Nov. 25, 2020
Dr. Jacob Avila is an associate professor of management at the Crowell School of Business at Biola University. Prior to coming to Biola University, Avila served as department chair, MBA program director, and assistant professor of management at California Baptist University (CBU) from 2012-2015. In the industry, he served as executive vice president and general manager of CA Construction, a family-owned construction firm specializing in disaster restoration and government contracting, for over seventeen years.Avila is a scholar-practitioner and is committed to enhancing the work of construction industry professionals by leveraging the use of action research. He studied international business at Oxford University in Oxford, UK and at ITESM in Guadalajara, Mexico. He received a B.A. degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Pepperdine University, an M.B.A. in management from CBU, and a doctorate in policy, planning, and development from the University of Southern California.
Building upon her significant industry experience, Grace Lew specializes in Database Management Systems and Cloud Computing. She teaches courses in the areas of Database Systems, SQL and Applications, Software Engineering, Programming Languages, User Interface Design and Development, and Computer Networking. In all of her courses, she utilizes computer technology to help students gain practical hands-on experience while applying theoretical concepts. Where applicable, she also incorporates lifecycle processes into class projects to help prepare students for professional work environments. Besides her emphasis on academic excellence, she is also committed to integration of faith and learning. Examples include discussions on ethics, projects developing database systems for churches or non-profit organizations, spiritual journey reflections, integration threaded discussions, and devotionals called “Tunings.” At church, she serves on the technical team for worship ministries, teaches an adult Bible Study class and helps administer an outreach to the homeless.
Gary Lindblad is Dean of the Donald and Suzanne Crowell School of Business at Biola University. He earned a B.A. in English and education from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia; and Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees in higher education, work, and organizational change from University of California, Los Angeles. In addition, Gary has a M.A. in Christian education from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. He has been at the Crowell School of Business since July 2014.
Lindblad’s commitment to education spans over 35 years and includes teaching junior high, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Prior to returning to Biola, Lindblad served for nine years as assistant dean and director of the MBA and M.S. programs at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. From 2002 to 2005 he was assistant dean and executive director of the MBA Programs at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; and from 1998 to 2002, Lindblad was assistant dean and director of the MBA Programs at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.
Lindblad began his career in business schools as associate director of the executive and fully employed MBA programs at the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA in 1992. From 1983 to 1989, he was the director of student ministries at Biola University directing ministry outreach programs for undergraduate students.
In the 1980s, Lindblad also recorded and performed with the bands Famous Last Words, Gary Lindblad and the Undergrads and the Randall Waller Band. Lindblad's doctoral dissertation researched innovations in the use of computing technology in business school education. His current interests include following innovations in business education, the faith at work movement, the digitally-enabled music industry, and the influence social media has on all forms of education and the creative class.
Lindblad has been married to his wife, Cindi, for 35 years. The couple has two children. Gary serves on the board of YUGO Ministries, a missions group serving the people of Mexico. Lindblad can be found on Twitter @garylindblad.
Laureen Mgrdichian has been an associate professor at Biola since 2012, and teaches in the area of marketing, consumer behavior, leadership and entrepreneurship. Besides teaching at Biola, she owns her own baking business specializing in cookies and cakes. She graduated from Biola with a degree in communications, and completed her MBA with an emphasis in marketing and organizational development from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Mgrdichian has been married to her husband Tom for over 30 years and they are blessed to be the parents of triplets, who are soon to be Biola graduates.
Helen Mitchell comes to Biola University as a leadership and strategy coach, speaker, and author. She is an ethics and leadership professor in the Crowell School of Business and is the director of the Talbot Center for Faith, Work and Economics at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. Mitchell has been sought out as an expert to incorporate and apply faith, work and economics in both business and in the local church. She has spoken at conferences, on radio programs, at business and pastoral groups, guest lectured at other universities and authored faith and work articles as well as small group curriculum. She started her business career with AT&T becoming an Area Vice President with Lucent Technologies at the age of 30 and holding various leadership roles. As an early adopter of faith, work and economics in the local church and a licensed minister on the pastoral staff, she was the architect and visionary of the Saddleback@Work ministry at Saddleback Church.
Tom Wilson comes to Biola University with over 35 years of experience as a trial attorney, during which time he has handled major cases on behalf of the business community in the fields of securities fraud, director and officer claims, product design, healthcare and railroad law. During his career, he has been honored as one of The Ten Most Dependable™ Litigation Attorneys in California as published in Forbes Magazine, and a "Super Lawyer of Southern California" as published in the New York Times and Los Angeles Magazine. In 2008, he was selected by his peers as one of the top five percent of attorneys in the United States specializing in business litigation, as published in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition. He is the author of The Casebook, a business law textbook used in university-level courses, as well as several published articles on legal issues facing the business community. Several of the appellate court cases in which he has participated have resulted in published opinions in California. Tom has been married to his wife, Nancy for over 40 years, and they have two children and four grandchildren.