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New international faculty members add value and experience to Davis College of Business

With a growing student population, a new Doctor of Business Administration program and an increased emphasis on business analytics and entrepreneurship, the Davis College of Business has added to its esteemed and dedicated faculty for the 2014-15 school year.

“We have been listening to the business community as to what skills are required from our students, and we felt the need to increase the emphasis on business analytics,” said Dean Don Capener.

Dr. Vikas Agrawal, Associate Professor of Business Analytics
Dr. Vikas Agrawal, Associate Professor of Business Analytics

To achieve this new emphasis, Dr. Vikas Agrawal was hired as an Associate Professor of Business Analytics. A native of India, Agrawal came from Fayetteville State University, where he served 10 years as a tenured professor in the School of Business and Economics.

“I was looking for an opportunity to utilize all of my skills and felt like JU was a great match for my applied academic interests and passion for teaching,” said Agrawal.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toledo in Manufacturing Management and Engineering, with a dissertation titled “Data Warehouse Operational Design: View Selection and Performance Simulation.” Agrawal completed a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Toledo, following his completion of his MBA in Marketing and Finance and Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in India.

His specialty lies in the area of employing optimization techniques to solve business problems, developing agent-based simulation models and working with predictive models using advances statistics. Agrawal also holds certifications in Certified Project Management Professional by PMI and Certified Supply Chain Professional by APICS. In addition, Agrawal is knowledgeable in many programming languages and simulation software, including but not limited to Java, SQL (Oracle 9i, SQL Server, MySQL, MS Access) PL/SQL, T-SQL, VBA (Excel, Access), VB.Net, C Sharp, ASP.Net, JSP, Lingo, NetLogo (Agent-based simulation), Arena simulation package and SPSS.

“So far I have met students here with a serious dedication and vigor to learn,” he said. “It is great to experience the moment when the student truly understands the material.”

Agrawal is looking forward to teaching courses in the new Doctor of Business Administration and working on applied research with the doctoral candidates and serving on dissertation committees. he resides in Jacksonville with his wife, Pragya, and his two children Aryan and Ananya.

Mr. Martin Lyutjes, Resource Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurism
Martin Luytjes, Resource Professor of Entrepreneurism

Martin Luytjes has been hired as a Resource Professor of Entrepreneurism. Luytjes, a native of Holland, migrated to the United States at a young age. Following earning his bachelor degree in management from the University of Florida, he worked in corporate banking in Miami for 10 years, making it to the Vice President level. During the beginning of his career, he earned his MBA in Management from Florida International University.

Luytjes began his academic career in 1993, becoming an adjunct professor at his alma mater, FIU. In 1999, he became a franchise owner of Chicken Kitchen, a famous healthy fast food chain in South Florida. During this time, he owned and operated two establishments, before selling them in 2006. Following this, he began teaching full time at FIU, teaching courses in Management, International Business and Entrepreneurship.

Luytjes is completing his Doctorate in Business Administration at Nova Southeastern University, with expected completion by the end of this year. Last year, he served as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and the faculty advisor to the newly rejuvenated Davis Entrepreneurship Organization, and contributed to the initiative to reinstate the entrepreneurship certificate program. The DEO hosted its first “Dolphin Pitch” event, in whichyoung entrepreneurs showcased their ideas and business plans to business leaders of the Jacksonville area.

This year, Luytjes is planning an “Entrepreneurship Day,” an interdisciplinary event to share local entrepreneurs’ inspiring stories with members of the JU community.

“I have a passion for entrepreneurship, and I want to spread that across the entire JU campus,” Luytjes said. “In the world today, more and more people are finding ways to make a living outside of the corporate environment, including young and talented students like we are seeing at JU.” Luytjes resides in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with his wife and two children.

Mrs. Alix Melchionna, Resource Assistant Professor of Aeronautics
Alix Melchionna, Resource Assistant Professor of Aeronautics

Alix Melchionna was hired as a new resource assistant professor of aeronautics. A native of Martinique, Melchionna comes from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, where she served as a graduate teaching assistant. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Aeronautical Science and a master’s degree in aeronautics management.

”JU has such gorgeous grounds and I appreciate how the aviation program is more focused on management, in addition to the flying certifications,” Melchionna said.

She really enjoys teaching, with hopes of obtaining her Ph.D. and continuing working in higher education. As a former international student, Melchionna would like to assist in growing the international student population and infuse her love of traveling to her students by taking international trips to Europe and other areas of the world, where aviation is very popular. She is also hoping to introduce online tools for aviation learning into her coursework.

Melchionna has been flying since she was very young, starting at age 4 on her father’s lap. After being able to solo on her 16th birthday, she received her private pilot certificate before her driver’s license. Melchionna enjoys flying in her free time, which she does weekly.  She also likes English horseback riding. As a certificated flight and ground instructor, Melchionna will be working with introductory flight training courses in order to help enhance Jacksonville University’s Davis Aviation Center. She lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Logan, and speaks French, English and Creole.

In addition, last year, several faculty members received tenure or were given promotions. Dr. Bob Houmes earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Finance. Dr.  Julius Demps received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Management. Dr. Jim Mirabella earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Decision Science-Information Management.  Dr. Richard “Dick” Murphy received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor of Marketing. Dr. John Shaw also earned tenure. Ross Stephenson was promoted to Assistant Professor of Aeronautics out of a “resource faculty position.”

“I am truly honored to have such diverse faculty to lead further internationalization of the Davis College of Business and the Davis Aviation Center,” said Dean Capener. “Our students benefit from their unique perspectives and talents, and we are lucky to have these new members to our staff.”