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Taking Flight – May 2014 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

I often talk about a culture of aspiration. An aspiration is simply a hope or desire to achieve. As a College, our aspiration is to achieve national prominence. We want to be among the best business schools in the country, recognized and respected for providing superior value and impact.

In response to the question why climb a mountain, George Mallory famously replied, “because, it’s there.” Well, we share that same spirit and are driven by the same aspiration. Our faculty, our students, and our alumni are as good as any anywhere. So, why strive to be the best? Because we can. We are driven by a culture of aspiration and a desire to be the best. It’s not just something we do. It is who we are, as members of the Eagle Nation.

Alumni Spotlight – Melissa Woodard

After spending two years with Merrill Lynch gaining a foundation of investment knowledge and other financial service platforms, Melissa joined the Bezilla Kinney Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors in 2008. Supporting the group’s clients in numerous ways, Melissa is an important member of this very successful wealth management team and provides the highest level of professional customer service.

Graduating from Georgia Southern University in 2008 with a BBA in finance, Melissa came to Wells Fargo with a commitment to excellence and is dedicated to putting the client’s needs first. She was honored to be a Top Delegate to the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation Eagle Fund and is Wells Fargo Envision® certified.

Melissa enjoys working in service to the community in her spare time and is involved in the Georgia Southern University Athletic Fund, The Georgia Southern Little Eagles Football Camp, Habitat for Humanity, and the Chatham County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program for children.

Georgia Southern University Spring 2014 Graduation Speakers

Georgia Southern University selected the Honorable Nathan Deal, governor of Georgia, and the 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year and Georgia Southern alumna, Jemelleh Coes as the speakers for the 2014 spring commencement ceremonies on May 9 and 10.

Coes spoke Friday, May 9, at 1 p.m. at Hanner Fieldhouse during the commencement ceremony for graduate students. Coes is a special education English language arts teacher at Langston Chapel Middle School in Bulloch County where she has taught for six years. In 2012, as the youngest member of the faculty, she was selected to represent her school as the Teacher of the Year and went on to become the 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

As the Georgia Teacher of the Year, Coes travels the state to serve as an advocate for education. She provides workshops and keynote addresses statewide. She serves as a consultant for the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, is a member of the Department of Education Teacher Advisory Board, a Georgia Partnership of Excellence in Education board member, and was recently appointed to Georgia’s Network for Transforming Educator Preparation Advisory Council.

Governor Deal addressed undergraduates as they received their degrees on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at Allen E. Paulson Stadium. Deal took the oath of office as Georgia’s 82nd governor on Jan. 10, 2011, and his top goal is keeping Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation to do business, a ranking the state earned in 2013. He helped attain this recognition by creating the Competitiveness Initiative, reforming the tax code, and recruiting businesses to relocate here.

Deal, a Sandersville native, served in the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon in Augusta after graduating with a law degree from Mercer University, and then began a private law practice in Gainesville, the hometown of his wife, Sandra Dunagan Deal. While his wife taught in Hall County public schools, Deal began a long span of service to his community as a prosecutor, judge, state senator, and U.S. congressman.

During his 17 years in Congress, Deal rose to chair the Health Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce, and he became a noted expert on entitlement reform and health care policy. Deal ended his congressional career to campaign for governor, becoming the Republican nominee in August 2010 and, then, winning the governorship in November of that year.

Both ceremonies were streamed live at

Logistics Case Competition

On April 10-12, 2014, Georgia Southern University College of Business logistics students travelled to Jacksonville, FL, to the IANA Logistics and Supply Chain Management case competition, held at the University of North Florida. College of Business students Taylor Sapp, Yolidia Osbey, Amanda Macchio, and Kayla Womack were chosen for the team through a competitive process in February and began preparing to work together for the case competition in April. Dr. Monique Murfield, assistant professor of logistics, has served as the coach and advisor for this team for the past two years. It is a prestigious competition, with Georgia Southern College of Business students competing against other top students in the country from Auburn University, the University of Tennessee, the University of Maryland, the University of North Texas, the University of North Florida, the University of Arkansas, and Michigan State University. The team had an exemplary performance and was able to make connections for future career opportunities with executives from CH Robinson, Seaonus, JAXPort, CSX, Yusen Logistics, Trac Intermodal, and Proficient Auto Transport.

24th Annual Accounting Day Celebrated

The Zeta Delta Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi and the Georgia Southern University Accounting Association sponsored the School of Accountancy’s 24th Annual Accounting Day Awards Banquet on April 30. The evening’s events began with a career fair for accounting majors. Eighteen accounting firms and professional organizations with more than 40 industry representatives met with students to discuss full-time positions and internships. The evening ended with the annual awards banquet at which the School awarded scholarships.

Beta Alpha Psi President Leslie Cox recognized several members for their active participation in the accounting honor society.  Scholarships were presented to Cody Girvan and Alicia Prothe.

Brooke Sims from The Accounting Association presented the Professor of the Year Award to both Drs. Robert Jackson and Lowell Mooney.

Academic Achievement awards are sponsored by the local chapters of the Georgia Society of CPAs and the Educational Foundation of the Georgia Society of CPAs.  The winners of these awards were as follows:

Coastal GA Chapter:  Leah Epperson, Heather Gay, and Samantha Hairston

Heart of GA Chapter:  Morgan Crowley and Christian Woodberry

Savannah Chapter:  Danielle Anderson, Bradley Bernard, Merlan Powell, and Stephanie Simpson

Southeast Chapter:  Christopher Cone, Christopher Policastro, Kiara Ramey, and Logan Worsham

Ms. Monica Woods presented the Coastal Georgia Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors Academic Distinction Award to Danielle Kinkella and Linette Rousseau.

Heather Gay and Rebecca Henderson received the Educational Foundation of the Georgia Society of CPAs Academic Excellence Award for being the School of Accountancy’s top graduating seniors. These awards were presented by Dr. Chuck Harter.

Mr. Matthew Workman of Becker CPA Professional Education awarded Charlene Grosse a full CPA review package and awarded half CPA review packages to Tony Jacobs, Emily Prestridge, and Anastasia Weatherley.

The Southeast Georgia and Savannah Chapters of the Georgia Society of CPAs, jointly with the Georgia Society’s Educational Foundation, co-sponsored the Georgia Accountants’ Team Effort program. Presented by Dr. Dwight Sneathen, this year’s recipients were Hannah Brown, Leslie Cox, Samantha Hairston, Joshua Hinson, Mary Kathryn Mason, and Christopher Williamson.

Mr. Zach Stroup of Elliott Davis presented their scholarship to Morgan Crowley.

The Paul G. LaGrone Scholarships, established by former business dean, Dr. Paul G. LaGrone, were awarded to Daniel Schmit and Elizabeth Hoehn by Dr. Timothy Pearson.

Each year the Institute of Management Accountants gives away the CMA Review.  This year we had 15 recipients!  They were Collin Phillips, Leslie Cox, Hannah Tatum, Valerie Burke, Danielle LaDuron, Charlene Grosse, Rebecca Henderson, Donald Ramey, Anastasia Weatherley, Kenneth Creekmore, Jackie Reddish, Daniel Schmit, Patrick Mimbs, Emily Prestridge, and Christopher Cone.

Mr. Wayne Yesbick with Draffin and Tucker, Albany, presented a scholarship to Colton David. Mr. Alex Knight of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, Atlanta, presented scholarships to Heather Gay and Laura Henry. Ms. Kelsi Deiter of Mauldin & Jenkins, Albany, presented scholarships to Jessie Knight and Rebecca Pettit; Ms. Kate Dean of Nichols Cauley and Associates, Dublin, presented scholarships to Brian Butler and Amanda Hamlin.  The winners of the Porter Keadle Moore scholarships were Ken Creekmore, Stephanie Gratto, and Emily Hall.  Mr. Phil Moore, Managing Partner of PKM, presented these awards.

This year’s D. Greg Morgan Family Scholarship, sponsored by Greg and Ruth Morgan of Atlanta, was presented to Christian Woodberry by Ms. Kristen Lord of Mauldin & Jenkins.

Mr. Roy Austin of the Savannah CFO Council presented awards to Rebecca Henderson and Collin Phillips.

Ms. Lynne Gerber of Warren Averitt, Atlanta, presented the Ronald A. Lundstrom Scholarship in Forensic Accounting to Danielle LaDuron.

Accounting Day is made possible through the generosity of many organizations that have supported the Georgia Southern College of Business accounting program for several years. Many thanks go to the following corporate sponsors: Becker Professional Review; Dabbs Hickman Hill and Cannon, LLP; Draffin and Tucker, LLP; Elliott Davis, PLLC; the Georgia Society of CPAs; Warren Averitt LLP; Habif Arogeti and Wynne, LLP; Holland, Henry & Bromley, LLP; the Institute of Management Accountants; KPMG, LLP; Mauldin & Jenkins, LLC; Moore Stephens Tiller, LLC; Nichols Cauley & Associates, LLC; and Porter Keadle Moore, LLC.

MBA Marketing Class Visits Byrd Cookie Company

The MKTG 7431 Strategic Marketing Management class in Savannah visited Byrd Cookie Company on Monday, April 7. Geoff Repella, president, hosted the class, providing a history of Byrd Cookie Company and the evolution of the company to where it is today. The visit exposed MBA students to a successful business and made them aware of the possibilities in industry. The visit added beneficial insights to the world of business and marketing innovation. Experiencing this successful local business was invaluable to the class.

Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors Recognized by Auto-Owners as 2nd Highest Producer in Georgia

Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors has been recognized as the second-highest agency in premium volume growth among 369 Auto-Owners Insurance agencies in Georgia. The Statesboro-based insurance agency was honored at a recent meeting of regional associates.

“Our goal is to provide exceptional service for our policy holders. This award illustrates our commitment to the folks we serve, and I am extremely proud of our team members’ dedication and hard work,” commented John Lee, a managing partner with Pratt Hill for the past three decades.

Hill echoed Lee’s comments, “This is an honor shared by everyone on our staff. Auto-Owners is among the nation’s leading insurors, and we are proud to offer their wide array of insurance products.”

In making the announcement, Jamey Whisnant, regional vice president of Auto-Owners, commented, “We are completely committed to the Independent Agency System. Our profitable growth is dependent on agencies like Lee, Hill & Johnston. While we have had success in the past, we also understand that we need to continue to improve our products and services we provide to you and your policyholders.”

Founded in 1963 by the late Joe Johnston, the local independent agency offers a wide range of personal and commercial lines including auto, home, life, health, and business protection. Lee, Hill & Johnston has represented Auto-Owners since 1997.

Both Lee and Hill graduated from Georgia Southern University and have been active in many civic and professional activities over the years. Lee has served as the past president of the Southeast Georgia Independent Insurance Association. He served a term on the Bulloch County Commission and is a former member of the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce.

Hill is a founding member and former president of the Joseph’s Home for Boys. In addition to serving on the Red Cross board of directors, he has been a board member for the Chamber of Commerce, Statesboro Rotary Club, and Georgia Southern’s Athletic Foundation, formerly known as the Southern Boosters. A member of the Statesboro High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Hill has been very involved in the growth of the Schenkel Invitational Golf Tournament over the past decade.

Located at 212 Savannah Avenue, Lee, Hill & Johnston Insurors serves customers in Statesboro and the surrounding area.

Auto-Owners Insurance has served policyholders and agents for more than 95 years and has served Georgia since 1973. The company has more than 6,200 agencies and has been named a Fortune 500 company for years and has a written premium of over $5 billion. The group is recognized for exceptional financial strength and stability among the nation’s largest insurers.

Auto-Owners has received the J.D. Power and Associates award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Claims Experience,” five years in a row, from 2008 – 2012. The company is headquartered in Lansing, MI, and serves policyholders in 26 states.

Senior Social – Eagle Executive Society

On May 1, 2014, all College of Business seniors were invited to attend the first ever Senior Social. The social was held at 6 p.m. in the Bishop Field House at Paulson Stadium and was catered by LongHorn Steakhouse. During the event, Allen Amason, dean of the College of Business, spoke to approximately 85 seniors about the importance of the Georgia Southern network and the value that network places on the Georgia Southern College of Business degree. He told the students, “There is no place I would rather be on my birthday than speaking to a group of seniors about the value of the Georgia Southern University business degree.” The dean also spoke to the importance of giving back and hiring Georgia Southern students in the future. The Senior Social was co-sponsored by the College of Business and the College of Business Development Office. Gordon Hunter, assistant director of Development, introduced the Eagle Executive Society to the seniors and briefly discussed the member benefits provided not only to students, but also to the College of Business.

College of Business Student Team Makes Pitch at TiE Atlanta’s University Business Plan Competition

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, a team of Georgia Southern University College of Business students pitched the app, Pelorus, at TiE Atlanta’s University Business Plan competition. Pelorus is an app that allows people to take virtual walking tours of college campuses and shopping malls across the nation. The team, coached and mentored by College of Business, Chris Welter, entrepreneurship professor and SBDC Director, Jason Anderson, made it to the final round of the competition.

Georgia Southern University Co-Hosted Fraud & Forensic Accounting Education Conference

The College of Business Administration at Georgia Southern University together with accounting firm Porter Keadle Moore (PKM) hosted the 2014 Fraud & Forensic Accounting Education Conference May 15 and 16 in Savannah, Georgia. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency on Savannah’s West Bay Street.

Topics included the global financing of terrorism, cyber assaults, trends in white collar crime, investigative techniques, ethics, using new technology, and real CSI techniques to catch and prosecute financial crime, and the potential for abuse with cryptocurrency (including bitcoins) and eBay mystery auctions.

“Fraud’s a moving target; the bad guys are always trying to stay a step ahead,” said conference chair J. Charles Williamson, director of the Georgia Southern Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business in the University’s School of Accountancy. “It’s not the same criminals doing the same things year after year. That’s why we’re bringing a mostly new slate of speakers to keep investigators, accountants, educators, and attorneys up-to-date and ready to head off the worst threats.

Speakers during the breakout sessions included the former chief information officers (CIOs) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Air Force, former federal investigators, technology experts, and professors from a dozen universities nationwide.

The event was for executives, internal auditors, certified fraud examiners (CFE), certified information systems auditors (CISA), CPAs, civil and criminal attorneys, educators, compliance experts, consultants, and anyone involved in fighting financial crime.

“This is one of the most valuable and unique conferences in the country for people in the area of fighting fraud,” said PKM Managing Partner Phil Moore. “We were happy to see so many people in beautiful Savannah.”

Additional sponsors included Dabbs, Hickman, Hill & Cannon, accountants and business advisors.

About PKM
Founded in 1977, Porter Keadle Moore has grown into one of the most respected accounting and advisory firms in the country. Once known as a community banking firm, PKM now represents leading corporations in the financial, insurance, technology, biological science and government service arenas. PKM provides holistic and growth-driven financial solutions built around understanding clients’ business challenges, not just their accounting issues. The firm develops deep relationships with clients over years, so that working together is a positive, accretive experience for both parties. For more information, visit or call 404-588-4200.

The First 500 Alumni Network

The First 500 alumni network was created two years ago by and for alumni who share the distinction of being among the first blacks to graduate from Georgia Southern (1965-1985). They are proud of what they achieved during their time at Georgia Southern and want to leave a legacy through altruism and service.

Members of the network plan to accomplish their mission of serving the Georgia Southern community through promoting the University, establishing a scholarship, mentoring students and young alumni.

The First 500 Scholarship: The Road to $100,000

The First 500 steering committee reached out to the Georgia Southern University Foundation, Inc. for assistance to raise $100,000 in scholarship support for future generations of Georgia Southern students.  The First 500 Scholarship was born through this partnership.

The steering committee firmly believed financial support for a deserving student was a cause most alumni and friends would rally behind. They quickly began working to raise their first year goal of raising $25,000. They reached out to other members of the First 500 via letters, emails, calls and face to face meetings. Those efforts led to the endowment of the scholarship in only 7 months!

Make a gift to the First 500 Scholarship here.

Last updated: 8/10/2021