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In other news: May 2024

Thought leaders


Professor Courtney Knoll (PhD ’05), MAC associate dean and executive director of the UNC Tax Center, was elected board chair of the North Carolina Association of CPAs (NCACPA).

“With extensive experience in the classroom and in CPA firm leadership roles, [Knoll] brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for advancing the accounting profession,” the NCACPA shared in a statement. “Having an experienced accounting educator as chair provides a unique perspective as the Association leads efforts to address the accounting pipeline shortage.”

Read more about Knoll’s career and her vision for the NCACPA here.

Standout students and alumni

Two-time hero

 “It’s part of being a good citizen and looking out for our neighbors, and that’s what we do,” said Abhi Mehrotra (MBA ’15) about helping a neighbor in Durham escape from a devastating house fire. Later that day at UNC Hospitals, the professor of emergency medicine treated an injured firefighter who had battled the same blaze.

Spotted on social

  • Tojin Thomas Eapen and Daniel Finkenstadt (PhD ’20) celebrated the release of their new book “Bioinspired Strategic Design,” which outlines how non-human organisms thriving in harsh environments can inspire people in complex organizations to navigate hostility and focus on sustainable innovations. “After nearly four years of work with my good friend Tojin Thomas Eapen, our book is finally ready to go,” Finkenstadt shared on LinkedIn. Finkenstadt, who has served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 24 years and is a staff officer at the Pentagon, is also the principal owner of Wolf Stake Consulting LLC. Eapen is the founder of the Center for Creative Foresight and a senior fellow with the Conference Board’s Economy, Strategy and Finance Center – Europe.
  • The Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability hosted its annual UNC Sustainability Awards honoring Full-Time MBA Program students graduating with a sustainable enterprise concentration and recognizing significant accomplishments in sustainability by alumni, state businesses and nonprofits. Among this year’s winners is Distinguished Alumni honoree Marc Shiman (MBA ’96), whose work over 30-plus years has had a major influence on sustainability practices around the world, including leading trade and investment development projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. He is now back in the U.S. serving as technical director of trade for the Cadmus Group after working internationally for 32 years. “When I left my MBA program, I was walking a different path than most of my fellow classmates,” Shiman shared on LinkedIn. “It’s gratifying to see so many of the future leaders of the business community also gravitating towards using the power of their business education to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.”
  • After earning his commercial pilot license in March 2024, Kevin Cowan’s (BSBA ’25) aviation journey continues as FlightGest Academy congratulates him on becoming a certified flight instructor.
  • EATS2SEATS COO Maxwell Hurst (BSBA ’21) and founder Mary Laci Motley (BSBA ’21) were the keynote speakers at a ceremony honoring Buncombe County Schools’ top scholars of the year. “As a proud graduate and former student body president of Reynolds High School it was an honor to share my story with all the brilliant soon-to-be graduates in the room,” Hurst shared on LinkedIn.
  • Ashley Sperry reflected on her momentous first year in the Full-Time MBA Program, including being named the incoming MBA Student Association executive vice president and exploring business in Thailand and Japan through Global Immersion Experiences. “Transitioning back into an academic environment presented its challenges,” Sperry, a U.S. Army veteran, shared on LinkedIn, “but being intellectually stimulated and surrounded by an exceptional peer group made it incredibly rewarding.”