Meet Current Cohort 15 EMBA Students

Our students and alumni hold a wide variety of positions. If you would like to speak to a student or graduate, send a request and we will connect you with one of our EMBA Ambassadors. Students in the 15 cohort are listed below.

Elicia Babac - National Director for Operations and System Development, Engage America

Elicia Babac

Elicia Babac is the National Director for Operations and System Development for Engage America, a non-partisan, nonprofit dedicated to educating the voting age population as to their civic opportunities. In this role she helped expand current Nevada operations to Virginia and Colorado.

She began her career in politics in 2005 as an intern for Governor Bobby Jindal in Louisiana. Over the next decade she was employed by a variety of candidates and elected officials in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Nevada, and Louisiana. Elicia graduated cum laude from Loyola University New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in communications. During her time there she founded the Loyola Society of Civic Engagement, which enabled her to share her love of political discourse with others. Elicia grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL and still enjoys rooting for the Crimson Tide. Elicia is married to Marko Babac; together, they have a Great Dane named Bono. Elicia and her husband own a home near Lone Mountain and are parishioners at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Elicia loves theater, French wine, and breathtaking views of nature.

Eugenio Francesco Bafaro - Assistant PDC Manager, PACCAR Parts

Eugenio Francesco Bafaro

Eugenio Bafaro has served as the Assistant Manager of the PACCAR Parts Distribution Center (PDC) in North Las Vegas since 2015. PACCAR Parts, a division of PACCAR Inc., provides aftermarket customer support in distribution, sales, and marketing. Eugenio has been with PACCAR Parts since 2010 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of supply chain, marketing services, product marketing, and operations. He completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing research at Western Washington University. Eugenio chose the UNLV Executive MBA program as a critical roadmap phase, to develop his skillsets from the cohort experience, and pursue his long-term goal of managing a division at PACCAR Inc.

Eugenio and his wife, Mikaella Mia, moved from Seattle to the Las Vegas valley in 2015 with their son Gianfranco Adamo and have relished the new adventure. During their free time they enjoy traveling, cooking, eating, fitness, and finding any opportunity to take advantage of the non-Seattle weather outdoors. The family is also avid soccer fans, supporting Italian National Team, AC Milan and Sounders FC.

Patricia Beard – Vice President, Branch Office Manager, Fidelity Investments

Patricia Beard

Patricia Beard was born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She grew up riding horses and competing in rodeo and 4-H alongside her older brother and younger sister. It still gives her great pleasure to return home to help on the ranch from time to time.

Patricia graduated from Moorhead State University, Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication. She’s worked in the financial services industry for the last 16 years, and is currently Vice President, Branch Office Manager for Fidelity Investments at the Henderson, NV investor center. During her 11 years with Fidelity Investments, Patricia’s held multiple roles in a variety of locations, including Senior Branch Facilitator in Santa Monica, CA and Assistant Branch Manager in Denver. She was fortunate enough to relocate to Nevada in May of 2015 and considers herself extremely lucky to be leading the Henderson team of financial professionals at Fidelity Investments.

Outside of work, Patricia enjoys the outdoors – camping, hiking, and snowboarding are among some of her favorite activities. She also loves to travel. Her favorite location that she’s traveled to is the South of France — amazing food and amazing beauty. The rest of her free time is quality time spent with friends and family having fun.

Kristi Brooks – Account Director, Bonotel Exclusive Travel

Kristi Brooks

A native of California, Kristi Brooks moved to Las Vegas in 2013 to pursue her career in sales and hospitality. Prior to Las Vegas, Kristi resided in Southern California for eight years where she completed her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from California State University, Long Beach. She then set out to seek a fast-paced sales experience, landing the position of Director of Sales at a hotel in San Diego. Her experience and professional network in San Diego led her to a wonderful career opportunity in Las Vegas.

Currently, Kristi is an Account Director for Bonotel Exclusive Travel where she works closely with clients in international markets, manages a sales team, as well as manages the local relationship with MGM Resorts International. Her strong interpersonal skills and love of sales have led Kristi to become a leader within her organization. She is looking forward to further developing her business skills in the EMBA program in order to advance her career into unknown possibilities.

Esther Caruso-Golleher - Chief Executive Officer, Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada

Esther Caruso-Golleher

Esther Caruso-Golleher was born and raised in Las Vegas. She received her bachelor’s degree in communications from UNLV and her professional background includes executive management, marketing, and public relations. Currently, Esther serves as the chief executive officer of Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada, a faith-based, nonprofit organization that assists economically challenged families with their pregnancies and new born children, where she has been with them since 2002.

When first asked to join Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada, she was then employed as the Operations Manager of The First National Bank of Marin. Prior to this, Esther was employed by ProCap Laboratories as the Director of Marketing and Sales. She also published a local magazine that circulated to 50,000 homes in Las Vegas and Henderson.

She is the second oldest of 10 children and she boasts being the aunt of 18 nieces and nephews. Esther is married to Bill Golleher and they have three children: Justin, Miles, and Whitney.

Calin Elardi - Compliance Project Manager, Sound Physicians

Calin Elardi

Calin Elardi is a native Nevadan currently working as a compliance professional for Sound Physicians, a hospitalist company. Growing up in Las Vegas she attended Meadows High School and then moved to Kentucky to attend Transylvania University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in sociology. After graduating college, she began working as a marketing communications manager for a real estate company in Tennessee. In 2011, she transitioned to healthcare. Last year she moved back to Las Vegas and now works remotely for her company. She is certified in healthcare compliance, healthcare privacy compliance, and is a certified compliance and ethics professional from the compliance certification board. In 2016, she traveled to Prague for an international compliance academy and sat for that examination in June.

Calin loves photography and spending time with friends and family.

Raymond Fyler – Front Services Manager, Circus Circus Las Vegas

Raymond Fyler

Raymond Fyler is currently the Front Services Manager at Circus Circus Las Vegas. In this role, Raymond leads a team providing a high level of guest service in the Bells, Valet & Concierge departments. Prior to working with Circus Circus, Raymond worked for a diverse range of organizations in the hospitality and medical industries. He also served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army.

Raymond and his wife, Justine, have three children together. In his spare time, Raymond likes to watch Alabama football with his kids and coach his youngest son’s soccer team.

Hykeem Gaddis – Senior Clinical Practice Manager, DaVita HealthCare Partners

Hykeem Gaddis

Hykeem Gaddis has a proven history of leadership including selecting, developing, and leading teams. Currently serving as a Senior Clinical Practice Manager at DaVita HealthCare Partners (DHCP), Hykeem oversees eight primary care clinics. He is responsible for overall operations strategy, supporting patient growth, reducing costs to the organization, as well as managing nearly 100 teammates. Previous roles at DHCP include patient services representative, medical assistant, case management assistant, and regional assistant practice manager for DHCP clinics in Pahrump and Mesquite, NV. In addition to working at DHCP, Hykeem worked as a foreign English teacher in Shenzhen, China. He also worked for IBM as technical support.

Hykeem grew up in Las Vegas and graduated from Hampton University in Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While at Hampton, Hykeem was the Chief of Staff for the Student Government Association, Skipper on the Varsity Sailing Team and conducted research for the psychology department. In his spare time, Hykeem enjoys cooking, reading, participating in obstacle course challenges, and is an avid sports fan.

Aurora Hernandez Herskowitz - Business Development Manager in Mergers & Acquisitions, CAPNA

Aurora Hernandez Herskowitz

A Southern California native, Aurora comes to us with a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. Aurora relocated from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 2011, at the turn of the economy. Stemming from a career in state and local tax, Aurora co-owned her business as a tax credit consultant before pursuing a career in business banking. She was a Business Banking Specialist for Chase and US Bank. In 2015, Aurora was approached to manage the merger & acquisition goals for Companion Animal Practice North America (CAPNA). In her current role as the Business Development Manager, Aurora performs business valuations for veterinary practices throughout various regions of North America. With her team, Aurora also contributes to CAPNA’s marketing initiatives by writing content for her company’s newsletter and brochure.

Aurora was motivated to pursue her EMBA at UNLV five years ago. Taking her time to begin the application process over the years, Aurora gained sudden inspiration after a series of life events. In 2016, she decided to “finally try and apply.” Her journey in this effort is one of personal passion and intrinsic motivation to pursue her dreams and bring pride to her family. Aurora’s hobbies include long-distance running and feeding her current, and self-described, obsession with Pilates-Yoga.

Katrina Jensen – Electrical Engineer, US Department of State

Katrina Jensen

Biography coming soon.

Andrew Kerzmann - Executive Director of Hotel Operations, The Mirage

Andrew Kerzmann

Andrew Kerzmann is the Executive Director of Hotel Operations at The Mirage. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of all Front Services, Room Reservations, Front Office, Business Center, EVS, Concierge, PABX, and Uniform Control departments. He works closely with all areas in the Hotel Division to provide support and guidance in alignment with property and company strategic objectives.

Andrew began his hospitality career with MGM Resorts International in 2008 in the Management Associate Program (MAP) at New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Since then he has held multiple positions within various properties including: Assistant Hotel Manager at New York New York, Front Office Manager at The Signature at MGM Grand, Hotel Manager at New York New York, and Director of Front Office at The Mirage.

He found his calling in the hospitality industry while attending North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND where he worked as a Front Desk Clerk at a Holiday Inn Express while earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration. In his spare time he loves to play golf, spend time on the beach, and travel.

Dianna Klein – First Officer, United Airlines

Dianna Klein

Dianna Klein is a pilot for a major U.S. airline flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. During her major airline tenure, she spent four years in various management positions within the airline’s Flight Operations Division. Most recently, she served as a First Officer Flight Manager at the airline’s second largest pilot base, overseeing base operations and managing over 700 First Officers. Additionally, she served as a B-737 Pilot Instructor/Evaluator for the same major U.S. airline. Prior to her civilian employment, Dianna served as an officer in the USAF Reserves flying the C-5 Galaxy during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

In 2014, Dianna founded her own aviation consulting company, Shenandoah Aviation, LLC, specializing in Safety Management Systems (SMS) development and implementation. Through this effort, Dianna accepted a position with Zephyr Aerial Productions, LLC, an unmanned aerial data gathering company, as Vice-President, Regulatory Compliance, where she oversees the company’s relationship with the Federal Aviation Administration, manages the SMS program and ensures aerial drone operations are regulatory compliant.

Dianna holds a Master of Science in Aeronautical Science with a dual specialization in human factors and aviation safety and a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. She currently resides in the Aliante neighborhood with her husband, Mark, and they are expecting their first child in July. When not studying EMBA coursework, researching how to diaper a newborn, or working, Dianna can be found spending time with Mark running, hiking, attending yoga classes, or flying their 4-seat Cessna 170 from North Las Vegas airport to scenic locations throughout the west.

Kyle Knapper – Finance Manager, PR & Government Relations, Caesars Entertainment

Kyle Knapper

A Las Vegas Native, Kyle Knapper lives and breathes the history of this iconic city, working for the world’s most geographically diversified casino-entertainment company, Caesars Entertainment. With 18 years of experience, Kyle serves as Finance Manager, overseeing the multi-million dollar budgets for the corporate divisions of Government Relations, Public Affairs and Communication. He also manages budgets for 11 independent cost centers and provides analytic support for all major projects within these divisions.

When Kyle isn’t crunching numbers, he’s busy in his community, serving countless hours as a volunteer. Kyle sits on the board of the Las Vegas Gospel Theater; a local faith based, non-profit organization. He also coaches youth in a local basketball league and carves out time to tutor disadvantaged high school students.

Kyle holds a bachelor’s degree from UNLV and is thrilled to be working on his MBA.

 

Dave Lacey – Manager, North & South America, Robertson Geologging (USA) Inc.

Dave Lacey

Dave Lacey is a native Texan who moved to Las Vegas in 2010. He currently manages the U.S. office of Robertson Geologging Ltd. (RGL), a British designer and manufacturer of geophysical borehole logging systems. Their equipment is utilized in the exploration of groundwater, mineral, and hydrocarbon resources, as well as geotechnical site investigation. Dave spent the first several years of his career with RGL focusing exclusively on Latin America, and has traveled to, and conducted business in, every major market in Latin America and many of the smaller ones. A product of an American father and a fiercely proud Cuban mother, Dave is fluent in Spanish and has gained a working knowledge of Portuguese while on the job.

Dave enjoys fishing of any kind and following Texas Longhorn football. He spends most of his free time with his wife, Tarissa, a Las Vegas native, and their two-year old twin sons Nolan and Wyatt.

Jessica Mulliner – Quality Assurance Manager, Scientific Games

Jessica Mulliner

Jessica Mulliner is a Quality Assurance Manager at Scientific Games (SG), the leading innovator in the global lottery and regulated gaming industries. Jessica has been with SG for eight years, and in her current role focuses on manufacturing quality, process improvements and issue resolution.

Jessica grew up in the small town of Ely, NV. She relocated to Las Vegas in 2000, where she earned her bachelor’s in degree business administration at UNLV. Jessica is very excited to experience the EMBA journey and hopes to expand her knowledge and gain exposure to other industries. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, and being outdoors.

Stephen Packard – Senior Project Manager, Kiewit

Stephen Packard

Stephen Packard is employed at Kiewit as a Senior Project Manager. Kiewit is ranked as the fifth largest construction company in North America by ENR. Stephen is currently the project manager over the $485 million Allen Combined Cycle Power Project in Memphis, TN. The Allen Plant repowers an outdated coal plant, and will provide the mid-south with the newest technology for producing power. He attained an electrical engineering degree from the University of Wyoming in 2000.

Stephen’s long-awaited plan to get his MBA came true in 2015. He will use the UNLV EMBA connections to gain friendships and hopes to serve as a board member in his community. Also, Stephen is an avid pass-time investor in rental properties. He plans to use his real estate knowledge and MBA education to grow the business.

Stephen and his wife, Natasha, made their home in Las Vegas after moving across the U.S. and Canada. They enjoy entertaining friends and family, traveling domestically, and tough challenges. They also enjoy summers with their nieces, nephews, and their dog Matteo.

Scott Petsel – Vice President, Exploration, Metallic Minerals Corp.

Scott Petsel

Scott Petsel graduated from Fort Lewis College with a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1987 born in St. Louis, his life journey has taken him to many unexpected places. Scott’s primary work as a mineral explorationist has allowed him the privilege of working in many locations and cultures around the world, including, but not limited to, Colorado, Arizona, Alaska (20 years), eastern and western Canada, Russia, Mexico, and the Philippines. In a recent position as Project Manager of the Upper Kobuk Mineral Project in the Brooks Range of northwestern Alaska, he was the “face” of the project and enjoyed frequent community relations work with the native Inupiaq peoples of the region. Scott’s varied past also includes employment as a legislative aide in the Alaskan House of Representatives and as an assistant high school football coach.

In his spare time he is authoring a book entitled The Golfers Guide to Greater Vancouver, Canada. Scott currently resides in Henderson and you will frequently find him with his beautiful wife Katy (a yoga teacher), on the golf course.

Sarath Sivadasan - Manager Engineering, Scientific Games

Sarath Sivadasan

Growing up in a small town surrounding a heavy engineering firm in the industrial belt of east India, Sarath was headed down the path of becoming yet another mechanical engineer. In fact, he has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. However, while at school, he found his passion in software engineering and later made a career working for companies such as Geometric Software Solutions and Dassault Systemes in product lifecycle management. He moved to the U.S. in 2006 to accompany his wife who was relocating for work. After a couple of years they moved to Las Vegas where he went to work for Bally Technologies in the gaming industry. The company, through multiple mergers and acquisitions, is currently Scientific Games where he is the Engineering Manager for a team developing features for the company's gaming platform. Having recently switched roles from Principal Engineer, it was the perfect opportunity to pursue the EMBA to enhance his managerial skills and complete a personal goal.

All his spare time is devoted to his family of two children, Avik and Anika, and lovely wife, Sunita.

Greg Snyder – Area Manager, Apple

Greg Snyder

Greg Snyder has spent almost 20 years in the service industry with various companies like Verizon Wireless, Best Buy, and Apple, Inc. After some soul-searching, Greg recognized a change was needed. He transitioned to a product support environment and is currently an Area Manager for Apple. In his current role, Greg works from home and leads a group of 150 customer service advisors and managers whom are spread out across the country.

Greg's journey has taken him to several places, but he considers Southern California home. For fun, you can find Greg enjoying a wide array of activities like poker, film, and hiking in Red Rock. In addition to the service industry, Greg has appeared on-stage in Los Angeles and venues across the country as a stand-up comedian. He has also written several stage plays and pilot spec scripts. If you asked Greg what his purpose is, he would probably tell you, "see and do as much as you can."

Kyle Soltesz – Owner & Operator, Superior Social

Kyle Soltesz

Kyle Soltesz currently serves as Vice President of Business Development for Glovalex America where he specializes in social media management and lead generation. Kyle’s role at Glovalex takes him to their offices around the world, particularly to Okinawa, Tokyo and Taipei.

Prior to his current role, Kyle was a production manager at State Farm where he helped earn the agency “Chairman’s Circle” accolades. Kyle began his career as an entrepreneur. At the age of 14 he started a DJ company, Superior Rhythms. This would be the first of many forays into running his own business. Soon thereafter, he expand to other industries including retail with V.I.C.E. and event catering with Top Dog Pizza at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Born in Scottsdale, Arizona Kyle spent his teens and twenties in South Dakota where he his love of sprint car racing extends from his days as part of a leasing group that operated a 1/2-mile dirt track in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Kyle earned a bachelor’s of arts degree in economics and finance from Chadron State College gaining knowledge that helped him be a successful entrepreneur.

Kyle is married, to his wife Tatiana who is from Moldova. He has two sons, Kole and Kameron.

Michael Speagle - Director of Food & Beverage, Giada & The Cromwell

Michael Speagle

Michael Speagle is the Director of Food & Beverage at The Cromwell, Caesars Entertainment’s newest Las Vegas hotel development. In his role as part of The Cromwell’s top leadership team, Michael oversees all Food & Beverage operations, financials, and the service experience, in addition to celebrity chef Giada DeLaurentiis’ first-ever restaurant.

Michael began his career in 2006 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino where he grew through the ranks and managed multiple aspects of the hospitality industry. Prior to his most current position, Michael was General Manager of Giada, where he oversaw the daily operations of the award-winning, fine dining, and celebrity chef restaurant. Over the past four years, Speagle has had the opportunity to work with chef Gordon Ramsay and the opening of his three Las Vegas restaurants, Guy Fieri and now Giada DeLaurentiis. He’s built a reputation for being a world-class operator, who protects and develops high-profile chef brands. Michael has mastered the standards for celebrity chef restaurants and the integral role of building trust and respect with each of these celebrity partners.

Michael has been recognized within Caesars Entertainment and received multiple accolades. In 2012, he won the Chairman’s Award at Paris Las Vegas for innovation for his execution of the “All-you-can-drink program.” This program generated an additional $220,000 in beverage sales at Le Village Buffet and is now a program used around the city at each property’s buffet. He also received the Caesars Award of Excellence at The Cromwell in 2016 for diversity based on the success of the entire Food & Beverage department, as well as the outstanding success of Giada.

Michael is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, PA with a bachelor’s degree in communications. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, LLuvia, sons Jakob and Rayden and his daughter, Elliana. Michael also enjoys traveling, golfing, and anything outdoors.

Erica Stockwell, DO – Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Las Vegas Minimally Invasive Surgery and Women’s Pelvic Health Center

Erica Stockwell

Originally from Wisconsin, Dr. Erica Stockwell is an obstetrician and gynecologist who transplanted to Las Vegas from Minnesota in 2015 in order to pursue fellowship training in minimally invasive surgery. She currently works alongside other minimally invasive gynecologic surgeons at Las Vegas Minimally Invasive Surgery and Women’s Pelvic Health Center (LVMIS-WPHC). Dr. Stockwell received her bachelor of sciences in Biomedical Engineering and Physiology from the University of Minnesota where she conducted research for a couple years within the Biomedical Engineering Department of Biomaterials. From there she went on to medical school in Chicago at Midwestern University where she earned her Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine. She then returned back to the University of Minnesota to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology where she served as administrative chief resident and received numerous prestigious surgical awards. Dr. Stockwell has a passion for medical device and innovation. She is hoping to use her fellowship surgical training and business acumen gained through the EMBA program to launch a medical device company and enhance her career as a minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon. She also enjoys teaching and plans to perform surgical consultation and proctorship in the future.

Dr. Stockwell keeps busy not only in her career and at school, but also at home as a wife and mother of two young children. In her free time Dr. Stockwell enjoys traveling the world, performing medical missions, photography, and enjoying the great outdoors with her family.

Tifferney White - President and Chief Executive Officer, DISCOVERY Children’s Museum

Tifferney White

Tifferney White has spent her 20-plus year career supporting or leading science and technology centers and children’s museums. Today, she is highly regarded due to her unwavering commitment to the mission of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum. She demonstrates exemplary leadership and possesses a deep and technical expertise in operations, education, programs, and exhibits. Her adeptness in cultivating community partners has elevated the presence of the museum and promoted it as a “go-to” educational resource for Southern Nevada and its diverse community.

She joined the museum in 2007 as the Director of Programs and Education, was promoted to Deputy Director in 2009, and most recently served as interim CEO before officially being named President and CEO in 2015. Prior, she was the Director of Community Outreach – ScienceReach and Science Clubs, for Discovery Place Inc., in Charlotte, NC.

White is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is a member of several community service organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Junior League, to name a few. She demonstrates her commitment to serving her community by her active and hands-on work within various community service organizations in diverse roles from president to committee member.

Tifferney enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves to travel, especially to new places. One of her favorite quotes is by Muhammad Ali, who said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”

Brittinie Wick – Intelligence Analyst, United States Air Force

Brittinie Wick

Originally from Omaha, NE, Brittinie Wick enlisted in the U.S. Air Force right out of high school. The air force brought her to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada after being stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for three years. Brittinie is an intelligence analyst by trade. In her role, she supports warfighters with mission support in hostile operations and executes the Department of Defense’s counter-terrorism objectives. She also manages standards and evaluations for a 26-member intelligence shop on mission qualifications. She graduated from the American Military University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and an associate’s degree in intelligence studies and technology. Brittinie has a strong background in analysis, leadership, and formal presentations.

With an avid love of sports, Brittinie enjoys fitness, watching sports, and traveling to new places with her husband, Nicholas, in her spare time.

Steven Worley – Therapeutic Specialist, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals

Steven Worley

Upon graduating from Brigham Young University, Steven began his career as a sales representative for Pfizer, a global pharmaceuticals company. After 18 years with Pfizer, Steven opted to open three dry cleaning stores in the San Diego area. Steven also authored the book Core Reset Diet. In 2011, Steven returned to sales in the Las Vegas area. Currently, Steven is a therapeutic specialist for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.

Steven and his wife are the proud parents of five beautiful daughters. In his spare time, Steven enjoys teaching bread-baking classes, working out, and traveling.