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Outside the Tanner

Inside the Tanner Building they’re professors who teach finance, ethics, marketing, accounting, and a host of other subjects. But, have you ever wondered what these notable professors do in their spare time?

Here’s a look at what a few of our talented and sometimes adventurous faculty members do when they’re outside the Tanner.

Bill Swinyard

As a freshman at BYU, Bill Swinyard spent most of the year working on his 1929 hot rod and racing it at the Bonneville Raceway. But this pastime started well before his college days; he attributes this avocation to growing up in Chicago during the 1950s and spending time with a group of hot-rodders in his ward.

Swinyard has lost count of how many cars and motorcycles he’s rebuilt but estimates he worked on at least twenty-five before his mission. “I love anything that has knobs, buttons, pedals, or makes mechanical noises,” Swinyard says.

Swinyard built a separate two-car garage next to his house to accommodate his hobby. It took him nearly three years to complete his latest project—a 1932 Ford, which he even painted himself. “Some weeks I would spend one or two hours each evening and Saturday working on the car and then go a month without working on it,” he explains. “At one point I had ten pounds of wire, a circuit board, and one page of instructions. It took me months to get up the courage to wire the car.”

Swinyard has won a handful of first-place awards and many other honors at car shows over the years; he’ll attend five to ten a year, depending on his schedule. “I enjoy attending shows—not for the competition—but to enjoy the people and the other cars. Sometimes it feels like you’re on another planet,” he says.

Instead of racing his rebuilt car at the drag strip, Swinyard reserves his restored Ford for small errands around his neighborhood and trips to rod shows. The car, which he registered in 2001, has 4,500 miles on it. “I don’t take it on long trips,” he says, “I’ll usually just run down to the grocery store in it, or my sweetheart and our dog will join me in a cruise around the lake on a nice day.”

Hal Gregersen

When Hal Gregersen was sixteen years old, he broke his leg skiing on Christmas day. In an attempt to cheer him up, Gregersen’s parents bought him a camera. The unexpected gift turned out to be the beginning of a lifelong hobby.

“I took a gazillion pictures with that camera,” Gregersen recalls. “By my senior year of high school, I was photographing weddings and doing portraits, which helped me pay for college.”

Now Gregersen’s pictures tend to focus on his grandchildren and outdoor scenery. “I love taking pictures of the world and capturing people as they are,” he says. “It’s almost meditative for me to get fully absorbed in nature. I love the way light gets captured in roses. I’m also entranced by the sun’s rays.”

When Gregersen travels it’s not unusual for him to get sidetracked by photo opportunities. “My wife, Suzi, and I were recently visiting Majorca Island, off the coast of Spain. We were planning on going for a drive around the island, but we stumbled on an old church five minutes from the hotel and spent all afternoon and evening there—she sketched, and I took pictures.”

The hobby he picked up years ago to help him escape his broken leg continues to be a diversion for Gregersen, helping him focus and relax. “Photography is a way for me to connect with others on an intimate level and grasp who they are. It’s a contemplative space for me to forget every care in the world and focus on God’s creations,” he says. “It’s a given at my house that if there’s a beautiful sunset then I’m going to leave the dinner table to photograph it.”

Mark Zimbelman

Mark Zimbelman says that although he and his brother, Dave, are different in most aspects, he’s grateful they share one passion—cycling.

And while most siblings protest about receiving hand-me-downs, Zimbelman didn’t complain when his brother passed on a bicycle. “My brother was a professional cyclist. He introduced me to the sport about twenty years ago and gave me some equipment to get started,” he says.

Zimbelman, who typically cycles five to ten hours each week, started competing while a grad student in Arizona. In 1995, he took tenth in the Tour de Tucson, in which about two thousand cyclists race more than one hundred miles. He generally places in the top ten for his age group in larger races and in the top five in smaller races.

Zimbelman, along with other cycling friends including fellow faculty member Dave Stewart, has participated twice in the Logan to Jackson Hole (Latoja) race. Latoja covers about two hundred miles as it leads its one thousand participants through three states and up seven thousand feet; it’s the longest one-day race sanctioned by the United States Cycling Federation. In 2003, Zimbelman placed 26th overall in Lotoja while competing against cyclists half his age.

Although Zimbelman cycles competitively, the personal benefits of cycling are most rewarding to him. He’ll multitask and think through work, church, and family challenges while cycling. When he’s working out on his stationary bike, he’ll pick up a book or academic article. Zimbelman says he especially enjoys cycling with his friends and family; he recently gave his wife a road bike and mountain bike, and the two often accompany each other on bike rides.

This pastime he acquired from his brother has Zimbelman hooked on exercise. “I think exercising is as important as getting good sleep and eating good food to be happy, productive, and healthy—I’m sold on aerobic exercise,” Zimbelman says. “It helps me manage stress and handle life’s demands.”

James Hansen

Three pictures hang in James Hansen’s office—one of him swimming, one of him biking, and another of him running. These photos were snapped at various Iron-man triathlons that include a grueling 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run.

Hansen, Glen D. Ardis Professor of Information Systems, doesn’t just participate in the races—he’s taken third place in his age group, 60–65-year-old males, three times.

While vacationing in Hawaii with his wife, Lynne, Hansen was intrigued by watching a triathon in Kailua Bay. Although he had completed twelve marathons, the swimming portion of a triathlon was daunting. Nonetheless, he decided to give it a try at the Iron-man Canada competition in 1996.

Weekly bike rides and runs, coupled with multiple swims, are what keep Hansen trained for these demanding competitions. “In addition to the physical benefits, training helps me mentally relax,” says Hansen, who completed his tenth Iron-man last summer. “Moreover, I have three sports to choose from—if I don’t feel like biking one day I’ll go swimming instead.”

Iron-man competitions are day-long events; entrants begin the race at 7 a.m. and have until midnight to finish. “The person who finishes last receives the biggest cheers,” he explains. “The crowd will run with him or her until the finish line. It’s great to see that support.”

Hansen is quick to point out that just about anyone in normal health can compete in triathlons—there’s even a seventy-three-year-old nun who regularly participates in the races. “I could beat her now, but I’m sure when she was younger she could have taken me,” Hansen concedes. “Iron-man competitions are an enjoyable way to stay fit; I would recommend them to anyone who enjoys a challenge and can keep things in perspective.”

Kristen DeTienne

Sitting behind the wheel of her ’94 Camaro Z28, Kristen DeTienne insists she’s a safe driver—and she is. But on weekends when she’s competing in autocross racing events, she’s one fast driver. “It’s fun to participate in a sport where it’s legal to drive without speed limits,” she says.

DeTienne, an organizational leadership and strategy professor, thrives on the thrill of autocross. In these events, drivers compete against the clock on a set course, usually about one mile long. Autocross racing is arranged through the Sports Car Club of America (; it has divisions throughout the country and hosts national events. Drivers compete in divisions according to the car they drive.

DeTienne and her husband, David, attended their first autocross event about four years ago at the University of Utah. The experience piqued their interest, and they started participating with their Audi 80. “It’s a very exhilarating and exciting sport—whether you’re watching or participating. There’s a lot of rubber left on the course at the end of the day,” says DeTienne, who has to replace her tires about every four months. “It’s a good way to get out and have fun.”

DeTienne is introducing the Marriott School to her hobby; she’s auctioned off an autocross ride in her Camero for the school’s NetImpact Auction. She’s also joined Craig Merrill when he raced his Cobra and is actively recruiting other faculty to participate in races.

Her oldest son, now nine years old and sick of being in the Camero’s passenger seat, is already looking forward to his sixteenth birthday so he can follow his parents’ path to the racetrack.

Neil Brady

When Neil Brady takes walks around his neighborhood in North Orem, people occasionally stop and stare—but that’s to be expected when you’re walking around with a falcon on your arm.

About nine years ago, Brady and his son Stephen became licensed falconers. When Brady first captures a bird, he’ll take it on a walk in an effort to make the bird comfortable with him. The journey usually attracts interest from passersby, but he’ll draw an even bigger crowd when he’s trapping a falcon.

Capturing birds has taken Brady from parks in Orem to the front yards of million-dollar homes in Arizona. The first bird he trapped was a Red Tailed Hawk in Parowan, Utah. “The birds have different personalities—just like people,” explains Brady, a management ethics professor at the Marriott School. “Some are mean and nasty, others are friendly and playful.”

Brady will typically trap a bird in the fall and train it until the following spring. “Studies have shown that a baby falcon has a one-in-five chance of surviving its first year; if a falconer captures a bird, it has a four-in-five chance of surviving,” he says. “Falconers actually promote the birds’ well being, and when the birds are released into the wild, they’re very successful.”

Besides falconry, Brady enjoys exploring his other talents. He sings in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is a gifted artist, and once built his own telescope. “There’s nothing I’m not interested in,” he says. “I’ll try something new and then move on, but being a falconer, artist, and singer have kept my interest the longest.”


By Emily A. Smurthwaite

Photography by Bradley Slade

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