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Taking Flight – March 2017

deanphotonewsletter2016Message From the Dean

Each time I write one of these commentaries, I think about the thousands of people who read them. We are all different, of course, different ages, careers, backgrounds and chosen professions, etc. But, we also all share at least two very important things in common. First, we are united by our love of Georgia Southern and by our desire to see its brand, reach and reputation expanded and grown stronger each and every day. Second, we are united in our understanding that we are all in this together. We are all a part of Eagle Nation, and our actions reflect on our alma mater and one another. We share in each other’s successes, and we all pull together, toward achieving a common goal.

It is always exciting to share some of the things that are happening here because they impact the reach and reputation of our College and University, and, so, impact each and every one of us. In this issue, for instance, note that Safe Systems of Alpharetta, Georgia, was recently recognized among the “elite” companies in its industry. Safe Systems’ CEO and chair is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, and the company employs many of our alumni. The company is a leader in its industry, and its success reflects well on us all. Note that Bill Imada, founder and chair of the IW Group, recently visited the College of Business and met with our students and faculty. Bill created and leads an organization called the National Millennial Community, and we have been invited to join as members, representing the state of Georgia. Check out the story on Jason White; Jason is a member of our Young Alumni Board and was back on campus recently, leading a session designed to enhance the professionalism of our students. This issue contains many more examples that I could also mention, but I suspect the point is clear.

The great Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Well, we are impacting the lives of our students. But more than through the successes of our alumni, students and faculty, we are impacting the value of the Georgia Southern degree. And that is something that binds us all together.


Alumni Spotlight: Jason White

While attending Georgia Southern, Jason B. White (ECON, 2011) was a member of the Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity and a charter member of the Collegiate 100. While pursuing his economics degree, Jason minored in marketing and information systems (SAP). Following graduation, he worked as a technical consultant for TEKsystems, where he conducted open-enrollment testing. In November 2013, Jason joined Newell Brands, formerly Newell Rubbermaid, as an SAP order-to-cash (OTC) associate technical analyst. During his time at Newell Brands, Jason coordinated sales and distribution support activities for more than 20 global businesses including Sharpi, Graco and Rubbermaid. In addition to his sales and distribution experience, Jason served as OTC security liaison, which gave him experience supporting SAP implementations in North America, Latin America and Asia. Currently, Jason is a senior business analyst for HD Supply. In this role, Jason analyzes the performance of HD Supply’s facilities maintenance website and identifies ways to improve customers’ overall user experience.

Over the past three years, Jason has served in leadership roles on two committees focused on education and workforce readiness. As team leader for Give Serve Grow, he worked with Newell Brand’s philanthropy department to organize community service events for the company’s employees in the Atlanta area. Jason currently serves as chair of the student development committee for the Georgia Southern University College of Business Young Alumni Board, and works to create programs to help College of Business students develop stronger personal and professional skills before joining the workforce. Jason’s ultimate goal is to start a benefit corporation (B-Corp) to design tech products that solve business problems in developed and developing economies.

Update from NRF Competition


As STORY celebrates its fifth anniversary, we asked Rachel Shechtman about launching the business, embracing the unexpected and blending content, commerce and community. Read the interview on Medium.

STORY CEO and founder Rachel Shechtman has an impeccable eye for great product, an inclination to take risks and a willingness to engage in groundbreaking methods that often defy retail tenets. Her one-of-a-kind retail store, based in New York, takes the point of view of a magazine, changes its selection like a gallery and sells things like a store — and the character traits that led to STORY’s conception are also part of what make Shechtman an ideal ambassador to young people on the cusp of entering the retail industry.

In January, Shechtman was a featured speaker during the Student Program at Retail’s BIG Show. She also worked in partnership with the NRF Foundation and KPMG on the 2017 Student Challenge Competition, The Big Pitch.

Nearly 30 teams from NRF member schools selected one of the following themes to focus on: Made in America, Sensory or Travel. The two- to four-person teams were tasked with creating a 20-page pitch presentation, mock website and 90-second pitch video to convince Shechtman why and how their STORY should be produced. Each proposal was created to provide an experience for the customer through selected merchandise, marketing approach, social media campaigns and curated events.

The winning team from Georgia Southern University focused on the Made in America theme. Shechtman describes the competition as “easily one of the top five most moving experiences of my career, if not my life.”

The contest went so well that plans are in the works to replicate it next year with a new twist, and Shechtman is already excited to see what the teams will come up with.

Shortly after the event, STORES Editor Susan Reda spoke with Shechtman about her advice for young people looking to step into careers in retail.

What’s the one thing you hope the students took away from your presentation at NRF’s Student Program?

Just because it’s not in a textbook doesn’t mean it’s not possible, and just because it’s been done one way doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be done.

Coloring outside the lines is not necessarily the new normal, but right now there’s not one person who has the answer. There’s not one brand who has the answer, there’s not one strategist who has the answer and there’s not one way of doing things that’s the right way to do them.

Given what’s going on in retail there’s more risk in not taking risks. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or challenge existing frameworks because no one can see into the future.

Georgia Southern University was named the top team for this year’s Student Challenge competition. Meet the class of 2017.

What impressed you most about the winning theme, Made in America?

I was blown away by all the teams — literally moved to tears. Here’s the thing: It’s not as if the students could Google “rotating concepts shop” and paraphrase a presentation. It’s a new model and there are no step and repeat comparable examples out there, so the students really had to invest a lot of focus and thought to this challenge. It required a tremendous amount of time, energy, effort and discipline, and the students spent months studying who we are, what we do and how we work. They developed a relationship with our brand, and their attention to detail, breadth and depth blew me away.

Thinking back to the winning team — everything from the STORY-branded porcelain bowl that they served nachos in to the STORY subscription box they envisioned truly left me speechless. There were playing cards that were branded Made in America STORY, a candle … a mug.

So many of the final presentations had strategies and specific tactics that were things that we’ve either considered doing or plan on doing.

What advice do you offer to young people just starting out?

Question everything, and don’t be afraid to ask. The worst that happens is someone says no. I think our own inner dialogue gets in the way: “They’re too busy. They’re too important. I’ve got to wait till I know more.” The worst that happens is someone says no.

I’d also add that failing at something or not producing the results that you think you wanted isn’t a deficit. When you make a mistake or when you think you’re failing, it’s not a negative — it’s a positive. Think about it. You will never make the “mistake” again since you learned what didn’t work the way you wanted, which will inform making it better the next time.

I make mistakes at STORY almost every single day. If you want to do something different and you want to take risks, you have to be open to that and just keep moving forward.

Marketing Students Travel to Toledo to Compete

On February 23, Hannah Tokich, a sophomore marketing student, and Anna Hunt, a junior marketing student, accompanied by Professor Emeritus Jim Randall, competed in the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition (UTISC). The students prepared for the competition for several weeks under the guidance of the sales faculty. They sold a product developed by 3M Corporation called “VHB Tape” that bonds a variety of surfaces together that can eliminate the welding process in the manufacturing of products. The first of the presentations was to a design engineer for a sign company to inform her about the product and how it can improve the sign construction process and request a meeting with the company’s production manager. In the quarter finals, the sales person needs to present these benefits to the production manager.

The competition, which is specifically for sophomores and juniors, has corporate sponsors who pay the travel expenses of the students and faculty advisors. These sponsors, along with accompanying faculty, serve as judges during the competition.

In addition to participating in a national competition, Hannah and Anna were able to meet one-on-one with business representatives and with students from across the U.S., making valuable contacts. In turn, corporate representatives have the opportunity to connect with student participants and possibly recruit them into internship programs.

Hospitality Management Welcomes Mandelbaum from CBRE Hotels

The Hospitality Management group welcomed Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services, of CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research in Atlanta on Monday, February 20, 2017, to the College of Business. As director of research information services, Mandelbaum is responsible for producing the annual “Trends® in the Hotel Industry” statistical report along with customized financial and operational analyses for client projects. On a quarterly basis, CBRE Hotels produces five-year forecasts of performance for six national chain-scales, six national location categories and 59 major U.S. cities using its proprietary Hotel Horizons® econometric forecasting model.

Students Compete in the Fourth Annual 3 Day Startup on Campus

The Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group (BIG) hosted the annual 3 Day Startup (3DS) February 24–26, with the final pitches delivered on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. in the Information Technology Building on campus. 3DS is a world-renowned, weekend-long program that creates a living entrepreneurship laboratory that brings together individuals from various backgrounds and provides students with the tools needed to start successful companies.

On the first day, participants arrived with their most promising ideas for new companies. Some brought pre-built technology that is waiting to be commercialized, while others brought napkins with ideas written on them. Throughout the weekend, participants shaped and crafted their innovations into pitches that were presented to a panel of judges and in front of a live audience.

This year’s 3DS facilitator from the Austin, Texas, program was Georgia native, Ellyson Glance. Glance helped students from all majors across the University prepare for the weekend as they gathered to create business ideas to develop. Six ideas were presented during final pitches, ranging from hair care products to digital shopping. Students worked with and received guidance from mentors throughout the weekend.

“This is by far my favorite event to organize for the students,” said Program Manager Suzanne Hallman. “It requires a lot of preparation, but the payoff is worth it. Every year we hear great ideas and see [the] huge strides our students make over the weekend. I enjoy working with fellow Eagles and look forward to helping them launch their dreams right here at Georgia Southern.”

Ultimately, panelists chose “Whipp,” natural hair care products consisting of base cream and oils customized to each individual’s needs and “whipped” together by consultants, and “Easy Bustle,” a simple solution to complicated wedding dress bustling issues, as the most viable products to move on to participate in the FastPitch event in Savannah in April. FastPitch allows entrepreneurs to make a three minute pitch of their innovative venture and be assessed as to the viability of the ventures by local community leaders, academics and investors. Coaching and feedback is provided before, during and after to better prepare presenters, their ideas and their presentations of that idea.

Other business ideas worked on throughout the weekend included

  • FlashBack – glasses that record what “just happened” by using a cache so users can live in the moment and relive unforgettable moments
  • My Kid – a device that helps parents stay in range of kids to prevent losing them in crowded family theme parks and venues
  • Versity – an ecosystem for student entrepreneurs to connect with each other and the community to offer goods and services
  • Digital Shopper – groceries from the store delivered to the customer’s door via a fast and reliable service

This intensive weekend event was filled with activities including workshops, business idea generation, customer engagement sessions and pitching the ideas to the judges. 3DS is a collaborative event that encourages students to cross-pollinate, learning from each other.

“The Business Innovation Group creates this great opportunity for our students to get real experience with the development of ideas into business models, and the students love it,” said Steve Stewart, Ph.D., an assistant professor of management who teaches in the entrepreneurship program. “It’s great when students get excited about seeing all their education come to life in real-world circumstance[s], and to have that validated by other mentors and judges … that’s always an important moment in the educational process, and ultimately will lead to students starting companies that create jobs.”

Since its inception, 3DS has hosted more than 300 programs across six continents and has launched scores of startups, collectively raising millions of dollars in funding. Dozens of 3DS innovations are accepted into prestigious accelerator and incubator programs.

The event is provided at no cost to the students. BIG depends on sponsors like Coca Cola, Krispy Kreme, The Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, El Jalapeño, Little Italy and The Clubhouse to help offset costs of meals and drinks for the weekend. This event would not be possible without BIG partnerships with the College of Business and the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology.

Georgia Southern University BIG prides itself on its commitment to empower and equip entrepreneurs. 3DS is an example of the commitments BIG makes to create more businesses and jobs in order to sustain the economy. For more information, contact Suzanne Hallman, business advisor, at, or visit

National Millennial Community Founder Visits College

On February 27, 2017, Bill Imada, chair and chief connectivity officer for the public relations company the IW Group in Los Angeles and founder of the National Millennial Community (NMC), visited a couple of sections of Intro to Business (BUSA 1105) to discuss marketing, advertising and communications. Georgia Southern University is the sole representative from Georgia in the NMC.

The NMC is a community of millennial thinkers who strive to change the conversation about the millennial generation. Throughout the year, representatives of the Georgia Southern University College of Business participate in think tank, roundtable conversations with key influencers in business, media and government. The goal is to create a dialogue between millennials and business leaders to change the conversation about the millennial generation and raise the standard of millennial thought, challenging the misconceptions created by the generation gap.

If you know a College of Business student who would be a good representative of Georgia Southern University to serve on the NMC for academic year 2017-2018, applications are now being accepted through April 1, 2017. Direct the students to the NMC application.

GSLA Roundtable Brings Students and Employers Together

Every semester, in conjunction with the Eagle Expo Career Fair, the Georgia Southern Logistics Association (GSLA) holds its Roundtable. The GSLA, with support from the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, hosted another successful GSLA Roundtable on Tuesday, February 28. More than 30 companies and 150 juniors and seniors majoring in logistics and intermodal transportation interacted in break-out sessions followed by a career networking event to explore internships and job opportunities upon graduation. Hot topics of conversation during the break-out sessions ranged from emergence of autonomous vehicles in logistics to what employers expect from newly hired managers. Many managers expressed how much they really enjoyed the small group interactions with students in the break-out sessions. Hiring managers were also very impressed by the caliber of our students they met with during the career networking session.

Kathleen Gruben, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, and one of her retail marketing classes received a shout out on LinkedIn from a representative from Vitamin Shoppe following the Eagle Expo Career Fair.

Forensic Accounting Welcomes “The Ultimate Insider” to Campus

On March 1, 2017, Roomy Khan spoke as the 2017 Distinguished Forensic Accounting Lecturer to an auditorium packed with students, faculty and staff. The event was sponsored by the Georgia Southern University School of Accountancy along with the Student Chapters of the Fraud Examiners and the Finance Association.

Khan was involved in “Operation Perfect Hedge,” which led to the indictments and convictions of more than 90 individuals, including hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam. She assisted the FBI and SEC by helping them understand the industry and how information was flowing from companies to influential traders on Wall Street. She went undercover for seven years in the largest crackdown on the illegal sharing of confidential information on Wall Street in history.

Prior to the undercover operations, Ms. Khan was a successful analyst who was also involved in illegal insider information. Because of her substantial assistance to the government, Ms. Khan was only sentenced to one year in federal prison.

Ms. Khan has been featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes” and has been covered by numerous media outlets including the New York Times. She is a contributor to Business Insider and writes on ethical issues facing business professionals. In 2016, Ms. Khan was a keynote speaker at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner’s annual fraud conference.

Ph.D. Students Attend Logistics Doctoral Symposium

Recently, our Ph.D. students in Logistics and Supply Chain Management attended the Logistics Doctoral Symposium at Auburn University. The Symposium included 27 students and 34 faculty members from 19 universities. Students participated in sessions focusing on publishing in top journals, career management, research methods and pedagogy. While at the Symposium, students and faculty visited the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) Laboratory housed at Auburn University’s Research Park.

MBA Classes Skype with a “Triple Strength” Leader

The week prior to spring break, Steve Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, invited Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher to speak to his MBA Global Business Strategy classes. Lautenbacher, a Vice Admiral, former Undersecretary of Commerce, Harvard Ph.D., Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and CEO and founder of a satellite company, skyped with the classes to discuss networking and getting to know people, leadership lessons, entrepreneurship and conducting business in and with the government. During his talk with the classes, Lautenbacher spoke specifically about “triple strength (or triple sector) leadership.” Triple strength/sector leadership involves someone who has successfully held strategic leadership positions in the public sector, private sector and non-profit sector. Vice Admiral Lautenbacher has served in various capacities in each sector – Director of NOAA from 2001–2008; founder and CEO of a management consulting firm and a satellite company, GeoOptics; and president and CEO of the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE). One piece of advice from the Vice Admiral was, “Don’t ask what you want to be; ask what you want to do, and go do it.”

“[Admiral Lautenbacher’s] presentation made me want to change my career path to include a public or not-for-profit opportunity in order to broaden my experience and leadership skills, “ stated Terry Edwards, MBA student. “It was very powerful to hear that he has created a company that is approaching a global need for information and addressing it in a manner that ultimately saves the government money. This is the kind of win-win approach to business that gets me excited about being an entrepreneur.”

HR Students Attend Professional Meeting in Atlanta

Four senior management students attended the International Association of Human Resources Information Management (IHRIM) Q1 meeting and vendor fair in Atlanta on March 9, 2017. Mia Brandon, Joslyn Ballingall, Seth Lowery and Clinton Ford met practitioners in the field of HR information systems (HRIS), listened to a great talk on the next generation of shared services by Jim Scully, president of HR Shared Services Institute, and interacted with vendors in the HRIS area. Clinton Ford, a senior HR management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) student, is currently serving as an intern at IHRIM, where he is developing and implementing a membership growth strategy for the Chapter. Bob Hoell, Ph.D. and department chair for the Department of Management, serves IHRIM as Higher Education Liaison.

“The chapter members and the vendors were all very excited and impressed with the students,” stated Hoell. “Clinton, Joslyn, Mia and Seth did a great job striking up conversations, answering questions and representing the interests of the College of Business.”

For more information about the Atlanta IHRIM, visit To learn more about the Department of Management, visit

Dean Amason and Others Perform on University’s St. Patty’s Day Parade Float

Amid a sea of green, Georgia Southern stood out as one of the Best and Brightest in the 193rd Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Friday, March 17.

For the eighth consecutive year, the University hosted a float decked out in school spirit and a convertible with the University president. President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D., rode alongside Georgia Southern cheerleaders and Miss Georgia Southern University, Tori Murry.

This year’s float featured The Dean’s List, a band comprised of Dean of the College of Business Allen Amason, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Jason Slone, Ph.D., faculty members Krista Petrosino, Ph.D., and Tim Kintzinger, Ph.D., and alumnus Zeb Mitchell. The band performed a variety of songs from famous Irish artists.

As always, the University’s bald eagle mascot, Freedom, accompanied the float and added some extra spirit to the event.

Thor Robertson, junior accounting major, carried on his lasting family participation in the parade by being the third generation of Robertson men to work on parade committees. To learn more about his story, click here.

Finance Association Hosts First Guest Speaker Series

The Finance Association of Georgia Southern University kicked off its spring Guest Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 1, with a visit from Jennifer (Jen) Miller, senior vice president of United Community Bank. The members, officers and faculty advisors are extremely grateful to Ms. Miller for sharing some of her valuable time and knowledge with the club.

Ms. Miller discussed the overall goals and scope of United Community Bank and how the bank tries to position itself in the highly competitive financial services industry. She also reviewed the various possible career paths available in the banking industry. To the surprise of many students, a plethora of job opportunities are available for those not in finance or those who do not want to work in the retail banking arena, which is what many think of when they think of banking. Ms. Miller also discussed several interview tips with two of the most important being doing your “homework” (e.g., being knowledgeable about the company interviewing you) and arriving on time (early).

During her visit, Miller was kind enough to answer a host of student questions. In responses, she highlighted a few key ideas: (1) never burn bridges because it really is a small world, and it is impossible to know what the future holds, (2) be customer focused – it’s the little things, like returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner, that can make all the difference with customers/clients and (3) work hard, and do not be afraid of taking on challenges outside of your comfort zone, like a relocation for a great opportunity. Often, you learn the most from facing and succeeding with challenging tasks or work environments and these efforts can pay dividends down the road.

Ms. Miller has an extensive career in banking spanning many different companies, such as PNC, Wachovia/First Union and NCNB. Her career has allowed her to take on and excel in numerous roles including business banking sales manager, southeast commercial sales advisor, market executive, regional manager, branch manager and specialized lending manager, to name a few, within the firms with which she has been employed. Miller’s career has given her the opportunity to work in a variety of locations throughout Georgia and Florida.

United Community Bank (UCB) is headquartered in Blairsville, Georgia, with offices in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. With assets of nearly $11 billion, UCB is the third largest traditional bank holding company in Georgia. The bank was founded in 1950 with a focus on customer service that continues today. For more information or employment opportunities, visit

March BIG Café

This month’s BIG Cafe was on March 8 at City Campus in downtown Statesboro. At each meeting, two local entrepreneurs are invited to give a six minute presentation explaining a little about their businesses and what problems the businesses are currently facing. After the six minute presentation, local business owners are able to ask the presenters questions and offer valuable feedback.

This month’s presenters were participants of 3 Day Startup (3DS). The 3DS mission is to kick-start new student-run companies and build entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities. Forty students were chosen to participate, and six student-run companies were created. Teams were comprised of students from several different majors giving them an opportunity to network and cross train to develop their companies.

Eniola Olatunji, a Master of Public Health student, along with his team members Nnamdi Obodoechine, a junior economics student; Derek Gilliard, a senior information technology student; and Jawon Jones, a public health student, pitched their idea for Versity, an online platform for student entrepreneurs to market their products and services. This idea came about after Olatunji learned that 36 percent of college students have a business to make money for themselves, but most of those students lack the necessary market exposure required to grow their businesses. That is where Versity comes in; not only would Versity serve as a bridge that fills the gap between entrepreneurs and customers, but it would also serve as a hub where business transactions could be made, similar to Etsy or Ebay. Based on the current fee model for Versity, the seller and the buyer would split the transaction fee when paying for the service or good. One local business owner suggested having only the seller pay the fee in order to eliminate some of the push back Versity might receive from buyers who did not want to pay the fee. Another local business owner questioned how Versity would stay relevant for entrepreneurs once their businesses started to grow. Olatunji explained that, by keeping fees low, users would still find it more convenient to make business transactions through Versity. The goal is to open the platform to Georgia Southern students, first, and, then, expand to other universities as the platform gains traction.

Shea Kirkpatrick, a math student with a strong physics background, along with his team members Jamon Rowe, an exercise science student with a minor in entrepreneurship and small business; and Luke Clark, an economics student, pitched their idea for FlashBack, a pair of high-tech glasses that continuously records video and audio and allows the user to save a segment of the cached video to later upload to social media. Kirkpatrick came up with the idea for FlashBack after attending a concert with friends. While at the concert, he noticed that attendees were preoccupied with recording the concert on their phones instead of enjoying being in the moment. With FlashBack, users would no longer feel the need to pull out their phones every time they wanted to capture a memory. Instead, users could enjoy being in the moment, knowing their glasses were recording the whole thing for them. For 3DS, Kirkpatrick and his team had already developed a prototype and design mockups for the glasses. Kirkpatrick also has a provisional patent on the recording process for the glasses. One local business owner suggested they expand their target market past recreational activities to include manufacturing and distribution businesses where quality needs to be regularly monitored and controlled. Kirkpatrick explained that their first target market would be consumers because the business industry already has a similar type of glasses for manufacturing companies. Another local business owner commented on the privacy factor associated with the glasses. While the glasses would be something different for the Statesboro area, Kirkpatrick explained that these types of glasses are wildly popular in bigger cities like Los Angeles and New York. FlashBack is differentiated from other glasses on the market by its ability to continuously record video on a cached loop, whereas you would have to manually hit record on similar glasses already on the market.

BIG Café was a huge success thanks to everyone who attended and gave invaluable feedback. Also, special thanks to the two participants of 3DS for presenting and to our sponsors, David Hoyle of Cool Beanz and the 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 network, drink coffee and help one another thrive. Also, attend five times and receive a free BIG Café coffee mug.

Safe Systems Named to CRN’s 2017 Managed Service Provider 500 List for Excellence in Managed IT Services from Business Wire

Danny Johnston, CEO and chair of Safe Systems, serves as the chair for the Dean’s Advisory Board. Congratulations, Danny and Safe Systems on being recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services.

Safe Systems, a national provider of fully-compliant IT and security services for community banks and credit unions, announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Safe Systems to its 2017 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the MSP Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with cutting-edge approaches to delivering managed services. Their offerings help companies navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of IT, improve operational efficiencies, and maximize their return on IT investments.

In today’s fast-paced business environments, MSPs play an important role in helping companies leverage new technologies without straining their budgets or losing focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list shines a light on the most forward-thinking and innovative of these key organizations.

The list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market; the MSP Elite 150, recognizing large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premise and off-premise services; and the Managed Security 100, recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premise, cloud-based security services.

Safe Systems focuses on providing community banks and credit unions with high quality IT, security, and compliance products to better meet the strict demands of the banking industry. The company’s comprehensive solutions enable financial institutions across the country to maximize their technology investment and remain up to date on the current technologies, security risks, regulatory changes, and FFIEC guidelines.

“Managed service providers play an increasingly important role in the day-to-day operations of businesses across North America,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company. “MSPs help organizations streamline their spending, effectively allocate limited resources, and benefit from advanced expertise in the latest technologies. We congratulate the service providers on CRN’s 2017 MSP500 list, who have continually succeeded in meeting their customers’ changing needs and help them get the most out of their IT investments.”

“We are pleased to be recognized this year in CRN’s list of top 500 managed services providers,” said Darren Bridges, president of Safe Systems. “At Safe Systems, we are dedicated to providing outstanding technology and compliance solutions to support our customers’ strategic goals and continued growth.”

The MSP500 list was featured in the February 2017 issue of CRN and online at

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 20,000 network devices. Safe Systems’ 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.

About The Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with its dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, the company connects and empowers technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, The Channel Company draw from its employees’ deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace.

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Faculty/Staff News

Stefan Sleep’s paper, “Is Data Driving Cooperation in the C-Suite: The Evolving Relationship Between the CMO and CIO,” co-authored by John Hulland, was selected Best Paper by Theme (Change and Dynamics in Marketing) for the 2017 Winter AMA Conference. Congrats, Stefan!

Hyunju Shin’s paper, “Service Recovery, Justice Perception, and Forgiveness: The ‘Other Customers’ Perspectives,” has been accepted for publication in Services Marketing Quarterly. Hyunju is the first author of this article and her co-authors are Riza Casidy at Deakin University and Anna S. Mattila at The Pennsylvania State University.

Jerry Burke recently contributed to two articles appearing in Inbound Logistics. The first article, “Supply Chain & Logistics Education: Ask the Professors—2016 Edition,” appeared in the December 2016 issue as the feature article. The second article, “Supply Chain Management Students: School of Thought,” appeared as the feature article in the January 2017 issue of Inbound Logistics.

Last updated: 1/27/2023