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Taking Flight – September 2019

Message from the Dean

All business students in the Parker College take our “Introduction to Business” course during their first year at the University. And, I speak to every one of those classes, typically for the entire class session. I welcome them to Georgia Southern, tell them about the Parker College, its structure, systems and various programs. I explain to them our strategy for increasing our impact and prominence and for growing our brand. Finally, in light of all that, I outline our expectations of them during their time here and in the years that follow.

As you’ve probably heard me say, we’re building something special here at the Parker College. Of course it’s going to take time, and we’re focused on the long game; Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the old saying goes. But, if we’re going to achieve our goals, then it’s going to take focus, hard work and coordinated effort by a lot of different groups and individuals. Among those are our students. We simply cannot create the sorts of impacts we want to create unless we first build a culture of aspiration, hard work and accomplishment among our students. And so, I meet with each class of first year business students and explain this to them, making clear that they succeed as we all succeed and that their opportunities and market value increase as our reputation grows and as the recognition of and respect for our degrees grow.

Specifically, I talk to them about choosing a major and about using their time here to explore the type of work they want to do in the business world. The more intentional and purposeful they can be about that, and the more they can engage our faculty, support staff and student organizations in the effort, the sooner they will make good choices about their majors and coursework, and, so, the more prepared they will be when they graduate.

I talk with them about internships, business study abroad and other professional development work that they’ll need to accomplish before interviewing for that first job. My exhortation is that they be proactive, taking the initiative now to design a schedule that will afford experiential and professional learning opportunities later. I talk to them about respecting the opportunity of their time here by making the most of every day. I explain that they can best do that by engaging their faculty and pushing to learn as much as they can. They should engage with the student associations that can connect them to the industries and firms with which they will work upon graduation. They make the most of this opportunity by showing up, plugging in and connecting to all of the programs and support systems we have in the College and then leveraging that support to increase their own experience, professionalism and marketability.

Finally, I encourage them to invest in themselves by investing in Georgia Southern and in the Parker College. From our most accomplished alumni to our newest students, we all reflect the same brand and the same value proposition. Understanding that and working each day to make the most of it is fundamental to our culture and to the value, reputation and the brand we are building at the Parker College of Business.

Alumni Spotlight – Jonathan English

Jonathan English (FINC, 2004) states that the experiences he had in the Georgia Southern Parker College of Business provided him with the knowledge, skills and confidence to allow him to become a success and to follow his career goals. His favorite business classes were in the risk management area which will be especially helpful in his latest endeavor—opening his own State Farm Insurance Agency in the Augusta area. In the new office, slated to open in March 2020, Jonathan will be responsible for leading a group of team members to help clients prepare for the unexpected and to help people make important financial decisions. He especially enjoys the stories his clients tell and learning from new people each day. Jonathan’s favorite question to ask his clients is “What do you do?” Knowing that he is helping a person realize real dreams and goals motivates him. Jonathan is excited to open his own agency and providing his clients with real help.

Jonathan believes overcoming challenges helps people grow. In fact, when he was laid off from a job he held for eight years, Jonathan learned a great deal about himself and about facing hardship. Although the trials of job hunting were stressful and, sometimes, soul crushing, he did not give up. Instead, Jonathan re-evaluated his career goals, realizing he could not be complacent with a single employer or position. Though he knew he wanted to be an insurance agent, Jonathan was not yet ready. He set a long-term goal and worked toward it. Now, five and one-half years later, all Jonathan’s hard work has come to fruition.

According to Jonathan, Georgia Southern has given him a lifetime of friends and memories. He fondly remembers Saturday tail gates, intramural leagues and spending time with friends. Jonathan put his people skills to good use when he served as founding president of the Young Professionals of Augusta, a civic organization for 21 to 40 year olds to network, grow professionally and give back to their community. Celebrating 12 years of service, the group has been a catalyst for forging new leaders for the Augusta area.

In his spare time, Jonathan coaches his sons’ sports teams, spends time with his family outdoors, and works on home improvement projects. In addition to the opening of his new insurance agency, Jonathan looks forward to continuing to give his time and energy to his community.

PwC Network Executive to Lead this Year’s Fries Lecture

Carol Sawdye, chief operating officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Network, will present the 2019 Norman Fries Lecture, the first event in the inaugural Parker Talks speaker series, hosted by Georgia Southern University’s Parker College of Business. 

Sawdye will share the positive impacts that the advancement of technology has had on society during her presentation, “Flourishing in a Digital World: How to Proactively Engage in New Technologies to Ensure You Don’t Get Left Behind,” set for Monday, Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center on the Statesboro Campus.

Sawdye will discuss the importance of providing access to information and communication to previously isolated communities, improving the efficiency of organizations and extending average human life spans across the world. She will also talk about the opportunity to use technology for the betterment of society despite how quickly the speed and scope of technology are changing.

Sawdye, who leads the Network Leadership Team Chief Operating Officer Group, drives budgeting, financial planning and investment processes throughout the PwC Network and collaborates with the global leadership team. Previously the executive vice president and CFO of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Sawdye received a B.S. in accounting from the University of Virginia and an MBA, with a specialization in international business and corporate finance, from Columbia Business School. She is a CPA, licensed to practice in New York. She and her husband live in New York City and Savannah, Georgia.

The Parker Talks speaker series will host speakers throughout the year in Statesboro and Savannah.

The annual Norman Fries Distinguished Lectureship series began in 2001. It is funded by an endowment in honor of Norman Fries, founder of Claxton Poultry. In his more than 50 years of business, Fries built the company from a one-man operation into one of the largest poultry production plants in the United States. Past Fries lecturers include David Oreck of Oreck Vacuums, South African apartheid author and lecturer Mark Mathabane, NASA director James W. Kennedy, author and historian Gordon S. Wood, Nobel Prize-winner William D. Phillips, Ph.D., bestselling author Susan Orlean, concussion expert Dr. Russell Gore, and, most recently, Regents professor and Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Marilyn Brown, Ph.D. For more information, visit

College Readies for Fourth Annual Professional Development Day

On Tuesday, October 1, the Parker College of Business will host the fourth annual Professional Development Day. The day consists of conference-like sessions for all students to attend. The sessions offer relevant “real-world” and discipline-specific topics.

Professional Development Day allows students to put into practice networking, leadership and other soft skills they have attained, while employers and recruiters gain first access to the Parker College business students. The day wraps up with the Logistics Roundtable which brings third-party (3PL) logistics firms, manufacturers, warehousing companies, distributors, motor carriers and major retailers to campus to provide students valuable insights into logistics, transportation and supply chain opportunities through interactive panel discussions and open-networking sessions. On the following day, the Office of Career and Professional Development holds its largest career fair of the semester, the Eagle Expo.

In Spring 2020, Professional Development Day will be held on the Armstrong Campus for the second year, hosting Savannah-area businesses.

For more information or to become involved in future Professional Development Day events, please contact Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning and student engagement, at or 912-478-6407 , or Debbie Hilton, events coordinator, at or 912-478-5050 . To view the PDD schedule, visit

Propeller Club Recognizes Parker College of Business Students

Two students in the Parker College of Business have each been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Propeller Club United States – Port of Savannah. 

Mohammad Abdallah and Alecia Breen received the Gus Dubus Scholarship, which is awarded by the Propeller Club each year to four area college students who maintain a 3.0 GPA while majoring in logistics and intermodal transportation. 

“The Propeller Club – Port of Savannah is all about bringing the maritime community together,” stated Abdallah, senior logistics student and Parker Business Scholar. “To be a part of this prestigious award will not only develop my network but also build my résumé. The money was great, but the ability to build my network is priceless.”

The scholarship is named for the late Gus Dubus who was a Savannah maritime lawyer and past president of the Propeller Club. 

The Propeller Club of Savannah is comprised of nearly 300 individuals representing more than 145 companies and groups that do business with or have a connection to the Savannah port. The group also sponsors the annual State of the Port address by Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch.

Georgia Southern’s MSAE Recognized by Best Value Schools

The Georgia Southern University Parker College of Business online Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) is recognized as one of the five best online master’s programs in economics for 2020.

“We are very proud to be able to offer a high-quality program at an affordable price,” stated Amanda King, Ph.D., professor of economics and MSAE coordinator. “Students who complete our program have a marketable analytical skill set that allows them to make business decisions in a diverse and changing data-driven world.”

The Georgia Southern University MSAE is a fully online, asynchronous program with stackable credentials for working professionals. This allows students in the program to continue working while they complete the coursework. The graduate program can be completed in as few as five semesters with students taking two courses per semester. 

To learn more about the online Master of Science in Applied Economics at Georgia Southern, visit

Parker College to Host IANA Applied Research Competition

The Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management has partnered with the Georgia Ports Authority and TCW Inc. to host the first-ever GS-IANA Logistics Applied Research Challenge. The competition is made possible through support and funding from the Intermodal Association of North America (IANA).

The GS-IANA Logistics Applied Research Challenge will allow junior and senior undergraduate logistics students professional development and a deeper understanding of the intermodal freight transportation industry. The Fall 2019 business case will be developed by the Georgia Ports Authority and TCW Inc. leadership teams, along with the faculty of the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management. The case will facilitate student exposure to highly relevant, important and complex business challenges faced in intermodal supply chains and offers an opportunity for student teams to research, solve and present solutions to a panel of judges comprised of industry executives, government officials and Logistics faculty members.

The roll out of the GS-IANA Logistics Applied Research Challenge will begin with the case presentation on Thursday, September 26, in the Parker College of Business. Following the case presentation, the logistics student teams will then conduct research and analyze the best solutions to the real-world problem. On Wednesday, October 30, the student teams will present their findings to a panel of judges in the Performing Arts Center on the Statesboro campus, where the top four teams will advance to the final competition. During a lunch presentation at the Georgia Ports Authority on Friday, November 8, the four teams will compete for IANA scholarships.

The challenge seeks to advance IANA’s Scholarship Award Program goals by advancing intermodal freight transportation education through the delivery of a competition that exposes and develops the next generation of leaders and managers, conducts intermodal freight research and analysis, and creates engagement between students and transportation executives. The Georgia Southern University logistics program is one of nine IANA Scholarship Award programs in the nation.

Faculty/Staff News

Paula Mooney, CPA, has been awarded the 2019 Meritorious Service Award by the Georgia Society of CPAs. Congratulations, Paula!

Stephanie Thomas, Jacqueline K. Eastman, C. David Shepherd, and L. Trey Denton’s article, “A Comparative Assessment of Win-Win and Win-Lose Negotiation Strategy Use on Supply Chain Relational Outcomes,” has been published in the International Journal of Logistics Management. This paper was awarded an Emerald Group Publishing Highly Commended Paper Award. Congrats to all!

Xinfang Wang, Ph.D., associate professor of information systems, had her manuscript, “Robust Optimization for Hurrican Preparedness,” accepted by the International Journal of Production Economics. Congratulations, Xinfang!

Justin Evans, J.D., assistant professor of legal studies, received the Ralph Bunche Award for Outstanding International Law Paper at the August 2019 meeting of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB). Evans’s paper, “The Chinese Experiment: Lessons from the Regulation of Ridesharing in China,” was co-authored with Abbey Stemler (Indiana University Kelley School of Business) and Blake Himebaugh (Ernst & Young). Congrats, Justin!

In August, three of our management faculty, Charles Marvil, Stan Suboleski and Ivy Sun, attended the Tourism and Leadership Council (TLC) meeting in Savannah aboard the Georgia Queen Riverboat.

Chris Brunt, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, was cited by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC), the nonpartisan legislative branch agency that provides the U.S. Congress with analysis and policy advice on the Medicare program, with regards to the upcoding incentives in post-acute care. Congrats, Chris!

Dominique Halaby, DPA, director of the Business Innovation Group, was featured on WalletHub about rewards credit cards. To read the article, visit

Elmira Shahriari, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, recently had her papers, “Picture This: The Role of Mental Imagery in Induction of Food Craving – A Theoretical Framework Based on the Elaborated Intrusion Theory,” accepted for publication in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, and “Values Driving Organic Food Purchase Intention: A Comparative Analysis Between a Developing Eastern Country (Iran) and a Developed Western Country (U.S.)” accepted for publication in the Journal of International Consumer Marketing.

Lainie Wilson Harris, lecturer in the School of Accountancy, was featured in WalletHub about credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. To read the article in its entirety, visit

Jie McCardle, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, recently had her paper, “Interfirm Cultural Compatibility and Communication in Supply Chain and Operations Performance,” accepted in the Journal of Supply Chain and Operations Management. To read the paper online, visit Congratulations, Jie!

Rongrong Zhang, Ph.D., associate professor of finance, was invited to discuss the paper, “Intellectual Property, Tariffs, and International Trade Dynamics” written by Andrea Waddle, University of Richmond, and Federico Mandelman, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, at the Fourth IMF- Atlanta Fed Workshop on China’s Economy sponsored by the International Monetary Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, on September 19, 2019.

Last updated: 1/27/2023