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Taking Flight – April 2017

deanphotonewsletter2016Message From the Dean

It’s late spring, and we’re moving towards the end of another semester and another academic year. I always enjoy this season of the year, as there are so many important things going on in the life of our College and University. Two of those things are our alumni awards celebration and our annual faculty/staff awards banquet. These are festive occasions, where we gather with friends, applaud our colleagues for their accomplishments, and renew our commitment to excellence in everything we do for Georgia Southern.

Our College Alumnus of the Year and our University Alumnus of the Year in Professional Achievement are both outstanding exemplars of this principle. I encourage you to read the stories about Major General Leslie Smith and Mr. Mike R. Davis. Both are products of this College and of this University; both have excelled in their disciplines and are known and respected around the country and around the world. They represent us very well, and we are certainly very proud of them. We’re equally proud of our many great faculty and staff, and so we gathered recently for a banquet. You can see below the many awards that were given out and the many hard working individuals who were recognized. Please join me in offering them congratulations.

Notice as well, throughout this newsletter, the many other examples of our commitment to excellence, to leadership and to having a positive impact through our work. You can see it in the recognition of Dr. Jeff Schiman’s research, in the way Dr. David Sikora teaches leadership to his students, in the work of Dr. Linda Mullen and her students who competed successfully in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, and in the award given to Mr. Jeremy Horstman for his work with veterans in the entrepreneurship arena and for his leadership of our outstanding Veterans Business Outreach Center.

These are just a few examples, but they illustrate the larger reality. Across the breadth of our family, alumni, students, faculty and staff, we are engaged in a relentless pursuit of excellence and meaningful impact. And so, we are happy to celebrate these successes, excited about the direction of our College, and thrilled to be working on behalf of Georgia Southern University.

I’d like to recognize and offer my heartfelt congratulations to the following faculty and staff who received awards at our annual Faculty/Staff Banquet held on Friday, April 21, at Forest Heights Country Club in Statesboro. Please join me in congratulating all who were recognized for their outstanding service to the College of Business!

William A. Freeman Award for Outstanding Professor
Axel Grossmann, Ph.D., associate professor of finance

Gary M. Davis Excellence in Research Award
Steve Charlier, Ph.D., assistant professor of management

W.A. & Emma Lou Crider Award for Excellence in Teaching
Britt McKay, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting

Martin Nesmith Faculty Award for Distinguished Service
Kathleen Gruben, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing

Tomlinson & Bond Families Staff Award for Excellence
Debbie Hilton

Rutherford Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service in the MBA
Steve Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of management

Donald D. Howard Faculty Award
Chris Brunt, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics

J. Daniel Speight Banking Excellence Award
Allissa Lee, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance

Dabbs, Hickman, Hill and Cannon Accounting Scholar
Brian Dowis, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting
Stephanie Sipe, Ph.D., professor of legal studies

Business Innovation Group Entrepreneurial Outreach Award
Ben McKay

Jean C. & David G. Spoolstra Faculty Award
John Dyer, Ph.D., professor of information systems

Porter, Keadle, Moore, LLC Faculty Fellowship in Accounting
Leslie Fletcher, Ph.D., professor of accounting
Eddie Metrejean, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting

Jane White Marketing Scholar
Linda Mullen, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing

Michael W. Skinner School of Accountancy Excellence Award
Lowell Mooney, Ph.D., professor of accounting

College of Business Faculty Enrichment Award
Kwabena Boakye, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics

Bank of America Faculty Award
David Sikora, Ph.D., assistant professor of management

M. Albert Burke Faculty Award
Amanda King, Ph.D., associate professor of economics

Ron & Barbara Shiffler Faculty Award
Alex Gambill, Ph.D., lecturer of information systems

Olivia Suggs Flanagan Faculty Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching or Research
Tim Cairney, Ph.D., associate professor of accounting
Stephanie Hairston, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting


Alumni Awards: Mike Davis & Maj. Gen. Les C. Smith

On Saturday, March 25, the Georgia Southern University Alumni Association presented its 2017 biennial Alumni Awards. The College of Business was well represented with the Alumnus of the Year in Professional Achievement, Mike R. Davis, and College of Business Alumni Award recipient, Major General Leslie C. Smith.

Mike Davis (FINC, ’88) serves as the executive director and CEO of the U.S. Golfing Association (USGA). He is the senior staff member of the USGA, responsible for managing all aspects of the Association’s day-to-day operations, including core functions, essential programs and human and financial resources. Davis provides
overall strategic guidance, serves as spokesperson with the internal stakeholders and external constituencies, and represents the USGA’s interests within the golf community, courses and clubs, state and regional golf associations, the media and international golf associations. During his time at Georgia Southern, Mike was a member of the University’s golf team and Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Maj. Gen. Leslie C. Smith (ACCT, ’85) serves as the Deputy Inspector General, Office of the Secretary of the Army. Smith’s previous assignment was the Commanding General of the United States Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood. Smith received his commission from Georgia Southern University in 1983 as a field artillery officer. Upon graduation, he entered the army as a chemical officer. Smith has received many awards and decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Joint Service Achievement Medal. He also holds an MS in administration from Central Michigan University and an MA in national security strategy from the National Defense University.

Leadership Speakers in the Classroom

During the month of April, David Sikora, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, invited Allen Amason, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business; Lieutenant Colonel Erik Kjonnerod, professor of military science at Georgia Southern; and Paul Theriot, CEO at East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, to speak to his leadership in organizations class.

Dean Amason spoke about the difficult and complex situations leaders deal with, sometimes with limited information. He said good leaders develop a good sense of direction and vision for their organizations and need to share their visions regularly throughout their organizations. “Leaders have a strong bias for action,” stated Dean Amason. “They use that action bias to get the results needed to improve their organizations.” Leadership is not easy and requires the tenacity to persevere through the many obstacles a leader will face, and it requires a bit of humility, he concluded.

Lt. Col. Kjonnerod discussed leadership from a military perspective. His talk spoke to leadership being a 24/7 challenge that takes vision, purpose, and clear and specific goals. A good leader is a role model responsible for getting results through others while caring about their people, while trusting and empowering their people to get the needed results. He said, “Care builds the leader-follower trust needed to accomplish difficult tasks. Leaders and followers must trust each other.” Previous positions held by Kjonnerod include executive officer to the commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division and secretary of the general staff for the senior commander at Fort Drum. He has been deployed to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wrapping up the speaker series, Paul Theriot talked about the necessity for leaders to be able to develop a clear and compelling vision, creating buy-in and support for that vision and company goals with their followers. He also stressed how leaders shape their organizations’ cultures in order to build climates that deliver the desired organizational outcomes and that leaders need to consistently share their visions. “Leaders should focus their efforts on challenging and developing their best employees,” stated Theriot. Theriot has a bachelor’s degree and two masters degrees in health administration and business administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to coming to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, he was the assistant CEO for Dekalb Regional Medical Center in Fort Payne, Alabama, CEO for Chesterfield General Hospital in Cheraw, South Carolina, and COO at Gadsden Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Alabama.

Interrogating High School Students

Forensic accounting students went to Statesboro High School to conduct interviews to put into practice what they have been studying.

Students taking forensic interviews and interrogation in the Fraud Examination Certificate program conduct weekly “field” interviews during each semester. During the third week in March, over two days, mock job interviews took place at Statesboro High School (SHS). Thirty-two of our students interviewed 128 high school seniors involved in the career development phase of their English classes. The event was arranged by SHS Work-Based Learning Coordinator Margot Bragg.

English teachers Denise Bearden, Alice Iwinski and Jen Calhoun assisted their students in advance of the interviews as students prepared applications, résumés and cover letters. After the mock job interviews, interviewers submitted evaluation forms with ratings and comments and a hiring decision was recommended. The teachers then met with each student to discuss strengths and weaknesses. This student activity has been ongoing for years and consistently receives positive feedback from all parties involved.

Next, our students move into the interrogation phase of their training. They will study and conduct exercises involving the detection of deception, denials, accusations, rationalizations and obtaining admissions and confessions.

Forensic Students Receive Special Membership in Professional Organization

The International Association of Interviewers (IAI) offers a special membership level, the associate member, to active duty military, full-time students and full-time academics, as a result of a partnership with the Georgia Southern School of Accountancy and Don Berecz, CFI, CPA, CFE and director of Fraud Examination and Forensic Accounting programs within the College of Business at Georgia Southern.

All investigators, in this case, students in Berecz’s forensic interviews and interrogation course, become associate members of IAI and use the information and resources provided on the IAI website. The investigators also use the Wicklander-Zulawski text, “Practical Aspects of Interview and Interrogation.” Throughout their training, investigators apply their knowledge in weekly mock interview assignments.

Other associate members of the IAI come from government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department; private defense contractors like Keypoint Government Solutions and Elemental Intelligence Systems; and educational institutions including George Mason University, University of Alabama and Colorado State University.

The course is taught as part of a certificate program within the Georgia Southern School of Accountancy. To learn more, visit

Both the College of Business and School of Accountancy at Georgia Southern are AACSB accredited.

Jeremy Horstman Named Veteran Small Business Champion by SBA’s Georgia District Office

The Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded Jeremy Horstman the 2017 Veteran Small Business Champion in the 2017 National Small Business Week awards for Georgia.

Horstman is the director of the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) at the Georgia Southern University City Campus in downtown Statesboro. The Center is one of 20 VBOCs nationwide.

“The Veterans Business Outreach Center team is excited to receive this award as an advocate for ‘vetrepreneurs,’” said Horstman. “As an SBA resource partner, we strive to empower veterans in the small business arena, and, when they are successful, we are successful. As veterans ourselves, we enjoy helping transitioning veterans on the path to business ownership.”

Horstman was nominated by Georgia District SBA Public Affairs Officer Lindsay Williams. To be nominated for Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year, an individual must have fulfilled a commitment to the advancement of small business opportunities for veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

“These awards aren’t just about recognizing business success; they also recognize the efforts of small business advocates that empower entrepreneurs,” said Terri Denison, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Georgia District Office. “We believe that small businesses are the economic engine driving our economy, and people like these award winners are the spark plugs powering that engine.”

Criteria for the award include active support for legislative or regulatory action designed to help small businesses; evidence of increased business opportunities for veterans as a result of the nominee’s actions; and advisory activities to improve awareness of small business opportunities among veterans’ groups, among other things.

The winners will be honored at a luncheon, hosted by the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle, scheduled for May 2, at Villa Christina in Atlanta. To learn more about National Small Business Week in Georgia visit https://

Since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation calling for the first week in May to be celebrated as National Small Business Week. Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas and Fresno, California, plan national events to commemorate this special time.

Online MBA Named a Best Online MBA Program

College Choice recently released its Best Online MBA Programs 2017 ranking, and it included the Georgia Southern Online MBA.

College Choice rates online MBA programs based on actual costs (taking into account hidden fees such as technical support fees or operating platform costs) and information published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. The Higher Education Research Institute conducted a nationwide survey, polling students about financial aid offerings, the overall cost of going to school and job placement rates. Other sources also included in College Choice’s rankings were U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics and

“The Georgia Southern University online solution for working business professionals is an excellent example of what an MBA program should look like. This school has been conferring the MBA online for more than 15 years and has since perfected it into an accelerated program that sees students finishing the requirements in less than two years. This school holds regional accreditation by the SACSCOC. The MBA program is further accredited by AACSB International.”

Although the coursework is 100 percent online, students are required to attend a two-day orientation in Atlanta, Georgia, prior to beginning the program. This is the one and only time students meet with faculty and other classmates in person, allowing them to feel more connected once class begins.

It is important to note that Georgia Southern requires that all online instructors are certified and independently academically-qualified by AACSB to teach the courses. In addition to the fact that all courses are taught asynchronously, students are getting the very best education, all while holding a job and continuing with their personal lives.

The Georgia Southern MBA requires 30 credit hours of coursework. While an internship is not required, a capstone team project is mandatory. Sample courses include quantitative analysis for business decisions, managerial accounting, and business ethics and the law.

Faculty Member’s Research Making an Impact

Jeff Schiman, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, was recently mentioned on the National Council on Teacher Quality website in a commentary by Hannah Putman for research he has conducted with Ben Ost (University of Illinois at Chicago) on first-year teachers’ absence rates (counting only sick and personal days, not professional development) and how these rates correspond to their workloads (e.g., class size, years of experience). The article, published in Economics of Education Review, volume 57, April 2017, highlights that teachers are less likely to be absent when teaching larger classes, teaching new grade assignments or having fewer years experience.

To view the article in its entirety and the full study, click here.

Georgia Southern University Sends Students to the 19th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition

The 19th annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) was held at Kennesaw State University on March 31–April 3, 2017.

The NCSC hosts this one-of-a-kind event with a live tournament-style student sales role-play competition, networking opportunities and sales-exclusive career fair. This event promotes and enhances the practice and professionalism of selling.

The NCSC hosts the top collegiate sales talent and sales faculty from the most elite university sales programs in North America. Upcoming sales graduates are provided a venue for sharpening their sales skills in a highly competitive environment and networking with their peers and sales faculty from across the United States.

Chris Kirk and Mila Saitowitz, sales and sales management students at Georgia Southern University, were among the 144 students who competed at NCSC. The Georgia Southern Center for Sales Excellence also took 32 other students to attend the career fair associated with the competition.

Those competing are given sales scenarios and present sales calls to the sponsored corporate partners. The students’ goals range from getting a second appointment to making the sale; however, the focus is on the sales skills exhibited rather than the outcome of the call.

The competition is a bracket-style format, with wildcard elimination rounds to advance. Judges evaluate students on approach, needs identification, presentation, handling of objections, closing and overall nonverbal skills.

“It is a major accomplishment to be competing with the students from the top schools,” said Linda Mullen, Ph.D., director of the Center for Sales Excellence at the Georgia Southern University College of Business.

The NCSC is by invitation and allows only 72 sales programs from across North America to send two students each to compete. In order to be invited, the school must have previously competed in the competition with students succeeding in some capacity.

“The registration policy was developed keeping in mind that the NCSC is a ‘competition,’ and we want to continue to improve the competition and, in turn, the quality of the next generation of sales candidates,” said Dr. Loe, Ph.D., director of NCSC.

The NCSC is the premiere sales competition in North America and provides a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students. Thanks to Chris and Mila, as they placed in the upper group, and Georgia Southern University will be invited back next year.

College of Business Program Listed in Top Five

The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy has listed the Georgia Southern School of Accountancy Forensic Accounting program as one of the top in the nation. To learn more about the Forensic Accounting program, visit

Finance Association Wraps Up Year with Two Local Speakers

On Wednesday, April 12, 2017, the Finance Association welcomed Linda Mullen, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, and Steven “Kelly” Dabbs for the final semester installment in its ongoing Guest Speaker Series.

Mullen discussed her time as a runner and trader on the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE). She explained the fast-paced environment and how it was somewhat like the scenes depicted in movies. Her experiences there helped her significantly in her next job at a bank.

Dabbs (CHEM, ’08), a Statesboro native, talked at length about his investing experience starting as a broker in Savannah. As his knowledge and client base grew, he began crafting more exotic investments. During his presentation, Dabbs also stressed the importance of networking as a friend of a friend helped him obtain a seat on the Pacific Coast Exchange in San Francisco. He spent a number of years trading options as a market maker on that exchange. Kelly explained the job of being a market maker and discussed the lifestyle and high burn-out rate typical of market makers on exchanges. He said the most he lost was about $40,000 in 60 seconds. After leaving the exchange, he returned to the Statesboro area and has become a local entrepreneur, operating several businesses. Dabbs explained the interesting business opportunities he developed to fill specific, but unmet, needs in the local community.

Both Mullen and Dabbs expounded upon how much knowledge they gained about the markets.

April BIG Café

This month’s BIG Café was held on April 12 at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. Local entrepreneurs gathered to listen to two of their peers present their business and problems they are currently encountering. As the two “localpreneurs” presented, attendees enjoyed complimentary coffee provided by Cool Beanz and doughnuts provided by the DSDA as they gave invaluable feedback to the two individuals.

The presenters for April’s BIG Café were Sally Minton from Boro Takeout and Shawn Jackson, the lab coordinator for the FabLab and Innovation Incubator at City Campus. Sally started the food delivery service, Boro Takeout, in 2009. Boro Takeout has grown to feature about 30 local Statesboro restaurants. The service allows customers to order food via the Internet or phone and have it delivered to them. Boro Takeout also offers grocery delivery from BiLo, Monday through Thursday.

Sally is looking to expand her offerings to include national food chains and to other communities near Statesboro. Her problem is getting into see corporate at the national food chains and the cost of delivering to nearby communities. Suggestions included adding caterers to her service, organizing a group of other food service delivery companies to approach national chains, researching other food delivery service companies to learn how they have been able to break into the national food chains, researching sales prior to including a restaurant as part of Boro Takeout food delivery and comparing the increase in sales the restaurants have seen after becoming part of Boro Takeout to show national food chains the benefits of being part of Boro Takeout’s food delivery service. During her presentation, Sally also noted that her largest restaurant backed out at one point, and Boro Takeout did not see a decrease in sales. This shows people want the delivery service for convenience rather than a certain type of food. This is yet another way for her to present her case to the national food chains.

Shawn, the lab coordinator at the FabLab, discussed the services he is able to offer in downtown Statesboro through the FabLab. It offers 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, power tools, hand tools, and graphic design and engineering software. The FabLab also offers training on specific tools at varying levels and provides hands on experience. Shawn is able to offer community experts to FabLab customers since it is part of Georgia Southern University. Auto cad, logo design and graphic design experts, along with local engineers who can help individuals with their projects, are readily available. The rates for using the FabLab vary from $45 for a community membership (1 person), $95 for a family membership (up to 3 people using the space), $200 for a small business membership and $350 for the benefits package membership. Shawn asked if this was something that would resonate with the community.

Currently, about 10 people utilize the monthly plans; however, once the web payment system with auto renewal is up and working, Shawn says he has about 35 people wanting to start with the FabLab. He was also asked how he is marketing the FabLab. Shawn is currently working with University Marketing and Communications on a brochure that will be placed at the Statesboro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and on campus. He also has a viral marketing strategy campaign that will utilize geo caching and will put a 20 x 20 electronic display in the window of the FabLab on East Main Street. Another idea was to partner with local schools.

BIG Café was a huge success; thanks to everyone who attended and gave invaluable feedback. Special thanks go to Sally from Boro Takeout and Shawn from the FabLab for presenting and to our sponsors, David Hoyle of Cool Beanz, and Elena McLendon, DSDA. If you would like to present your business obstacle(s) at BIG Café, please contact Andi Wilson at or (912)478-0872. Attend the next BIG Café if you would like to come together to network, drink coffee and help one another thrive. Also, attend five times and receive a free BIG Café coffee mug!

Faculty/Staff News

Steve Stewart’s publication with Allen Amason, entitled, “Assessing the State of Top Management Teams Research,” was just published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Business and Management. Congrats, Steve and Allen!

Steve Stewart also recently had an article with co-authors Kevin Cox (Florida Atlantic University) and Jason Lortie (University of Mississippi) entitled, “When to Pray to the Angels for Funding: The Seasonality of Angel Investing in New Ventures,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Venturing Insights. The study identifies seasonality in angel investment deals and suggests reasons for the trends. Congrats, Steve!

College of Business Student Services Advisors Trevor Bruffy, Scott Curley and Mikaela Shupp presented at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region IV Conference held in Jackson, Mississippi, March 29–31. Their presentation, “Academic (Ed)visors: Examining the Advising as Teaching Philosophy,” examined the importance of learning outcomes in advisement in an effort to move beyond prescriptive advising, resulting in a richer educational experience for our students.

Jan Grimes was invited to the McGraw-Hill Education Management & Organizational Behavior Symposium, held in La Jolla, CA, from February 23–25.

Last updated: 1/27/2023