Business & Economics Dept
Dr. Cowles’ background is in commercial banking, where he worked for one of the largest commercial banks in New England. One of the most fascinating and fulfilling aspects of his banking career was working with entrepreneurs who had a better idea for doing something and who left secure careers to start a successful business of their own.
During a recent sabbatical he redeployed his banking skills in microfinance, working in Washington, D.C. as an investment consultant and acting director of investments at MicroVest Capital Management, a firm that raises funds from commercial investors and invests them in microfinance institutions worldwide.
Dr. Cowles’ primary undergraduate teaching responsibilities include business ethics and strategy, international business, and an introductory survey of business. He also teaches a course entitled Comparative Perspectives on Business and Society in EMU’s MBA program, which examines business ethics and policy at the level of the employee, the firm, and the macro economy. As quoted in an article on the teaching of ethics in business schools published in the Daily News Record (3/27/10), Dr. Cowles stated, “The free market system is based on trust. It’s not a peripheral issue. It’s central to the free market.”
He has also led a variety of cross-cultural programs in Japan, Europe, Jamaica, and the Navajo Nation, many of them geared toward his interests in international business and development.
Dr. Cowles formerly chaired the Department of Business and Economics and has played an active role in university governance. As Department Chair he was a practicing manager, continually involved in the types of actions and decisions concerning people, resources, and policy that most middle managers in a business–or any type of organization–are involved in. He has served on a number of committees, including the Faculty Senate, that take part in university governance, which includes formulating policy, making strategic decisions about the direction of the university, and developing new initiatives.
Dr. Gingrich specializes in development and international economics. His research activities cover a variety of topics, including the fair trade coffee market, mosquito net demand and delivery systems, and the sustainability and effectiveness of microfinance programs. He has worked on various assignments with Mennonite Economic Development Associates and Mennonite Central Committee. During the 2015-16 academic year he was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
A professor at EMU since 1995, he teaches in both the Department of Business and Economics and the Master of Business Administration program.
Leah Kratz, CPA, MBA teaches various courses in the Accounting program including Financial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Cost, Tax and Auditing. She earned an accounting degree at EMU and MBA at James Madison University. Her work experience includes public accounting and most recently in government, working for the State of Virginia as the Assistant Fiscal Director of Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center. Leah lives in Harrisonburg with her husband, Jeremy and their four children, Madeleine, Sophia, Anderson and Nolan. In her spare time she enjoys travel, cooking, reading and exercising.
James M. Leaman, Ph.D., chairs the Department of Business and Economics, where he teaches undergraduate courses in management, finance and economics, and graduate courses in organizational and leadership studies. Industry experience includes both private business and nonprofit administration, including 12 years of service with an international non-governmental organization (INGO) in Kenya. Academic preparation includes a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs, a master’s degree in Public Administration, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and computer science. The perspective Jim adds to his field is analyzing and teaching about the role and impact of business and organizations within ecological limits and dynamic social systems, resulting in an integrated lens of sustainability, stewardship and justice.
Andrew Miller, MS, MDiv, has an interest in working with students and leaders towards self-understanding and personal formation as a foundation for organizational leadership and development. He draws upon his studies of strategic leadership studies (PhD program, James Madison University, ongoing), economics (MS, Iowa State University, 2003) and theology (MDiv, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, 2008) as a grounding for this process. Before beginning at EMU in the fall of 2012, he had served as Southeast Asia Representative for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) supervising and facilitating strategic development in the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam country programs and advising local partners on strategic development as requested. He also served as Agricultural Program Coordinator for MCC in Prey Veng Province, Cambodia for two years. He is captivated by the Angkorean era temples and cuisine of Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
In addition to working as office coordinator for the business and economics department, Patty Eckard is a mother of two adult sons. Her hobbies include reading, crosstitch, scrapbooking, and cooking, and spending time with her granddaughter. She is actively involved in her church (Faith Community) where she is on the worship team.