Student brings sustainability to business

May 19, 2010

Roman Wroclawski is living up to ASU’s ideal of “social embeddedness” – the goal of getting university students, faculty and staff to put their education and expertise to work in the community beyond campus. 

A senior majoring in computer systems engineering in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Wroclawski is using his skills to streamline operations for a local small business. Download Full Image

Wroclawski has been building computers as a hobby since he was 12. So five years ago when he was hired as a swim instructor by the Hubbard Family Swim School in the greater Phoenix area, it didn’t take long for his computer expertise to get the attention of the school’s owners. He soon was given the job of information technology director.

While updating the school’s website, Wroclawski says he got frustrated by a lack of organizational management. There were problems caused by constant paper shuffling, inconsistent record-keeping and out-of-date documents – all of which was detrimental to the school’s operating budget.

His response was to create a system he called The Binder, specifically tailored for a swim school business. It was “no-distribution” process for all three locations of the school’s swimming facilities that eliminates faxing and printing out paper records.

Wroclawski describes The Binder as an interactive notebook that contains training and operational material that can easily be updated without using paper.

“His technological innovation has set us apart from thousands of small businesses around the country for our ability to run our business more efficiently,” says school owner Bob Hubbard. “We now have an extremely consistent methodology for our operations.”

An example of user- friendliness of The Binder: When Wroclawski traveled to Poland he was able to access the system and work for the Hubbard Swim School while overseas.

He sees the accomplishment as not only a cost-savings success but a model for sustainability.

“Every paper I could save was a positive step in the direction of going ‘green’ and sharing my passion of conserving [resources],” Wroclawski says. 

In May, Hubbard Family Swim Club owners Bob and Kathy Hubbard are attending Australia’s World Aquatics Center Conference, where they will be featured speakers. Representatives from more than 300 schools from Australia and New Zealand are expected to attend.

In one presentation, the Hubbards will showcase Wroclawski’s innovative organization system for swim schools. Using Skype, Wroclawski will address conference participants and answer questions.

“One thing I focus on that a lot of computing engineers forget about is the human factor,” he says.   He continues to ask everyone from the receptionist to the school’s retirees how the website is working and what can be improved.

When he’s not busy with engineering classes, swimming and working at the swim school, Wroclawski can also be found volunteering for various community and school efforts.

He volunteers at the Community Economic Development Alliance, a Tempe-based nonprofit organization that runs an emergency food assistance program and provides housing services to the disabled homeless. He’s helping reorganize and build a new and more user-friendly website to promote the organization, recruit volunteers and expand food storage.

Last summer, he helped with the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at ASU by making a camp guest book.

Patricia Smith, a K-12 outreach coordinator for ASU’s engineering schools, which organizes the summer camp for middle school students, describes Wroclawski as “an ambitious, insightful and compassionate individual, who is already making a significant positive impact on his community. He is one of those people whom I expect will change the world in a great way in the coming years.”

Naala Brewer, a lecturer in ASU’s School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, one of Wroclawski’s teachers, says his class work demonstrates an acute attention to detail and the ability to understand connections among a diverse range of topics.

“I'm sure this is why he is able to apply his education to real-world situations,” Brewer says. “I am not surprised at his success building and implementing a computerized distribution process for the Hubbard Swim School.”

Written by Jessica Graham

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Program advances Native American fiscal systems, management

May 19, 2010

ASU's American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) in conjunction with the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) conducted the second class of the Tribal Financial Manager Certificate program. The course took place May 18-20, at ASU's Tempe campus. The sold-out program gathered 25 participants from 15 American Indian tribal nations from throughout the United States.

AIPI and NAFOA have been working together since early 2009 to provide tribal financial managers the essential policy and technical tools to manage fiscal systems within the context of American Indian government and enterprise operations. The certificate program also provides Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits through NAFOA. NAFOA is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Download Full Image

“All tribal services and programs are dependent on quality fiscal management whether it is paid for by tribally generated revenues or outside grants," said Eddie Brown, executive director of AIPI (Pascua Yaqui & Tohono O’odham Nation). "Participating in the Tribal Financial Manager Certificate program is one way that tribes can ensure that they are maintaining high standards in their fiduciary responsibilities.”

Tribal nation participants for the May 2010 program included: Colorado River Indian Tribes, Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Gila River Indian Community, Hualapai Nation, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Navajo Nation, Organized Village of Kake, Pueblo of Laguna, Round Valley, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Squaxin Island Tribe, Susanville Rancheria and Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe.

“We are pleased that this program is in such high demand," said William Lomax (Gitxsan Nation), president of NAFOA. "Tribal nations recognize the link between sound fiscal systems and the strengthening of tribal sovereignty. By learning and implementing financial best practices, we improve our ability to meet the needs of our tribal members.”

The first Tribal Financial Managers Certificate program took place in September 2009. The program's exposure at NAFOA’s national conference in March 2010 helped create a demand for the latest program launch.

The AIPI is committed to tribally-driven participatory research and develops programs to support tribal capacity building. For more information on all AIPI programs visit" target="_blank">

The Native American Finance Officers Association is based out of Phoenix. Tashina Etter (Navajo) is the deputy executive director. NAFOA’s mission is to improve the quality of financial and business management of tribal governments, their entities and their businesses. Visit NAFOA's website for more details:">">