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Introducing Bryan Stikeleather

Bryan Stikleather joined the School of Accounting in Fall 2013.  He earned his B.A. in Economics-Accounting from Claremont McKenna College and his PhD in Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh.  After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Bryan worked for Arthur Andersen, LLP; TST OnRamp Internet Services, and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service. 


While working for Immigration in Los Angeles, CA, Bryan interviewed many couples who were seeking citizenship based upon marriage.  In this position, he was tasked with determining whether or not their marriages were for love or for a green card.  He also assisted in breaking up several fraud rings consisting of dozens of green card violators.  One of the most unusual experiences as an immigration office was when Bryan found himself in the position to assist the general manager for a world-famous rock band to avoid deportation for prior indiscretions.  Only in LA!


Bryan met his wife, Elissa, in September 2002 when he and a buddy were planning to fly to Chicago on the anniversary of 9/11 to see the new Michael Jordan statue.  His buddy’s girlfriend, however, had other plans.  As it turns out, no one went to Chicago, but they did all go to the beach instead.  It was not until Spring 2003 that Bryan and Elissa began dating, but within ten months, they were married.   They now have four adorable children who sang The Star Spangled Banner for us at the departmental picnic in September.  They are Owen (7), Caleb (5), Sarah (3), and John (1).  While Bryan professes to have no spare time because he has to get tenure, he states that when he does he spends it reading, assisting with home-schooling his family, playing tennis, and having family-meal conversations. 


When asked about influences that steered him towards accounting, Bryan talks about his highly entrepreneurial family and his excellent accounting faculty during his undergraduate years.  Many members of his family have their own business – his father has a real estate agency and his sister has her own web design company – and Bryan spent many of his formative years working with family members in their businesses.  Bryan is considered to be the family’s “black sheep” because he doesn’t have his own business; however, he did come close when he tried his hand at  “flipping” houses, buying old houses to fix them – doing some of the work himself – and selling them for a profit (or a loss).  In this capacity, Bryan refers to himself as a “handy accountant”, performing plumbing, carpentry, even some electrical work, and monitoring the costs to ensure his profit margin.


Bryan enjoys teaching because he really likes people and he enjoys the opportunity to inspire others to learn.  However, his main accounting love is research.  In 2012, he received the Deloitte Foundation Doctoral fellowship award, a David Berg Center for Ethics & Leadership research grant, and a Dean’s Small Research Grant from the University of Pittsburgh for his research efforts.  He considers himself to be a managerial accounting researcher who uses experiments and behavioral economics to provide insights on how to motivate and control employees.  For example, some of his research examines whether employers benefit more from offering workers a reward to report a co-worker’s on-the-job misconduct or from simply relying on workers’ moral and non-financial motivations to speak up.


I asked Bryan to tell me something about himself that people would find unusual about him.  He was stumped for a time, but he finally told me that he was previously licensed as an auctioneer in NC.  He took an 8 week class and then had to be a guest auctioneer at a local auction.  He says he is a little out of practice, but feels sure he could get the lingo going again, if needed.  Bryan is also a third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization.  In 2012, the Knights donated $167,549,817 and 70,113,207 man-hours to charitable causes.  Some of these include Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, and various disaster relief projects. 


-         Written by Cynthia Parker, School of Accounting