The nationally recognized Partners in Business program evolved out of Utah State University’s annual banking seminar. The first banking seminar occurred under the direction of Dr. Vern Buehler with the support of the Utah Bankers Association in 1970. Building on early successes, USU initiated four day-long seminars during the 1976-77 academic year covering the fields of quality and productivity, real estate, insurance and accounting. In the 1980’s three more one- and two-day seminars were introduced covering world trade, human resource management, and management information systems. Each seminar was jointly sponsored with a relevant Utah professional association.
The Partner’s program was conceptualized to:
- expand the faculty’s knowledge of management and growth developments in key industries,
- strengthen the bond between USU and industry,
- increase the relevance of the college’s instructional program,
- and expose students to potential employment opportunities.
The program’s inauguration coincided with the first productivity seminar that occurred in May of 1976. The program, which derives a great deal of support from the Eccles Foundation, has grown in stature from its modest beginnings to win the praise of national and international leaders. Over the years, the program has attracted many “great minds”. Milton Friedman, Peter Drucker, Alan Greenspan, W. Edwards Deming and Shigeo Shingo all presented at early Partner’s seminars.
The unique Partner’s model has withstood the test of time. In 1989, Dr. Buehler retired and passed directorship of the student-run program to Dr. Ross Robson. The seven seminar series continues to draw a wide variety of business professionals to the Eccles Conference Center on the Utah State University campus. The Partners in Business program provides a training ground for College of Business students. Today’s seminar coordinators have the potential to become the great business minds of the future.