Alumni Updates

Aaron_MangoneAaron Mangone, MBA ’13:

Current Job and Career Aspirations: “In my current role at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, I am part of Product Marketing Organization, where I serve as the 787 Dreamliner Lead Product Analyst. In this role, I serve as a conduit between our engineering groups and the various other groups within the greater Sales and Marketing Organization. My team and I take the engineering data, and data from the other groups, and make general Marketing Presentations for the 787.

Recently, my team and I finished a complete overhaul of all of our presentation materials that included new data, style, and structure for our materials. This involved collaboration across different work groups while also trying to develop numerous packages that could be used in a wide variety of situations.

As I look ahead in my career, I am striving to become a Regional Marketing Director for Boeing. In this position, I would get to work directly with numerous airlines placing Boeing airplanes.

My time at Gonzaga helped me strengthen my skills in numerous ways. A few of which are: the ability to work in and lead a team environment with numerous different personalities; comfort with large data sets; and the ability to explain my rationale.”

Your GAMP Experience
“During the first of my two years in the MBA program, I made a point of connecting with the GAMP program. I knew I wanted to work at Boeing, as my previous 5 years of work experience had been in the aviation industry.  Connecting with mentors helped me navigate the application and interview process at Boeing which ultimately helped me secure an internship from which a fulltime offer was extended after.  The mentors took the time to help me prepare for my interview and followed up with me during and after my internship.  The GAMP program is definitely something every student at Gonzaga should take full advantage of.”

Favorite Gonzaga Memory
“My favorite thing at Gonzaga was the relationships you form with your classmates and professors. This extended beyond the classroom and into the social and professional sides as well.  Many of the great people I met while at Gonzaga are people who will remain close friends for years to come.

The thing I miss most about Gonzaga is the ability to see close friends and enjoy the overall Gonzaga experience on a daily basis. As I said earlier the friendships formed during my two years there are ones that will last forever.”

Damon Pilgrim, MBA ’12:

New Job: “My job title with Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Spokane is Public Relations Specialist. My job is to tell stories. Not just any stories, though.  I tell the awesome stories about amazing kids. Kids like a girl who had her leg amputated at 1, hiked Mt. St. Helens on crutches with her 8th grade class, and is the current reigning Miss Spokane. I tell these stories through many different outlets, including a quarterly newsletter called Leaders in Care and three social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress). Most of the responsibilities of marketing, communications, and PR are split evenly between the PR Director and me.

Everyone at Shriners is amazing. I’ve never worked at a place with less drama or more camaraderie. Everyone has been very welcoming and is there for the right reasons.  We all understand that we are in a very special place with a very special mission, and we both enjoy it and take it seriously. I couldn’t have fallen into a better place for my new career after earning my MBA.”

To learn more about Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Spokane, including upcoming events, visit

Reconnect with Damon at

Eric Agnew, MBA ’11:

Eric works at Itron, where he is Service Business Manager and responsible for about $30M in annual maintenance revenue. “At the moment I’m on the core team for two global projects at Itron, where I have to be able to work effectively with a cross-section of IT, Finance, Marketing, Operations, and other teams.  I think that is essentially what the GU MBA tries to provide, the ability to lead and be competent in different business competencies.”

We recently sat down with Eric, to learn more about some of his endeavors, interests, and accomplishments.

GSB: You were a part of the first Gonzaga team to participate in the Hult Global Case Challenge. Tell us about that.
Eric: The Hult Challenge was a great experience! They bring business schools from all over the world together, and have the teams compete by using their business skills to attack a social issue; the year our team competed the issue was the Global Water Crisis, in support of’s mission to provide clean drinking water to 100 million people in five years. The winning team’s idea got $1 million for implementation. It was pretty special for us to have an opportunity to represent the University.

GSB: How have you been utilizing your MBA education since you graduated?
Eric: At the moment I’m on the core team for two global projects at Itron, where I have to be able to work effectively with a cross-section of IT, Finance, Marketing, Operations, and other teams.  I think that is essentially what the GU MBA tries to provide, the ability to lead and be competent in different business competencies.

GSB: We know that you participated in Startup Weekend Spokane recently. What is that event?
Eric: Startup Weekends are a 54 hour blitz where marketers, designers and developers get together to pitch ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups. We basically worked frantically on our ideas non-stop from Friday night to Sunday night, and I loved every second of it! I took Dr. Finkle’s Creating New Ventures class my final year, and was bit by the startup bug. I took the class wanting to learn more about business planning for my corporate career, but I also learned just how much of an entrepreneurial side to me there is. Our product is called Gigmo, and it was amazing to see it take shape!

GSB: Tell us about Gigmo!
Eric: The idea is to create an online service that will match up bands looking for gigs to play with event planners needing live music. The site is pre-registering users now at, and we work on it in our free time. I love making something out of nothing, so for me it’s the most fun hobby that I’ve ever had.

GSB: Lastly, any interesting Alumni events that you are working on?
Eric: Yes! I’m on the networking team, and we’re planning a great event for next spring.  We want to have an event focused on “How Social Media Has Changed Business.” It’s incredibly relevant, will have a fabulous panel of local personalities, and will be very interactive. More to come on that soon.

Kellie Jewett, MBA AIE ’11:

Kellie recently began working as the Development Director for the Cheyenne River Youth Project. CRYP is an after school program serving children, teens, and families on the Cheyenne River Sioux reserve ration and offers programs in education, health and wellness, arts and culture, and more.

From the CYRP website: “Poverty has a profound effect on family structure and self-esteem, which contributes to a variety of social ills. Located in one of the nations 5 poorest counties, CRYP serves the community by offering youth programs and family services that foster healthy choices and life practices, as well as provide immediate relief and create opportunities for the future. Daily, we lay the groundwork for long-term solutions so that each program and/or service has a purposeful foundation and potential for longevity. Our vision also includes infrastructure to house our growth as we work to meet our community’s needs today and in the future.”

For more information, visit

Dane Yancey, MBA ’11:

Since Dane graduated a year ago, his family has grown. His energetic son, Boston, now is now a big brother to Isaac!

Surely these boys are very proud of their father who was recently hired as the Field Marketing Manager for US Cellular, located at the Corporate Office Building in Richland, WA. His new role requires that he monitor and educate both agent-owned and corporate-owned stores on current marekting initiatives, campaigns, promotions, and branding in order to unify US Cellular’s message nationally.

Dane is excited about his new position and looks forward to applying his Gonzaga education in his local market. He misses Gonzaga every day and never passes on the opportunity to talk about the quality of education he received.

To connect with Dane, contact him at

David Plut, MBA ’11:

David Plut recently earned an exciting position through Volt Workforce Solutions. He is a Project Coordinator at Avista Corporation, where he is working with the financial budgeting/reporting and management of the project to upgrade to Windows 7.  David is very excited about the new position, and, even though he has only been with Avista since January, he has already learned a great deal.

Reconnect with David at

Stephen Grant, MBA ’11:

Stephen Grant has recently started a consulting practice in Spokane called Bus OPS, LLC that focuses on finance and strategy for small businesses. “I am eager to provide these services to a community which has been so supportive to me over the past seven and a half years.”

For more information or to reconnect with Stephen, email him at

Tachini Pete, MBA-AIE ’10:

“I am a co-founder of Nkwusm, Salish Language Revitalization Institute.  Salish is the language of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille tribes on the Flathead Reservation.  I have served as the Executive Director of this non-profit organization since it began operating in 2002.  After a few years running the organization I realized I needed business management skills to maintain growth.  The MBA education I received at Gonzaga has been very beneficial to my organization.  I can’t imagine where the operation would be had I not attend the MBA program.

Nkwusm operates the only Salish Language immersion school in the world.  It serves children from pre-school to the eight-grade.  Our mission is to create and provide quality education programs in the Salish Language to all ages.  There are only 47 first-language fluent speakers of Salish remaining, most are 70 years old and older.  Our job is to connect the language of our ancestors to the children and people of today through these remaining speakers.   

My organization is in a capacity building stage.  We are creating young teachers to expand Salish language opportunities to as many community people as do and will want to learn.  My MBA education will continue to help me manage and grow our efforts to save the language.  I am especially grateful to the Johnson Foundation and the MBA-AIE staff for all their support in getting me through the program.”

Want to connect with Tachini? 
Email him at:

Casey Wood, MBA ’10:

“I accepted the State Account Manager position with Pfizer, the company I was working for while getting my MBA in Healthcare Management at Gonzaga. The move was a great choice for my wife (Brenda) and I, and we are looking forward to a move that will result in increased professional responsibilities and challenges as well as moving us closer to family.

In my new position I will be responsible for signing and managing all contracts that Pfizer signs in the state of Nevada for 22 different products ranging from Aricept for dementia to Zyvox for hospital infections with commercial plans.  I would not have possessed the business skills, nor had the requisite understanding of medical economics, practice management, healthcare structures and systems, and the negotiating skills to win and succeed at this job without my outstanding experience in Gonzaga’s MBA program. The incredible faculty and adjunct faculty allowed me to participate and learn from their broad experiences.  This was a clear competitive advantage for me in the interviewing process.

Since winning the new job, my interactions with key customers have reinforced the outstanding, cutting-edge curriculum that Gonzaga implemented in the MBA in Healthcare Management concentration. I recently assisted a former employee in Spokane to enroll in the Gonzaga MBA program and I know that he will benefit greatly from the experience. I hope that he will gain the same increased understanding of the healthcare marketplace that I did, and the experience will prepare him for positions of increased responsibility.”

Email him at:

Andrew Sorenson, MBA ’09:

“A co-worker and I had the opportunity to speak to a group of graduate and undergraduate students about business ethics issues we face as a technology company. If you have been following any of the recent, high-profile discussions in the technology world, most noticeably with Facebook and Google, then you are well aware of the main topic we discussed: Privacy and the security of personal information. How much information does a company or website really know about me and what can they do with that information?

Here at Next IT, we use that personal information to provide what we call the “WOW” experience, which is a highly personalized experience for the user. Considering that we differentiate ourselves from our competitors and pride ourselves on being able to deliver this personalized experience, the more information we have about a user, the better the experience will be. The information we need depends on the particular project and the problem our client would like us to help solve. Therefore, we need to make sure that the passing of this information between our Virtual Agents and the clients’ websites and back end systems is secure. Without the personal information we would not be as successful as we have been nor would we have the clients we do. By having access to personal information we are able to solve our clients’ problems with a much higher success rate. So our ability to get a hold of and use a user’s personal information and keep it secure are a must.

I may be an Oregonian now, but I will always be a Zag and you better believe I will be making a few trips back for some games!”

Reconnect with Andrew at

xSarahSchweringHeadshot-1001 (2)Sarah (Taylor) Schwering, MBA ’07: 

In August 2014, Sarah was hired as Director of Marketing & Communications at Gonzaga University. As part of the MarCom team, Sarah supports many of Gonzaga’s academic programs and departments as well as larger initiatives like Gonzaga Day and the Capital Campaign. Sarah earned both a bachelor’s degree in business administration (’04) – with concentrations in marketing, human resources management and entrepreneurial leadership – and an MBA (’07) from Gonzaga.

Previously, Sarah worked for Desautel Hege Communications as account director, serving a wide range of clients with branding, marketing, writing, planning, research, media relations and communications training needs. She also served as an adjunct professor at Gonzaga in the School of Business Administration for four years. Most recently, she has worked as a marketing consultant for Desautel Hege and Gonzaga on multiple projects.

Schwering has been involved in both the Gonzaga and Spokane communities, serving on the Gonzaga MBA/MAcc Executive Committee Board, International Trade Alliance Board, Spokane Junior League Board, Hogan Entrepreneurial Leadership Program Board (Chair) and more.

Sarah and her husband Tim live in Spokane with their two sons, John (age 4) and Paul (age 1.5).

Jaunessa Walsh, MBA ’07:

Spokane-area women looking for a challenge may find their answer with farmgirlfit. Gonzaga MBA alum, Jaunessa Walsh, along with four Gonzaga undergraduate alumni, is one of the proud owners of this Crossfit club that gained 200 members in its first year!

Jaunessa, who also earned her undergraduate degree from Gonzaga, saw first-hand the benefits of Crossfit training. She and her business partners also noticed that women-only Crossfit classes were always overflowing at local clubs and saw an opportunity. While they recognized the risk of building a business just for women, the owners of farmgirlfit were confident they could build something special. As Jaunessa explained, when you “get a group of women together that have the same goal, it’s amazing what they can do.”

CrossFit training is an intense, full body, back-to-basics work out (farmgirlfit has a stack of tractor tires next to their building that are used during workouts). But, although it might sound imposing, its focus on burning fat and building lean muscle is suitable for women of all ages and fitness levels. The owners originally assumed the Crossfit workout would appeal most to women in their late twenties and early thirties but have found that their primary clients are a bit older (35-45 with their oldest clients in their sixties) and often moms with busy schedules attracted by the impressive results gained from 60-minute workouts. “It’s not just about the pull-ups,” according to Jaunessa. “It’s about the relationships you form. Every woman can do this.”

In addition to building a great new Spokane business and offering a fitness program many local women are drawn to, the owners of farmgirlfit are committed to giving back to the community that supports them. In October 2012, they organized the “Pennies for Pull-ups” campaign to raise money for St. Margaret’s Shelter, which is a supportive short-term housing solution for homeless women and their children. St. Margaret’s was chosen because of the shelter’s emphasis on healthy eating choices for its residents that includes a community garden and training in healthy cooking.

farmgirlfit members completed 43,129 pull-ups during the month of October! Between the penny farmgirlfit contributed for each pull-up and the generous donations members gathered and contributed, Jaunessa and her partners were thrilled to present St. Margaret’s Shelter a check for $3,431.56. Jaunessa credits the owners’ Jesuit education as one of the factors for their decision to give back to the Spokane community in these tough economic times and in their first year of business.

When pressed about what part of her education specifically encouraged this desire to give back and the confidence to help build a new business, she thought for a moment and finally determined there was no one instance that set her on this path. “Gonzaga is who I am,” she explained.

128 Sherman Street · Spokane, WA
509.747.2330 · 

Terri Alvarado, MBA ’07:

In addition to graduating from Leadership Spokane in June, Terri Alvarado launched a consulting firm, TMA Business Consulting Services, LLC. The firm specializes in franchise, real estate, and general business consultation. Terri most recently served as Director of Legal and Franchise Administration at Red Lion Hotels.

If you would like more information about the services provided by TMA, please visit

Reconnect with Terri at .

Greg Sweeney, MAcc ’06:

“I completed the MAcc Program at the end of 2006.  With the responsibility of a young family and a full time job, it took me over four years to work my way through the program.  In hindsight, it was truly a game changer!  During 2009, my wife, Dianna, and I started a CPA Firm in Spokane. 

The transition to public accounting has been very rewarding in several respects.  the development of our business has led to an interesting and challenging workload.  For financial write-up work, it required that we allocate more time in the field with our clients.  It is so inspiring to watch a business owner light up as they bring you into their world.  As a practitioner, I have a better grasp of how our firm may assist them by spending time on their turf. 

Many of the paths chosen for our business are a direct result of y experience at GU.  I am thankful for the opportunity I was given to learn from some of the top business minds in the country.  As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.”  I found that MBA/MAcc Professors were diverse in teaching style, yet similar in the several core themes:  be resourceful, use your intelligence and remember the power of integrity. ”

Want to connect with Greg?  Link through their firm’s website: or Email him at:

Aaron Day, MBA ’05:

Pure, clean food, with a twist

“After graduating with my MBA in 2005, I returned to Utah and worked for Xactware, a software company, as a project manager.  The company was sold, and I soon after left to seek entrepreneurial opportunities.  My wife and I have always been food lovers, and have developed a passion for healthy, gourmet food.  We then decided to launch a new concept quick service restaurant called Blue Lemon.  The first location opened in February 2009.  With contemporary decor and a simple, yet sophisticated menu, the restaurant has been well-received by the Utah community.  Blue Lemon was approached by the developer of the multi-billion dollar downtown Salt Lake City revitalization project and was sought to become a flagship tenant of the high-end City Creek project.  Blue Lemon at City Creek was opened late 2010.  Being adjacent to a top tourist attraction, Temple Square, has brought customers from many parts of the world into our doors.  People rave about our health-centric food, and we are aiming to expand into other markets in the very near future.  Blue Lemon was awarded #3 startup to watch by Utah Valley BusinessQ Magazine.  ”

Here are some links from the press we’ve received:

 On a personal note, my wife and I have five children–all five-years-old and younger.  We just finalized the adoption of our youngest son, Braeden, in June 2010.  Juggling business and personal life has its challenges.  I enjoy the flexibility of being a business owner, as I am able to accommodate most anything from my family.

Want to connect with Aaron?  Email him at:

Spike Bighorn, MBA-AIE ’05:

Spike Bighorn was a member of Gonzaga’s MBA in American Indian Entrepreneurship program funded by the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, and he graduated with an MBA in 2005. He is currently employed as the Chief Operating Officer for New West Technologies.  New West is an energy consulting firm specializing in renewable energy and advanced vehicle technology contracts. Its corporate headquarters are in Greenwood Village, CO, and the firm has additional offices in Washington, D.C.; Landover, MD; and Utica, NY.

Reconnect with Spike at

beattie1Mark Beattie, MBA ’03: 

I am pleased to share the news that I am now a Clinical Assistant Professor for Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management. Part of the Carson College of Business, the Hospitality Business Management Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious hospitality programs in the United States. This fall WSU added the offering at our newest location, North Puget Sound at Everett.  It is very exciting to be part of this entrepreneurial venture for WSU and I’m looking forward to the growth potential in the coming years. You can learn more from our website:

My undergraduate business degree is from WSU (class of ’81). After 20+ years in the hospitality industry, I returned to obtain my MBA from Gonzaga in 2003 and stayed on to complete my PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga in 2009. I worked with Gonzaga’s School of Professional Studies and the Virtual Campus through spring 2014 when I started with WSU. Along the way, my son earned his BA in Environmental Studies and my wife completed her MA-TESL degree this coming spring. All together our family has had a 15-year run of having at least one of us enrolled in coursework at GU:  a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degree, and a PhD.

I am grateful to Gonzaga for all it has given to our family over the years and appreciate the academic preparation the Gonzaga MBA has provided as I enter this next chapter of my career.

To connect with Mark, contact him at

Fred Owen, MBA 1963:

Fred Owen exemplifies what it means to be a Gonzaga University Alumnus. His passion for ethics and his understanding that people are fulfilled not by money but through achievement, resonates through his professional life to this day.

Fred’s Gonzaga journey began as an undergraduate in the School of Business in 1949 where he was a member of Gonzaga’s highly respected Men’s Glee Club and was selected to the National Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. After earning a BBA in Economics and Business, Fred served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict and later worked as a manager of human resources and line operations in government and private industry.

After several years, Fred returned to Gonzaga University to study Law. Three semesters into his law degree, Fred decided to enroll in the new Graduate School of Business where he earned his MBA as a member of the first graduating class. Although ethics was not explicitly taught in the early years of the program, as it is today, Fred recalls that it was an underlying theme in all of his classes. He argues that much, if not all, of his professional work is founded on the principles of ethics and rationality taught by Gonzaga professors.

Effective management, which recognizes that personal achievement is more important than compensation, is Fred’s primary professional passion. Throughout his career, he has steadfastly encouraged public and private sector employers to understand the importance of meaningful work. This is particularly evident in his extensive work with the issue of pay equity. His first project was an objective approach to achieving equity in compensation between women and men who performed work of similar value. While on the surface this sounds like a straightforward compensation issue, the problem with equity encountered by Fred was a systematic under-valuing of work done, in this case, by women.

The project became a landmark study that was considered for its fairness by the United States’ Supreme Court and has become the principal reference point for organizations in government and private industry when employers determine objective compensation policies without reference to gender. Subsequently, Fred performed similar work for the federal Government of Canada, helping to establish equitable compensation for approximately 200,000 employees. He performed compensation design and development for several other institutions of government, higher education, and private industry across North America.

Fred continues to provide services in the field of human resource management to government, higher education, and private industry employers. His professional life is clearly indicative of the deep commitment to the principles developed during his years at Gonzaga University.

Gonzaga left an indelible mark on Fred Owen, who, in turn, has left his mark on the world. It is with great pride that we acknowledge Fred Owen, prestigious member of the first class of Gonzaga University’s Graduate School of Business!

Reconnect with Fred at