John C. Stophel Distinguished Student Award

The College of Business John C. Stophel Distinguished Student Award is presented annually to recognize high potential business students who have made significant and meaningful civic contributions to UTC and the College of Business while maintaining a strong academic record.

Students must provide evidence of exceptional extracurricular leadership and community service, strong leadership skills, self-motivating initiative, exceptional presentation skills, and a strong academic record with minimum GPA of 3.0.

Below are the 2006-2007 John C. Stophel Distinguished Students.


Undergraduate Students

Daniel Dance

Kristopher Rhea

Kelly Urbanek

James Wheeler

Graduate Students

Ava Moore

James Parker

Adam Stewart

David Vernetti

Sally Wencel


Undergraduate Students

Daniel DAnce Daniel Dance

B.S. Business Administration: Accounting
B.S. Business Administration: Finance

Daniel has earned Dean’s List honors every semester throughout his UTC career. In addition, he is also a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and finance honor society, and received departmental and corporate scholarships based on his academic excellence. Since 2003 Daniel has worked at ACA Accredited United Youth Camps every summer mentoring children and teenagers. He has been an employee of Council Fire Golf Club since high school. These work experiences have enabled Daniel to develop good communication skills and identify opportunities for improvement.


Kristopher Rhea Kristopher Rhea

B.S. Business Administration: Marketing
B.S. Business Administration: General Management

After walking onto the UTC Football team, Kris vowed to remain involved in campus life throughout his college career. He was a member of the American Marketing Association and the Students for the Advancement of Management. Kris was also a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity where he held leadership positions such as Treasurer and President. He has organized community service events at the Chattanooga Nature Center and worked at several Chattanooga restaurants. Kris was an intern at The Public Defender’s Office in Chattanooga and credits this experience as the main reason he wants to pursue a career in law.


Kelly Urbanek Kelly Urbanek

B.S. Business Administration: Marketing

As an active member in the UTC Golden Key International Honor Society, Kelly served as Public Relations Chair and also as Vice President. She was involved in UTC YoungLife and the Administration Team. Kelly held an unpaid internship at McNeely, Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville for which she was able to receive class credit because of her initiative to communicate with her advisors.


James Wheeler James Wheeler

B.S. Business Administration: General Management

James is involved with several different organizations on campus. He was a member of Mortar Board Honor Society, President of Students in Free Enterprise, and an active member of the Catholic Student Center. James has also worked on the UTC Residence Life Staff for four years. He has served as a volunteer at an inner city middle school with the Gear Up program and organized an on-campus fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

Graduate Students

Sherita Jones

Ava Moore

Master of Business Administration

Ava worked for several years in production management and product development in the apparel industry in California before moving to Chattanooga and pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration degree at UTC. Since her move four years ago, she has been involved in the community by participating in the Leadership Chattanooga program, serving as treasurer for the Highland Park Neighborhood Association, and working with Girls Incorporated of Chattanooga. While focusing on her studies, Ava has also worked with small businesses in Chattanooga to help set up their accounting and bookkeeping systems. In her free time, Ava enjoys sailing and racing sailboats. She belongs to the Atlanta Yacht Club and has organized a regatta and other water events.



James Parker James Parker

Master of Business Administration

James completed a computer science degree at UTC in 2003 with a minor in Entrepreneurship and will complete the Master’s of Business Administration program in May 2007. He has worked for Tennessee Valley Authority, both as an intern in IT Planning and as a full-time professional in Data Analysis and Information Engineering. James has written, self-published, and marketed a book entitled My College Tips. He has volunteered for the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, the Combined Federal Campaign, Habitat for Humanity, and was a leader of the Information Systems Christmas Project. James is an active member of Dallas Bay Baptist church.


Adam Stewart Adam Stewart

Master of Accountancy

Adam completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, concentrating in History, at Covenant College in May 2002. He has worked as a Graduate Assistant in the UTC College of Business. As a pledge and member of Beta Alpha Psi, Adam participated in several community-service activities including Habitat for Humanity and the Walk for Life. While working in the College of Business, he assisted in conducting a marketing survey, prepared six annual income tax returns for a local small business owner, and was responsible for the constant update of the College’s tax resource room. During the 2006 summer term, Adam submitted an essay to the Attorney-CPA Foundation Essay Contest and was among several students to be awarded a prize. Outside of his continuing education and work experiences, he also has interests in angling, culinary arts, and literature.



David Vernetti David Vernetti

Master of Business Administration

After completing his B.S. and Master’s degrees in Ceramic Engineering at the University of Illinois in the early 1990s, David worked for several years at Coors Ceramics Company in Chattanooga. He then obtained a position as Engineering Manager for Cofired Products, and now is Operations Manager at Steward Advanced Materials/Steward Inc. where he is currently overseeing the company’s multi-million dollar expansion operation in China. David has served as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga for five years. He served as a Cub Scout den leader for his son’s pack, and as coach for his children’s baseball and soccer teams. David has a keen interest in leadership strategies and techniques.


Sally Wencel Sally Wencel

Master of Business Administration

Since receiving her Juris Doctorate at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Sally has worked for the Wisconsin Medical Society and is currently the first CEO of the Tennessee Physicians’ Quality Verification Organization, LLC in Chattanooga. She has had many achievements throughout her career. She wrote the first compendium of Wisconsin health law for physicians published by the Wisconsin Medical Society, which received the Honorable Mention national publication award. Sally was also elected by legal peers to the Wisconsin State Bar Health Law Governing Council where she served as Chair. She is a frequent presenter for continuing education programs, and an active member of several professional and civic organizations.