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Taking Flight – April 2016 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

Spring is an exciting time in the College of Business. The academic year is winding down, and we are looking forward to graduation. Our summer class schedule is filling up, and we are making plans for upcoming programs and events. I want to tell you about some of these, simply because I am so excited about them and so proud of all the hard work it has taken to bring them about.

Our Business at the Ballpark event is an annual rite of spring. It’s a great opportunity to gather with fellow alumni, to watch some Georgia Southern baseball and to celebrate being a part of the Eagle Nation. Our Eagles on Wall Street class will soon take flight to lower Manhattan. Now in its second year, this program offers students the opportunity to visit some of the world’s leading financial firms and markets and to meet with executives from the world of finance. About the same time as these students leave for NYC, another group will depart for Spain as part of our inaugural Business Abroad class. Throughout the spring semester, these students have been learning about Spain, the EU, the European economy and the debt crisis that threatens the Euro. They’ll travel to Barcelona and Madrid to visit with firms and NGOs to experience firsthand the things about which they have been learning. I’m also excited about our upcoming Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference. Offered in partnership with Porter Keadle Moore, this conference will gather together leaders from industry, law enforcement and academia. They’ll enjoy two days of presentations and discussions about cutting-edge forensics research and fraud prevention practices. Of course, our own School of Accountancy is leading this event. Finally, I want to mention our upcoming golf tournament. For more than 20 years, the College of Business has hosted its tournament at the Forest Heights Country Club, and, for all of those years, our alumni and friends have turned out to support the college and to enjoy a great day of food, fun and golf. I’m sure this year’s tournament will be a great success as well.

And so, as we end the spring and approach the summer, I want to report that your College of Business is thriving and moving forward. And, I want to assure you that now, perhaps more than ever, it’s great to be a Georgia Southern Eagle!


Alumni Spotlight – Joe Tompkins

While at Georgia Southern, Joseph “Joe” Tompkins (LOGT, 2004)  was a member of the Logistics Fraternity, Delta Nu Alpha, as well as a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. His years at Georgia Southern formed his character and determination for success as he built lifelong friendships. Even beyond his college years, Joe has been able to quickly bond with fellow Georgia Southern University grads socially and in the workplace thanks to the common experiences they shared in Statesboro.

Since graduating, Joe has been working as a Department of Defense (DoD) contractor, specifically on Air Force contracts. For more than 10 years, he has applied the knowledge gleaned from the logistics and operations aspects of his degree to manage several multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts. Currently, Joe serves as project manager on a five-year, $80 million contract supporting technical data management for K2 Firm at Robins Air Force Base. He has oversight of a team of 84 contractors and is responsible for the applications that provide the technical data to war fighter maintainers. His job is to make sure that all aspects, from development to testing to implementation, are completed. Joe is also responsible for providing regular status updates to Air Force leadership at several different base locations across the U.S. He is looking forward to his latest challenge of implementing an enterprise-wide product lifecycle management (PLM) application, supporting more than 10,000 Air Force end users.

Prior to joining K2 Firm, Joe consulted for both DoD and commercial customers supporting a variety of activities from configuration management to big data migration. As a project manager for IHS Global, he managed a $19 million contract employing more than 100 contractors responsible for capturing more than 20 million part records. These data are currently used to help DoD users access the correct parts and manuals for weapon system maintenance worldwide.

Joe also worked for nearly five years at one of the “Big 5” consulting firms, BearingPoint. While at BearingPoint, he earned his Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, which, combined with his logistics and operations knowledge, helped him succeed in making sure processes were efficient and effective, and all projects were completed on time and on budget. During this period, Joe received several corporate awards for both individual and team performance, including the IHS Leadership Award, Circle of Excellence Team Award and BearingPoint’s Silver Beacon Award.

Joe and his wife, Ashley, live in Bonaire, Georgia, and have two sons – Bryson, who is 8 and a huge Georgia Southern Eagles football fan, and Weston, who is nearly 2 and will follow in his big brother’s footsteps in cheering on the Eagles!

Southeast Georgia Banking Symposium

The Tenth Annual Southeastern Georgia Community Bank Symposium was held on Thursday, March 24, 2016, at the SpringHill Suites Conference Center in Statesboro. The event was hosted by Rand Ressler, chair of the Department of Finance and Economics, and Edward H. Sibbald, director of the Center for Excellence in Financial Services. As in past years, the symposium was co-sponsored by the Georgia Bankers Association.

As always, the annual symposium focused on current issues and concerns for community bankers in southeast Georgia. This year the focus was primarily on economic forecasts, revisions in secured agribusiness lending requirements and data protection and cybersecurity programs.

Key speakers for the event included Roger Tutterow from Kennesaw State University; James Moore III, president and managing partner of the law firm, Moore, Clarke, Duvall and Rodgers; Zack Duke, executive vice president of Safe Systems and Steve Powell of Steve H. Powell and Company.

The feature presentation was a conversation on banking between Kevin Hagler, Georgia commissioner of banking and finance, and Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association. A wide range of topics were discussed including the improved financial condition of banks in southeast Georgia, efforts to reduce regulatory burden and new technologies in banking.

One of the highlights of the symposium is the opportunity to showcase our business students. This year, our student ambassadors included Sarah Gleissle, graduate assistant, Ethan Von Behren and Peyton Sutton, interns working with the Center for Excellence in Financial Services, and two outstanding banking students, Megan Dodson and Frances Patterson. The student ambassadors were great representatives of the quality of students in the College of Business.

In his closing remarks, Joe Brannen recognized Georgia Southern University and the Center for Excellence in Financial Services for their outstanding support and commitment to the community banking industry in Georgia. He noted that the College of Business has the most comprehensive curriculum in banking courses within the University System of Georgia. He specifically acknowledged the outreach in terms of consulting engagements, the BANKSTAT peer group comparison service and training of future bankers. He stated that Georgia Southern University is the one unit in the University System of Georgia that has demonstrated its commitment to community banks in Georgia.

Georgia Southern Students Win at American Marketing Association Conference

Three College of Business students representing the GATA Sales Team traveled to New Orleans during spring break, March 17-20, to compete at the 38th Annual American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Marketing Conference.

Chareva Myles competed in the AMA Perfect Pitch competition sponsored by AeroTek, while Taylor Porter and Jakeia Kitchens competed in the ABC Supply Co. International Sales Competition.

The three competitors prepared 90-second pitches for their respective competitions, and each student proceeded through the first round of pitches, making it to the second and final round. At the end of the competition weekend, Myles won first place in the AMA Perfect Pitch as well as landing an internship this summer at AeroTek and a job with AeroTek as a recruiter following her graduation. She is scheduled to start work in January 2017.

Porter placed second in the ABC Supply Co. International Sales Competition, and Kitchens placed third in the ABC Supply Co. International Sales Competition.

“As a team, we didn’t think we were going to get that far at first,” said Myles. “But, after the first round and learning what we had to do, we knew we would do exceptionally well in our respective competitions.”

The Georgia Southern GATA Sales Team was the only team from one university to take home first, second and third place in the competitions.

Finance Association Hosts Financial Institutions Specialist

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the Finance Association hosted Steve R. Shepherd, financial institutions specialist at Steve H. Powell and Company, as part of the Georgia Southern University Finance Association Guest Speaker Series.

Shepherd discussed the services, including third-party loan review, compliance audits and consulting in the areas of bank chartering, due diligence support, financial analysis and strategic planning, among others, his firm provides to its clients. Additionally, he gave students interview and job tips such as to never compromise their ethics, work really hard and learn as much as possible to gain experience and expertise in your field, and to be mindful of their social presence online. Shepherd also shared a few examples of challenges faced with clients and employers throughout his career. Students chatted informally with Shepherd at the conclusion of his presentation.

Steve Shepherd has 15 years of experience working in the banking industry. He provides consulting services to approximately 80 clients in the southeastern United States. Shepherd’s employment experiences include working as a commercial loan officer, compliance officer and compliance consultant throughout his banking career.

Steve H. Powell and Company is a Statesboro-based firm established in 1993 by Georgia Southern College of Business alumnus Steve H. Powell (MGMT, ’81). The firm serves more than 100 financial institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. For more information and employment opportunities, visit the firm’s website at

Alum’s Company Named a “Top Workplace” by the AJC

Source: Business Wire

Safe Systems, a national provider of fully-compliant IT and security services for community banks and credit unions, announced that it was recognized as a “Top Workplace” by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) in the small workplaces category. Of the 2,552 companies that participated in the competition, Safe Systems is proud to have ranked in the Top 150.

The “Top Workplaces” are determined based solely on employee feedback. The employee survey is conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLP, a leading research firm on organizational health and employee engagement. WorkplaceDynamics conducts regional Top Workplaces programs and recognizes a list of 150 National Top Workplaces. The AJC considers these companies to be the best metro-Atlanta has to offer.

“Safe Systems is fortunate to have talented industry professionals dedicated to serving our customers, including many graduates from Georgia Southern University. We strive to create an engaging and inspiring workplace to ensure employees thrive and enjoy a positive work experience,” said Danny Johnston (ECON ’76), CEO and Chairman of Safe Systems. “I have always had a strong belief that you hire people with high integrity and empower them to do the right thing by the customer and each other,” Johnston added. “We are honored to be recognized as a ‘Top Workplace’ by The AJC.”

Safe Systems’s placement on the list is a result of its commitment to the professional development and growth of its employees, work-life balance, positive work environment, innovative culture and strong values. Safe Systems has given back to organizations that have close connections to the company including sponsorship of local foster care programs; fundraising events for the cancer support organization Surviving, Inc.; and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the complete list of Top Workplaces on March 27, 2016. For more information about the Top Workplaces lists and WorkplaceDynamics, please visit and

About Safe Systems

Safe Systems was founded in 1993 to provide compliance-centric IT and security solutions exclusively to financial institutions. The company has become one of the leaders in the industry, managing hundreds of financial institutions representing more than $61 billion in combined assets, 1,100 locations and more than 25,000 network devices. Safe Systems’s IT network management services are the bridge between the core and other third-party applications. These cost effective solutions include IT support and managed services, internal network/cloud design and installation, hosted email, business continuity and disaster recovery, compliance consulting, security services, and IT and compliance training. Safe Systems helps financial institutions to significantly decrease costs, increase performance, and improve their compliance posture. For additional information about Safe Systems, Inc., please visit or call (877) 752-0550.

School of Accountancy Director Discusses Forensic Accounting with Bloomberg BNA



A new kid has appeared on the academic accounting block: the Journal of Forensic Accounting Research, a publication of the American Accounting Association (AAA). AAA is the leading U.S. group of accounting academics.

Although it was launched in March 2015, JFAR has yet to publish, its editor Charles Bailey, told me recently that “the academic publication process moves slowly.”

Bailey, a professor of accounting at the University of Memphis, wrote in an email message that several articles are under second- or third-round review. ‘”I expect to be able to accept perhaps four to six during 2016,” he wrote.

“Forensic accounting is such a broad topic that we’re open” to many subjects, Bailey told me in a phone interview March 23.

First, Definitions.

First things first, and being mindful of that apparently wide swath, one should ask what exactly is forensic accounting.

A basic Google search yield the following definition:  “the use of accounting skills to investigate fraud or embezzlement and to analyze financial information for use in legal proceedings.” Wikifying the term comes up with applied tasks (and livelihoods):  “the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation”—hence the employment of forensic accountants as expert witnesses in court cases.

Finally, there’s this from  “Demystifed the exciting field of forensic accounting [,] including investigative accounting and litigation support.” Note the “.com.” The website is produced by a Toronto forensic accounting firm.

Truth is, some of the topics in forensic accounting are pretty sexy relative to a fair amount of what goes on in the world of debits, credits,  cume catch-ups, and other comprehensive income.

Call for Papers.

JFAR’s formal, on-line “Call for Papers” lays out appropriate topics for the journal. The journal notes that appropriate topics are not limited to the list:

  • consumer frauds (on-line and other);
  • corruption (corporate, governmental and the key U.S. anti-bribery statute, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act;
  • expert witness activities;
  • fraudulent financial reporting;
  • governance and fraud;
  • investment scams;
  • psychology and social psychology of fraud;
  • technology for detecting, investigating or committing fraud; and
  • theft of corporate assets (employers, managers, and third parties).

Also on the list are “computer forensic analysis” and “pattern recognition and anomaly detection.” Such tasks reflect the latest trends in forensic accounting, in which computer-aided techniques are used more and more to ferret out potential fraud.

Timothy Pearson, one of eight associate editors of JFAR, provided a brief description of the computer-based forensic accounting techniques in a March 24 interview. Pearson, director of the School of Accountancy at Georgia Southern University, also suggested how more technological forms of detection can be combined with studies of human behavior – in scrutinizing how employees that come under suspicion of dubious behavior use their computers during a workday, for example.

Hunting for Anomalies, Books-Cooking.

Checks of corporate books-cooking can also come into play in forensic accounting when seeming mismatches in reported activities and events, on the one hand, and the actual occur.

Hypothetical examples of that, Pearson said, might be a company closing many branches or retail sites, “but revenue is going up,” or an airline reports increases in revenue per flight, but it is flying planes that have more and more empty seats. (Other explanatory factors could come into play, of course, as Pearson acknowledged.)

Financial data-crunching and computerized hunts for anomalies in filings are front and center in use of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “Accounting Quality Model.” That technique for detecting funny business was announced in late 2012.

At the time, Bloomberg BNA publications carried headlines such as “SEC Developing Risk Model to Detect Outlier Financial Statements, Official Says.” The director of the SEC’s RiskFin shop—for Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation—described the planned use of “risk analytics to determine whether a registrant’s financial statements ‘stick out from the pack, while taking into account the contemporaneous attributes of that pack,’ ”according to one BBNA story.

More on the Journal of Forensic Accounting Research can be found at

Another noted journals in forensic accounting includethe Journal of Forensic and Investigative Accounting  published by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts, in association with Louisiana State University.. More information is at

In addition, Georgia Southern University publishes the Journal of Forensic Studies in Accounting. More on that is posted at

Management Receives SHRM Renewal

The Georgia Southern University College of Business Department of Management has received renewal of the Human Resource (HR) Management emphasis through the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). This renewal comes in accordance with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. The HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates, part of SHRM’s Academic Initiative to define HR education standards, was developed by SHRM to define the minimum HR content areas that should be studied by HR students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. SHRM acknowledges 412 programs in 310 educational institutions as being in alignment with its suggested guides and templates.

Robert C. Hoell, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP and chair of the Department of Management, is proud of the recognition of the Human Resource Management (HRM) Emphasis area of the BBA in Management degree.

“Our faculty have worked hard to make sure our courses provide a strong foundation in HRM. It is great to see that our efforts have been rewarded with realignment,” stated Hoell. “Only 50 BBA programs have been recognized by SHRM, and we are proud to be an original member of that group since 2006 and to have been recertified. The professors in the department take the time to stay current in the field and to make sure their classes reflect the most up-to-date HR knowledge and techniques. Employers searching for employees in this area can be confident that our graduates have the needed knowledge and skills to succeed on the job. Students feel confident that they will be ready for whatever challenges they face in the business world.”

The program will maintain its alignment until 2021, when it will be re-evaluated. Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in more than 160 countries, the society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management.

Management Professor Speaks at German American Chamber of Commerce Forum

Steven Charlier, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, recently attended the German Mittelstand – Southern SME Forum, hosted by the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. in Savannah. Charlier was an invited panelist at the conference and presented, “Talent Retention – Working with Millennials.” In his presentation, Charlier discussed the generational differences within today’s work environment, explaining what’s important to Millennials, what they look for in a career and their life expectations.

“The conference brought together more than 100 executives from German and American small- and medium-sized businesses,” said Charlier. “Together with Rolf Wrona (VP of human resources for Mercedes-Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama), we discussed current trends in research and practices related to the attraction and retention of younger workers. The conversation was lively, as we collectively shared both concerns and best practices on working with Millennials. It was a very positive experience for me, and, as an added benefit, I was able to make connections with several high-ranking executives from organizations within the Southeast U.S.”

The forum offered a platform for attendees to exchange ideas while building relationships with new business partners and offered the opportunity to gain insights on innovative business practices to help strengthen their presence in the U.S. market.

15th Annual Graduate Research Symposium

This year, the College of Business saw four graduate students present during the 2016 Graduate Research Symposium held at the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center on Saturday, April 16, 2016. The Research Symposium, a conference-style showcase, included speakers, poster sessions and presentations from across all academic disciplines.

Two Ph.D. in logistics and supply chain management candidates, Nihar Kumthekar and Mohammed Anas Irfan, presented their research, along with two MBA students, Morgan Jefferson and Sarah Gleissle, who participated in the poster presentation portion of the symposium. Kumthekar’s presentation was titled, “Role of Communication and Collaboration in the Relationship Between Integration and Logistics and Firm Performance,” and Irfan’s research was on “Supplier and Customer Collaboration and Their Relationship with Process Integration, Firm Performance and Logistics Performance.” Jefferson’s poster presentation was titled, “Achieving Economic Growth and Sustainability Through Agri-Business Development,” while Gleissle presented, “Comparing Differences and Similarities in the European Banking System, using the French, German, Italian, Spanish and English Banking System.”

The university has hosted the annual Research Symposium in various forms since 2001, showcasing graduate research efforts coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies.

Georgia Southern Enactus Earns 2016 Regional Title

On Friday, April 1, 2016, the Georgia Southern chapter of Enactus won the Enactus Regional Competition in Atlanta. The student-led organization focuses on providing economic support to the local area through sustainable entrepreneurial projects.

Presenting for the team were Enactus officers, Ryan Murchland, president, Luke Panosian, vice-president, and Zachary Lemons, secretary. Also attending and providing support were Zack Rogers, Anisha Mathur and Bailey Morris. The team members presented the service projects they have been working on over the past year, which include Paws N Claws, Supplying Individuals the Tools for Success (S.U.I.T.S.) and the Southern Classic Gaming Tournament.

Murchland started the presentation by recapping the Paws N Claws project in which a new student organization was founded to help build support for The Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County. Paws N Claws provides volunteers to help foster last chance pets, to work at ReTails Thrift Store and to help organize fundraisers. Enactus also facilitated a partnership between Paws N Claws and the Fashion Merchandising Apparel and Design Club (FMAD) on campus. FMAD students used scrap materials to make doggie bandanas that are currently being sold at ReTails.

Lemons presented the revitalization of the S.U.I.T.S. program. What began as a program to help students learn soft skills to gain employment is now a project aimed at helping the unemployed and underprivileged in the community to become gainfully employed. The student organization is currently using funds from a project partnership with Wal-Mart to empower women of Safe Haven Bulloch. This project is in full-swing, and the students hope to place at least two women in new or advanced job positions before competing at nationals from May 15–17, 2016.

Panosian introduced a new project, the first annual Southern Classic Gaming Tournament. This partnership with the Southern Collegiate Gaming (SCG) Club will not only raise awareness and promote cyber security for gamers of all ages but will also raise money for a scholarship sponsored by SCG. This event will take place May 20–21, 2016, following the Enactus national competition.

“The students did a great job representing Georgia Southern,” said Suzanne Hallman, the student organization’s advisor. “They have truly embodied the mission of enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. They are exploring and identifying problems and working together to implement creative sustainable solutions to improve the community.”

Enactus was relaunched as an effort of two students, Ryan Murchland and Bryan Flores, in 2014 with co-advisor and entrpreneurship assistant professor Steve Stewart, Ph.D. The last time Enactus earned a trip to nationals was in 2013. Please join the Business Innovation Group in congratulating these outstanding students and supporting them as they represent Georgia Southern at the Enactus United States National Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.

Manufacturing Key Part of Bulloch Economy

By DeWayne Grice, Herald Writer, Statesboro Herald

Every year local and state leaders set aside a week to recognize the impact manufacturing has on the Georgia economy.

In Bulloch County, we have six manufacturing facilities: Braswell’s, Briggs & Stratton, Brodie Meter, Great Dane Trailers, Loxscreen and Viracon. Combined, these manufacturers directly employ 1,729 people in Bulloch County according to a study done by the Georgia Southern University Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development.

The report goes on to say that manufacturing activities support 2,186 secondary jobs. These jobs are in other industries such as healthcare and social services, entertainment and recreation, food services and others. The average salary for employees working in local manufacturing is $45,820. These companies provide wonderful opportunities and growth potential for people with varying skills and education.

“We are growing a strong, diverse economy in Bulloch County with healthcare and manufacturing leading the way,” said Dominique Halaby, director of the Business Innovation Group for Georgia Southern. “When you include GS into the mix, it proves that we are not just a university town but a growing economic base. It further proves we are a thriving economic hub. This combination creates a nice robust mix of jobs and continues to drive up skill sets and calibers of jobs, further building a smaller eco system which parallels a larger city.”

The total impact from manufacturing is estimated in the report to be nearly $676 million annually. An additional $147 million is added to the local Gross Regional Product as a result of local purchases made by manufacturers and their employees. These purchases generate a secondary impact of $138 million in GRP.

“Manufacturing week gives us a chance to recognize a critical part of our economy,” said Benji Thompson, CEO for the Development Authority of Bulloch County. “Local consumers don’t buy a Great Dane Trailer or architectural glass typically. So, this sector is not as obvious as other industries. Local manufacturers have a huge impact on our tax base, which, in effect, helps lower everyone’s property tax bill annually. Gateway Industrial Park alone has over 2,000 employees working in various plants. Thanks to these companies, our community has shown that we have stable, world-renowned manufacturers that call Bulloch home.””

One of the first companies to locate in Gateway Industrial Park was Viracon, which specializes in architectural glass. Four years ago, Viracon made a significant investment in modernizing and retooling its plant. They are now one of the largest manufacturing employers in Bulloch County.

“Obviously Viracon remains “bullish on Bulloch,” said Rick Farmer, Viracon plant manager. “Our $6 million investment in equipment and facility upgrades in 2012 has positioned us to continue to capitalize on the resurgence of growth in construction around the world. Our dedicated workforce of 400 employees enjoys the quality of life this community offers. They join us in continuing to support the community in every way possible. Our production outlook remains favorable, and we remain very optimistic for the upcoming fiscal year. Our partnership with Georgia Southern’s Engineering Intern Programs has helped us recruit qualified candidates, allowing us to keep skills and depth in our community.”

With a new industrial park almost complete at the highly marketable intersection of 301 South and I-16 and creative partnerships with the Bulloch County Board of Education, Ogeechee Technical College, East Georgia State University and Georgia Southern University, our community is positioning itself well to capitalize on significant industrial growth. The impact of the harbor deepening and subsequent port expansion at the Port of Savannah alone could be a tremendous windfall for Bulloch County.

If you have a family member or friends working in the manufacturing industry, use this as a reminder to thank them for being a critical part of our diverse economy.

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Last updated: 3/11/2022