host yet another successful woman from the economics department’s graduate program, Mollie Markham. After a brief learning experience pursuing politics at the front lines in DC, she discovered what she doesn’t want in a career.

Fully embracing that lesson and, with some great counsel from family, she entered DePaul’s graduate program. The rest is or will be legend as Mollie is now a Program Specialist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Her timing could not have had better, as she entered this role at the start of one of the Feds biggest developments in 50 years; the building of a new instant payment system called FedNOW. Happy, successful, and working on really cool stuff. That’s the recipe for a good life right there.

Episode 048: Check In with Dave Ziegelski, National Material L.P.

To kick off 2024, we begin a new, and perhaps recurring version of this podcast called Check Ins. Here, we’re going to welcome back previous guests to update the topics we discussed in our original interview. For our inaugural episode, we welcome back Dave Ziegelski.

Dave is Vice President of Information Technology for National Material L.P.; a partnership of over 30 business units in steel, metals, and related operations that is now one of the largest suppliers of steel in America. That is a high-profile role where there’s a lot at stake. Dave, though, has a way of boiling down the complex into simply, straightforward tasks. To me, a sign he’s not only very good at what he does, but likely a very good person to work with. Give it a listen

Episode 047: Marcin Taraszkiewicz, HDR, Inc

For December we offer part 2 with MBA alumnus, and rail industry veteran Marcin Taraszkiewicz. In this episode we talk about trains, trains, and more trains. Yes, Marcin plays with big toys on big projects, but his work really exists at the nexus of rail technology and client goals.

His industry recognized expertise helps clients navigate those often-competing forces towards better project outcomes. These large projects tend to have a host of competing stakeholder interests, and things can get complicated fast. Luckily, markets respond quickly to public priorities and, consequently, there’s some cool stuff happening in rail technology.

Big trains and cool technology, what more do you want!? Listen in…..

Episode 046: Marcin Taraszkiewicz, HDR, Inc

November begins a 2-part podcast with MBA alumnus Marcin Taraszkiewicz from the global design & engineering firm HDR. In this part 1, Marcin explains how he went from a design focused engineer to senior leader for large, multidisciplinary transportation projects.

A transformation that took time, some failure, learning to ask questions, and how to value those answers. He gives some great examples of how being open to learning, by whatever means, he developed skills and interests that he didn’t know he had or even wanted. The lesson is that even perfectly designed plans, developed in a vacuum, are often useless without the input of all the stakeholders involved.

If that isn’t strategic, I don’t know what is. Give it a listen.

Episode 045: Alla Antonov, Rio Tinto

October brings in MBA alumna Alla Antonov, to discuss her role as Principal Advisor, Commercial Strategy at the mining giant Rio Tinto. Alla specializes in the borates market. Rio, though, is a global, diversified firm with many products and an interesting business structure of four distinct operational entities and a single commercial team, Alla’s home, serving as its primary market interface for all products.

This is a great business with competitive advantage and high returns to capital. A nice place to be for any firm, but the question then becomes what are you going to do next? Rio Tinto isn’t standing idle. They’re innovating for efficiencies, embracing technology to lower environmental impacts and continuing to explore the world for the resources it needs.

It’s a good story and you should hear it.

Episode 044: Howard Gilman, LinkedIn

Let’s welcome strategy alumnus Howard Gilman to the podcast. Howard currently serves as Lead Deal Desk Strategist for LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions group. LinkedIn, as a firm, is many things though; software company, social media platform, hiring & recruiting services, and more.

So, what’s the product, and who’s the customer? Well, it depends. For Howard’s group, it’s firm’s looking for market intelligence to grow their business but what about the others? Such is the nature of a multi-sided platform. A business model that seeks to create value for distinct groups interacting across a core technology platform. LinkedIn has built a very elegant and focused version of this model.

What to know more? Keep Listening!

Episode 043: Jason Knoespel, Evolent

For August, MS-EPA alumnus Jason Knoespel joins us to discuss his work as Managing Director, Client Analytics at Evolent; a provider of technology, reporting, and intelligence services designed to increase efficiency & patient outcomes for its healthcare partners.

Jason talks about his current work, new developments in value-based care, information sharing and big data, and the potential of non-traditional health determinants. Evolving markets do make strategy challenging, but Evolent recently showed its strategic guile by refocusing into value-based, specialty care. Indicating this market could be engaging in value addition; a concept where firms focus on separate & distinct segments and increase value for everyone.

A rare economic win/win? Listen in.