Between ongoing assignments, internships, and exams, education provides students with unique opportunities to meet influential people while pursuing their interests and goals. There are few individuals that have the power to impact and change lives, and the lucky ones know them as professors, supervisors, and mentors. Senior finance major, Richard Monsen, has had the privilege of being taught by such influential individuals, “I was an operations and supply chains major until I took a finance course over the summer with professor Lynn Meyers,” said Monsen, “She was really the professor that changed my perspective on finance, and how I started to have a passion for it.” Monsen’s passion for finance would soon fuel his interest in the Utah Inland Port Authority which he was able to work with through Goff Trailblazers. 


Monsen was looking for more ways to get involved on campus and stumbled upon the Goff Trailblazers course where The Utah Inland Port Authority would be the project client. The Utah Inland Port Authority is a hub for centralizing the transportation in receiving and distributing goods. They are tasked by the state to increase efficiency of the day-to-day business to make Utah the center for domestic and international trade. Jill Flygare, the COO of the Utah Inland Port Authority, was an influential mentor in Monsen’s life as she helped him focus on the finance side of the company through the Trailblazers course.  


When Monsen heard that The Utah Inland Port Authority would be one of the Trailblazers clients, he was extremely happy to be a part of it. Before he knew it, he was right in the thick of the action being led by his instructor, Dr. Ruchi Watson. Dr. Watson gave Monsen the tools to succeed and feel confident in an unfamiliar role and environment for most college students. “My team consisted of me and three others.” Monsen said, describing their projects as “basically market research of other inland ports around the U.S. and also around Canada.”   


Right away, Monsen knew this class was beyond a typical classroom environment, “I don’t really know what it is, but I just know that it’s different. It’s not business focused, it’s strategy.” Monsen said, “It’s just learning to change your view to be strategic in how you see work and the world.” Monsen expressed that this course was not simply for business majors, but for anybody who strives to be a strategic leader in the field of their choosing. The class isn’t designed to feel like it’s being taught out of a textbook, it’s coming from the real-world experience, “This was my best class,” Monsen said, “It was the most fun, and every time class came up that week, I looked forward to it.”