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Georgia CEO Q2 2019 finds confidence levels in business conditions remain high while managing growth is a challenge

Confidence levels in the business conditions of the Georgia economy remain high and participants think most upcoming challenges are related to business growth, according to a recent survey of Georgia CEO readers working in the state of Georgia.

The Business Confidence Survey is prepared for Georgia CEO by the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER), a subdivision of the Business Innovation Group (BIG) at Georgia Southern University. A convenience sampling technique is used in the survey, and respondents are asked to rate their concerns over upcoming or ongoing issues that may affect the growth and profitability of Georgia businesses.

“If we look at the overall impression of the current environment, we see that respondents are confident about the overall business environment moving forward,” said Ben McKay, CBAER assistant director. “The concerns expressed most by those surveyed are finding, hiring and retaining good employees. In total, 94% view business conditions improving or unchanged, and we see that successfully managing and maintaining growth is at the forefront of business leaders’ minds.”

Growth indicators — such as an increase in the percentage of participants with positive sentiments related to the volume of business, sales, financial health, profitability and access to capital — are improving when respondents are asked for their future outlook. The strongest indicator was the volume of business, which 60% of all participants expect to grow in the future. That figure is up from 51% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they expect to see growth in sales, up from 47% in the first quarter of this year.

Optimism is shrinking about hiring quality employees, which is dampening an otherwise overall positive outlook. Less than 45% of respondents said they see these situations improving over the next quarter.

“Maintaining good relationships with key employees will be crucial moving forward — especially as businesses manage growing sales numbers and client bases,” said McKay. “It will be important to have trusted, reliable employees managing growth while looking for quality players to add to the team.”

BIG and CBAER are components of the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern is a research university with more than 25,000 students on three campuses in Statesboro, Hinesville and Savannah. The questionnaire was emailed to subscribers of each of the 12 Georgia CEO daily newsletters. Georgia CEO publishes newsletters in Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Middle Georgia, Newnan, Rome, Savannah, Tifton and Valdosta. The survey was open from April 2 through 19. In total, 102 valid responses were recorded.

Parker College of Business management students conduct research for Briggs & Stratton

l-r: David Sikora, Ph.D., associate professor of management and co-advisor of SHRM – Student Chapter; Evan Hartzog; Brandon Lee; John Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of management and co-advisor of SHRM – Student Chapter

Georgia Southern University’s student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) teamed up with the Statesboro location of manufacturing company Briggs & Stratton to help the company better understand why long-term employees choose to stay.

The executive board of SHRM worked in groups to conduct 22 stay interviews in mid-April. Much like exit interviews when people resign from a company, the stay interviews help Briggs & Stratton Human Resources Manager Amanda See (MGMT, ’97; MBA, ’01) to understand what has kept the longer-term employees on the job.

The students worked with See to complete the interviews, while SHRM co-advisors John Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, and David Sikora, Ph.D., associate professor of management, helped work out the details and a timeline for executing and delivering results.

Interviewees were all in the technician classification, which requires more experience and has proven harder to fill in recent years. More than half of the employees in this area had been on the job for five or more years, with 32% having worked at Briggs for more than 10 years.

The findings of the interviews were overwhelmingly positive. The majority of those interviewed generally enjoy working at Briggs and would recommend the company to friends or family looking for jobs. Interviewees also seemed to have a desire for more training and communication between shifts and on their performance. Most of the concerns mentioned were areas that the managers are already working on solutions.

Students Evan Hartzog and Brandon Lee presented their findings to plant manager James Suchovsky and other Briggs & Stratton managers on May 16.

“The students impressed us with the project,” said Suchovsky. “The information collected and recommended will help us retain and better engage our personnel in the future. The students did a great job presenting their data, and we thank them for the support.”

Briggs has operated in the Bulloch County Gateway Industrial Park since 1995. In early 2018, Briggs headquarters in Wisconsin announced that V-Twin Vanguard engine production would relocate from Japan to the U.S. This relocation created new jobs in Statesboro and in the company’s Auburn, Alabama, factory.

Georgia Southern grad named Student Anaplanner of the Year

Jaymin Patel, a recent finance and information systems graduate from the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University, was named Student Anaplanner of the Year by Anaplan Inc., a pioneer in Connected Planning. He will be recognized in San Francisco at the company’s Connected Planning Xperience (CPX) conference June 10 through 12. 

Patel earned the achievement through Anaplan University Connect, a program launched by the company that equips university students with competitive analytical and decision-making skills to address the needs of today’s global marketplace. The courses Patel took through this program helped him land a data analyst role at Equifax, a global data analytics and technology company.

The Anaplan University Connect program works closely with leading universities around the globe to develop and deliver a model building curriculum that incorporates the latest data science methods to modern business planning practices. With valuable and real-world data analysis skills, students from the program are hired to quickly contribute to the digital transformation efforts of enterprise companies. 

Georgia Southern University ranked in top 20 for 2019 online Master’s in Accounting Programs

The Georgia Southern University online Master’s of Accounting (WebMAcc) program has been ranked No. 15 by in its 2019 Top 25 Master’s Online Accounting ranking list.

The AACSB-accredited WebMAcc program started in 2013 and is geared toward working professionals. The 30-credit hour program features 100% online coursework and accepts incoming students during fall and spring semesters. The program follows a cohort model using a team-based approach to online learning. By mirroring the on-campus program, the WebMAcc is taught by the same experienced faculty with the same access to campus resources.

This ranking by Best Master’s Programs serves as a guide for working adults to the best accredited online master of accounting programs. In addition to considering accreditation, editors ranked programs according to alumni salary (College Scorecard), cost (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) and student reviews (Niche).

“The faculty and staff involved with graduate programs within the School of Accountancy and the Parker College of Business at Georgia Southern University work diligently to provide an exceptional graduate education through dynamic teaching, relevant coursework and exciting professional experiences,” stated Brit McKay, Ph.D., professor of accounting and MAcc coordinator. “Our No. 15 ranking is a direct result of the hard work of not only the faculty and staff but also the students we serve.”

Accountants are in high demand, with the employment of accountants and auditors projected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accountants earn a median annual salary of around $70,000. In order to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam, students must have 150-credit hours, often meaning earning a master’s degree is necessary.

The Georgia Southern University School of Accountancy housed within the Parker College of Business is independently accredited by AACSB International. To learn more about Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business graduate programs, visit

Parker College of Business logistics department moves up in world ranking

The Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LSCM) in the Parker College of Business has moved up in its world ranking to No. 14 by SCM Journal List™. The Department was ranked No. 15 in 2018.

The SCM Journal List™ annual ranking of universities’ supply chain management research output is based on leading supply chain management journals. The research is primarily empirically focused and has been published in the last five years.

“We have program driven approaches to research in the Department of LSCM,” said Jerry Burke, Ph.D., professor and department chair. “The journals represented on the SCM Journal List™ are widely regarded as premier outlets for intellectual contributions. We aim for these journals to enhance the reputation of our strong undergraduate degree program as well as our Ph.D. program.

“It means a lot to our programs to attract and retain faculty with keen interests in student success along with world-class research reputations,” Burke added. “While our team may not get the exposure of a sports team with a top 20 ranking, we take great pride in our intentional and continued success through academic pursuits.”

The SCM Journal List™ ranking uses output from top-tier journals which publish research across a broad spectrum of areas across the supply chain, in both the analytical and empirical arenas. Georgia Southern has been ranked in the top 25 of the empirical list for four straight years with this year’s ranking of 14th being the best ranking to date.