new Banner
News & Events

BHSU business students travel to Bay Area after big names are brought into the classroom

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, January 29, 2020/Categories: Events, Students, Academic Affairs, College of Business and Natural Sciences, Community, Donations, Events, Faculty, Staff, 2019, 2020

Black Hills State University adjunct professor and entrepreneur Julie Turner Olson connected students with her large business network last semester in the Personal Selling course. The class of 12 students went on site visits, had web calls, or welcomed visitors into the classroom every Wednesday during their 50-minute class period, and ended the semester with a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area to meet with executives.
Black Hills State University adjunct professor and entrepreneur Julie Turner Olson connected students with her large business network last semester in the Personal Selling course. The class of 12 students went on site visits, had web calls, and welcomed visitors into the classroom every Wednesday during their 50-minute class period. The students were also invited by several representatives to visit offices in the San Francisco Bay Area over the semester break.

The theme of the Bay Area trip was “learning beyond books, the ultimate selling and networking experience.” The class visited and met with executives from Golden State Warriors (GSW) Stadium, Fitbit Headquarters, AT&T Park, Amazon Headquarters, Google Campus, and Hewlett Packard Headquarters.

Ty Hill, business administration and entrepreneurship major from Hot Springs, says, “With Julie and her class, we were able to get out into the field that we, as students, are interested in.” Hill continues, “It gives us a sense of ‘Wow!’ We’re gaining the knowledge, becoming business professionals doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore. We gained a sense of possibilities.”

All of the professionals who visited the class came from different backgrounds, some local and some internationally known. Students said listening to each unique story about how the businesses or owners got their start was inspiring. Many of the speakers came from small or relatable backgrounds to the students, so it felt personal.

This opportunity gave students a chance to realize that their dreams are attainable.

Olson, a BHSU alum from the Class of 1990 and 1992, began Turner Lee Consulting and Design, or TLC, in 1998 with a dream to change the way that typical marketing and design agencies are run. Major clients like Hewlett Packard now depend on TLC for development of product packaging, and Olson and her small but efficient crew emphasize transparency and client collaboration with their global presence.

Olson comments on her experience teaching Personal Selling and how she dove into her role as an educator. “My experience as a businesswoman played a critical role in my time at BHSU. By walking through that journey, myself, I was able to bring in real world situations and experiences to the classroom,” Olson says.

Olson expresses that networking is critical to personal selling, and that the relationship(s) you build can last years and years while making a large impact.

“I didn’t want the class to be about me, but about others who have had experiences to help them be successful. Learning from people in all walks of life and business experiences, their successes and failures provides a better learning experience,” Olson expresses. 

More than 20 businesses both local and national to collaborated with the class including many BHSU alums.

Participating businesses and owners included:
  • Sawyer Brewing, Lee Eddy, owner
  • Sturgis Coffee, Anna Rowett, owner and master roaster
  • Spearfish Public Works/Military Leader, Dustin Lee, director and Cdr. – flight jet pilot
  • Walmart, class project/self-guided
  • Good Day Café & Dough Trader, Kristen Bell, owner
  • Scobi Kombucha, Bianca Hutzler, owner
  • Jacobs Gallery, Scott Jacobs and Olivia (Jacobs) Chrisman, artist and owner
  • Sick Boy, Misty Asermely & team, owner
  • Drip Drop, Jackson Winn, sales manager ambassador
  • Spearfish Motors, Todd Jensen & Rocky Maier, owner & senior sales
  • Golden State Warriors, Stacey Blanda, controller & foundation executive director
  • Crossfit Reserve, Melissa Currier & Dr. Gary Childers, co-owners
  • Amazon/Apple/Fit-bit, Christopher Birgers, senior packaging design engineer
  • Creekside Bean & Vine, Vicki & Megan Furnish, co-owners
  • VAST Networks, Chris Karn, regional director of operations
  • Great Peaks Realty, Heath Gran, owner
  • Legacy Enterprises – Custom Homes, Jesse Horstmann, owner
  • Green Oven Bakery, Laura Butler, owner
  • Under Canvas, Jared Chrisman, director of sales
  • BHSU Foundation, Hans Nelson, director of corporate & career development
  • BH Pioneer, Letti Lister, president/owner
Sponsors of the students’ travel to San Francisco include:
  • Anonymous
  • Carrie Stringham – BHSU HR Professor
  • Dana Dental
  • DNA Irrigation
  • Great Peaks Realty
  • Highmark Federal Credit Union
  • John Odonoghue
  • Mark Wilson
  • Monument Health
  • Nelson Chiropractic
  • Spearfish Brewing Co.
  • Spearfish Economic Development
  • Spearfish Motors
  • State Farm Insurance
  • Vast Broadband
About the School of Business at Black Hills State University:
BHSU is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), representing the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Less than 5 percent of the 13,000 business programs worldwide have earned AACSB accreditation. BHSU was recently ranked ninth in the nation on a list of 50 of the best online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree programs for 2018 by Best Value Schools. BHSU was the only South Dakota school included in the ranking.

BHSU is a premier, student-centered college, where students can fulfill their potential in an exceptional business environment. We offer associate, bachelors (with seven specializations) and a master's degree business programs on our campus in Spearfish and Rapid City. Classes are also available online.

Through innovative instruction, mentoring, research, internships, and service, BHSU develops business graduates who can compete effectively in a dynamic global environment. For more information on the School of Business at BHSU, visit

Number of views (817)/Comments (0)


Statement from President Nichols

BHSU Communications 0 2484

It is with a troubled heart that we write this note of concern and support for the Black community. The events over the last few weeks and following the tragic senseless deaths of African Americans in Georgia, Kentucky, and Minnesota have yet again brought racial injustices to the forefront.