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Taking Flight – June 2017

deanphotonewsletter2016Message From the Dean

For astronomers, the Summer of 2017 began on June 21, at 10:25 a.m. EDT; that is the precise moment of the summer solstice. On the other hand, meteorologists will say the meteorological summer, which they define as the three hottest months of the year, began on June 1, 2017. But do not tell any of that to the faculty, staff and students here at Georgia Southern. For us, Summer 2017 began May 15. That is the day that our Summer A Term and Summer Long Term classes began. This summer, and in the College of Business alone, we will teach more than 13,000 student credit hours; that is roughly 2,500 students and more than 120 individual classes. So, this is a busy time for us. It is also an opportunity for our students to get ahead by taking some extra courses or to grow professionally by completing an internship.

We also run full speed on some other projects in the summer. As I mentioned last month, we are continuously improving our facility, upgrading the equipment in our classrooms and the furniture in our offices. We are busy with SOAR sessions for the students who are coming to our E.I.P. program, as well as all those new students who will be arriving in the fall. Our Student Services Center staff is planning for an expansion and reorganization, which will provide better and more specialized attention for our students. Many of our faculty members travel to conferences during the summer. They will get together with their colleagues from all over the world and discuss cutting-edge research, new instructional techniques and various trends in their professions. We are constantly adapting our administrative structure as well, moving people into and out of roles designed to serve the evolving needs of the College. Finally, we use the summer to stay in touch with our alumni. Whether we are enjoying Georgia Southern Day at SunTrust Park or having a more intimate dinner with a small group of supporters, summer is a great time to get together with friends and celebrate the Eagle Nation.

Indeed, as you read through this newsletter, you will see examples of the good things happening this summer; whether it is through the outreach efforts at our Business Innovation Group (BIG) or the internships undertaken by our students, we are engaging the business community and having an impact on the world around us; or through our graduate programs, our Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC), or professional organizations and alumni network, we are raising our banner and gaining recognition for the quality of our graduates and for the hard work of our faculty and staff; or through the launch of our new College of Business app or the continuous improvement in our student services, we are pushing forward, in an effort to stay on the cutting edge technologically and provide the very best customer experience. The hazy days of summer may be different from those of fall or spring, but, for us, they are merely different verses of the same song. Every day is an opportunity to improve, an opportunity to create new value and an opportunity to grow the reach and reputation of this great College of Business!


Alumni Spotlight – Kelley Henderson

Kelley Henderson (FINC, ’96) was recently named the new chief executive officer for Action Ministries, Inc. (AMI), in Atlanta.

Action Ministries is a faith-based, nonprofit charitable organization that believes every person deserves an opportunity to achieve his or her potential. Through an extensive network of partners and volunteers, Action Ministries has worked to mobilize communities to address the challenges of poverty by focusing on hunger relief, housing and education for 54 years.

The need for these services and support remains high. Georgia continues to rank in the “Top 10” for homelessness, food insecurity and poverty in the United States. Committed to mission, partnership and community, Action Ministries served more than 93,000 people, across 50 counties, with the help of nearly 1,000 partners, and more than 12,000 volunteers in 2016.

Kelley served most recently as interim president and CEO, and as COO. Prior to joining AMI, he served as chief operating officer of First Step Staffing in Atlanta and chief program officer of MUST Ministries in Marietta.

“I am honored to serve in this role, and hope that Action Ministries can continue to be a beacon of hope for the poor, a new beginning for the homeless, and a great place to serve for our staff and volunteers.” said Kelley.

College of Business Helps with Recruiting of Athletes

During the summer and throughout the year, College of Business faculty and staff are called upon to talk to student athlete recruits who are still making their decisions as to which university to attend. Recently, Brian Dowis, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting, met with a football recruit and his parents.

During the student athlete’s visit, he/she expresses interest in certain programs the university offers, and Athletics sets up a meeting with a faculty member from that area. At that point, the faculty member is available to discuss the various programs offered and answer any questions the recruit or the parents of the recruit may have about the university or the college with which they are visiting.

Dowis met with the student athlete and his parents on a June Saturday afternoon for about 30–45 minutes. During this time, Dowis highlighted all College of Business programs, along with student organizations available, our Student Services Center, class size, and placement rate, among other things of interest to the student and his parents.

Shortly after meeting with the student athlete, Dowis received word from one of the coaches stating, “The family was very impressed. [They] haven’t gotten that quality [of] academic information on other visits.”

Thank you, Brian, for taking time out of your Saturday to represent not only our College of Business but also our great University.

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Georgia Southern University Student Group Receives Prestigious Award from World’s Largest HR Association

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has awarded a 2016–2017 Superior Merit Award designation to the Georgia Southern University SHRM student chapter for providing superior growth and development opportunities to its student chapter members.

Of the 327 student chapters from across the United States, Georgia Southern University was one of 149 winners.

The SHRM student chapter merit award program, which began in 1972, was created to encourage student chapters to require ongoing excellence in the following areas: student chapter requirements, chapter operations, chapter programming and professional development of members, support of the human resource profession and SHRM engagement.

“These chapters truly represent the future of the HR profession,” said Susan Post, SHRM-SCP, East divisional director at SHRM and the lead for SHRM’s Student Programs. “Their achievements go above and beyond their everyday academic and work commitments, and we applaud the positive impact their efforts have on their schools, their local communities and beyond.”

SHRM student chapters have the opportunity to earn an award based on the number of activities they complete during the merit award cycle, which lasted from April 1, 2016, to March 31, 2017.

The Georgia Southern University student chapter of SHRM completed a number of important initiatives leading to its Merit Award recognition for the 2016–2017 academic year. These activities included the establishment of a Human Resources Mentorship Program with the Statesboro Professional SHRM chapter. This mentorship program allows Georgia Southern SHRM members to regularly interact with HR practitioners in local business and government organizations. The program provides informal career advice and professional networking for chapter members. The student chapter also worked with the Georgia Southern Human Resources and Career Services groups to present a series of chapter meetings aimed at helping students develop professional résumés, build their interviewing skills and learn to better network with employers. Finally, the chapter presented a panel discussion with HR professionals and business owners aimed at helping students understand how employers make hiring decisions and what they look for in top job candidates.

For Fall 2017, the Georgia Southern University student chapter officers include Joslyn Ballingall (president), Tiffany Daniels (vice president, fundraising), Barbara Jordan (vice president, membership), Thomas Boynton (vice president, public relations), Brandy Hurt (vice president, merit), Bryan Barron-Ponce (secretary), Jada Long (succession chair) and Caroline Nolen (treasurer).

Media: For more information, contact Steven Charlier, Ph.D., or David Sikora, Ph.D., advisors of the Georgia Southern University SHRM student chapter at 912-478-5161 or at or, respectively.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRMPress for more information.

MBA & VBOC Attend National Guard Association of Georgia Conference

From June 2–4, representatives from the College of Business Graduate Programs Office and Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) attended the 69th annual National Guard Association of Georgia State Conference in Stone Mountain, Georgia. During the event, members of the National Guard of Georgia received strategic leadership presentations from Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau; Lt. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, director, Army Staff; and Maj. Gen. James K. Brown, Jr., deputy commanding general.

The College of Business Graduate Programs have participated in this event for several years in order to educate those in the military about our AACSB International-accredited graduate programs. “We are very popular at the event because many of the Guard members in attendance were Georgia Southern undergraduates and/or their money is going to Georgia Southern because their kids are or were enrolled,” stated Karen Wells, MBA recruiter.

Logistics Provides Experiential Learning Experiences for Students

Toward the end of the spring semester, the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management offered several opportunities for its students to participate in experiential learning events.

In April, the Georgia Southern Logistics Association (GSLA) organized a chartered bus tour of the Port of Savannah. The visit included a presentation with an overview of port operations by Georgia Southern alumnus Bobby Keel. After the presentation, the group was driven through areas of the port complex to see first-hand how intermodal logistics keeps supply chains moving. Special thanks goes to David Porter (LOGT, ’01), regional sales manager for the Georgia Ports Authority, for his help in setting up the visit. Approximately 40 students attended the trip to the Georgia Ports Authority in Garden City, Georgia, accompanied by Heidi Celebi, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics, Kwabena Boakye, Ph.D., assistant professor of quantitative analysis, and Scott Ellis, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics.

Also in April, a team of four students majoring in logistics and intermodal transportation traveled to the University of North Florida (UNF) to participate in its 2017 case competition. Hannah Cordery, Tavish Smith, Jeffery Robinson and Connor Lockhart represented the Georgia Southern College of Business. Other schools participating in the case competition included UNF, University of Maryland, Auburn University, University of Tennessee, University of Arkansas and University of North Texas. As part of the activities, participants were given a tour of a CSX intermodal terminal in Jacksonville, Florida. Jerry Burke, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, accompanied the team.

Dean Amason Quoted by Georgia Trend

Recently, Dean Amason was quoted by Georgia Trend in the article, “Ready to Lead—Today’s Business Schools Are Preparing a New Breed of Entrepreneurial-Minded Students for Success.” In the article, the dean speaks to what employers are looking for in employees, critical thinkers, and how an MBA matches working professionals’ skills with the skills employers are seeking. To read the article in its entirety, visit

Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors named national “Agency of the Year”

Frankenmuth Insurance Honors Statesboro Agency

Frankenmuth Insurance recently selected Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors of Statesboro as its 2016 “Agency of the Year” from more than 550 independent agencies nationwide. The prestigious national award is presented to the one agency that is the top performer in profitability, growth and policy retention.

“2017 marks the 13th year Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors has been a valued partner of Frankenmuth Insurance,” commented Frankenmuth Insurance President and COO Fred Edmond. “We are so pleased to present this award to the agency and its staff, and we look forward to many decades of continued partnership with Lee, Hill & Johnston.”

Lee, Hill & Johnston was also named a “Preferred Plus” Partner for 2017. This national distinction is awarded to the top 5 percent of all independent agencies representing the insurance company. This is the third year the agency has been recognized as a Preferred Partner.

“We enjoy a wonderful relationship with Frankenmuth Insurance, and we are proud of this national recognition,” commented John Lee, who along with Pratt Hill have been managing partners of the local agency since the early 1980s. “It is a tribute to our fine staff and their dedication to serve the insurance needs of our many valued customers.”

Hill added, “Frankenmuth Insurance has been in business for more than 150 years, and it enjoys an A.M. Best rating of “A,” which is excellent. We are pleased to be associated with a company that is financially sound and offers outstanding coverage and excellent service.”

Lee, Hill & Johnston, which has been associated with Frankenmuth Insurance since 2004, has been serving the insurance needs of people throughout southeast Georgia since 1963 when the late Joe Johnston founded the locally-owned agency. Lee, Hill & Johnston offers a wide range of insurance coverage for personal and commercial lines including auto, home, life, health and business coverage.

Earlier this year, Bulloch County natives Mitchell Hill and Russ Taulbee joined John Lee and Pratt Hill as principals of the local agency. Several members of the Lee, Hill & Johnston team are Georgia Southern College of Business alums.

Internships – A Look at Experiential Learning

The summer internship season is in full swing in the College of Business. The Georgia Southern Internship Program continues to enjoy strong growth as more and more students come to understand the benefit of experiential learning in a real-world environment. Internships offer students a chance to launch their classroom preparation into a career, while employers get an opportunity to assess students’ maturity, aptitude and capability as they begin to move beyond their academic comfort zones.

Blake Davlin, a senior management major, did a spring internship at the Preiss Company, a top ten provider of off-campus housing in the nation. Preiss stresses sales and cross-training at every level. Blake wrote, “It was hard at first, but the internship taught me proper time management and planning.” In time, he added, “the internship experience opened my eyes to a whole other world, sales! It turns out I am actually pretty good at sales, and it is something that I enjoy.” A sales-oriented career path, along with the confidence it gave him has resulted in an employment opportunity at graduation.

Evan Hanner had no clue what to expect on his first day in continuous improvement at Schneider National, a logistics and transportation firm in Savannah. During onboarding, he learned the standard procedures but, in practice, found differing requirements among customers. One of his most valuable learning experiences was “learning how to productively facilitate meetings and draw others into the discussion. I learned from failure and did not make those mistakes again.” The big “take-aways” were relationships and networks formed while in the program along with the confidence to speak-up in company and customer leadership opportunities. “I learned how to manage objectives,” he said, “and how important good people are to an organization. Everyone I worked with was pretty cool. I can’t thank Georgia Southern enough for driving students to get a foot out in the real-world and develop skills in their field[s] prior to graduation.”

Lexi Swan, a senior accounting major, learned to “apply the accounting theories she learned in class for the past two years” as an assurance intern in the audit department of Aprio, LLC’s manufacturing, engineering, and technology group in Atlanta. “I learned so much about the flow of the accounting system from beginning to end and how to test the system from the outside-in,” she observed. “The level of confidence and professionalism gained from experience in the workplace is not easily learned in a classroom. Working as part of an engagement team, reviews and evaluations are stressful but offer moments of confidence and validation that are essential to the growth of a young staff member, and I worked harder after each meetings to prove myself. I think this experience would be important to all accounting students as they worked towards completing a degree in accounting,” Lexi concluded. This summer, she is an internal audit intern for a commercial firm, aiming to further broaden her experience in the accounting field.

In the College of Business, internship students may qualify for academic credit if they meet pre-requisites and sponsors agree to support the learning curve with mentoring and feedback. The program’s greater than 22 percent annual growth rate in recent years has caught the attention of businesses large and small because internships offer a “trial run” opportunity to attract and evaluate future talent. If this is something you might be interested in pursuing, please contact Jim Davis, Experiential Learning director, at, 912-478-5820, or 912-682-2704.

Student Services Center Update

by Mikaela Shupp

The College of Business Student Services Center is happy to announce that operations are growing! In order to accommodate the increase in student population as well as staff, Student Services will now have two dedicated centers—one that will work with freshmen and sophomores and one that will work with juniors and seniors. In the coming weeks, two additional advisors will be hired, resulting in a team of eleven professional advisors. Student Services believes the additional resources will allow advisors to have longer appointments that are more catered to the individual student. The success coach will remain with the freshmen and sophomore students to ensure they are getting started on the right foot. In the junior/senior center, a specialized graduation advisor will aid students in the transition from academics to the career realm in addition to confirming that students have completed degree requirements. Student Services is excited for the changes that will help better position our students for the future.

BIG Café

This month’s BIG Café was held on June 14 at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. Local entrepreneurs listened to two of their peers present their businesses and challenges 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 presenters.

The presenters for June’s BIG Café were Charlie Marucco of Marucco Technologies and Chris Thorpe from Efficien Technology, LLC. Charlie started out in Chicago in 2011 developing and supporting custom solutions for small and midsized businesses and later pivoted to building mobile applications (apps). The challenge Charlie is facing is a familiar one many start-ups face at some point: how does one decide the right time to hire additional employees, which then leads to other questions such as making the decision to move away from hourly services to consumer product and which products should be invested in since not all products are winners.

Gary Johnson, the SCORE representative, suggested using 1099s to get started. This would allow Charlie to hire contractors, rather than actual employees he would need to provide benefits to. Other suggestions were to focus on a niche group, like healthcare or tax professionals, for his app business and to develop a marketing strategy. During the Q&A session, Charlie explained that he has used the subscription model on a developed app that was unsuccessful; building and maintaining an app is not only costly but timely, too; and that a lot of time must be spent researching possible app ideas before building the app. The “if you build it, they will come” way of thinking does not always work in the app world.

Chris Thorpe, project manager for Efficien Technology, started by explaining exactly what Efficien Technology does—converting waste materials into higher-value specialty chemicals. Efficien Technology currently operates a patented processing machine in Statesboro, known as the “Carbonator,” that uses recycled tires to create tire pyrolysis oil, which improves crude oil extraction by breaking down the buildup of paraffin crystals that occur over time. Chris’s biggest challenge is one dealing with marketing. He currently has anecdotal data but no real data to validate the performance of his product; the price of oil is down; and the stripper well market is very competitive. Because many in the stripper well industry are family businesses, price is the economic driver. Many businesses are not willing to give this product a chance for fear of losing money. In order to break into the industry, Chris validates his product by offering it for free to early adopters in order to get people to use the tire pyrolysis oil in their crude oil.

To help with marketing efforts, it was suggested to Chris to join national associations in the crude oil industry and attend the North America Prospect Association in Houston, Texas, which is held twice a year. Gary Johnson also suggested performing an ROI analysis for the customer once Chris gets the research needed to validate his product. John Myers of the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) advised finding a PR expert in the industry to help control his message since some negativity on his product is out there. Other suggestions included diversifying using other natural byproducts.

To watch the presentations, visit and scroll to the June 14, 2017 live video.

BIG Café was a huge success. Special thanks go to Charlie from Marucco Technologies and Chris from Efficien Technology 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 at City Campus on Wednesday, July 12 if you would like to come together to network, drink coffee and help one another thrive. Also, attend five times and you receive a free BIG Café coffee mug!

Faculty/Staff News

Xinfang Wang was recently selected to receive the Research Scholarly Pursuit Funding Award by the University Faculty Research Committee. Congratulations, Xinfang!

As a co-author of a recently published article in Decision Sciences Journal, Jerry Burke, is in the conversation about business school rankings and loss of information for decision-makers (e.g., students and parents) due to methods employed by rankings organizations. The article, “On Academic Rankings, Unacceptable Methods, and the Social Obligations of Business Schools,” is a collective effort of 21 business educators to take an improvement approach to rankings methods and better inform stakeholders of business schools. The article appears in the June 2017 volume of Decision Sciences Journal and has received mass media attention with pieces in The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune. It was also the topic of a recent online article from the AACSB International, the premier accrediting body for business schools. Congrats, Jerry!

Last updated: 1/27/2023