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Taking Flight – March 2020

Message from the Dean

Even if you’ve not heard it previously, you’ve likely heard the phrase “black swan event” at some point over the past couple of weeks. As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and our nation absorbs an unprecedented economic shock, many say we are experiencing one of these events now. So, I thought I’d take a minute to unpack this term and to think about its implications.

As used in this context, the term originated in a series of books by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a brilliant thinker who has worked as a hedge fund manager, a professor, and as editor of the academic journal Risk and Decision Analysis. Two of his books in particular, Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, use the metaphor of sighting a black swan, an event so rare and improbable that it is virtually impossible to predict in practice. Nevertheless, these highly improbable events do in fact occur, and, when they do, they tend to produce cascading and catastrophic impacts. It is only in retrospect, however, after the occurrence, that the causes and impacts are fully understood. It is a fascinating concept that says a lot about human nature and our ability to understand and control the world around us. 

So, is this really a black swan event? Without a doubt it is; as one of our alumni said to me recently, we are living in real time through a “history-in-the-making” moment. While people have discussed the possibility of pandemics like this and the effects of the ensuing reactions for years, it was virtually impossible to predict specifically when, where, or how such an event would come about. And, because it was impossible to predict specifically, it was just as difficult to justify many of the specific, significant, and tangible costs associated with preparations. So, just as Dr. Taleb described, we feel as if we were caught somewhat flat-footed, and we’re a bit lost in terms of how to proceed, given that we can’t quite foresee how things will work out.

Which leads to two final questions: what should we do, and what are we, in the Parker College, doing in response? The first thing is focusing on the key priorities, the safety of our students and community, the delivery of valuable educational content, and the provision of quick and high-quality customer service. We’re doing this by building flexibility through online delivery, remote staffing and communicating all that we can, as clearly and directly as possible. I often say, plan more but put less confidence in the plans you make. With an unclear future, adaptability and openness have real value. So, we’re trying not to plan too far ahead but rather to listen carefully, to read and to follow key guidance, and to adapt quickly and nimbly as information emerges. Finally, we’re trying to stay calm, so that we can carry on with our key priorities. That famous slogan from the year-long Battle of Britain, “keep calm and carry on” is resonating with me. We will get through this even if we are not through it yet. For now, though, we’re just trying to remain calm so that we can adapt and carry on, for the sake of our students, our alumni, and the entire Parker College family.    

Alumni Spotlight: Schuyler Fleming Hoynes

Schuyler Fleming Hoynes (MBA, 2004) served as a judge advocate (i.e., a lawyer) for the Georgia Army National Guard for nine years and has recently transferred to the Georgia Air National Guard. She is one of four full-time judge advocates (JAs) in the Georgia National Guard and the only full-time Air Guard judge advocate. JAs provide legal counsel to the senior leadership of the Georgia National Guard, much like the Office of General Counsel does for the University. Schuyler’s primary duties include representing the Georgia National Guard in labor law matters involving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Merit Systems Board, Georgia Counsel of Equal Opportunity, and State and Federal Departments of Labor, as well as serving as the legal liaison between the Guard’s Sexual Assault Response coordinator and the State Equal Employment manager. She also advises commanders at all levels on disciplinary matters involving soldiers and airmen and women, provides counsel on matters involving contract and fiscal law, and provides legal assistance to members of the Georgia National Guard and their families.

The best part of her job is working with people who all do different things and who are from all over the State. Schuyler says it is not like working in a company at which everyone is an accountant or everyone makes widgets because, in the military, everyone has a different job and combines individual areas of expertise to carry out complex missions. She adds that, although she is frequently asked to provide counsel on various matters, she has to be aware of who just wants her to be the “yes” person in the room and who actually wants the right answer. It is difficult to ensure she provides timely and adequate counsel in a manner that is well-received even if the person does not necessarily like the answer. Schuyler says the biggest challenge is balancing knowing her audience while tailoring her counsel to each individual recipient.

Before joining the military, Schuyler was in private practice and did work with Cobb County. Even though she loved her years working as a staff attorney in the Probate Court of Cobb County, Schuyler is most proud of her service in the military. Her work may no longer have a noticeable or direct impact on the community, but she feels valued and appreciated—the most important part of any job—merely by donning the uniform.

Schuyler originally came to Georgia Southern at the suggestion of her, then, boyfriend, Jason Hoynes, who, at the time, was a senior at Georgia Southern. She credits her classes in the Parker College of Business with teaching her to distill and analyze large amounts of information into something discrete and easily digestible. Since this is a large part of what attorneys do, already having had some level of skill in doing so certainly made law school—and, ultimately, the practice of law—just a little easier. Before transferring to Georgia Southern, Schuyler was in a WebMBA program at a private institution and learning very little of value. When Jason suggested that she transfer to the Parker College MBA program to actually learn something, she enrolled the next semester. Once enrolled, Schuyler took a job as a graduate assistant in the College of Education coordinating various marketing efforts during the day while attending classes in the evening. Her favorite class was business law taught by a professor who was also an attorney with the Georgia Ports Authority. Schuyler found the course, often considered pretty dry, fascinating. In addition to work and class-related activities, Schuyler attended home football games and even a few away games against App State and Furman.

Schuyler has considered making a run for a judicial seat at some future date, but she is unsure she is up to campaigning. In the meantime, she plans to continue to make it through life without screwing up her child or her career. As time and work commitments allow, Schuyler enjoys traveling, watching football, reading, and spending time with her family.

Parker College of Business Student Shares Gratitude for Scholarship at Zell Miller Legacy Gala

Alecia Breen with Shirley Miller,widow of Zell Miller.

from the University Newsroom

When Georgia Southern senior Alecia Breen looks back on her time as a student in the Parker College of Business, humbled, grateful and honored are a few terms that she’d use to describe her experience. 

Breen, a recipient of the HOPE Scholarship, had the opportunity recently to share her college experiences and express gratitude for the financial assistance she’s received as a student during the annual Zell Miller Legacy Gala in Atlanta. 

The Richmond Hill, Georgia, native is double majoring in operations management and logistics and intermodal transportation. She was the only college student in Georgia invited to speak during the event.

“I was humbled and honored not only to represent Georgia Southern at the event but also college students across Georgia like myself,” she said. “Attending the event made me appreciate all of the hard work and dedication put into creating the Zell Miller Foundation to provide students like me with the HOPE Scholarship to further our education.”

During the gala, Breen told the crowd that the opportunities and experience she has realized at Georgia Southern would not have been possible without the HOPE Scholarship and Zell Miller Foundation. 

“My experiences at Georgia Southern have truly created an amazing foundation for me as I approach graduation and enter my career,” Breen told the crowd. “None of these opportunities would have been achievable without the help of HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Foundation. HOPE has given me financial security for tuition, which allows me to focus on my classes and participate in case studies and co-ops to help prepare me for the next step.”

Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship is available to Georgia residents who have demonstrated academic achievement. The scholarship provides money to assist students with the educational costs of attending a HOPE eligible postsecondary institution located in Georgia.

The Zell Miller Foundation Annual Legacy Gala commemorates Governor Miller’s birthday by celebrating the impact of Georgia Pre-K, the HOPE Scholarship and the Zell Miller Foundation.

Sales Students Compete in Second Annual Parker Regional Sales Competition

Luke Eyrick of Augusta University Hull College of Business (3rd place), left, with Joe Armenta (center, 2nd place) and Steve Lopez from the Parker College of Business (1st place).

The Parker College’s Center for Sales Excellence hosted the second annual Parker Regional Sales Competition (PRSC) on Tues., Feb. 25, 2020, in the Professional Development Center in the IT Building on campus. The event drew sales teams from around the region including Augusta University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Gwinnett College and USC-Beaufort.

Georgia Southern students Steve Lopez and Joe Armenta placed first and second, respectively, in the PRSC, while an Augusta University student placed third. As the top three finishers in the competition, they won prize money, plus clothing from custom suit company Tom James.

The PRSC is a developmental event, providing sales students with an opportunity to demonstrate their selling skills through simulated sales role play. It also gives students a chance to hone their skills prior to other national competitions.

In addition to the sales competition, the Center for Sales Excellence at the Parker College of Business simultaneously hosted its Eagle Sales Showcase Boot Camp (ESSBC), at which employers and sales students participated in speed networking, allowing students to hone their interviewing skills.

The PRSC and ESSBC are beneficial to both students and sales professionals in that students have an opportunity to gain individual feedback from industry experts and network with sponsoring companies, and company representatives have the opportunity to observe students engaging in real-life sales role play scenarios and recruit them for current or future sales openings or internships. Both events were held in conjunction with the University’s Eagle Expo career fair.

Parker College of Business MSAE Recognized Among Top 5 Online Master’s Programs

from the University Newsroom

Georgia Southern University’s Online Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) in the Parker College of Business has been recognized as one of the top five online master’s programs in economics by Master’s Programs Guide.

Master’s Programs Guide ranked the MSAE program No. 5 in its 10 Best Online Master’s Programs in Economics. Through extensive research and data analysis, Master’s Programs Guide prioritized four major factors for its ranking: earnings potential, affordability, student satisfaction and selectivity.

“Being ranked in the top five best online master’s programs in economics is an honor that confirms the marketability of our students upon graduation and reaffirms our Department’s goal of delivering a quality program in economics in the online environment at an affordable price,” stated Amanda King, Ph.D., MSAE coordinator.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an economist in 2018 was $104,340. The typical entry-level credential for this profession was a master’s degree. The number of jobs for economists is expected to grow by 8% by 2028, equating to approximately 1,700 jobs created. Other careers held by economists include actuaries, personal financial advisor, market research analysts and operations research analysts, among other analyst positions in the public and private sectors.

The MSAE program is a fully online graduate program offering working professionals the opportunity to advance their career with the skills needed to perform analyses of financial markets, government regulation, international trade, health care and economic development, among other industries. Students in the program learn to evaluate and apply business decisions and policy programs while gaining skills to explain the progression of various global events and their impact on the economy in a business or policy context. The program also offers a graduate certificate in applied economics.

To learn more about the online MSAE program, visit

Hospitality Management Student Wins
$1,000 Scholarship

Tourism Leadership Council President and CEO Michael Owens presents Georgia Southern student Elizabeth Duncan with a scholarship during the annual TLC Tourism Awards and Scholarship Dinner. Duncan was one of five students to receive scholarships from the organization. [Margartia Bourke/For]

On Thursday, March 5, the Tourism Leadership Council (TLC) hosted its 22nd annual Tourism Awards and Scholarship Dinner at the Savannah Convention Center, at which local hospitality industry members gathered to honor workers who have gone above and beyond to make Savannah’s tourism community a better place and students who aspire to have careers in the hospitality industry. During the event, five area students received scholarships to further their studies in the tourism and hospitality field.

One of the scholarship recipients was Elizabeth Duncan, junior hospitality management student in the Parker College of Business, from McDonough, Georgia. Duncan has known for a long time that she wanted to be a member of the hospitality industry, and the booming industry in Savannah drew her to Georgia Southern University and the Parker College of Business.

“I didn’t know in what capacity I wanted to be in the industry, but I knew I didn’t want to limit myself to a culinary school,” stated Duncan. “Being a hospitality student has shown me many aspects of the field I wouldn’t have otherwise known about or thought about.”

The TLC has awarded more than $100,000 to students in Savannah and the surrounding areas, ranging in amounts from $500-$3,000. In order to be considered for the TLC Scholarship, each student wrote a short essay, had a GPA of 3.0 or higher and provided a current résumé and two letters of recommendation. Finalists then had face-to-face interviews that helped determine the recipients of the scholarships.

“The TLC hosts some of the largest events in Savannah,” stated Duncan. “This year, I volunteered at the Savannah Food and Wine Festival, one of TLC’s many events. That experience and the people I met were all amazing and, ultimately, led me to finally decide that my career goal is event planning. Now, to receive this scholarship from [TLC] feels like I have come full circle. This is the organization that put me on my career path, and, now, I have a scholarship from [it] to help get me there.”

The TLC, founded in 1998, serves as the leading trade organization for tourism in Savannah, representing thousands of people and hundreds of businesses that work in tourism and hospitality. As the largest member organization of its kind, the TLC strives to make the community better every day through education, advocacy and training.

Student Presents Paper at Conference in Atlanta

by Axel Grossmann

At the beginning of February, finance student Elijah Manning presented his paper, “Seasonality in the Consumer Discretionary Sector after the Global Financial Crisis,” at the Academy of Economics & Finance conference in Atlanta. The paper was a voluntary research project conducted under the guidance of Axel Grossmann, Ph.D., professor of finance. The study, which divided the year into three seasons, finds evidence for low returns during the summer season, supporting the admonition to “sell in May and go away.” Further, the study reports that 62% of “summer driven stocks” exhibited the highest returns during the holiday season, while 70% of “holiday driven stocks” show their highest return during the post-holiday season. The finding might be related to an earnings announcement effect, suggesting that superior performance is not reported until the next season. Additionally, the study shows that an equally weighted portfolio investing from January to August in holiday-driven stocks and from September to December in summer-driven stocks outperformed the sector portfolio by 243 basis points annually over the past ten years while also providing a higher Sharpe ratio.

Sales Students Make Annual Trip to Toledo

Jim Randall, DBA, (center) with sales students Riley Hall (left) and Jon Teems.

Riley Hall and Jon Teems, sales students in the Parker College of Business, competed  against some of the nation’s best undergraduate sales students during the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition (UTISC)—the only national sales competition dedicated to non-senior students.

The UTISC allows students to develop their skills and networks outside of the shadow of seniors while universities are able to demonstrate the strength of their sales programs. Sponsored by 3M™, the students participated in a role play scenario to sell one of the company’s leading-edge products, 3M™ 775L Cubitron™ II Discs and the clean sanding system. To help students develop a stronger understanding of how selling interactions vary based on the buying role within the organization and channel involvement, the competition focuses on interactions with those in various roles in the buying process.

Both, Hall and Teems made it to the role play competition semifinals. Throughout the competition, the students encountered a series of meetings and interviews and objections while making their sales pitches. They were evaluated on their approach, needs identification, product/service presentation, overcoming objections, the close, communication skills and their overall approach to the selling situation they were given.

Sales competitions benefit students by providing networking opportunities with new firms and recruiters, sharpening their selling skills, and building their résumés. Oftentimes, participating in these types of experiential learning activities leads to internships or employment upon graduation.

This is the fifth year the College has sent two undergraduate sales students to the UTISC. The Center for Sales Excellence (CSE) at Georgia Southern University, established in 2007, supports and promotes students pursuing careers in sales. Through the CSE, students gain experience with sales role play in dedicated labs and go on to compete at the national level. The CSE also works to bring students together with companies in the industry that are looking to hire new talent.

Parker Business Scholar Wins Square One Startup

Mackenzie Miller (left) with Axe Marsha pose after winning the inaugural Square One pitch competition at Georgia Southern University.

from BIG Newsletter, March 2020

The Square One student organization hosted its first Square One Startup weekend, formerly 3 Day Startup, Feb. 21-23, on campus. More than 20 students from varying levels and majors met on Friday, Feb. 21, to share their business ideas. By the end of the night, those students participating decided on five ideas they wanted to work on over the weekend.

Startups included Because Apparel Co., CirroStratus, Keytector, Safety in Numbers and Wanderlast. Members of the Georgia Southern Intellectual Properties Committee heard the final pitches on Monday, Feb. 24, and chose Because Apparel Co. as the startup to represent Georgia Southern in the Georgia Inventure Prize Competition.

Because Apparel Co. is the brainchild and passion project of Parker Business Scholar Mackenzie Miller, fashion merchandising and management major. Miller has been studying adaptive clothing for many years now. She chose to go into fashion merchandising to identify and appropriately address gaps in the industry. She has witnessed first-hand as friends and family members struggled with clothing that is ill-fitting, hard to get in and out of, and just plain ugly. Joined by Axe Marsha, management major, the two researched, talked to potential customers, and came up with a strategy and cost structure that won the judges over.

Georgia Southern alum and past 3DS participant, Jonathan Chambers came down to lead the students through the startup process. Chambers participated in the inaugural 3DS on campus in 2014 with his idea, Go Local, which went on to win Fast Pitch Savannah. He credits the program with changing his college experience.

“There was life before this program, then life after,” Chambers said in his opening introduction to students. Chambers was helping run his family’s local business but joined TechSquare Labs in Atlanta after graduating to immerse himself in the startup world. He’s now the community manager of Entrepreneurship at the Cherokee Office of Economic Development. 

Mentors were also instrumental in coaching the students for the weekend. Joseph Watt, GS alum and past participant, not only mentored, but also sponsored the event. Others offering their expertise as mentors were Jamie Gilliland and Chris Groote, both long-time entrepreneurs working in the coaching world and helping other entrepreneurs. Gilliland is the creator and CEO of Misyte, a web development company and Infusionsoft Sales Automation expert. Groote founded Elk Mountain Concepts, a content building and marketing company. The two volunteered and coached students all weekend. On Monday, they surprised their favorite team, Keytector, with tickets to the CR8 Your Future Conference. Andrew Johnson and Victor McRae were very excited about the opportunity. 

Other mentors/entrepreneurs included Gloria Strauthers, Felicia Washington, Edward Kearney, Rick Robins, Caleb Mock, Jill Johns and professors Steve Stewart, Santanu Majumdar and Alba Flores. The weekend was made possible by the following sponsors: Jamie Coleman, Joseph Watt, SCORE mentoring, Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, Three Tree Coffee Roasters, Mal-Ad, Moe’s and Coca-Cola.

Sales Students Compete in Sales Challenge in OK

Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing (left), with Matthew Voight, Chase Blanket and Jay Reeves

From March 5–7, three marketing/sales students traveled to TEKsystems in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to participate in the regional team challenge of the 2020 Challenger Sales Institute (CSI) Spring Collegiate Competition.

The regional competition was presented by Love’s and hosted by CSI, which was founded in 2018 by three marketing professors. CSI is devoted to providing education, training and development opportunities to sales students and business professionals. The four main functions provided by CSI are competitions that allow students to practice their selling skills with industry buyers and judges; career fairs; corporate sales training; and permanent placement for students entering the sales industry.

During the three-day competition, students participated in speed selling competitions, a career fair, role play competitions and a case competition. Our students, Chase Blanket, Jay Reeves and Matthew Voight, qualified for the semifinals in the sales role play. Georgia Southern University was the only team with all three students making it to the semi-final round.

“The Center for Sales Excellence strives to assist students in pursuing careers in sales by offering them appropriate training, mentorship and opportunities to compete at national-level competitions for real-world sales experiences,” stated Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing and faculty coach for this competition. “The students’ success in this competition is a testament to the dedication, commitment and hard work put forth by the faculty members involved in sales education at the Parker College of Business.”

To learn more about CSI, visit  

Business Grad Competes in Iconic Dog Sled Race

Georgia Southern alum Sean Underwood racing in legendary Iditarod.

From Statesboro Herald (

Annual dog sled race began Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska.

Sean Underwood began the 938-mile Iditarod dog sled race Saturday, Mar. 7, starting in Anchorage and finishing in Nome.

The annual Iditarod is a world-famous dog sled race stretching 938 miles from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. It’s an incredible distance to imagine dogs roaming the wilderness in sub-freezing conditions, but it might be even more incredible to consider that one of this year’s 58 mushers used to call Statesboro his home.

Georgia Southern alum Sean Underwood graduated with a degree in economics and a minor in Spanish, and it was the latter that led to him studying abroad in Costa Rica. The experience inspired him to return to the country following his graduation. After that came a trip to Chile to visit relatives and a moment of realization.

“After those experiences, it occurred to me that a suit-and-tie job after college wasn’t the only thing available to me,” Underwood said. “I wanted to see another amazing place.”

Underwood took inventory of his family in search of his next destination and ultimately found an aunt and uncle running a commercial fishing business in Anchorage. He spent two summers working off of Kodiak Island fishing sockeye salmon and fell in love with the lifestyle… enough to see what an Alaskan winter would bring.

Underwood’s relatives just happened to be friends with four-time Iditarod winner and dog sledding legend Jeff King. Acknowledging the work ethic Underwood had already shown in the fishing business, King took him on to help with his operation.

“I spent that first winter near Denali National Park,” Underwood said. “It was mostly starting from the bottom with tough work. It was basically scooping up poop. But got me started on learning to work with the dogs.”

Underwood slowly gained the trust of King and—more importantly—the Alaskan huskies bred to race in competitions. Over the last four years, Underwood made the transformation from poolside Statesboro summers, to South American expeditions, to heading up his own sled racing across Alaskan tundra.

The ultimate goal was the ultimate race—the storied Iditarod, which began Saturday.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome, entirely within Alaska. Mushers and a team of 14 dogs, of which at least five must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 8–15 days or more. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled dog mushers and teams but evolved into today’s highly competitive race.

Underwood put in the work and was able to qualify this past winter via stellar showings in other events. Iditarod regulations state that mushers qualifying for the race in one winter must wait until the next, but fate intervened.

During preparations to race in what would have been his 30th Iditarod, King fell ill and had to undergo surgery and hospitalization. Unable to compete, he appealed to the race authorities that Underwood take his spot and a waiver was granted.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Underwood said of his inclusion in this year’s event. “I know that this isn’t because of my skill for riding a sled. There’s a lot that has to be considered as far as safety of mushers, given the demands of this event.

“I know that getting this opportunity is a result of showing that I know how to care for the dogs and the relationships I’ve built with this team over a very long time of training.”

If Underwood is concerned about anything, it’s himself. Given a very short window to prepare for what will be the longest race of his career by far, the last few days have been a whirlwind of switching out gear and charting a plan to race day and night through brutal conditions.

As for the dogs, there’s nothing but confidence and faith.

“Some people feel bad for the dogs, but this is what they love to do,” Underwood said. “I’ve had shorter races where I could barely check in at the finish because they wanted to keep running.

“There are 14 dogs ready to go, and it’s going to be an incredible ride.” The annual Iditarod is a world-famous dog sled race stretching 938 miles from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. It’s an incredible distance to imagine dogs roaming the wilderness in sub-freezing conditions, but it might be even more incredible to consider that one of this year’s 58 mushers used to call Statesboro his home.

To view another article on Sean Underwood’s Iditarod experience, visit

Business Alumni Cole Fountain “Serves Up More” at Gate Petroleum

Cole Fountain, category manager for Gate Petroleum

From CStore Decisions

In his role as category manager, Cole Fountain navigates new trends, changing demographics and channel blurring.

As a category manager at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Gate Petroleum, Cole Fountain manages the three C’s: cooler (beer and non-alcohol), candy and cakes (snack cakes), for the chain’s approximately 200 Gate convenience stores in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. He also oversees additional category segments, including ice cream, milk, wine and firewood. He’s responsible for negotiating space, costs, contracts, as well as handling opportunities in each category.

“In the c-store world, there is a finite amount of space, and I love the ability to try to drive as much sales and profit out of that space as possible each and every day,” Fountain said.

For all this and more, CStore Decisions is recognizing Fountain as a leader in category management.

Getting Started
Fountain’s convenience store career began at the age of 14 when he worked at Cass Grocery and Hardware—a mom-and-pop shop in Cassville, Ga.

In 2010, after he graduated from Georgia Southern University, he began working with Flash Foods out of Waycross, Ga.

“I started in operations, and then in 2016 went to work for the company’s distribution center, Distribution South,” Fountain said.

But c-store industry consolidation pushed him to consider new opportunities.

San Antonio-based CST Brands Inc. acquired Flash Foods in 2016, and then Canada-based Alimentation Couche-Tard purchased CST Brands in 2017. In July 2018, Fountain took a position at Gate Petroleum.

Fountain liked that Gate was a unique and diversified company, founded in 1960 by Herbert Peyton, who still comes to work at the company each day.

“The culture, family and brand that Gate has built in Florida and in the South is one that I always admired when starting in my career,” Fountain said. “The opportunity came along to work at Gate, and I jumped on it.”

In his current position, Fountain enjoys the pace and constant change. “I also love that at Gate we put a big emphasis on operations, so I am encouraged to go out and train our store associates and discuss changes that are coming, whether it is a planogram change or a new product launch,” he said.

When it comes to today’s challenges in the c-store industry, Fountain pointed to vape, the rise of electric cars, increasing regulation and channel blurring. But that’s not all.

“One of the biggest challenges I think we face as an industry that probably doesn’t get mentioned much is the lack of brand loyalty among the millennial generation,” Fountain said. “We change our minds constantly, and we like ‘this’ today and ‘that’ tomorrow. There is so much influencing millennial preferences from so many different directions.”

Continuing to attract this consumer group is key.

Trending Ahead
In 2020, Fountain is excited about the continued growth of the seltzers in the beer category.

“It seems that White Claw and Truly really came on in the last year or so and have really shaken up the beer business,” he said. “In 2020, with Bud Light Seltzer, Corona Seltzer, more Truly and more White Claw, it is going to be exciting to see the growth and see where this takes beer into the future.”

As for his personal goals, Fountain aspires to follow Gate’s slogan and “serve up more,” whether it’s to support the operations team or plan a new marketing campaign. “We have to continue to serve up more each and every day to continue to take care of our store operations team and our customers.”

To view the original article, visit

Finance Association Kicks Off Guest Speaker Series

On Wed., Feb. 19, the Finance Association kicked off the Spring 2020 Guest Speaker Series by hosting Mr. Daniel McCalpin of Raymond James. McCalpin is an investment advisor and aids his clients with financial planning, investment management, estate planning and insurance planning. He began his tenure with Raymond James in 2010 as an intern in the Jacksonville, Florida, office. McCalpin is a fully-licensed advisor with active Series 7 and 66 licenses as well as life and health insurance licenses, and he is a Double Eagle. He prides himself in providing objective, unbiased financial advice for his clients. Currently, McCalpin resides in Brookhaven, Georgia, and enjoys a wide-array of activities including kayaking, golfing and tennis as well as roller-skating and traveling in addition to spending time with his son, Joshua.

McCalpin talked about his experience as a student at Georgia Southern as well as his experience searching for a job after graduation. He discussed his road to becoming a financial advisor with Raymond James, highlighting his failures and successes along the way. He stressed how important his past connections were in obtaining his current position. In addition, he gave students advice about the financial services industry including carriers in investments and financial advising. McCalpin emphasized the importance of starting with the right firm after graduation and discussed the difference between captive and non-captive agents in financial advising.

McCalpin further explained why the performance of mutual funds differs from the other funds and talked about municipal bonds, which are currently in high demand. He answered questions about a typical business day and his most valuable skills. As his visit drew to a close, he left the students with some interesting stories about his interactions with clients and very important advice for their own careers after graduation.

Founded in 1962, Raymond James is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. The company went public about two decades later, in 1983. Raymond James has nearly $900 billion in client assets under management and proudly celebrates more than 128 consecutive quarters of profitability. Raymond James has nearly 8,100 financial advisors across the U.S., Canada and abroad. For more information, visit

Faculty/Staff News

Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, will serve as a guest editor for the Journal of Consumer Behaviour’s special issue, “Future of Luxury.” Additionally, Shin and Yuan Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, will co-chair the Advertising and IMC track for the 2021 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference in New York City. Congrats, Hyunju and Yuan!

Richard McGrath, Ph.D., professor of economics, recently commented on the economic effects COVID-19 will have on prominent industries in the Savannah area. To read the article, visit

Last updated: 3/12/2022