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College of Business and Economics News

Nearly 600 Gathered to Hear Economist William Luther Speak on “Is Bitcoin a Bubble?”

William Luther speaking at Boise StateThe 13th annual Brandt Foundation Lecture was held Monday evening, November 12 in the Jordan Ballroom of the SUB. Nearly 600 students and community members gathered to hear economist William Luther from Florida Atlantic University speak on “Is Bitcoin a Bubble?” Among the students were guests from Northwest Nazarene University and concurrent enrollment high school students from Bishop Kelly and Renaissance.

The lecture was preceded by a reception for VIP guests of COBE and the Brandt Foundation in the Lookout Room of the SUB, hosted by Dean Mark Bannister, friends of Boise State Kenny and Suz Bolton, Allen Dalton, Sandy Dalton, and Debbie Riedel, along with representatives from the Brandt Foundation, Bob Rathbone and Don Anderson.

Luther’s talk highlighted how Bitcoin is built upon the Blockchain public ledger that relies on verification by members of a distributed network. He noted that since Bitcoin is neither backed by a government requiring it to be used for legal tender nor redeemable into a useful commodity (such as gold or silver), Bitcoin’s value derives solely from its expected usefulness as a medium of exchange with other potential users. The greater the number of users (people in the Bitcoin network) the more likely it will be accepted in exchange, and the fewer users the less likely it will be accepted in exchange. Two problems exist for the widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a major currency. First, the distributed network nature of Bitcoin means only 3 – 7 transactions can be completed per second. In contrast, Visa handles an average of 1667 transactions per second. Second, existing government policies around the world, or changes in those policies, influence the number of users and Bitcoin’s value. In Bangladesh, for example, use of Bitcoin carries a penalty of 12 years in prison, effectively outlawing Bitcoin as a medium of exchange and reducing the size of the network. Threats by Russia to bar Bitcoin have reduced its potential network size, and reduce its value. On the other hand, Venezuela’s hyper-inflation increased the use of Bitcoin by Venezuelans and increased its value.

Find additional information on Bitcoin on William Luther’s website.

The Brandt Lecture is produced and coordinated by Allen Dalton, an adjunct instructor in the Department of Economics.

The Brandt Lecture is funded by the Brandt Foundation. John Brandt and his wife Orah were community leaders in Nampa throughout their lives, actively supporting private and public education and other community endeavors with both financial contributions and commitment of their time. Both John and Orah had an abiding belief in the value and virtue of free enterprise, and they established the John H. and Orah I. Brandt Foundation to support those values in perpetuity.

For additional information on the Brandt Lecture series and previous speakers, visit

Ward and Joe Parkinson Tell the Story of Starting Micron

mark bannister, joe parkinson, ward parkinson

COBE Dean Mark Bannister and Micron founders Joe and Ward Parkinson

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 marked the inaugural lecture of the College of Business and Economics’ new Entrepreneur Connect Speaker Series. A standing room only crowd welcomed Micron cofounders Ward and Joe Parkinson to Skaggs Hall in the aptly named Micron Business and Economics building. The twin brothers took turns recounting the early days of founding one of Boise’s biggest success stories. Ward, the engineer of the duo, had never before spoken publicly about the company making it truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the students, faculty and community members in attendance. There were lots of laughs and lessons as the duo shared experiences. They talked of the ups and down — times they nearly lost the company and times when they worked with a team of Boise’s best to keep things going.

joe and ward parkinson with small group of students

For more than an hour, Ward and Joe Parkinson answered questions from a small group of students.

Many from Micron came to hear the lecture and Ward and Joe called out the names of several as stories of Micron’s early days involved them. COBE entrepreneurship faculty Jeff Sugheir and Timothy Dunne kicked off the question and answer period and several student questions followed. After the lecture in the Executive Education Classroom, a small group of MBA students was treated to the unique opportunity of having their questions answered by Ward and Joe.

The Entrepreneur Connect Speaker Series seeks to connect successful entrepreneurs with students and the community to share stories and advice in a casual, open setting. Entrepreneur Connect celebrates fresh perspectives, taking risks and bringing new ideas to life. COBE will announce the next speaker for the spring Entrepreneur Connect lecture shortly. Stay tuned.

Economics Faculty Completed Economic Impact Study for Mountain Home

Guido Giuntini

Guido Giuntini

Don Holley

Don Holley

Anne Walker

Anne Walker

Economics faculty Guido Giuntini, Don Holley and Anne Walker, and graduate student Steve Hall recently completed an economic impact study for the city of Mountain Home’s Economic Development Office in collaboration with the Idaho Policy Institute. Mountain Home is looking to revitalize its downtown by beautifying and rendering the two main downtown streets more walking and bicycling friendly. The study looked at potential employment and economic effects of the proposed changes.

The study was very well received. Courtney Lewis from the Mountain Home Economic Development Office commented, “You helped us find data that we were struggling to identify. This had been a challenging project and having you and your team on board has been such a great resource and support.”

New Faces at COBE

Stephanie O'Malley, Sophie Croome, David Klungle

Stephanie O’Malley, Sophie Croome, David Klungle

This fall COBE has some new faces working at the college.

Stephanie O’Malley is an academic adviser with COBE Advising Services. Previously Stephanie taught with the Boise School District. She enjoys the energy at Boise State, and as a graduate of the university enjoys seeing the professional side of the institution.

Sophie Croome is working as a peer adviser with Advising Services. Sophie first worked with the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. She is studying economics with a math minor and loves connecting with students, learning their stories and seeing how she can help make Boise State home for them.

David Klungle is the new administrative assistant in the Department of Accountancy. David previously worked at Pioneer Federal Credit Union. He enjoys the pace at Boise State University, and that even though it is a large school, it still feels like he is part of a team.

New Federal Reserve President, Mary Daly, to Speak at Boise State

Mary DalyMary C. Daly took office as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on October 1, 2018. In this role, she serves as a voting member on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Fed’s Twelfth District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington, D.C.

One of her first speaking engagements as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco will be at Boise State University. Daly will give remarks and have a Q&A period on Tuesday, November 13 at 3-4:15 p.m. in the Imagination Lab (room 2302) in the Micron Business and Economics Building.

“It is an honor to have President Mary Daly give her first public address at Boise State,” said Department of Economics Chair Chris Loucks. “Dr. Daly, formerly director of research at the San Francisco Fed, is an internationally recognized scholar in labor economics. Her published work deals with income inequality, wage and unemployment dynamics, and workforce development. As a high school drop-out, first-generation college student, an ardent supporter of diversity and inclusion and a very successful economist, she is an excellent role model for Boise State students, particularly females and minorities interested in the study of economics. I encourage all students to attend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Daly’s research focuses on labor market dynamics and the aggregate and distributional impacts of monetary and fiscal policy. Her published work is frequently cited by other prominent economists and academics, and by journalists.

Daly is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on her scholarly research on social economics and has become a strong voice for increasing diversity among the leadership ranks of the Federal Reserve System by building the pipeline of women and minorities entering the economics profession. In addition to visiting and speaking with educators and students about careers in economics, she frequently engages on social media platforms such as Quora, Medium and Twitter as part of her personal dedication to make economics more accessible to a broader audience.

Daly’s record of public service and research extends well beyond the Federal Reserve System. She has served on the advisory boards of the Congressional Budget Office, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Rehabilitation Research and Training, the Institute of Medicine, and the Library of Congress.

Daly earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. She also completed a National Institute of Aging post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University.

Daly is a native of Ballwin, Missouri. She is married and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

COBE Launches New Course and Entrepreneur Connect Speaker Series

The College of Business and Economics is pleased to welcome its newest adjunct faculty member: Micron Technology co-founder Joe Parkinson. Parkinson will use his experience as founder, CEO, entrepreneur, legal scholar and high school teacher and coach to create a new class in the College of Business and Economics titled “Being CEO of Your Own High Tech Business.” The class, ENTREP 497, will be offered in spring 2019.

In a meeting to discuss the course, Parkinson was introduced to new COBE Interim Dean, Mark Bannister. Bannister, like Parkinson, shares a passion for entrepreneurship and suggested a speaker series focused on successful entrepreneurs, with Joe and his twin brother, Ward, as inaugural speakers. The lecture would pique the interest of students for the new spring semester course and give students, faculty and the community an inside look at one of Boise’s largest success stories.

“What an excellent starting line-up,” says, Bannister. “I am thrilled with Joe’s course and the creation of the speaker series: Entrepreneur Connect. Entrepreneurship is one of my passions. I couldn’t be more pleased to have two of Idaho’s most successful and internationally known entrepreneurs kicking off our series. Entrepreneur Connect will be a useful experience for entrepreneurs and students alike.”

The inaugural speaker series event, Starting Micron: Founders Ward Parkinson and Joe Parkinson Share Their Story,  is Tuesday, November 13 at 3:00-4:15 p.m. in the Skaggs Hall of Learning, MBEB 1301.

Learn more about the Entrepreneur Connect Speaker Series and the Parkinson brothers here.

Students, are you interested in Joe Parkinson’s course, Being CEO of Your Own High Tech Business? Look for ENTREP 497 in Class Search Enrollment in the Student Center.Micron Business and Economics Building masked in blue and orange squares

COBE Program Participants Recieve Idaho Innovation Awards

The Idaho Technology Council held its 2018 Hall of Fame Event on October 17. This event included the Idaho Innovation awards, which recognizes professionals and individuals throughout Idaho that have brought innovative solutions to their field.

Several awardees participate with a mentorship program with Boise State University student interns. The COBE Funding Accelerator powered by VentureCapital.Org gives student interns, known as Investor Liaisons, invaluable experience by working with founders and world-class mentors who help the company strategically engage with the investment community.

Many of VentureCapital.Org’s alumni companies earned awards at the Idaho Technology Council event, including Al Youngwerth with Versabuilt Robotics, Leif Elgethun of Retrolux, and Sean Luangrath of Inergy Solar. Additionally, Bob Melni, a client of Techhelp (housed at COBE), received an award as well.

Learn more about the Idaho Innovation Award here.