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Taking Flight – March 2016 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

I have often said to people that the College of Business is an educational institution, not a vocational institution. We are preparing students for productive careers and for positions of leadership throughout the private and public sectors. But, we are also preparing them for a future that is increasingly complex and uncertain.

Who could have foreseen the changes that have occurred in the past 20 years? The effects of new technologies, the globalization of traditional industries, the emergence of new business models and the changes in the ways people engage their work; the business world in which we all now live is dramatically different from the business world we studied as students. And so, our challenge as educators is to prepare our students for the reality of today, as well as for the uncertainty of tomorrow.

How do we do that? Well, we do it by focusing on two things. First, we teach the basics very well. Truly understanding fundamentals like market efficiency, competitive dynamics, accrual versus cash accounting, workplace satisfaction, operations management and consumer behavior creates a strong foundation on which to build experience and expertise throughout a career. Second, we teach students to think and adapt. Across our curriculum and classes, we embed case studies, experiential exercises and engagement opportunities. The point is to develop a sort of mental ambidexterity in our students, an ability to work efficiently in the moment while working creatively for the future. We think this type of education is the key to the future and our competitive advantage.

So, as you read this newsletter, think about your own education and about the things you learned in the College of Business. And, as you do, think about the future and about the steps we are taking now to prepare for it. We are building a legacy of success by doing the things that will help our students succeed and bring increasing recognition to this great university.   


Alumni Spotlight – Wesley Olliff

Wesley Olliff (MGMT, 2007) was born and raised in Statesboro, Georgia. Upon his graduation from Georgia Southern University, he moved to Savannah in 2007. In 2008, he married Jessica Hammonds, originally from Macon, Georgia. Jessica also attended Georgia Southern University and obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the College of Education. They have a son, Archer, who was born on May 2, 2015.

Wesley has eight years of experience in consumer/commercial lending. He joined Colony Bank in 2012 as VP of commercial lending. He obtained a master’s degree in accounting from New England College in 2014 and was promoted to senior vice president of commercial banking for Colony Bank in 2015.

An active member of the Savannah community, Wesley serves on the Emerging Leaders Council and the Endowment Committee for Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church. He is also an ambassador for the Savannah Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Georgia Southern College of Business Young Alumni Board. In addition, Wesley is a graduate of Leadership Savannah and Leadership Effingham.

Building A Legacy
at the Georgia Southern College of Business

The College of Business at Georgia Southern University is excited to announce Building A Legacy, an initiative to renovate and expand its 89,000 square foot building.

The current building was first occupied by the College of Business in 1995. This 20-plus year old space has undergone no significant renovations since its construction; only minor touch-ups have taken place to include new paint, new carpet and new furniture.

At the time of its construction, the current building cost approximately $16 million, and enrollment was around 2,000 students. Currently, enrollment is 3,600 students, and business education has become increasingly competitive. Many other business schools at comprehensive universities across the nation, like Georgia Southern University, have announced or are building new buildings. The average size of these new buildings is 160,000 square feet, and the average cost is $66 million. To remain competitive, the College of Business at Georgia Southern University needs to invest approximately $10 million in its facility.

In its Golden Anniversary, the College of Business seeks to address the need for a cutting-edge space with a three-phase plan. The building, which was built before the Internet, needs to be retrofitted to support the full functionality required for cutting-edge instruction. Classroom layout and design needs to be updated to provide greater instructional flexibility. In addition to renovations within the building, we will also expand the current footprint by adding an Atrium and a Financial Learning Lab. Both additions will increase visual appeal and flexibility. The Atrium will offer students a space and an atmosphere that encourages collaboration and networking. The Financial Learning Lab will provide a customized facility for studying financial markets, monetary policy, financial securities, investment vehicles and other related topics. The lab will feature cutting-edge technology and provide a venue for guest lecturers, student competitions, board meetings and recruiting events.

The renovation and expansion of the building will enable the college to move forward competitively in attracting students, faculty, businesses and donors. For more information, please contact Pam Jones Stovall at
(912) 478-5083 or email

2016 Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference Set for May

The Georgia Southern University School of Accountancy, along with Porter Keadle Moore (PKM), is hosting the 2016 Fraud and Forensic Accounting Education Conference at The Westin Jekyll Island from May 16–18, 2016.

The not-for-profit event is designed to educate professionals, academics and students in the fields of fraud examination and forensic accounting. This year’s theme is “Integrity in Business.”

Topics will include preventing and detecting insider threats, healthcare fraud, identity fraud and data breaches. The conference also includes the latest updates on cybersecurity, law enforcement trends, SEC prosecutions, the Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) and more. Speakers include nationally and regionally-known investigators, government and law enforcement officials, internal auditors, educators, authors, attorneys and others.

“The confirmed speakers represent government organizations including the U.S. Secret Service, FDIC, [Office of the] Georgia Inspector General as well as top universities and leading accounting, law and consulting firms,” said Conference Chair Don Berecz, director of the Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business at Georgia Southern University. “As technology gets more advanced, criminals do, too,” he added. “It’s critical for anyone working in this area to stay informed, and this conference is an excellent way to do that.”

PKM has sponsored the conference for the past several years. “The fraud conference has lots of great speakers and lots of great participants,” said PKM Managing Partner Phil Moore. “It has been a stalwart program in forensics education not only for practitioners but also for educators, with its strong keynote speakers and timely breakout sessions. It’s a high-quality continuing education program.”

Attendees will earn as many as 16 hours of continuing professional education credit (CPE).

BIG Café Success

Each month at City Campus, the Business Innovation Group (BIG) invites two local entrepreneurs to present at BIG Café. Both presenters come prepared to speak for six minutes to tell a little about their businesses and, ultimately, pose questions about problem(s) they are currently facing.

Jonathan and Bob Chambers, owners of CitruSolution and one of the presenters during February’s BIG Café, brought some excitement when Jonathan presented the challenge of “looking for an entrepreneur to take CitruSolution to the next level.” Jonathan and Bob were unsure of “how to market the sale” of their business.

Each attendee was engaged in an effort to help Jonathan and Bob. Fred David, owner of Minuteman Press, stated, “it’s very important to put together a complete package of what you want, and be able to show a potential buyer what your cash flow is and how you justify your price.” Brian Reiss, owner of Party Harbor Inflatables suggested, “Don’t advertise it because people may think the quality isn’t that good and [you] just want out.” Other suggestions included using a broker, considering owner-financing and looking at repeat customers to see if they may have an interest in buying.

After a follow up with Jonathan and Bob, it seems as if BIG Café assisted them in this business endeavor and has helped point them in the right direction. Some action steps that they have taken thus far include:

  • Met with their accountant to clarify numbers,
  • Met with the credit union president to solidify numbers,
  • Met with a potential business broker twice to explore that option,
  • Had lunch with the CitruSolution Founder/CEO to crystallize their plan,
  • Called a business valuation expert and Georgia Southern alumnus in Jacksonville, Florida, to better understand valuation,
  • Had lunch with Allen Amason, dean of the College of Business, to explore options and fine tune business exit strategy, including how to market it and
  • Have spoken to 5 potential buyers.

After meeting with experts and advisers, they have found that their business is worth $160,000, and this strong number backs up its reputation and book of business. Jonathan and Bob have arrived at the final asking price of $115,000, which gives the buyer a profit of $47,000 or 41% for the buyer to use at his or her discretion.

Jonathan’s wife, Allison Beasley Chambers (MGMT, ’02), co-owner of CitruSolution, is grateful to witness her alma mater having an instrumental role in helping her and her husband turn their dreams into a reality.

Jonathan and Bob are well on their way to selling their business. BIG Café can have the same impact on your business. If there is a problem or issue that you want to solve, don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to resolve these issues by presenting at BIG Café, held the second Wednesday of the month at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. Thank you to the local entrepreneurs, students and faculty who make this program successful.

College of Business Advisors Present Article at Regional Conference

From March 16–18, 2016, Lisa Sapp and Elizabeth Noles presented their article, “Two Advisors Are Better Than One: A Model for Student Success,” in Orlando, Florida, at the National Academic Advisory Association (NACADA) Region 4 Conference.

The article was selected as a concurrent session during the conference due to its high quality in relation to its timeliness, interest/benefit to the NACADA membership, clarity, relevance to the conference theme, creativity and adaptability of ideas to a variety of settings.

“Two Advisors Are Better Than One: A Model for Student Success” discusses best practices used by the College of Business advisement model, which utilizes both a traditional academic advisor and an academic success coach. The article goes into specific detail regarding the College of Business advisement model, how advisors identify the specific targeted population and various support strategies used within the College of Business Student Services Center. Advisors agree that providing support for students experiencing academic difficulty is a challenge all advisors face. Through the advisement model at the Georgia Southern College of Business, the academic advisor, the academic success coach and the student collaborate to determine the best support for each student’s situation.

Eagle Expo Career Fair

The Office of Career Services hosted the Spring Eagle Expo Career Fair for students and alumni on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, from 12–4 p.m. at the Recreation Activity Center. The event provided attendees with an opportunity to network with recruiters and learn about career opportunities. Eagle Expo, held in the fall and spring semesters, is the largest recruiting event at Georgia Southern University.

During the event, more than 90 employers from government, retail, logistics, sales, manufacturing and other industries recruited students for job, internship and co-op opportunities. A few notable employers participating included Cintas, Verizon, GEICO, Deutsche Bank and Target.

Professional business attire was required for admission, and students were encouraged to bring several copies of their résumés and to be prepared to step out and talk with employers. To view registered employers and organizations, visit the Office of Career Services website. For more information, contact the Office of Career Services at (912) 478-5197.

National Distributing Speaks to Intro to Business Classes

Representatives from National Distributing Company were recent guests in Susan Roach’s introduction to business classes on February 24, 2016, following the Eagle Expo Career Fair. The talk was very interesting for the students, covering all aspects of the marketing process (branding, sales, customer relations, competition, promotions, demographics, trends and logistics).

Two of the speakers, Melissa Bishop (MKTG, ’15), sales representative – Retail Chain Wine Division, and Kevin Bowles (MGMT, ’10; MBA, ’14), marketing specialist, shared their favorite college memories and provided tips on ways to get more involved on campus. As a training manager, Mr. Winston Knight, discussed the importance of understanding your market as well as developing an effective training program. Mr. Karl Wagner, HR Director, shared common interviewing mistakes, also discussing what he’s looking for in future employees (good communication, strong work ethic, a good attitude and motivation). They encouraged students to stop by their table at future career fairs. National Distributing has hired a number of Georgia Southern College of Business alumni.

Finance and Economics Hosts Second Annual Meet and Greet

The Eagle Expo Career Fair brought employers from all industries to campus for the opportunity to recruit from a pool of students from all majors. The Finance and Economics Meet and Greet was held after the Eagle Expo in the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center and allowed economics and finance students and faculty to interact with businesspeople who are successful in banking, insurance and other industries or firms related to the financial sector of the economy. Students received advice related to the professions they aspire to, and faculty became more familiar with the concerns and issues facing employers. Such informal interaction facilitates the Department of Finance and Economics in delivering relevant educational content so that graduates are well prepared for the transition from student to professional.

2nd Annual Eagles on Wall Street

Twenty-two of our Georgia Southern College of Business Eagles will soon be soaring over Wall Street. The highly anticipated sequel to last year’s inaugural Eagles on Wall Street (EoWS) course is set to begin soon, and enrolled students will be traveling to New York City in early May to spend one very busy week visiting organizations and firms play an integral role in the U.S. and global financial markets. Students will be speaking with and hearing presentations from a diverse group of market participants in various areas such as insurance, credit review and private equity, among others.

A special thanks to alumni who have lent their assistance in scheduling visits in NYC—your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many and can be costly. If you are interested in sponsoring a student, a group meal in NYC or the course in general, please contact Rand Ressler, Ph.D., department chair of Finance and Economics, via email at or by phone at 912-478-5216.

Please visit the EoWS website at for highlights from last year’s trip, and watch for updates from EoWS 2016. Keep an eye out for the Fall 2016 Eagle Executive magazine as it will certainly include an overview from EoWS 2016.

MBAA Tours Port of Savannah and Visits with the Savannah Chamber of Commerce

On Friday, February 26, 2016, the MBA Association (MBAA) toured the Port of Savannah and visited the Savannah Chamber of Commerce to learn about destination marketing through Visit Savannah. During the port visit, the group learned about the operations of the fourth busiest port in the U.S., and the only port in the U.S. with its own customs office on site. The Port of Savannah will see approximately 3.7 million, 20 foot boxes come through this year. The Georgia Ports Authority is also expanding its inland ports in Chatsworth and Cordele, Georgia, while the Colonel’s Island Terminal in Brunswick, Georgia, will continue to be the number one car import port in the U.S. David Porter (MGMT, ’01), regional sales manager, showed the group around the port, taking students to see the cranes and the actual operations.

Following the port tour, the group traveled to downtown Savannah to visit the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. There, the MBA students met with Georgia Southern alumna Erica Backus, director of public relations for the destination marketing office, of Visit Savannah. Recently, Savannah was named the number one place to visit in the nation. Visit Savannah is funded through the hotel/motel tax in the city, with tourism being the fourth most important industry in Savannah. To learn more about Visit Savannah, go to

College of Business Students Place in 3DS and Savannah FastPitch

The third annual 3 Day Startup (3DS) was held February 19–21, 2016, at Georgia Southern. This year, My Guardian Angel, led by first semester Entrepreneurship student Layne Livingston, was selected by 3DS judges to move on to Savannah’s FastPitch hosted by The Creative Coast.

3DS, an intensive weekend filled with activities, included workshops, business idea generation, customer engagement sessions and pitching the ideas to the judges. 3DS is a world-renowned program that creates a living entrepreneurship laboratory bringing together individuals from various backgrounds to provide students with the tools they need to start successful companies.

Layne developed the idea for My Guardian Angel, and entered 3DS, at the encouragement of her entrepreneurship professor, Steve Stewart, Ph.D. My Guardian Angel is a device that detects weight in child car seats and sets off an alarm on the parent’s key fob if the parent walks 30 feet away from an occupied car seat. The device can be transferred from a baby seat to toddler seat and is durable, washable and potentially customizable. Under Layne’s leadership, other members of her team included Quinton Boyd, Thomas Carter, John Jones, Jeovannti McKoy and Joseph Watt. Layne delivered the team’s pitch acting as a distracted parent juggling many tasks at once to demonstrate how the invention worked. Two other teams, ChapterEase, a Greek life chapter management system, and LFG, a gamer matching app based on personality, were also chosen to compete at the FastPitch in Savannah on March 4, 2016.

“I’ve attended all three years, and this was the best year so far,” said Allen Muldrew, Downtown Statesboro Development Authority director. “The Business Innovation Group’s 3 Day Startup program is a great asset to Georgia Southern and our community. It’s nice to see such a great launching pad for our future entrepreneurs.”

“When I first met Layne in the first semester Entrepreneurship class, she had a head full of great ideas, but told me, ‘I’ve never thought of myself as an entrepreneur,’” said Steve Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Management. “It’s great to see students take what they’re learning in our entrepreneurship courses and see them through into great products and services that are valued outside the classroom. Georgia Southern has phenomenal resources through our courses and the Business Innovation Group for students to develop ideas into real businesses, and it’s always great to see that happen.”

Following the 3DS competition, Layne, and the My Guardian Angel team, moved on to compete in Savannah’s FastPitch competition hosted by The Creative Coast. The Creative Coast organizes the annual FastPitch competition which provides experience, contacts, coaching and feedback to entrepreneurs.My Guardian Angel competed against 25 other entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to a panel of six judges and more than 100 audience members. In the end, Layne Livingston’s pitch for My Guardian Angel earned her and her team second runner up among all 26 teams, and the highest rated student team.

Eagle Executive Exchanges Held in Savannah and D.C.

The Office of Development and Alumni Affairs hosted two Eagle Executive Exchange events in March. One in Savannah, Georgia, on March 4 at The Distillery, in conjunction with the Young Alumni Board meeting, and one in Washington, D.C., on March 8 at Eddie V’s Seafood – Tysons Corner.

In Savannah, more than 40 College of Business alums and members of the Young Alumni Board mingled while enjoying a selection of beers from breweries owned and/or operated by graduates of the College of Business including Eagle Creek Brewing Company (Franklin Dismuke, IS ’92) and Southbound Brewing Company (Smith Matthews, MBA ’11). Dean Allen Amason gave the crowd an update on the College of Business and the upcoming renovation of the College of Business building while letting everyone know how they could stay involved in the College and help Eagles do business with fellow Eagles.

In Washington, D.C., a small group came out to Eddie V’s Seafood to hear an update on the college and learn more about the college’s building renovation from Pam Stovall, senior director of development.

The next Eagle Executive Exchange events will be in Augusta and Macon. Keep an eye out for more details soon.

BBRED Completes Analysis for McRae-Helena

The Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) recently completed a target industry analysis for the City of McRae-Helena to identify potential industries as attraction targets that could support the existing industrial economy in McRae-Helena and surrounding Telfair County. To find these industries, the research team examined both the industrial sectors and workforce characteristics present in the region.

The McRae-Helena leadership intends to use the findings of this analysis to pursue identified industries with potential to locate in and positively contribute to the local economy of Telfair County. As part of this analysis, the research team compared Telfair County to a grouping of contiguous counties. High growth sectors were identified within the two areas. Industries recommended to McRae-Helena that could support business growth include manufacturing, wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing sectors.

The analysis identified 11 potential sectors that could be good recruiting targets for the City of McRae-Helena. Currently, the city is taking active steps as a direct result of the BBRED study to recruit new businesses to the area. Finally, BBRED would like to thank the North American Development Bank and the GENIE program for financially supporting this research project.

BIG Pitch Winner Update

Opus 12, the inaugural winner of the BIG Pitch during the Ocean Exchange, from Stanford University, had an exciting 2015, and 2016 is shaping up to be just as BIG or even bigger. The group is celebrating its first full year of operations, and Nicholas Flanders, co-founder and CEO of Opus 12, Inc., was recently featured among Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for energy. Opus 12 was also selected Shell GameChanger to receive funding for an initial feasibility study. According to Flanders, “2016 is starting off on a wave of CO2 [Carbon Dioxide]-related opportunities.”

In early 2015, Opus 12 began technology development in the Cyclotron Road program as well as in the Molecular Foundry at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The lab resources allowed Opus 12 to accelerate its lab results to a high-performance CO2 conversion prototype in a few months. Other grants the team won in 2015 include one from the Department of Energy (DOE) and another from the National Science Foundation. In addition to winning BIG Pitch, Opus 12 won the DOE’s Transformational Idea Award, Fortune’s Cool Companies Award and a TechConnect Innovation Award. Opus 12’s chief technology officer was named among the Levo 100 Top Millennial Innovators.

BIG Pitch seeks undergraduate and graduate innovations that improve economies, health and the environment, fitting under the theme of sustainability. Registration for BIG Pitch 2016 is currently underway through 11:59 p.m. on September 30, 2016. To register, go to

Tom Szaky–Sustainability & Entrepreneur Lecture Series Speaker

On Thursday, April 7, 2016, the Center for Sustainability and the Business Innovation Group (BIG) will partner to host this year’s Entrepreneur Lecture Series speaker, Tom Szaky, co-founder and CEO of TerraCycle, at the Performing Arts Center (PAC). TerraCycle collects and repurposes hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste such as chip bags, cleaning product packages, etc. Mr. Szaky has also authored two books, Outsmart Waste and Revolution in a Bottle.

A well-known international public speaker who oftentimes speaks to corporate and academic audiences, Szaky is also the producer and star of a reality TV show called “Human Resources.” Since its inception, Tom and TerraCycle have collected more than 100 awards for the work conducted from organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, United Nations and the World Economic Forum.

Szaky’s presentation is a partnership between the Center for Sustainability’s seminar series and the BIG Entrepreneur Lecture Series. The Center for Sustainability’s seminar series has featured nationally and internationally-recognized leaders in sustainability since 2008. The Entrepreneur Lecture series was developed by the College of Business’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership as a way to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit. This partnership plays a great role in helping to harness and grow an innovative culture in the region. Attendance verification will be provided for students.

Connect with Tom Szaky through Facebook at or Twitter (@TerraCycle).

To learn more about TerraCycle and its mission, visit

This event is free and open to the public.

Student Sustainability Fees at Work!

In Memory of Jerry Wilson, DBA

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Jerry Wilson, DBA, professor of marketing in the College of Business. Jerry was a valued colleague, a respected teacher and a member of our faculty since 1988. He will be missed.

In the College of Business, Jerry taught marketing and logistics courses. He was instrumental in bringing the logistics and intermodal transportation undergraduate degree to the college. Jerry was the recipient of many awards including the Maxwell Powell Memorial award, Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Transportation Management and Professor Emeritus of Marketing.

Friends were received in Savannah at Gamble Funeral Services on Monday, March 21, 2016, with the funeral service following. Remembrances may be made to Hospice Savannah (P.O. Box 13190, Savannah, GA 31416-0190) or to the American Cancer Society (Ste. 206, 6600 Abercorn St., Savannah, GA 31405).

Eagle Executive Magazine

The Spring 2016 Eagle Executive is now available. To view it, click here.

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Last updated: 4/9/2021