CORVALLIS, Ore. - Julianna Sowash, an Oregon State University alumna and former executive director of the Oregon Executive Masters in Business Administration program, has been named director of the Austin Family Business Program in OSU's College of Business.

Sowash brings more than 15 years of experience at OEMBA, the financially self-supporting joint graduate business program of Oregon's three largest state universities.

"Julianna's experience in providing leadership, development and growth in higher education programs will be an asset to the Austin Family Business Program," said Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU's College of Business. "I worked closely with her when she was the OEMBA executive director and was continually impressed with her professionalism and ability to navigate complex relationships to benefit a variety of audiences and the bottom line."

Under Sowash's leadership, the executive MBA program grew to annually serve 90 students, 900 alumni and 35 contracted faculty members. In addition to her role as the executive director at the OEMBA, she has also has experience working in higher education at the University of San Diego, where she also earned her master's in business administration.

For the past year, Sowash was the vice president of operations at DePaolo Equine Concepts, a family owned nutraceutical company specializing in equine health. While there, she responsible for the strategic planning, product development, marketing planning and compliance with industry and federal regulations.

"I am excited to again be back in higher education and a part of the OSU community," Sowash said. "I am a third-generation Oregon Stater and my experience as a student at the university helped shape my career and deep commitment to community."

"This role is an ideal fit for my professional background and aspirations," she added. "I understand and recognize the role that family businesses play in our economy, specifically in the Northwest region, and it is essential that they not only succeed, but thrive."

As the Austin Family Business Program director, Sowash is also the A.E. Coleman Chair in Family Business. The endowed chair honors the founder of A.E. Coleman Jewelers, a Corvallis family business since 1927, and assures sustained entrepreneurial leadership for the program.

The OSU College of Business also will soon begin a search for a director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. The position, to be vacated at the end of the academic year, will direct the program in promoting and leading entrepreneurship and innovation research, education and new venture development and commercialization across the OSU campus and throughout Oregon. Kleinsorge will serve as the interim director and will also lead the search for a new director.

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program is a university-based family business program providing inspiration, education, outreach, and research to support the success and survival of family businesses. The program prepares family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and individuals, as they address the challenges and opportunities which inevitably arise, day-to-day and during succession.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695