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What you didn’t know about your professors’ summers

Friday, August 12 2016 12:00am

Learn more about how your College of Business professors take advantage of their time off.

By Brianna Wilson

Ever wonder what your professors do over the summer? Now you don’t have to. Read on to find out the highlights of three professors.

Gary Coombs                                                                      

Though Gary Coombs, chair of the management department and director of the College of Business Honors Program and his wife, Amy, had just four days of May to spend in New York City, they didn’t waste any time. “We had tickets to see The Color Purple, Shuffle Along, Fiddler On the Roof, She Loves Me, and Eclipsed,” said Coombs. “We also ended up picking up last-minute tickets to see an experimental one-act play called The Woodsman.” 

Coombs returned to Athens to teach two sessions of the Alumni College on Design Thinking, and attended the Nelsonville Music Festival before attending the Organizational Behavior Teaching Conference, where he presented four sessions and taught a crash course on teaching techniques for new faculty.

Coombs then headed east to set up his new vacation house in Fenwick Island.  “It was a lot of work putting up shelves, setting up furniture, and buying all the tools,” he said. But all of the work paid off—a “steady stream of family and friends” visited, according to Coombs.

And, of course, no faculty summer would be complete without some work. “Along the way, I was keeping up on departmental administrative tasks by email and phone, including concluding several faculty searches, managing wait lists for fall classes, and working with Luke Pittaway on the spring class schedule,” Coombs said.

Jess Ogilvie

Coombs wasn’t the only one who did some home improvement. Jess Ogilvie, assistant professor of marketing, recently bought a house built before 1900.

“As I was taking things apart and trying to put the house back together, I learned about the original structure,” she described. “My driveway actually used to be a road; I found toy racecars and wooden toys in the attic, as well as the original wallpaper while remodeling the kitchen. It was really cool to think about all the life that happened in this house and how I get to help start its new chapter.”

Ogilvie also taught Brazilian executive students. “I helped them learn about market research and new tools we have for collecting data,” she said. “They were so proud to earn a certificate from Ohio University; the excitement they have upon their final ceremony was my favorite part of the experience. It makes me feel like I truly made an impact on their lives.”

But Ogilvie’s favorite part of summer? The cicada invasion. “It was pretty cool, albeit gross, to see them go through their lifecycles,” she said. “It was all anyone could talk about, and kind of brought the city together as a running joke. As we ran away from them, we talked about the countdown until they would leave!”

Colin Gabler

Colin Gabler, assistant professor of marketing and Freeman Fellow also had an international experience this summer. He, along with Gabe Giordano, Robert E. Freeman associate professor of management, led 19 Ohio University students on a Global Consulting Program (GCP) trip to Barcelona, Spain. 

There, students teamed up with students from IQS University to work on five unique international projects.

“For two weeks, students met with their clients, conducted research, analyzed data, and built proposals to help solve real-world problems,” said Gabler. “Projects ranged from expansion of a Spanish spice company into U.S. supermarkets to a room-sharing start-up moving into their next European city to a Swiss transport company vetting Moroccan manufacturing firms to develop a partnership. And, they culminated in a formal presentation to executives.”

When students 'punched out' from their work days, they enjoyed all of the culture that Barcelona has to offer, exploring the beaches, rambling on Las Ramblas, visiting museums and Gaudí architecture, and trying Catalan cuisine.

According to Gabler, the last thing most students said before catching their flights home was, "When can I come back?!" We’re pretty sure he felt the same.