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Joint Ventures

It’s been twenty-five years  since BYU’s School of Management was rechristened in honor of J. Willard and Alice S.  Marriott. To celebrate the silver anniversary, seven couples recount how their time in the Tanner Building paid the ultimate dividend: a life of wedded bliss.

Sterling & Marinda Crowder photo of their wedding and their family

Sterling & Marinda Crowder

Married 18 August 1988

Theirs was a Marriott union that began with—what else?—a business negotiation. At an orientation barbeque, Marinda chatted briefly with Sterling about a used economics book he was selling. “It wasn’t that great of a bargain, but I bought it anyway,” Marinda says.
The pair started going out that fall, but the relationship was rocky and they broke up a few times. “I put Marinda on a roller-coaster ride,” says Sterling, who earned his MAcc in 1990. “It was partly because I felt uneasy dating someone in my ward and because I was trying to keep up with rigorous academic demands. Fortunately for me, she was able to hold on.” 

Since their marriage in 1988, however, it’s been smooth sailing. Sterling teaches accounting at Maryland’s Montgomery College and serves as tax director for the United States Enrichment Corporation. He and Marinda have three daughters attending BYU, where the girls are treading on familiar ground. Alicia worked in the Tanner Building’s computer lab, Emilee is a business management secretary, and Kara is a business major. Their youngest, Natalie, is still in middle school. “It’s fun to think that a building that held so many memories for us is a part of our children’s lives as well,” says Marinda, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1989. She occasionally still broods over that book swap, though. “Maybe if he knew I’d be his wife, he would have given me a better deal!”

Doug & Lisa Peterson 

Doug & Lisa Peterson 

Married 5 May 1989

“I might get killed for this, but I don’t remember when we had our first date,” Doug says. Not to worry: Lisa’s not entirely sure either. After meeting on the first day of the MPA program—he was struck by her baby blues and she by his six-foot-three frame—Doug and Lisa ended up in the same study group. They transitioned seamlessly to a steady romance by Thanksgiving, an engagement by Christmas, and a wedding in the spring of 1989. By the way, the chronology comes from Lisa, not Doug, who had the years mixed up. “I’m a typical guy with this kind of stuff,” he admits. 

But when it comes to his career, Doug is obviously good with numbers. After earning his MPA in 1990, Doug worked as a legislative auditor for the state of Utah and then Nevada, where he’s now an information systems audit supervisor in Carson City. Lisa, who also earned an MPA in 1990, is a former research analyst and a stay-at-home mom to sons Adam and Quinn. With their oldest child, Jessica, attending BYU, there are plenty of sentimental campus visits on the horizon. “The Marriott School gave me a wonderful husband, lifelong friends, and the tools to support my family and contribute to our community,” she says. “I cherish it all.”

Tom & Danelle Hall and their family

Tom & Danelle Hall

Married 24 August 1993

Not many couples can say they came together because of a vending machine malfunction, but that’s the sweet backstory to the Halls’ romance.

“I noticed Tom in the hallway before class,” says Danelle. “He was always reading scriptures and eating something—feeding body and soul.” A few weeks into the term, she was sitting in the back row with him just across the aisle. Another student came in late and offered Tom an ice cream sandwich, explaining that the machine had given him two for the price of one. 

“My ears perked up since I wasn’t looking forward to sitting through three hours of accounting after a lunch of yogurt and an apple,” Danelle says. “I must have been salivating, because Tom looked over and asked me if I wanted half. That’s how it all started.”

For his part, Tom was instantly smitten. “I’d bring other snacks and share them with her, and I knew there might be something to this when she started bringing food to share with me,” he says. 

Tom invited Danelle on a double date, took her to the movies, and studied with her at the library almost daily. Two months into the relationship, he got her a dozen roses and a new book bag for her birthday. “That was a little much for me,” Danelle recalls. “I wasn’t on a marriage mission. I wanted a degree, and I was going to be a great accountant!” 

She relayed her feelings to Tom and was relieved when he graciously agreed to take a few steps back. “It was obvious I was much more into her than vice versa,” he says. “When one person says they need more space, it’s usually the kiss of death, but for some reason it didn’t bother me.”

His instincts were spot on. “I felt like there were fewer strings attached, but I just got hooked in even deeper,” Danelle says. One day Tom got sick and didn’t show up for class, so Danelle decided to pay a visit. “He didn’t come to the door for a minute because the vacuum was running and he didn’t hear the doorbell,” she says. “When he opened it, I saw he was the one vacuuming. That was the clincher for me.”

The Halls got their MAcc degrees in 1994 and had their pick of job offers from the major services firms. “Danelle got five offers and I got four, which figures,” says Tom. “I’m a pretty smart guy, but she has always been smarter.” The couple moved to Denver, where she signed up with Ernst & Young and he with Deloitte. They’ve moved around a lot since—including stints in the Cayman Islands and Pennsylvania—before settling down in Newport Beach, California, where Tom works for PIMCO, a global investment company. Danelle runs her own accounting business—mostly taxes and consulting.

With four children, their home is a busy one: Tyler is a high school senior, Kristen is a freshman, Trevor is a fifth grader, and Ryan is a first grader. “We’ve been happily married for twenty years,” Tom says. “I’m really thankful for that broken vending machine in the Tanner Building!”

Troy & Jessica Sheen  and their family

Troy & Jessica Sheen 

Married 6 December 2003

Talk about missed opportunities. As freshmen, Troy and Jessica both lived at Deseret Towers, passing each other in the halls but never connecting. Two years ahead of him at the Marriott School, Jessica was the TA for one of Troy’s classes, but he never had to meet with her. When Jessica, who earned her MAcc in 1999, started working for PricewaterhouseCoopers in California and Troy interned there, they rarely talked. Even after Troy earned his MAcc and landed a full-time job with PwC in 2001—finally joining Jessica’s social circle—she kept setting him up with her gal pals. “How many chances did we need?” Jessica laughs. “But it was such a busy time, and we were both working late nights and weekends.” 

They had their first unofficial date at a coffee shop over a slice of carrot cake, and the rest is history. Troy is a senior manager with PwC in Los Angeles, and Jessica is a stay-at-home mom to Matt, Jake, and Zachary. When their tenth anniversary rolled around last December, they celebrated with—you guessed it—carrot cake. “It has become a tradition,” Troy says. “Looking back, it’s funny how long it took for us to find each other, but it has been a blast ever since.”

Mark & Tamarie Stoker

Married 2 September 2005

Mark & Tamarie Stoker and their family

He was a year behind her as a business undergrad—and had some catching up to do when it came to money management. Mark spotted Tamarie in a finance class and asked a mutual friend to set them up on a blind date. Their first outing—to Park City, Utah, for dinner and window-shopping on Main Street—went smoothly until it was time to head home. “The parking garage wouldn’t take credit cards, and I didn’t have cash,” he says.
“We had to rummage through my glove box and Tamarie’s purse to find enough change. You’d think that as a finance major I would have been better prepared!”

But Tamarie didn’t mind. “I loved the way he’d always leave me little notes here and there,” she says. One stood out in particular—a missive Mark attached to a bottle of Gatorade wishing her luck in her marathon training and inviting her to a fireside. “It cost a dollar, but it was one of his smartest purchases,” she smiles. 

Four months later there was another note, this time left with roses on Tamarie’s work desk, telling her to look for something special on her bed at home. It was an ATV helmet, and Mark was waiting outside, ready to whisk her to the hills near Bountiful, Utah. “As he drove up the mountain, I could tell he was trying to find the right spot to propose,” Tamarie says. “We walked down a little trail to a small clearing with wildflowers everywhere. It was just perfect.” 

They exchanged vows in 2005; by the next year, both had their business degrees. Mark went on to earn his MBA in 2011 and now works with Cisco Systems in San Jose, California. Tamarie is a stay-at-home mom to Justin, Carly, and Megan, who was born in April 2013.
“I’m forever grateful for finding Tamarie at the Marriott School,” says Mark. “Getting an education there is paying lifelong dividends for both of us.”

Dan & Autumn Iverson

Dan & Autumn Iverson

Married 17 November 2007

Autumn was a second-year MBA student who had been asked to speak to the incoming class about her summer internship, and she was definitely dressed to impress. “I was wearing a new suit, and I thought I looked pretty cute,” she recalls.

Dan, who was in the audience, agrees. “I can’t claim it was love at first sight, but I certainly noticed her,” he says. 

A week later they were introduced at an FHE in Autumn’s student ward, and this time her interest was piqued. Autumn invited Dan to an upcoming MBA singles’ social, where they squared off playing Apples to Apples. “Halfway through the game she declared, ‘I’m going to win.’ She wanted to bet, with the loser treating the winner to lunch,” Dan says. He won, but Autumn wouldn’t give up that easily. They played another round, and Dan bested her again. “That was unusually good luck for me,” he says, “but it was a great start to our relationship!”

Not that there weren’t a few bumps along the way, like when Dan decided to go fishing with his dad instead of taking up Autumn’s invite to a Cougars game. “I just about dropped him off my radar after that,” Autumn says. “But he made it up to me, and we were dating exclusively by Christmas.” She was so serious about Dan that after graduating in 2007, she took a job in Park City, Utah, to keep the relationship going.

That summer Dan got serious too. “I realized I wanted to marry Autumn,” he says. “Our professors and MBA friends were excited to hear the news, and our announcement was even posted on a wall in the Tanner Building.”

After Dan got his MBA in 2008, the couple moved to Tucson, Arizona, where Dan works for Raytheon. Autumn is a stay-at-home mom to daughters Audrey, Sadie, and Hailey but plans on resuming her career down the line. Last July the couple returned to BYU with the kids and headed to the Tanner Building. “It was mostly deserted, but we found our pictures in the hall where the MBA class photos are posted and walked by the Career Center. We couldn’t help but smile, reliving so many happy memories,” Dan says. “Many students go to BYU hoping they will meet their future spouse there, and I was no exception. Finding Autumn at the Marriott School was one of the greatest blessings of my life.”

Joseph & Elizabeth Hilton

Joseph & Elizabeth Hilton

Married 4 August 2012

To some secretaries in the Tanner Building, he was known as "the red-hoodie guy." It wasn't a compliment. Joseph, a second-year MBA student and director of the business plan competition, had fallen for Elizabeth, who was working full-time for the finance department and cutting the checks for his team. They'd had one casual lunch, which Liz made clear was not a date. But Joe started showing up at her office, hoping to kindle a romance. "I learned from my student secretaries that he was roaming the halls trying to find me," she says. "I was annoyed, but I'd stick my head into the corridor to watch him walk away—and get even more annoyed at how good looking he was."

She enlisted her office staff to play interference, defense—anything short of tackling—to ward him off. "I thought it was going to be a real uphill climb just getting her to go out again," Joe says. Then he realized that if he waited until after 5 p.m., when the staff went home, he'd be able chat with her. One day he appeared in her doorway, and Liz dropped her guard. The pair talked for hours about life, church,

and family. "It would have been a pretty sappy conversation from a bad movie if we hadn't been so serious about it," Joe says. After grabbing a quick dinner, they returned to the Tanner Building—room 151, to be precise—where he played Broadway show tunes on the piano at Liz's request. That sealed the deal. Liz called off the assistants, and the pair got engaged in June 2012, shortly after Joe earned his degree, to much rejoicing from friends, faculty, and the administration. "Everyone loved it when they found out we were dating," Liz says. "They even threw me a bridal shower in the dean's office." With her husband's encouragement, Liz started the MBA program right after their August wedding. Joe is now CEO of Recurrent Engineering, a clean-electricity company, and Liz will join GE Capital after she graduates this year, when they'll relocate to New York. But for now, they still spend lots of time at the Tanner Building, where Joe visits for lunch.


Article written by P. Ann Chen

About the Author
P. Ann Chen, a native of Los Angeles, is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in People, Allure, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.

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