MICHELLE A. BOND, MBA '06, never pictured herself living in the middle of the Ozarks, but that's where she is after being recruited by Arkansas-based Tyson Foods.
When headhunters approached her about working there, she was hesitant. Place had been important to the Southern Oregon native. She picked Colorado State University "to be in the mountains" and the master's of business administration at Portland State for her return to the Northwest.
But after Tyson flew her and her mother to Springdale, Arkansas, to tour the surroundings, "I fell in love with the area," she says.
Northwest Arkansas, it turned out, was "full of young transplants, not a deep South atmosphere." Several other large corporations have sales and marketing offices there, catering to Arkansas-based Wal-Mart. Bond lives two miles from work, where she is assistant product manager, a marketing position in which she is responsible for a core group of items and also is in charge of all Tyson coupons.
"I love it; my job is great," says Bond, who gained valuable training and experience in PSU's Food Industry Leadership program, where she earned a certificate in food marketing and logistics. That program "caught my attention," she recalls, when she was seeking a school to pursue her master's.
While at Colorado State, she studied abroad for a time at the University of Wales; her major was in food science and nutrition. But Bond decided she didn't want to work in a laboratory, and would obtain a business graduate degree.
While at Portland State, she completed her degree at night while working "beyond full time" in customer relations, sales, and merchandising for Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
Bond says she has made "tons of friends" in Arkansas, and her only complaint is the state's hot, humid summers. But she likes "anything outdoorsy. It's beautiful."
By Cliff Collins