Roundtable series links business with FPU

The experience and expertise of Fresno Pacific University faculty and local business leaders will come together in the 2007-2008 Business Luncheon Roundtables at FPU's North Fresno Center.

Now in its second year, the series offers a convenient format--buffet lunch, presentation by an expert or panel and conversation on the topic--so speakers and guests can work together to address important issues. "We're looking for ways to be helpful for business," said Stephen Varvis, university director of business and civic relations.

Three roundtables are scheduled:

  • "Stop Multi-tasking and Focus: Managing Technology and Information" Janita Rawls, dean, FPU School of Business, Friday, September 28, 2007
  • "Developing Leaders Within" Peggy Avakian, FPU business faculty, Friday, February 15, 2008
  • "Finding Common Ground: Effective Multi-generational Workplaces," April 2008

Roundtables will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the FPU North Center, just off Friant and Freeway 41 at 5 River Park Place West, Suite 201. The $15 fee includes lunch. To register, call 453-3440 or email Also check the Web at

Topics are suggested by businesspeople. At last spring’s "Finding and Keeping the Employee of the Future," for example, 35-45 visitors from a variety of organizations met with Kathy Bray, president, Denham Resources; Kim Hansen, human resources manager, Provost and Pritchard Engineering; Kacie Padilla, regional recruiter, Fastenal (an FPU graduate); Roy Vasquez, FPU School of Business. Varvis moderated.

Participants found young workers fast-paced, ambitious and tech-savvy. To be competitive, companies must:

  • Find employees in new places: BMW seeks potential workers in BMW Internet chatrooms.
  • Understand today's work ethic no longer means spending a career at one company. Prepare people to leave your firm on good terms so they send other bright people to you.
  • Always be on the lookout for talent, whether or not openings exist; then streamline hiring processes to catch the right person before he or she goes somewhere else.
  • Know your company and be clear about it internally and to prospective employees to find good workers who fit.
  • Individualize compensation: Some people would rather have an increase in vacation or flexible hours than a raise in salary. Update compensation and salary schedules continually, not annually.

Other 2006-2007 seminars were "Do Ethics in Business Pay?" and a discussion of Dennis Bakke’s book, "Joy at Work."

"Those who came to the seminars went back to work with knowledge they could use," Varvis said. "That kind of immediate application is the hallmark of FPU’s business luncheon roundtables."

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