Dominique Halaby, DPA
Director, Business Innovation Group
Dominique Halaby, D.P.A. is the Director of the Business Innovation Group (BIG) at Georgia Southern University. This includes the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research, Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, Small Business Development Center, EDA University Center, Innovation Incubator and Georgia Southern Fab Lab. In 2015, BIG was recognized as a Gold Award Winner in Entrepreneurship by the International Economic Development Council.
Dr. Halaby is also overseeing the development of Georgia Southern University’s City Center. The City Center is a joint initiative between Georgia Southern University, the City of Statesboro, and the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Bulloch County. In addition, he is working with the Hinesville Development Authority to construct a second City Center in downtown Hinesville.
Prior to joining Georgia Southern, he served as the Director of the Center for Community and Business Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development. Dr. Halaby spent most of his recent career building a non-profit organization in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) dealing with workforce and economic development. He successfully secured over $35 million in funding, including one of the largest federal training grants awarded in South Texas. Under his leadership, the organization was recognized in 2003 by the Society for Human Resource Management as The Best to Place to Work in Hidalgo County for companies with less than 100 employees. He was successful in achieving broad collaboration in the RGV among healthcare providers and educators to strengthen home-grown approaches to meet their skilled workforce needs, and in several community planning and antipoverty initiatives. These projects won awards as national finalists for the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Best Practices in 2003 and 2006, as well as being recognized by the Texas Workforce Commission as the Transitional Workforce Award recipient in 2004. In addition, Dr. Halaby served as Interim Director of the Rio Grande Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization and assisted public universities in South Texas and new business ventures in accessing the $200 million Emerging Technology Fund.
In addition to serving on the APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement Executive Committee, Dr. Halaby currently serves as a board member of several other entities including the University Economic Development Association, Spaceport Camden and Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
CBAER Senior Researcher
Dr. Michael Toma is the Fuller E. Callaway professor of economics at Georgia Southern University in Savannah. He specializes in macroeconomics and regional economics. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and joined Armstrong State University in 1997. He is a senior researcher with Georgia Southern’s Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research. He is the recipient of teaching and research awards and served as President of the Academy of Economics and Finance, an organization of academic economists and finance professors.
Office Location: Hawes Hall 212
Assistant Director of Research, CBAER
As a member of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER) team since 2007, Ben McKay has led numerous research projects throughout Georgia. These projects include economic impact analysis, market research, survey research, data analysis, strategic planning and community needs assessments. These projects have been used by clients to secure external funding from public and private sources, increase their profile, identify market demand, determine project and policy feasibility, and aid in their efforts to plan for the future. Many of these projects have had positive job growth and retention as outcomes.
McKay currently holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master in Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Additionally, McKay has professional experience in state and local government as a manager in the private sector.
Office Location: BIG 1001D
Area Director, Small Business Development Center
Valerie McElveen has deep Georgia Southern roots – as she received her MBA from the university in 2015 and she previously worked for the university as an accountant during 2012 and 2013. She is excited about returning to the GS family and being part of the SBDC statewide network.
McElveen brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about small business operation and growth to her role as Area Director. Her experience at the university and in the private sector is invaluable to the small business owners in Bulloch County and the surrounding area. She received her BBA in accounting from Eastern Michigan University and her MBA from Georgia Southern.
Office Location: BIG 1001A
Santanu has lived in India, England and now in the USA. During this time, he worked with designers, craftsmen, engineers, architects and professionals of all these nations. Santanu gathered experience in print production, exhibition, retail, packaging, signage system, short films, interactive and game design. He speaks four different languages.
Santanu is a TEDx speaker and has presented various papers on design education, sustainability, mentoring and collaborative research in several distinguished national and international design conferences. He has received several national as well as international awards and grants during his career in the industry and academia. Some of the awards are GAMG (Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries) for designing a permanent exhibition on Bulloch County Military Heritage, American Graphic Design Awards, AAF–ADDY’s (American Advertising Federation), Adobe Design Achievement Awards, Awarded gold & silver medal for best display and design at the International Trade Fair and Awarded gold in International Cooking Competition. He has presented various papers on design education for the millennial generation, sustainability in design, collaborative research projects and mentoring in several double-blind peer-reviewed distinguished national and international design conferences such as AIGA, UCDA Design Education Summit, RGD – Design Educators Conference, Toronto, Mentoring Conference, New Mexico, The Learner Conference, New York, USG Teaching and Learning Conference, Athens, Design Principles and Practices Conference, Vancouver, Making Futures–International Research Conference, Devon, U.K., IDEMi–The International Conference on Integration of Design, Engineering and Management for Innovation. University of Porto, Portugal, Critical Thinking Conference, Teaching and Learning Expo, DDEI–Designing Design Education For India Conference, Pune, India and will be presenting his paper Thinking Through Making at the Design Principles and Practices Conference 2019, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Santanu was engaged in various design projects for well-known organizations like the United Nation (UN), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Help the Aged, UK, Design C, J. Walter Thompson (JWT), Tesco Super Markets, Londis Super Markets, Day Lewis Pharmacy, Munro Pharmacy, Government of Madhya Pradesh, and Government of India.
Office Location: BIG FabLab
Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship Education
Suzanne Hallman organizes and manages many of the Business Innovation Group’s student events and programs. She also recently received her National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) Incubator Management Certification.
Hallman studied HR management at Georgia Southern, receiving an MBA in 2003. She commuted to Savannah for work in staffing for five years while in college and after finishing her degrees. She began working for Northland Cable Advertising in 2007, helping companies build marketing campaigns. In 2010, Hallman helped her husband start a small video production company, Stouthouse Media. She used her business management and networking skills to help Stouthouse grow, gaining invaluable experience in entrepreneurship along the way. Hallman was hired in August 2013 as Business Advisor for the virtual incubator program, GENIE, at Georgia Southern University. She is excited about this opportunity to put her degrees and experience to work to help build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.
Office Location: BIG 1001E
Nancey Price oversees the daily administrative, fiscal and facilities operations at the Business Innovation Group. She received her BA in Women’s & Gender Studies from Mercer University in 2015, a Certificate in Public and Nonprofit Management from Georgia Southern University in 2017, and a Masters in Public Administration from Georgia Southern in 2019.
She was previously an administrative assistant at the Rural Health Research Institute, an NIH Center of Excellence, at Georgia Southern for two years before joining BIG in 2018. She uses the skills she learned while pursuing her MPA to build mutually-beneficial relationships between BIG and campus and community leaders while also serving as support for the various initiatives imperative to BIG’s success.
Outside of her official BIG duties, Nancey is a professional collage artist, performance storyteller, and writer. Her art has been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine and has been on display at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Averitt Center for the Arts, and the Jepson Center for the Arts in Savannah, GA.
Office Location: City Center
James “Jim” Walker
Fab Lab Shop Manager
Jim Walker graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Southern in 2019, and spent many hours between classes and study sessions working as a blacksmith and woodworker at the FabLab to help pay for college. Jim now works as the FabLab shop manager to support entrepreneurs and makers in the Statesboro Community. In addition to his duties as Shop Manager, Jim is often found in the Fablab working on any variety of projects, from hand forged architecture to CNC machining.
Office Location: BIG FabLab
David Miller was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and received his BBA degree in Management from the University of Texas. After graduation, David began a successful 41-year career in the corrugated packaging industry with Packaging Corporation of America, one of the top five companies in the industry. About a year ago, David decided to retire to live with his family full time in Statesboro. However, he wanted to do something that would allow him to “give back” and share his extensive business experience with others. When David’s Statesboro friend, Jeff Graham, told him about the work that SCORE does mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, he knew he had found the right fit.
Gloria Strauthers is a native of Brookhaven, MS where she was an Honor Graduate, Class Secretary and Track and Field star at Brookhaven High School. In 2014, Gloria relocated to Brooklet, GA and became an Assistant Director at Georgia Southern.
Since the age of 12, Gloria’s dream was to own her own business and follow in the path of her father. In 2016, Gloria decided to “take the plunge”. She retired from full-time employment and began to pursue her dream and purpose to become a business owner and entrepreneur.
Gloria is now Principal of her own management consulting firm, Exodus Management and Consulting, LLC. Exodus provides management consultative services to corporate leaders to help them become more effective in their roles. Gloria is also an Independent Certified member of the highly respected John Maxwell Team of global Speakers, Trainers, and Coaches.
Last updated: 4/2/2021