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Department of Business Innovation and Strategy Faculty Bios

Professor Gochenouer photo

Dr. Denise Gochenouer Department Chair for the Department of Business, Innovation and Strategy (BIS).  Professor of Marketing with demonstrated experience in the higher education, research and the banking industry. Skilled in Brand Name development and Identity, Market Research, Segmentation, Consumption and Cultural Research, Advertising, Experiential Learning and Management.  She earned her PhD in Sociology (Demography) (Social Organization) from South Dakota State University and holds a Masters in Management and a Bachelors in Marketing. As someone who transitioned into academia from marketing research, and the banking industry (credit-card and insurance), she is able to use her practical skills to enhance her classroom delivery.  Denise has also owned and operated a resort which adds to her expertise in marketing, sales and operations. Her publications appear in the Journal of Business and Economics and the International Journal of Arts & Sciences.  She has also contributed a chapter to SMSU Open textbook.

She is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA).  She has presented papers at several conferences including the Marketing Management Association (MMA).

Denise continues to be active in the American Marketing Association Collegiate chapter where she serves as advisor and consistently works with her students to hone their sales and marketing skills.  At Southwest Minnesota State University she serves on several committees, including the SmSUFA Executive committee where she chairs the Faculty Improvement Committee. She is also an active member of Curriculum Committee, Graduate Curriculum Committee and Graduate Council Committee.

Heather Rickgarn

Dr. Heather Rickgarn is a proud alumnus of Southwest Minnesota State University and has been an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Management program from August 2010 to May 2013, and January 2016 to present. As of August 2019, Dr. Rickgarn has had the privilege of joining the Management program as an Assistant Professor. 

Dr. Rickgarn completed her Ph.D. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration from ACBSP accredited Northcentral University (NCU) in Prescott Valley, AZ. As part of her Ph.D. work, she quantitatively researched the influences of change theory in the healthcare business office setting. Her future research interests include change theory, leadership and organizational change, leadership and team management, human resource management, organizational development and theory, healthcare revenue cycle performance, and corporate policy and compliance. Dr. Rickgarn obtained an M.B.A. with an emphasis in Leadership in May of 2010, a B.S. majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources in May of 2008, and a B.A. majoring in Political Science and Public Administration in December of 2007, all from Southwest Minnesota State University. From November 2012 to August 2014, Dr. Rickgarn obtained her Certified Revenue Cycle Specialist – Institutional and Professional, and Certified Revenue Cycle Professional – Institutional and Professional certifications from the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM).

On-campus, Dr. Rickgarn serves as the Advisor for the Human Resources (HR) Club and actively advises HR students regarding their personalized Mustang Academic Plan (MAP). Dr. Rickgarn has experience teaching on campus and online, with course experience including Human Resource Management, Leadership and Team Management, Training and Development, Diversity Management, Organizational Behavior and Theory, Readings in Management, Management Principles, Introduction to Business and University Experience. She has a passion for helping students in any way possible and is excited to watch them learn and grow throughout their academic careers. She provides one on one guidance to help students through advising, internships, experiential programming, and the employment processes. She is quoted “I always like to tell students that today is point A, and at some point in the future is point B. Through collaboration, I will help you on your individualized journey to get to point B. That is my passion!”

Off-campus, Dr. Rickgarn is a consultant specializing in helping healthcare providers and small business owners. Her consulting role bridges gaps for organizations, specific to the healthcare industry and human resource specialized needs. She is an active member of the National Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the national and regional AAHAM, the NCU chapter of Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, the NCU chapter of Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Young Professionals group from the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce. She volunteers her time and expertise as an active board member for Camp Loves Embrace and Marshall Hope Harbor. In addition, she volunteers her talents for the St. Paul Lutheran Yarnsters Group donating handmade crocheted items. When she is not working, researching, or volunteering, Dr. Rickgarn enjoys spending time with her son Ronald, husband John, dog Mimi, and two turtles at home. 

George Taylor

Dr. George Taylor reported to Southwest Minnesota State University in August 2020.  He holds several degrees, including a DM in Organizational Leadership, a Master of Business Administration (Information Systems Technology Management), and is currently pursuing a PhD in Education Leadership. He is also certified as a Senior Professional Human Resources Professional (SPHR), Senior Certified Partner in Human Resources (SHRM-SCP) and is a lifetime Certified Professional Coach (CPC). Dr. Taylor's teaching interests include organizational development, leadership, and entrepreneurship.  He is an active researcher for the OK Center for Education Policy, a think-tank center that focuses on state and national education policies. Dr. Taylor is a published author and frequent speaker in research conferences and symposiums. He is the author of a popular book entitled Blessed Strategy. Prior to teaching, Dr. Taylor served a distinguished enlisted-to-officer career in the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, he was assigned as a task force team leader and member for several high-level strategic initiatives to include Sea Warrior, a human capital initiative that transformed the Navy's HR processes. Dr. Taylor has a strong record of entrepreneurship and business coaching and was a Leadership Fellow for Memphis in 2004 (Leadership Academy Memphis) where he served on various citywide initiatives. Dr. Taylor is married with three adult children. He loves to travel, workout, and spend time with his wife. 

Professor Chukwuba photo

Dr. Kenneth U. Chukwuba has been with Southwest Minnesota State University since 2016 where he serves as Director of the MBA Program and Associate Professor in the Management Department. He received his Ph.D. in Management with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Change from Walden University in Minnesota, M.B.A. from Webster University Missouri, and B.S. from Columbia College Missouri. Dr. Chukwuba also completed coursework in Disruptive Strategy at Harvard Business School. His areas of specialization are strategic management, leadership and organizational change management, international business and international management. He serves on the Advisory Board for DECA (Distributive Education College of America). Dr. Chukwuba belongs to the following academic and professional organizations and serves as a reviewer: Academy of Management, The Southern Management Association, and Society for Advancement of Management.  Before arriving at Southwest Minnesota State University, Dr. Chukwuba was a Visiting Professor at the Waldorf University of Forest City Iowa.  His research interests are in the areas of strategic management, international business, and leadership.

Quote  “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” ― Peter F. Drucker

Last Modified: 12/19/23 2:50 PM | Website Feedback