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Taking Flight – September 2015 Edition

amasoncMessage from the Dean

While I enjoy all the various seasons of the academic year, the fall is really my favorite. The Eagles are playing football on Saturdays, and Paulson Stadium is bustling and alive. We welcome new students and faculty to campus, and we open new facilities and launch new programs. The hot, south Georgia summer is drawing to a close, and we get the first hints of the coming cool weather. It’s difficult to put into words all the things that make fall special, but an undeniable energy and sense of optimism combine to make the fall a unique time at Georgia Southern.

Beyond everything else, it’s that optimism and energy that resonate with me. Fall marks the beginning of the new academic year, and each new year offers yet another opportunity to do more, to do it better and to build for the future. Across the College of Business, you’ll find evidence of that optimism and energy. We’ve hired a group of bright and energetic young faculty, who are eager to tackle tough problems and to share their expertise with our students. We’re engaging the business community, expanding the impact of our research and opening doors for our graduates. Across our programs, enrollments are up, and the quality of our students is higher than ever. We’re investing in new infrastructure and new relationships, and we’re continuously looking for ways to improve our processes.

Yes, I’m excited, and I want to share some of that excitement with you. So, take the opportunity this season affords and get engaged. Take in an Eagle football game, and come to our College of Business tailgates. While you’re here, visit our building, connect with our students and reconnect with our faculty. Take a look at our City Campus and the new innovation/entrepreneurship center we are building there. Join the Eagle Executive Society, and join your colleagues at an Eagle Executive Exchange. Fall is in the air, and the future of the College of Business is brighter than ever.


Alumni Spotlight – Caitlin Jarriel

Caitlin Jarriel (MBA, ’11) became a horsewoman at the age of three. By the time she was seven, she was showing horses. In her teens, she met Lynn Pace, owner of Dixie Stables and expressed a desire to one day own and operate her own stable. Ms. Pace told her to “get an education, get a job, and, then, you can get back into horses.”

That is exactly what Caitlin did. First, she attended Mercer University and graduated summa cum laude with a double major in international financial management and economics in 2008. While at Mercer, Caitlin also participated in study abroad programs in Rio de Janiero, Brazil; Swansea, Wales; and the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria. She was even able to ride with the equestrian team at the University of Wales.

Then, she joined the management training program at The Heritage Bank and worked her way through the ranks to eventually become a risk management officer/compliance officer/CRA officer/OFAC officer/CIP officer. She also holds a certification as a regulatory compliance manager. While working full-time as a risk management officer at The Heritage Bank and part-time as a riding instructor and assistant trainer at a local stable, Caitlin entered the Georgia Southern University MBA program. In 2011, she received her MBA and continued working at Heritage.

Finally, in January 2015, Caitlin took over operations of Dixie Stables from Lynn Pace. Now, at Southern Legacy Stables at Dixie Stables, she manages operations, oversees the care of the horses, ensures proper medical and veterinary care when needed, trains show horses, and teaches riding lessons. She also buys and sells show and lesson horses and conducts multiple camps and clinics.

Caitlin feels her MBA degree has helped to prepare her to handle the issues that arise from owning her own business. She excelled at her first job, which, later, allowed her to take a risk and become an entrepreneur. Her favorite classes were in finance and international business. In fact, she concentrated on international finance and business while studying abroad in Brazil and the Czech Republic. She also enjoyed the international contract law class she took while at the University of Wales. Caitlin believes her education helps reassure her clients that she is a knowledgeable business owner who has the skills necessary to run her program efficiently and effectively.

Caitlin’s proudest accomplishment is starting Southern Legacy Stables. It is “truly a dream come true.” Her favorite part of her job is teaching. Regardless of how big a student’s accomplishment is, it brings Caitlin joy to watch her students develop their talents and achieve their dreams.

She and her husband, Christopher Jarriel (BBA, 2008 and MBA, 2013), owner of Jarriel Lawn LLC, once both had extremely successful careers and a wonderful new home; however, they left the comfort of secure jobs and paychecks to start their own businesses. Caitlin wants to “encourage every student to follow their dreams. Never settle. Always dream big. And never, ever give up” because “[y]ou can accomplish anything you set your minds to.”

In her spare time, Caitlin and Chris enjoy just spending time together. Caitlin admits she is unsure of what the future holds, but she is excited about the possibilities it may bring.

Differentiation through Experiential Learning

Bill McLeod (MBA, ’90), vice president of North American sales at Gulfstream Aerospace and member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, spoke to a principles of marketing class on Wednesday, September 2 about the importance of internships. During the presentation, he told approximately 70 junior marketing students that they should complete at least one internship to differentiate themselves from others who will be entering the job market at the same time they will be. When asked if two internships made a difference, he said, “Absolutely.” “Those students who complete one internship will differentiate themselves from those who did not complete an internship,” said Bill, “and students who complete two internships differentiate themselves from those who completed only one internship.”

Experience matters upon completion of a degree program, and employers are looking for students who have some type of experience. Internships allow students to either fine tune what they want to do or give the opportunity to figure out what they’re doing may not be exactly for them in the long term. Also during the presentation, Bill said that one’s life and career are usually not a straight line, but rather more of a spectrum with other opportunities that pop up that allow people to get to their final career goals. When students complete internships with companies and do an excellent job, it opens up other internship opportunities for the college. If you are interested in giving students real-world experience prior to graduation, please contact Jim Davis in the Office of Experiential Learning within the College of Business at or (912) 478-5820.

College of Business Tailgates

This month, we celebrated Family Weekend and Military Appreciation during the game against The Citadel on September 19. Alumni, faculty and staff gathered together to celebrate. Following the tailgate, the Georgia Southern Eagles went on to pummel The Citadel Bulldogs, 48–13. The Eagles won’t return home until Saturday, October 17 for Homecoming against New Mexico State.

Save the date for the annual Homecoming tailgate, Saturday, October 17.

Click here to view the flyer.

BIG Café – Now Open

On Wednesday, September 9 at 9 a.m., the Business Innovation Group (BIG) hosted the first-ever BIG Café. BIG Café is fashioned after a national entrepreneurial event that brings local entrepreneurs together each week to discuss entrepreneurial issues and gain advice and knowledge from each other in a neutral space. This allows local entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face, while enjoying a cup of coffee.

At BIG Café, the one-hour, structured business innovation session is designed to help move local businesses forward through the advice and ideas of other local entrepreneurs. Each month, two local entrepreneurs will have six minutes to present a prepared overview of their business, followed by 20 minutes of Q&A. After the first presentation and Q&A, the second entrepreneur invited to speak will present. The monthly session creates a space for peers, mentors and advisors to help other local entrepreneurs.

The first BIG Café brought nearly 40 local entrepreneurs, students and faculty together and hosted David Hoyle (MGNT,’88) of Cool Beanz Espresso Bar located in downtown Statesboro next door to the Georgia Southern City Campus and Jeff Leggett, owner of CT Recycling. Presenting first, Hoyle received invaluable information about process standardization to help facilitate growing his current business. Leggett received recommendations from the audience on educating the community on the importance of recycling in addition to engaging the university students.

BIG staff members would like to thank everyone who attended the inaugural event and look forward to seeing you at the next BIG Café on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. BIG Café will take place the second Wednesday of each month at City Campus, 58 East Main Street, downtown Statesboro. To register to attend the next BIG Café, go to Be sure to like the BIG Facebook page at and view photos and videos from all events.

Georgia Southern University and Ocean Exchange Release BIG Pitch Finalists

On Wednesday, September 16, Ocean Exchange and the Business Innovation Group at Georgia Southern University revealed the eight finalists who will compete in the BIG Pitch collegiate competition for the $10,000 cash prize on Sunday, October 11, 2015. The BIG Pitch drew a total of 28 collegiate team applicants.

The inaugural class of collegiate innovators to present their solutions in Savannah at the BIG Pitch are

  • Opus 12 from Stanford University, Renewable Fuel Production from Carbon Dioxide,
  • Resource Recovery from Waste Water from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, A Sustainable Water Treatment/Recovery Process,
  • Green Technology Artificial Reefs from Valdosta State University, Artificial Reefs from Cement and Nutrient Mixtures,
  • Surya Conversions from University of Colorado-Boulder, Hybrid Electric Conversion Kits for Auto Rickshaws in Developing Countries,
  • Prosumer Grid from Georgia Institute of Technology, Simulate & Optimize the Operation of Distributed Energy Resources/Grid,
  • NTi Technology from Cornell University, Functional Coating for Self-Distribution,
  • Cooking with Stored Solar Heat from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Maintain Traditional Cooking Methods in the Developing World without Use of Fuel, Flame, & Emissions, and
  • Loop from Savannah College of Art and Design, Biometric System to Upcycle Waste from Meat, Fish, and Bone.

“We received some really good applications from students all over the world,” said Dominique Halaby, director of BIG. “I’m very excited about the eight we selected to compete in our inaugural BIG Pitch Competition. They represent some really innovative solutions.”

BIG Pitch facilitates the adoption of undergraduate and graduate innovations that improve economies, health and the environment. BIG Pitch is part of the Business Innovation Group at the Georgia Southern College of Business and partners with Ocean Exchange.

For more information on the BIG Pitch Competition, the Ocean Exchange, or Georgia Southern University entrepreneurship programs, please contact Millicent Pitts, CEO of Ocean Exchange at 912-257-0209 or email at; or Dominique Halaby, DPA, director of the Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group at 912-478-2733 or email at

Meet the Firms

Every fall semester, the School of Accountancy, along with Career Services and the Georgia Southern chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, sponsor Meet the Firms, a career fair for Georgia Southern students featuring representatives of public accounting firms, for-profit and non-profit companies, and governmental agencies. This event launches the recruiting season for accounting, finance and systems assurance positions. Company representatives attending Meet the Firms include professionals in accounting, finance and systems assurance—and may include new hires to senior executives, partners and principals. The organizations often have HR professionals represent them. The recruiters are often searching for both interns and full-time opportunities, and, so, students need to do their research on each employer to understand what the firm is looking for in a potential hire.

Meet the Firms this year was held on Wednesday, September 9 and included 28 organizations looking to recruit interns and new hires. Over several weeks leading up to Meet the Firms, students were coached on topics including professional dress, body language, proper etiquette in networking, making a good first impression, and résumé writing. Nearly 150 students attended the event.

One critical point emphasized to our students is the sooner potential employers get to know the students and remember them, the easier it will be for the students to secure jobs before graduation. Every person met and every conversation had will increase the students’ opportunities of obtaining and succeeding at interviews.

Attending Meet the Firms is an important step in the recruiting process for accounting students. Although students might be intimidated at first, as they attend more events, they will become more comfortable talking with professionals. Therefore, it is critical for all accounting students to get a head start in the recruiting process.

Over the next month or so, a majority of the organizations will be inviting students to on-campus events, interviews or office visits as the recruiting process continues.

America’s Financial Educator Visits Campus and Business Classes

On Monday, September 14, Peter Bielagus delivered a college financial survival skills speech to approximately 400 students in Susan Roach’s introduction to business classes. His speech primarily focused on improving credit scores, building credit safely and the dangers of credit card debt. He also gave several lectures Monday through Wednesday in the Performing Arts Center.

For the past seven years, Peter Bielagus has been educating Americans about their personal finances. A former fee-only financial advisor, Peter now travels the globe delivering keynotes and workshops at colleges, corporations, independent schools and military bases all over the world. He has spoken in Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Europe, in 48 States, and even on military ships at sea. Peter is the author of two books and has been featured in The Wall Street JournalPBS, USA Today, and many other media outletsPeter’s goal is to improve American lives through financial education.

Danny Johnston (’75) of Safe Systems Speaks About Life as a CEO

Danny Johnston (ECON, ’75), CEO of Safe Systems, came to campus on Wednesday, September 16 to speak to the Finance Association and returned on Thursday, September 17 to speak to an operations management class and a project management and development class about what to expect in the “real world.” Danny started his presentation telling the students that he started out as an art major, changed to history, and then realized, if he wanted to make money, he needed to be in the College of Business. His grandfather, his hero, was in business, and, so, he knew he couldn’t go wrong with a business degree. Danny’s grandfather told him he needed to go into accounting since it is the language of business and it can’t lie to you, but Johnston also found an interest in economics.

Danny told of his first job out of college with Monroe Systems and of another manager he had who told him he wasn’t a good sales manager, even though Johnston had the #1 sales team in the nation, due to him hiring only the best from the start. This particular manager told him, when he lived in Brooklyn and the milkman delivered the milk each week, he had one job—to bring in the milk and put it in the refrigerator. This manager compared managing people to ensuring the milk did not separate; a good manager’s job is to make water into milk, milk into cream, and keep the cream fresh. Danny encouraged the students to maintain good GPAs, be good communicators, and pay attention to detail. He also told them to seek out internships in order to have experience prior to graduating from college. In conclusion, Danny said Georgia Southern College of Business graduates are better communicators, harder workers and more down-to-earth than their counterparts from other universities, who sometimes have a sense of entitlement.

Danny started Safe Systems in 1993 at age 38. Safe Systems is the national leader in providing IT solutions exclusively to financial institutions. Danny’s two business partners in Safe Systems are also Georgia Southern College of Business grads (’85). Teaching people to be successful is Danny’s hopes for his legacy.

Charles Sullenger of GBI Speaks to Law & Ethics for Accountants Class

Charles “Chuck” Sullenger, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), spoke to LeVon Wilson’s, Ed.D., law and ethics for accountants class on Thursday, September 17. Sullenger operates out of the Statesboro office, and, over the years, he has been a frequent speaker in several legal studies courses. Special Agent Sullenger is a Georgia Southern University graduate with a degree in criminal justice. He presented the topic “Party to the Crime” on Thursday, September 10, 2015 to the white collar crime class; and on Thursday, he presented the topic “Ethics and the Law.” He also presented the ethics topic again to Wilson’s fraud and the law class on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

“I have been very grateful over the years for all of the support that Chuck and his office have provided to our students, as we prepare them for life beyond these walls,” stated LeVon Wilson, professor of legal studies in accounting. “He has been an incredible asset to the educational process, especially here in the College of Business, as we attempt to prepare our students for the global marketplace.”

Anthony Waters (’82) Chairs Georgia Southern’s 42nd Annual “A Day for Southern” Campaign

Georgia Southern alumnus Anthony Waters, Bulloch County native and familiar name in the community, served as the community chair of the university’s 42nd annual community celebration of A Day for Southern on Tuesday, September 15.

In 1982, Waters graduated with a BBA in accounting and was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Prior to serving as chair of A Day for Southern, Waters also served as a past member of the Georgia Southern University Foundation. Waters and his wife, Sally, have passed on their dedication to Georgia Southern to their children, Loy and Lee, who are currently students at the university.

A Day for Southern is a prime example of the spirit of cooperative leadership that exists between Georgia Southern and Statesboro,” said Waters. “Sometimes the university leads, and sometimes the local community leads, but together we are really going places!”

As co-owner of L.A. Waters Furniture Company, Waters operates 11 locations of the 81-year-old retail furniture business in southeast Georgia. A leader in his industry, Waters has served as a past president and member of the board of directors for Georgia Home Furnishings Association and as past chair and member of the Georgia Retail Association. He also led his company to receive the Georgia Home Furnishings Association Retailer of Year.

Through the years, Waters has been a leader in local civic, church and community activities. He is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Statesboro, a member of the Bulloch County Chamber of Commerce and a member of Statesboro First United Methodist Church.

A Day for Southern provides a day for the university and the community to recognize that “together we’re better.” Gifts to the campaign not only support the campus community, but also enhance the longstanding and positive impact Georgia Southern has made on the Statesboro and greater Bulloch County community. Forty-two years ago, a few volunteers from Statesboro and Bulloch County joined with university officials and built upon the then 66-year relationship between the college and community by participating in the very first A Day for Southern campaign.

A Day for Southern is a wonderful occasion to showcase and celebrate the community’s commitment to our students,” said Salinda Arthur, vice president of University Advancement. “We are very grateful for community leaders like Anthony Waters who support the university’s role in providing exceptional opportunities for our students to learn, grow and succeed as future influencers in the world around us.”

Funds raised not only help Georgia Southern enhance programs that attract and support research and scholarships, they also provide learning and cultural experiences through the university’s various outreach centers. Supporters of A Day for Southern are encouraged to give to the areas at the University for which they are most passionate, whether it is a scholarship fund, a college within the university, athletics or one of a variety of student programs and services. Gifts, no matter the size, can be made through

To make a donation to the general College of Business fund, the account number is 0277. If you are interested in joining the Eagle Executive Society, designate your gift to account number 0797. For a complete list of all College of Business Giving Opportunities, go to

WebMAcc Ranked 16th for Online Master’s in Accounting Program

The Georgia Southern University WebMAcc has been ranked 16th by Accounting Degree Review ( in its Top 45 Online Master’s in Accounting Programs 2015-2016 rankings.

According to Accounting Degree Review, the website is dedicated to informing students about higher quality educational choices and great online graduate accounting programs. The rankings are designed to help prospective students make the right choice for their college careers. Accounting programs were evaluated based upon publicly-available information about AACSB International accreditation, academic quality, student satisfaction, reputation in the field and cost.

“We are always gratified to receive recognition like this,” said Allen C. Amason, dean of the College of Business. “Our faculty, staff and students have worked hard to build this program, and its success is a reflection of that good work.”

The Georgia Southern WebMAcc is offered fully-online and consists of 30-semester hours. The program follows a cohort model with fall and spring semester intakes. To ensure student success, a team-based approach is used. The WebMAcc provides working professionals the opportunity to advance their careers and further their education with little interruption to their professional and personal lives. To learn more, visit

New Student Organization within the College

Imagine how much the experience of building a brand new student organization at Georgia Southern would enhance your skill set (planning, organizing, leading, time-management and communications skills, etc.). Now, imagine the benefit of having that experience to talk about in your internship/job interviews.

The Student Center for the Public Trust (StudentCPT) is a national network of college students who demonstrate a commitment to ethical leadership. Chapters, which are hosted on college campuses across the country, provide students with opportunities to participate in training sessions, conferences, community service and business ethics competitions. StudentCPT chapters are supported by the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT), which works to create opportunities for students to network with the business community and learn how to market themselves in the job market after graduation.

The CPT recently hosted its fifth annual Student Leadership Conference in Baltimore, MD. Two students from Georgia Southern were among the 67 StudentCPT leaders who participated to learn more about ethical leadership. Chase Gibbon and Taquesta Bush are working to establish a NASBA student chapter at Georgia Southern. Chase reflected on the conference:

It was a great honor to be selected as one of the Georgia Southern representatives at the 2015 Student CPT Leadership Conference. Meeting like-minded professionals and colleagues from around the United States was inspiring to say the least. While at the conference, I had the pleasure of meeting with Mr. Julian Deal, who chairs the State Board of Accountancy in Georgia. He and his wife, Frances, are Georgia Southern alums and avid supporters. Through the support of the CPT, Mr. and Mrs. Deal, and School of Accountancy Director Dr. Tim Pearson, we are on course to start up our own CPT chapter at Georgia Southern this academic year. I believe that through this chapter we can not only continue to expand the reach that Georgia Southern has, but also develop strong ethical leaders with a passion to do things the right way.

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Last updated: 3/11/2022