WMU News

Conference features top e-commerce execs

Oct. 6, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Southwest Michigan entrepreneurs will have access to some of the nation's top e-commerce executives at an upcoming conference sponsored by the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University.

"E-Commerce Conference 2000" will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at the WMU Fetzer Center. Speakers include e-commerce leaders from powerhouses such as Dell Computer, Iomega and Ameritech, along with a number of other Internet experts from Southwest Michigan and the Midwest.

The day-long event is targeted at Southwest Michigan business managers involved in or interested in exploring online or offline e-commerce.

"Our speakers are going to share insights into their cutting-edge e-commerce strategies, and offer some inside tips on making the most of your Internet dollars," says Dr. Roberta Schultz, conference coordinator and an assistant professor of marketing at WMU. "We'll be examining case studies of both successful and failed ventures, and will outline the basics of an effective e-commerce strategy."

The conference will begin with a talk by Mark L. Fox, senior director of e-business at Iomega Corp. In his address, "Implementing E-Business at Iomega," Fox will discuss the issues that complicate the process of doing business on the Web. He'll address Iomega's past and future plans for its own site, including insights on real costs, the distribution channel, price competition, fulfillment issues and finding the right talent.

Fox's address is followed at 10 a.m. by a presentation from online consultant John Fruehe of Dell Computer Corp. titled "B2B E-Commerce Issues." Fruehe, who managed the team that redesigned the Dell Web site at <www.dell.com>, will address business-to-business e-commerce issues such as strategy design, content conversion and working with a technical team.

At 11 a.m., WMU alumnus Paul Marran will address the conference crowd. Marran, executive creative director at Digital Heights in Chicago, will present "From Bricks and Mortar to Click and Order," a reflection on how businesses can ease the transition to e-commerce.

During lunch, conference attendees will hear "How Broadband Will Transform E-Commerce," from Ameritech's vice president for corporate planning, Harry Semerjian. Based on his experience in the telecommunications industry, Semerjian will discuss how the wide deployment of broadband Internet access will enable e-commerce applications that go far beyond today's services. He will outline his vision of future e-commerce applications, including everything from live, 3-D video interactions and virtual real estate tours to actually being able to feel a fabric by touching a PC screen.

The afternoon includes a number of concurrent sessions. From 1:45 to 2:45 p.m., conference goers can choose between:

  • "Business-to-Business Web Site Development and Marketing," Deborah Belding, operations manager at Bermo Enterprises in Schoolcraft. Belding, who currently leads a Bermo team developing a new catalog-based Web site, will discuss strategies and organization of Web site development, marketing strategies and the challenges of ongoing maintenance.
  • "Digging for Gold Online," David Coffey, associate media director, new media technology at Detroit's Pentacom BBDO. A WMU alumnus, Coffey has been hailed as one of the "Top 100 Media Stars of the Future" by Newsweek magazine. He will share his expertise in e-commerce strategies and their effect on online return on investment, using real-world case studies, some based on his experience as interactive media planner and buyer for DaimlerChrysler.
  • "Wireless Applications: The Future is Here," Brian Maggi, co-founder and chief creative at Qui Bono in Chicago. In his presentation, Maggi will touch on how up-and-coming technology can benefit a business. He will discuss his experiences over the past decade with companies like Procter and Gamble, Quaker Oats, Tropicana and Apple Computer.

The final conference session runs from 3 to 4 p.m., with attendees choosing between:

  • "The Road to Capital: Legal and Funding Issues," Thomas Cronkright, Warner Norcross and Judd in Grand Rapids. Cronkright will discuss how to find the right investor, make a successful request for funding and assess the capabilities of consultants. He also will touch on the critical legal issues of trade secrets, privacy, security, jurisdiction and online contracting.
  • "Welcome the Net Nut," Kevin Malloy, president, Homestore.com Enterprise Group in Chicago. Malloy, who appeared for three years as "The Net Nut" on a Milwaukee television news program, will discuss his experiences in developing custom software applications at Homestore.com, the Internet's leading destination for home and real estate-related information.
  • "Order Management Design Strategies: Scale the Process to the Purchase," Robert Stoops, procurement and audit manager, Pharmacia Corp. Stoops, a graduate of WMU, will address business-to-business order management issues and will provide suggestions for procurement reengineering via e-commerce end-user tools.
  • "A Brief History of the Internet and New Economy," Christopher J. Wood, senior manager at Arthur Andersen. In this workshop, Wood will provide an historical timeline that paints an entertaining and informative picture of where the Internet has been, where it is now, and where it is going. With the premise that the "new economy" was spawned by advances in the Internet, Wood will help participants elevate their understanding of technology and business trends.

The cost to attend the conference is $70, and proceeds will be used to support e-commerce initiatives. Reservations are required by October 19, and can be made by contacting Schultz by phone at (616) 387-0940 or (616) 771-9495, or via e-mail at <roberta.schultz@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Jessica English, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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