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Taking Flight – September 2021

Message from the Dean

“You know, we graduated together from the business school back in the late 70’s and, because we’re Georgia Southern alumni and because of events like this, we’ve stayed in touch, stayed friends, and stayed business associates through all of these years.” One of our alumni made this statement to me at a recent Parker College event. He was sitting with this same friend, along with their spouses, when he reflected for a moment, turned to me, and made this comment. Now, I doubt that he meant to spark my thinking in the way he did, but I’ve been pondering the subject ever since. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the value of our degrees, the benefits they provide, and the obligations and expectations placed on us as a result. And I’d like to share some of what I have been thinking about with you now.

First, our degrees represent a quality education and the conveyance of practical and material content. Graduates of the Parker College are expected to have significant understanding and skill in the functional areas of business and economics. At a minimum, then, we are obliged to provide that and to ensure that our degrees are consistent with those expectations. Second, a Parker College degree is a signal to the marketplace. Once they graduate, our alumni will be judged not on their grades, majors, the classes they took, or the papers they wrote. Rather, in the eyes of their customers, clients, employers, and colleagues, all of that will be amalgamated into a single signal that the market will interpret as an expression of overall value. Credentialing is the term often associated with this phenomenon. Like a license or a certification, a degree signals qualification, capability, and value to the market. And some credentials are simply perceived as being more valuable than others. That is especially true in cases in which actual qualifications and capabilities are difficult to measure directly. Which applicant will make the best employee and produce the best results? Precisely because that question is so difficult to answer, people will often default to the signaling value of the credential. Given that, it is critical that we continue to market the Parker College brand, that we showcase our outstanding graduates, faculty, and programs, and that we invest in the broad recognition and respect of our College and its degrees. Finally, our degrees offer the promise of membership in a network of alumni. Those alumni should see in one another the same quality that they received during their own education and the same credentialing value found in their own degrees. They should recognize that the success of one enhances the success of them all, and, so, they should want to invest in one another, to support one another, and to encourage one another as much as possible. And, for those of us who work here, that means doing all we can to promote, expand, support, and invigorate that network.

I suppose what I took away from this brief conversation, was a sense of obligation and responsibility. For our faculty, staff, and administration, we must, and I believe we do, commit every day to providing a high-quality education, informed by the best theory and practice available. But we must also be deliberate and intentional about the value of our credential and the signal it sends to the marketplace. We do more than just deliver course content; we create impactful professionals who will provide a good return on investment. And, finally, we have to nurture that group of alumni, so that they stay connected to the brand, involved with one another, and motivated to invest in themselves by investing the Parker College.

Alumni Spotlight: Tim Lavoie

Tim Lavoie (LOGT, 2011) is a key account manager at C. H. Robinson. He is responsible for helping clients to manage their supply chains while mitigating risk through the flow of goods and products. Tim says that, in his field, no two days are the same because every day brings its own challenges and rewards. This past year has been especially challenging for supply chains in almost every business. Severe disruptions due to the pandemic have created more issues and constraints than ever before. Tim discovered that collaboration and communication were key as ensuring that all parties are on the same page minimizes overall impacts. 

According to Tim, the Parker College of Business empowered him by providing the technical knowledge needed for the logistics industry and the social acumen required to engage coworkers, customers, suppliers, and others. The concepts he learned from the Parker College go well beyond what he was taught in the classroom and have helped him become a well-rounded businessperson. Beyond the classroom, Tim served as a member and vice president of the Georgia Southern Logistics Association (GSLA). His leadership in GSLA allowed him to lead and to help grow the organization—a truly enjoyable experience. Tim also has many great memories of his three years as a member of Southern Pride, Georgia Southern’s marching band, through which he made life-long friendships.

Tim and his wife, Laura (BS, Early Childhood Education, 2012; MEd, Early Childhood Education, 2014) welcomed their first child in September 2020. Both are grateful to have the opportunity to become parents. Creating a family is Tim’s proudest accomplishment thus far. In his spare time, Tim likes to catch up with friends and play golf. A big Georgia Southern Eagles fan, he often travels to attend fall football games.

In the future, Tim hopes to continue to contribute to the logistics industry and increase his reach to others. Eventually, he would like to be able to give back to others who are just beginning their careers and to teach future industry members about what he does. “Just as I had mentors along my career path, I hope to mentor those younger than I,” Tim stated.

Student Entrepreneurs Gather for First Ever Market on Main

Benjamin Youngstrom

by Steve Stewart and Curtis Sproul

On Friday evening, August 27, Benjamin Youngstrom (Management) and Emma Tirlot (International Trade) waited anxiously for the crowds of customers to arrive at Square One’s Market on Main. And arrive they did! Hundreds of shoppers filled East Main Street in Statesboro to browse and buy the products sold by the 35 Georgia Southern student entrepreneurs at their booths.

Square One is a student organization focusing on entrepreneurship. Benjamin serves as Square One’s president, while Emma serves as vice president. Market on Main was envisioned as a first-ever large gathering of Georgia Southern student entrepreneurs selling their products. Most students exhibiting at Market on Main are makers, making their own products and marketing them through pop-up sales and through social media commerce and other e-commerce platforms. This was the first time student entrepreneurs lined Main Street and gathered in one place.

Emma and Benjamin are both seniors. The idea for Market on Main came to them through a contact with the Business Innovation Group’s (BIG) Metter Incubator. Suzanne Hallman, assistant director of entrepreneurship education at BIG, made the introductions and, with Square One leadership, began to brainstorm how they could scale the event. The students worked closely with BIG, the City of Statesboro, the Statesboro Police Department, and Allen Muldrew and the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority (DSDA) to successfully petition for East Main Street to be closed for the event. After several meetings with new club advisors, Curtis Sproul, Ph.D., and Steve Stewart, Ph.D., and Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero, the students executed the large event downtown.

“Market on Main was a great first run; we are excited to host such an event. Not only was it a powerful way to kick off Square One’s year, but, more importantly, it was a great privilege to host so many talented student businesses! We’re so grateful to everybody who came out and are excited to see where this year takes us!” reported Benjamin. Emma added, “This market far exceeded my expectations. I am excited to see student businesses succeed and start bridging the gap between Georgia Southern and the local entrepreneurial community!”

Student entrepreneurs at the first Market on Main event displayed and sold items like jewelry, goat’s milk products, handmade all-natural cosmetics, custom artwork, t-shirts, cake pops, and other items. Hunter Cornett, a finance major and owner of Borowood, a business housed in BIG’s Incubator, had a large display of his custom wood signs and artwork. Many customers could be seen carrying Borowood’s wooden flags they had purchased through the event.

Square One students raised sponsorships from local businesses, including Hawk Construction, Whitfield Signs, EMC Engineering, Touchable Design, and Sew Much Fun. The event included live music and several food trucks, including Rolling Monkey, Wavee Shavee, Saucy Shrimp, and Kickback Shack Barbeque. The Square One students also used this event as a way to recruit other student entrepreneurs from across colleges on campus and are working with the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority to do the event again during the holiday season and to include student entrepreneurs in DSDA events in the future.

Future Double Eagle Working on Vaccine Trials

by Benjamin Tankersley

The United States Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on August 23, with the Moderna vaccine primed to follow it. These vaccines are being approved after various trials have been completed, like the series that MBA student Ashley Landers has been apart of with Emory University.

When researching MBA programs, it ended up being an easy decision for Landers.

“I wanted to work and still be able to go to school and get my education,” Landers said. “As a former Georgia Southern student, when I saw that they had the WebMBA, I was very excited to continue my education as an Eagle. It was a very easy process, emailing back and forth with the [Graduate Programs Office] about prerequisites or just very general questions, even now to this day, they are very quick responding and helpful.”

Landers, who is set to graduate with her MBA this spring, started working with the School of Medicine’s Infectious Disease Department in June 2020 to assist with research on the Moderna vaccine.

Included in the research done by this department are three studies: vaccine trials, testing vaccinated individuals for antibodies and testing unvaccinated individuals for antibodies. Most of Landers’ work is on the recruitment side, also referred to as field work.

“With the vaccine trials, it was very easy to get recruitment, because people were wanting a great vaccine for people, so we could go back to some type of normalcy,” Landers said.

The department also offered several incentives to encourage people to participate, such as free antibody tests, which can regularly cost $200 to $300.

One of the challenges that Landers dealt with in her position was to market the trials to minorities, as part of Emory’s mission to have representation from different people groups.

Landers’ team went throughout Atlanta for volunteers, which has a large African American and Hispanic population. She mentioned that African American people, in particular, were hesitant due to past events, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, conducted by the C.D.C. and U.S. Public Health Service from 1932 to 1972.

“I think for them to be able to see Black research staff and to be able to talk and help ease their mind to help them participate in educating them about why it’s important to volunteer do research,” Landers said. “That felt like a proud moment to help and make them inclusive.”

Being at the frontlines of recruitment for the department, Landers has also run into people hesitant to take the vaccine.

“Of course, it’s your body and your choice, but at the end of the day, what we’re doing, as public health professionals, is to not only ensure your safety, but our own safety,” Landers said. “I’m seeing now, with students going back to school in middle school or younger, there’s no vaccine for them yet. And so why do these kids keep getting sick? Probably because they’re around adults who don’t have the vaccine, and it’s just going to keep becoming like a never-ending saga.”

With the FDA recently approving the Pfizer vaccine, Landers does not think the Moderna vaccine is far behind.

“I believe that’s coming very soon from Moderna,” she said. “I was actually surprised that Moderna wasn’t FDA approved first, since the Moderna vaccine trials have happened before the Pfizer one.”

Alum Promoted at Parker’s

On Monday, August 16, 2021, Brian Prevatt (ACCT, 2007; MAcc, 2009), a member of Parker’s Senior Leadership Team, was promoted to president of Parker’s Support. He will report directly to Parker’s founder and CEO Greg Parker. In his role as president of Parker’s Support, Brian will manage finance, financial planning, legal, compliance, HR, technology, innovation, procurement and loss prevention.

“As Parker’s becomes a larger and more complex enterprise, it’s important to streamline our operations and update our corporate structure,” said Greg Parker. “This new structure will help us be even more strategic, data-driven and focused as we plan for additional growth in the future.”

An experienced accountant, Brian previously served as Parker’s chief financial officer and has worked with the company for 13 years as a CPA. In addition, Brian is a member of the Georgia Southern 40 Under 40 Class of 2019.

Parker Students Virtually Attend BAP Annual Meeting

Sunny Freund

On Aug. 5 and 6, Paula Mooney, lecturer of accounting, and Stephanie Hairston, associate professor of accounting and Graduate Accounting Programs coordinator, virtually attended the annual meeting of Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an honorary organization for financial information students and professionals. Normally, our students would travel to Las Vegas to attend this meeting, but, for the second year in a row, the meeting was a virtual one.

During the meeting, two videos highlighting BAP’s service activities aired. Each one included Georgia Southern. In addition, Christian Tinsley represented Parker College’s chapter in the Project Run With It (PRWI) competition. PRWI allows student members of BAP to participate in a real-world consulting project while furthering BAP’s community service component. In teams from different BAP chapters, students worked together to develop solutions to real-life business problems faced by actual not-for-profit organizations. Christian’s teammates were from different time zones, but they overcame scheduling obstacles and won the competition, netting our chapter $1,000 from Moss Adams, one of the 15 largest public accounting firms in the United States. 

To finish the day, Sunny Freund represented our chapter at a “Chapters Operations” roundtable discussion dealing with rebooting the chapter after the pandemic. Even though BAP’s executive director was at her “table,” Sunny did a phenomenal job with no show of nerves.

Congratulations, Beta Alpha Psi!

International Social Media Expert Speaks to Honors Students and Parker Scholars

Varsha Jain, Ph.D., an international social media expert from MICA in India, spoke to the Georgia Southern University Honors students and Parker Scholars on “Utilizing Social Media to Develop Your Personal Brand.” This was the inaugural event for the Parker Honors Lecture Series. Honors students from a variety of majors attended the presentation either in-person or online via Zoom. Jain’s presentation focused on personal branding and how to effectively utilize social media, including do’s and don’ts, to build a positive personal brand. It was a tremendous opportunity for students in Georgia to speak to an international social media expert in India as they work to position themselves for their careers.

“We are grateful to Dr. Jain and the students who participated in this first lecture as part of the Parker Honors Lecture Series,” said Jackie Eastman, Ph.D., honors coordinator and professor of marketing. Dr. Jain, in response to meeting our students, said, “Thank you so much Jacqueline Eastman for providing the amazing opportunity and kind invitation. Such a thrilling moment! Students are outstanding! Happy to co-create learning eco-systems.”

Lafferty Speaks on Marketing Strategies During COVID

Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing welcomed Patrick Lafferty, COO, Acceleration Community of Companies, a community of cutting-edge media, marketing, and communications companies supported by Advisory, an in-house strategic marketing consultancy made up of industry experts, to her principles of marketing class on Thurs., Aug. 26. Via zoom, Mr. Lafferty’s talk, “Marketing Strategies During COVID: A View from Ad World,” revolved around how firms need to adapt to external environment changes that go beyond the firm’s control. He noted that the COVID pandemic has thrown a huge curveball to many companies to which firms had no other choice but to adapt. In addition, the “Black Lives Matter” movement is another recent event that forced firms to become a part of the culture by “bringing the brand to the culture.” 

Lafferty discussed various examples of the advertisement the firms have rolled out in response to environmental changes including an American Airlines commercial that he oversaw in production. Lafferty also discussed the value of advertising agencies as opposed to a firm’s internal advertising or marketing departments. He discussed the distance between an outside advertising agency from the firm’s own people bringing in fresh and new ideas and different perspectives. 

“Pat’s talk validated various topics we have discussed in class, especially the role of marketing in society and the need for firms to adapt to environmental changes,” said Hyunju Shin. “I am thankful that Pat has brought the latest industry examples which I would not otherwise have access to as an academic. His talk has added a huge value to my class,” she concluded. 

After an informative Q&A session, Kamaria Mustafa thanked the guest speaker saying, “Some of the things that I took away first really were the world is evolving so we have to be quick on our toes and able to keep up with times. And another thing that I took out of this is [the importance of] being a part of the culture so actually being involved in university and being involved with your professors and different people [allows us to] … actually meet new people, market ourselves as individuals to build our résumés, and get … position[s], scholarships and jobs, and future opportunities.”

The Parker family is sad to announce that Mary Frances Hazeldine, Ph.D. and professor emerita of marketing, passed away on September 8, 2021. Mary came to Georgia Southern in 1995 as professor and chair of the Department of Marketing. She continued in these roles when the Departments of Marketing and Management merged to form the Department of Management & Marketing in 2000. In 2006, Mary was promoted to associate dean of the College of Business Administration before returning to her first love, teaching, in 2010. Throughout her career, Mary published more than 80 articles in academic journals, presented her research at numerous conferences, obtained several grants, and aided her students in obtaining internships. She represented faculty interests by participating on college and university committees and earned many prestigious teaching awards and honors. After retiring in 2015, Mary and her husband, Bob Jackson, Ph.D., retired professor of accounting, resided in Statesboro.

Faculty/Staff News

Hyunju Shin, Ph.D., associate professor of management, along with co-authors Mauro Fracarolli Nunes and Camila Lee Park, had her manuscript, “Corporate Social and Environmental Irresponsibilities in Supply Chains, Contamination, and Damage of Intangible Resources: A Behavioural Approach,” accepted for publication by the International Journal of Production Economics. Hyunju has also recently been invited to serve on the editorial review board of the Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising.  Kudos, Hyunju! 

Based on her quality reviews as an ad hoc reviewer, Yuan Li, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing, has been invited to serve on the editorial review board of the Journal of Consumer Behaviour, an “A” rated journal with the ABDC and an impact factor of 3.28. She will be joining ERB members from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK, and the USA. Well done, Yuan!

Sarah Rene, administrative assistant, Department of Logistics & Supply Chain Management, has returned to Parker after the birth of a baby girl. Congratulations and Welcome Back, Sarah!

Curtis Sproul, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, and his wife recently had a baby boy. Congratulations, Curtis!

Jacqueline K. Eastman, Ph.D., professor of marketing took part in a Shodh Samvad (Research Dialogue) for the Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatam along with Steve D’Alessandro, University of Tasmania, Australia, and Rajesh Iyer, Bradley University. The hour-long presentation to faculty members and graduate students focused on publishing and reviewing for the Journal of Consumer Behavior. Jackie and Steve currently serve as the journal’s co-editors and Rajesh is its associate editor. “It was an honor to meet scholars in India to discuss topics for research and how to best prepare manuscripts for the review process,” commented Jackie.

Jin-Woo Kim, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing, is a 2021 Sun Belt Faculty of the Year finalist. Congratulations, Jin-Woo!

Last updated: 9/24/2021