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Taking Flight – April 2015 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

I received a note the other day from the mother of a recent graduate. She wanted me to know how happy she was with the education her child had received and how appreciative she was for the opportunities her child had been offered while a student here at Georgia Southern. She complimented the faculty and the staff, and she told me that another of her children would soon be coming to Georgia Southern, enrolling in the College of Business. It was music to my ears.

Of course, I was happy for the success of this one student. We should never lose sight of the fact that our value is delivered, and our impact is earned, one student, one project, and one success at a time. Naturally, I was also happy that she credited our faculty and staff. This college has many hard working people, and we need to recognize and commend their efforts as often as we can. Mostly though, I was excited to see the impact of this one success being amplified through the perceptions and actions of others. This is exactly how reputations arise and a perfect example of how legacies are built. Yes, this was just one student and just one success, but the stories of that one success will be told and retold. Like the sparks that start a fire, the talent, hard work and perseverance rolled up in this one example will ignite the confidence, aspirations, and enthusiasm of many others.

So, I want to use this instance to encourage each and every one of you. We are all in a position to build the College of Business. Everyone we encounter is an opportunity, and everything we do matters. And, while we may experience each success individually, the collective effect is amplified and the impact multiplied over time. So, never doubt the potential of a single good work, and never overlook the value of a single success.


Alumni Spotlight: Sam Perossa

Sam Perossa (ACCT, 1994) began his career as a commercial credit analyst in NationsBank’s Corporate Lending Unit. He was sent to credit school, where he competed with students from The University of Georgia, Vanderbilt, Michigan State, and Auburn among others. Some of his classmates already had lending experience, and Sam was told that he was considered an underdog because he came from an up and coming University. In order to have decision-making ability in where he was be able to go after finishing credit school, Sam had to do well. Drawing on the strong accounting basics of cash flow and financial statement analysis and the attitudes of diligence and hard work instilled by his Georgia Southern accounting professors, Sam was able to graduate in the top 5 percent of his class.

In his work at NationsBank, Sam was consistently able to draw upon the experiences honed in his accounting classes, especially those taught by Kenneth (Chuck) Johnson and Jill Martin (Lockwood). Sam remembers Drs. Johnson and Martin were tough and expected the best out of their students. He says that they knew when students gave them less than their best efforts, and the grades earned would reflect that lack of effort, but, if strong effort was put forth, the grade would reflect that as well as the student’s knowledge. He adds that the actual workplace situations in their assignments made the work more practical and tangible.

In 1996, he left NationsBank to become vice president of Ogeechee Steel, Inc., a fabricator and erector of structural and miscellaneous steel. Sam’s day-to-day responsibilities include overseeing and being responsible for sales, estimating, bidding, project management, production scheduling, and field operations scheduling. He says he uses the methods and procedures learned in his Georgia Southern accounting classes still today. Even though he needed to learn new skills and leave his comfort zone to work at Ogeechee Steel, Sam finds the challenge of continuously forming new teams for each project and accomplishing what is needed on each job site to be very exciting and the best part of his job. Professionally, his proudest accomplishment was fabricating and erecting the steel for the Georgia Southern Football Operations Facility. According to Sam, “To be an active participant in a successful project with [Georgia Southern] moving into the future was very exciting and validating.”

Sam looks back fondly on his time at Georgia Southern. After his initiation into Sigma Chi Fraternity in 1990, he held several offices on the executive committee including president. His time with Sigma Chi taught him how to understand and respect the views of others and to work with people of different temperaments, talents, and convictions. While serving on the executive committee, Sam met Frank Hook. He credits Mr. Hook with teaching him the leadership and organizational skills critical to navigating the business world and the importance of maintaining ethics, morals, and balance in his personal life.

In his spare time, Sam enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and friends. He takes pleasure in watching his children Bree (14), Jace (11), and Brennan (9) play sports. Sam works on projects around the family home, plays sports, and repairs and rides motorcycles. He especially likes water sports, snowboarding and skiing, and traveling with his family and friends. Sam’s family, including his wife, Brandi Johnson Perossa, whom he met while at Georgia Southern, keep him grounded and remind him of what is truly important in life—FAMILY!

Georgia Southern University Recognizes Alumni for Accomplishments

From the Georgia Southern Newsroom

Georgia Southern University presented its 2015 Alumni Awards at the annual Alumni Association Awards Dinner held Saturday, April 11 at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center.

    • Cedric D. Henry, College of Business Alumni Award. Henry earned his Bachelor of Business degree in business management in 1984 and is the co-founder and COO of Millennium Corporation, a government contractor, in Haymarket, Virginia. He retired from the United States Navy after 20 years of service, including two tours of duty in Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In 2014, he was recognized by the White House as a “Champion of Change” and is a five-time Inc. 5000 honoree.
  • Michael R. Sanders, Alumnus of the Year Award. Augusta native Mike Sanders, who received a Bachelor of Business degree in marketing in 1981 from Georgia Southern, is a three-decade veteran of the financial services industry. He began his career with Morgan Stanley, where he served for more than 25 years, rising to senior vice president for investments. He currently works as senior vice president for wealth management with UBS Financial Services. Sanders is a member of the Georgia Southern Foundation Board of Trustees, is a former University Alumni Association member, and is a charter member of the Foundation’s 1906 Society. He and his family have endowed two scholarships at the University — one for students in the University Honors Program and one for athletics.

To read the article in its entirety, follow the link at

Georgia Southern University Online MBA Ranked 17th by

The Online MBA offered by the College of Business at Georgia Southern University has been ranked 17th by as a Top Online MBA Program of 2015 (

According to, the Best Online Programs rankings are compiled using qualitative measures and data provided by IPEDS and the schools. reviewed more than 350 not-for-profit online programs, taking into consideration factors such as accreditation, academic quality, and peer reviews.

“We are gratified by the recognition and excited to be listed among the best programs in the nation,” states Dean Allen Amason of the College of Business. “Our faculty and staff have worked hard to deliver good value, and rankings like this are a testament to that commitment and effort.”

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has found that one in three U.S. college students now take at least one class online. Completing an online MBA allows working professionals to continue working and maintaining their personal lives without much interruption, while advancing their education and opening their careers to new opportunities. The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) annual corporate recruitment survey reports employer interest in hiring MBAs is increasing.

The Georgia Southern College of Business has offered its Online MBA since 2001. The program is cohort-based, asynchronous and 5 semesters/21 months, with an established track record of preparing students for the complexities of today’s global business environment. The Georgia Southern Online MBA boasts high student satisfaction and graduation rates.

Finance Association Brings Guest Speakers to the College of Business

On March 24, the Finance Association welcomed two guest speakers, Susan S. Herring and Ansley Drake, both College of Business alumni. Susan S. Herring joined Gulfstream in 2000 as a budget analyst and has held a number of positions, including finance manager of Gulfstream G450 and G550 product lines. In 2004, she was appointed as the director, initial phase operations finance. Ansley Drake joined Gulfstream in 2012 and currently is a business analyst. During their presentation, the women spoke to finance students about their careers and the day-to-day business operations at Gulfstream. Additionally, they explained to the students the various tasks their positions entail during a typical business day. They also provided valuable career advice to our students, emphasizing the job and internship opportunities provided by Gulfstream.

On April 1, Todd Makant from Vinings Bank, a $275 million community bank in Smyrna, Georgia, spoke to the Finance Association. Mr. Makant is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Vinings Bank, which was named one of the top performing community banks in the country by The Independent Community Bankers of America. Mr. Makant told the students how the bank, which he helped establish in 2007, was able to survive the difficult times surrounding the global financial crisis of 2007-08. He explained, in detail, a bank’s balance sheet, how banks generate profits, as well as challenges faced by banks in the current regulatory environment. Further, he provided examples of how the bank manages its loan and bond portfolios to address interest rate risk. He concluded his presentation by telling students that “stuff happens” and that nothing can replace persistence.

On April 15, the Finance Association welcomed guest speaker, Luke Farrell, senior vice president and fixed-income investment director of Capital Group Los Angeles, to campus. Mr. Farrell described his typical day/week in his role as a specialist in credit and liability-driven investment solutions. He also told students about his own career and experiences at the fixed-income trading desk at J.P. Morgan. Mr. Farrell went on to outline interesting career opportunities in the industry and discussed current developments in the financial markets. In conclusion, he advised the students to set high goals for themselves and to always have a five-year career plan while urging them to remember to evaluate and adjust it throughout their career.

Savannah Eagle Executive Exchange

The Savannah Eagle Executive Exchange on Thursday, March 26 at Spanky’s in Pooler was a huge success. With Queensborough National Bank & Trust and State Farm serving as sponsors, the College of Business hosted about 40 alumni and friends. Thank you, Queensborough and State Farm. We look forward to seeing our Heart of Georgia alumni in Macon on June 4 at State Bank Financial Corporation at 5:30 p.m.

Save the Date – Macon Eagle Executive Exchange

The next Eagle Executive Exchange will be held on Thursday, June 4 at State Bank Financial Corporation in Macon. RSVP by May 22, 2015 at

Luncheon Welcomes New BBA Students

On Friday, March 27, the College of Business held the 2nd Welcome BBA Student Luncheon to celebrate students progressing from pre-business status to BBA status. This new tradition began in Fall 2014 and will continue each fall and spring semester. The College of Business wants to ensure our students feel at home and part of a family within the college. We welcomed the new BBA students by serving them lunch and providing them with a One More Time t-shirt made from recycled plastic bottles. Welcome to the Eagle Executive family!

Eagle Executive Society – Student Chapter Hosts Etiquette Dinner

On April 2, the Eagle Executive Society- Student Chapter hosted a business etiquette dinner in the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. Savannah Shaw of Charlotte, North Carolina, bestowed her knowledge of proper dining skills and confidence to approximately 35 College of Business students. Ms. Shaw, originally from Gloucestershire, England, is certified by the Protocol School of Washington, the Etiquette & Leadership Institute, the English Speaking Board, the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™, and Solution Selling™. Her Business Dining Savvy© workshop provides proper dining skills and confidence in one’s ability to conduct business while enjoying a meal or entertaining.

“The 1st Annual Etiquette Dinner was hosted by the Eagle Executive Society for the purpose of providing society members with the opportunity to develop skills that will be needed in the professional world,” said Meredith Amason, Eagle Executive Society secretary. “Students learned how to conduct themselves during a proper business dinner, learning basic skills like which utensil to use and when, to more complex issues like whether to offer to pay at the end of the meal. Overall, it was a great night and a very educational experience for all who attended.”

College of Business Scholarship Luncheon

On Friday, April 3, the 2nd Annual College of Business Celebration of Scholarship luncheon celebrated the college’s scholarship recipients and donors at the Bishop Alumni Center. During the luncheon, scholarship recipients were recognized and their respective donors were thanked. The College of Business would like to thank each and every donor for your continued support. To view the 2015 Scholarship Recipients’ Thank You video, go to

2nd Annual Business at the Ballpark

On Saturday, April 11, the 2nd Annual Business at the Ballpark was held at J.I. Clements Stadium. The Eagles took on the Mavericks of UT-Arlington at 2:00 p.m. Throwing the first pitch was the College of Business Alumnus of the Year, Cedric Henry, who was joined on the pitching mound by his two sons, Jordan and Justin. Cedric, a native of Vidalia and vice chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board, now residing in northern Virginia, is chief operations officer of Millenium Corporation, which offers world class, integrated business solutions for all levels of government and commercial enterprises.

Welcoming Industry Experts: Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel

by Russ Bryant
Excerpt from Georgia Trend / April 2015 / Creating Opportunities

In a project that marries manufacturing with business and strengthens a partnership between [Georgia Southern University] and the city of Statesboro, the College of Business is opening a FabLab – short for fabrication laboratory – this fall in downtown Statesboro.

“Georgia Southern has a fantastic relationship with Statesboro, going all the way back to our founding in [1906],” Keel said. “And that outstanding town-gown relationship continues. We wanted to have a physical presence of Georgia Southern downtown. We opened what we call City Campus [in 2010], directly across the street from the Courthouse, right in the heart of downtown Statesboro.”

City Campus is home to the Small Business Development Center and the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, which give people who are starting new businesses a convenient place to go for expertise and advice in getting established. The desire to expand City Campus offerings led to a partnership with the Downtown Development Authority that resulted in a $1 million grant from the United States Economic Development to create the FabLab.

“We’re going to have a 3-D printer in this facility and several other pieces of machinery to allow an individual to go in with an idea, to put it on a computer, print it with the 3-D printer, and see if they can take this idea up through the conceptual phase and to a product that may have some actual commercial benefit – commercial value,” Keel explained. “It’s another great way to make sure the city of Statesboro and the campus of Georgia Southern move even closer together both geographically, but more importantly, philosophically. We’re excited about what this is going to do for the relationship we have with the city.”

“The concept [for the FabLab] came about in a strategic planning retreat that the Statesboro Chamber of Commerce put together back in 2011,” remarked Dominique Halaby, director of the Bureau for Business Research and Economic Development and the go-to guy for all things FabLab related. “We have a growing creative class, this momentum to have this creative and innovative environment here in Statesboro. When you couple that with the emphasis on manufacturing through our College of Engineering, the FabLab proves a fantastic concept to be able to bring and engage our students, faculty, businesses, and even the K-12 system with robotics competitions, anybody in our region will be able to be innovative and create just about anything that they can imagine.”

The idea of the FabLab is to be a business incubator on steroids, offering the traditional incubator ingredients, such as mentoring, office and conference space, and programs and access to business expertise, combined with the equipment needed to manufacture prototypes. This will allow entrepreneurs to work through some of the strategic issues of product development and present a working prototype to investors, Halaby stated.

“We’ve modeled ourselves after other FabLab-type programs around the country,” he says. “They’ve been able to integrate very successfully with middle and high school programs. We want our kids, particularly those in 8th or 9th grade, to have access to these types of resources and challenge themselves. So they’re not just getting the theoretical component in school or hearing the teacher. They get to make something.

“This is going to be open to all, not just students and faculty, or people registered in a particular course, but anybody, any business, any individual, K-12 system, can be a part of this,” Halaby continued. “What we’re doing is really trying to change the culture of innovation in rural America.”

Logistics Students Receive Scholarships from Atlanta Maritime Association

On March 19, two Georgia Southern logistics and intermodal transportation students, Ryan Rakestraw and Annie Butler, received $2,500 scholarships from the Atlanta Maritime Association. Founded in 1975, the Atlanta Maritime Association is a not-for-profit business association that serves Atlanta’s regional international ocean cargo community. For more information on the Atlanta Maritime Association, check out its Facebook page at Association/569889843043587?sk=info&tab=page_info or its website at

2015 Honors Research Symposium

On Friday, April 17, College of Business Honors seniors participated in the 2015 Honors Research Symposium at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. College of Business students presented their capstone work to faculty, staff, and peers. This semester, the College of Business had nine students presenting, the largest number representing the college in any single semester to date.

“It is important to recognize at this time both the hard work of the student and the time and energy devoted by the faculty supervisors,” stated Trey Denton, PhD, coordinator of the College of Business Honors Office. “The faculty makes this joint research possible, and we can’t thank them enough.”

National Collegiate Sales Competition & Career Fair

Twenty students from the Center for Sales Excellence traveled to Kennesaw, Georgia, April 7-10 to compete in the National Collegiate Sales Competition. Some 350 of the nation’s top sales students from 70 universities participated in the 17th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) hosted by Kennesaw State University. The students not only got a chance to compete for the top spots in the competition but networked with recruiters from across the nation. The NCSC has become a hot spot for Fortune 500 recruiters looking for young sales talent.

Nearly 50 companies, including ADP, Aflac, Tom James, Comcast, Waste Management, Hewlett Packard, and Liberty Mutual, sponsored this year’s competition for an opportunity to recruit top sales students.

“It says a lot about our students when top level HR and sales managers travel to this event. Georgia Southern University has a great reputation for producing top level sales students. One hundred percent of our students are interviewed here, and more than ninety percent will be hired just from this one event,” said Linda Mullen, co-director of the Center for Sales Excellence at the College of Business.

The NCSC, the world’s largest collegiate sales competition, pits top sales students in a test of live role-play, one-on-one sales call challenges. Each sales call is broadcast live to faculty and recruiters, who evaluate each student’s performance.

NCSC sponsors provide funding to defray the expenses of students and faculty. Many of the best sales students would be unable to attend without the help of these corporate sponsors. Sponsoring also provides companies with the opportunity to network with and preview up-and-coming sales talent.

One sponsor of the NCSC stated, “As a veteran manager who has been hiring sales talent for 35 years, I believe that the NCSC is the best collection of sales talent that you will find under one roof, all competing for the top sales position in the collegiate realm. Not only do you get to meet these young people, but you also get to watch many of them in actual competition. It is the kind of experience you wish you could have with every sales candidate you interview.”

Georgia Southern University team members included competitors Emma Collins and Adam Silcox and team alternates Deborah Howard and Alex-Kate Williams. These students, coached by Linda Mullen (associate professor of marketing) in an independent study class, practiced at least six hours a week by role-playing and learning more about the ADP Payroll System, the product used in the competition. Guest coaches from the sales industry regularly act as buyers and provide feedback to the competitors. The Center for Sales Excellence at Georgia Southern University is one of approximately 21 fully-recognized sales programs in the country that gives its students real-life experience into the world of selling.

College of Business Faculty Retiring

On April 14, the College of Business celebrated the retirement and service to the College of two faculty members, John Kohn and John Leaptrott, PhD. Kohn has been in the Statesboro area since 1983, operating several franchise restaurants, including Burger King, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, and Woody’s BBQ. He has served on national and local marketing advisory boards for the three previously mentioned franchises and has worked in product and market management for Burger King Corporation in Miami and the Alberto-Culver Company in Chicago. Kohn was born and raised in New York City and lived in Chicago and Miami prior to moving to Statesboro. He says, “[My wife and I] have lived the American dream.”

Prior to John Leaptrott’s academic career, he was a partner in a local CPA firm for more than 20 years. He was an important advisor to numerous small business owners and entrepreneurs engaged in new venture startups. He has also been involved in starting and managing several small- and medium-sized businesses he owned or co-owned. Leaptrott has served in several education-related public organizations as a volunteer and as a military reservist.

The College of Business wishes these two faculty members the best in their retirement.

Last updated: 4/8/2021