PULLMAN, Wash. — Fifteen experts in the world of finance have become the first members of a new advisory board in the Washington State University College of Business and Economics.

“We are thrilled that some of the most respected and successful financial managers in the region are willing to lend their expertise to help guide our finance program,” says professor Hal Kerr, chair of the finance, insurance and real estate department.

Twelve of the members are from Spokane, two from WSU, and another works in southern California. Seven of the 13 are WSU alumni.

Chairing the board at its first meeting this spring was John Kling, finance professor and first holder of the Gary P. Brinson Endowed Chair in Investment Management. Kling has recently retired from WSU and will be working at Fuller and Thaler Investment Management Co. in San Mateo, Calif.

When the board meets for the second time, on Oct. 6 in Pullman, finance professor and new Brinson chair Rick Sias will head the committee.

Members of the Finance Advisory Board from Spokane are (in alphabetical order):

— Ron Bower, executive VP, chief credit officer, Inland Northwest Bank.
— Ed Cassens, senior portfolio manager, Bank of America.
— Jon Eliassen Sr., VP, chief financial officer, Avista Corp.
— Steve Fazzari, VP, Eastern commercial banking, Bank of America Corp.
— Merilee Frets, investment executive, D.A. Davidson.
— David S. Hayward, VP, corporate banking, Washington Trust Bank.
— Ron Johnson, Allison Johnson Venture Partners, Inc..
— Ken Roberts, president, Ken Roberts Investment Management, Inc.
— Steve Scranton, VP, portfolio management group, Washington Trust Bank.
— Jim Simmons, president, ICM Asset Management, Inc.
— Paul Steenblik, VP, treasurer, Pentzer Corp.
— Keith Thompson, VP, First American Asset Management.

Wurts and Associates consultant and 1997 finance alumnus Eoin Middaugh, of Santa Monica, Calif., also serves on the board, as does WSU Senior Investment Manager Stephen D. Thomas.

The new Finance Advisory Board is the seventh advisory board serving the college and its students and faculty.