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Georgia Southern responds to growing workforce demands with business programs on the Armstrong Campus

Georgia Southern University is taking significant steps to prepare more students for highly-qualified positions in the southeast region’s burgeoning logistics’ sector. Now, Georgia Southern University’s AACSB-accredited Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation (LIT) program and the BBA in Economics program will be available to students in Savannah through enrollment on the Armstrong Campus.

“Savannah is growing, along with the whole southeast region,” noted Allen C. Amason, Ph.D., dean of the Georgia Southern College of Business. “There is a strong demand for talent [so] the time is right to expand our BBA degrees in Savannah.”

With some of the world’s largest distributors, including The Home Depot, IKEA, Dollar Tree, Target, Floor and Décor and more, having facilities in Savannah, along with the current deepening of the Port of Savannah expected to be complete by 2020, it is clear that logistics and distribution have found a home in the region with growth potential that has yet to be realized. By expanding these two critical degree programs into Savannah’s Armstrong Campus, an increasing number of Georgia Southern graduates will be poised to answer the region’s growing workforce needs.

“Our BBAs in Economics and Logistics are at the forefront,” stated Dean Amason, “backed by our strong faculty, our innovative scholarship, our accredited and nationally recognized programs and our large network of accomplished alumni.”

Specifically, LIT courses focus on logistics and transportation concepts and principles, building to an advanced understanding of logistics operations, international logistics and intermodal distribution issues. Students of the BBA in Economics program learn analytical skills and problem solving of the highest levels in order to gain the theoretical foundation for today’s global society.

Students enrolled in Savannah will take full advantage of access to scholarships, as well as travel opportunities through business abroad studies and competitions focused on resolving real-world intermodal problems. In April, Georgia Southern’s student team took first place at the national Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) Case Competition. This win marked yet another achievement for the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Department at Georgia Southern, which is currently ranked in the top 15 in the world for empirically-focused research publications in leading supply chain management journals.

Businesses will also enjoy the benefits of this program expansion by having increased influence on students through experiential learning activities such as internships, co-ops, business abroad trips and professional development activities, all of which give students valuable experience while allowing employers to help shape their future employees.

To learn more about partnering with the Georgia Southern College of Business, visit

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 27,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit

Georgia Southern’s Q1 2018 Economic Monitor reports expected upswing later in the year

Georgia Southern University’s latest Economic Monitor, which analyzes data and identifies trends affecting the regional economy, reports that the Savannah metro economy ticked up modestly despite Winter Storm Grayson, which blanketed the area in heavy snow and ice fall in early January. Indicators of economic conditions were slightly mixed due to the weather-related incidents, however, the surging forecasting index is based on renewed strength in the housing and labor markets, which points toward increased growth during the rest of the year.

“Overall, expansion in the regional economy remained modest, but marginally improved from the closing quarter of 2017,” said Michael Toma, Ph.D., Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Economics and director of the Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research. “Expect increasing economic strength in Savannah-area business conditions during the remainder of 2018.”

During the first quarter of 2018, the Savannah metro total employment figure remained flat at 179,000, up only .5 percent over the previous year’s data. Early data from the second quarter suggests improved conditions will push year-over-year gains to about 1 percent.

Additional highlights from the latest Economic Monitor include:


On Jan. 3, Winter Storm Grayson dropped between two and six inches of snow on the region, thereby shutting down business and travel for up to five days. Tourism activity in the first quarter was soft, with hotel room sales and vacation rentals dipping four percent on a seasonally adjusted basis as compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. The number of visitors on tours in Savannah declined 10 percent.


Activity at Savannah’s port facilities fell by 3 percent compared to 2017’s closing quarter and is up 6 percent from this time last year.


Employment growth has slowed, remaining flat for the first quarter of 2018, however, some sector-level changes are notable. Construction added 300 workers, manufacturing added 200, while retail and state government lost 200 workers. Year-over-year, the healthiest growth was in manufacturing, wholesale trade, business and professional services and leisure and hospitality.


Unemployment insurance claims dropped from 631 to 541 in the first quarter of 2018, representing a 14 percent quarterly decline. The regional unemployment rate fell to four percent in the first quarter, dropping from 4.1 percent in the previous quarter. The unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018.


Residential construction in the region improved over last quarter’s performance. Seasonally adjusted building permit issuance for single-family homes soared 18 percent, in contrast to weak nationwide residential construction.

Building permits issued in the Savannah metro area for single-family homes increased to 522 during the quarter compared to 443 units (seasonally adjusted) in the fourth quarter. The average valuation of building permits for single-family homes fell seven percent, dropping from $238,000 to $221,000.


The leading/forecasting economic index showed a 2.4 percent increase from 162.5 to 166.3 in the previous quarter, reflecting sharp gains in residential construction and falling unemployment insurance claims.

The Economic Monitor presents quarterly economic trends and short-term economic forecasts for Savannah’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The quarterly report measures the heartbeat of the local economy, based on the analysis of economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the City of Savannah, Georgia Power and the three counties in the MSA—Chatham, Bryan and Effingham.

The report presents a short-term forecast of the region’s economic activity in the next six to nine months and is available for free by email. To subscribe, email

The Georgia Southern Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research (CBAER), housed in the College of Business’s Business Innovation Group (BIG), meets the applied research needs of Savannah’s business and community organizations. Areas of concentrated research include regional economic forecasting, economic impact analysis, economic development and business expansion, tourism development, survey-based research and specialty reports on topics of state, regional and local interest.

The First Quarter 2018 edition of the Economic Monitor has been published. You can find it here.

NOTE TO MEDIA: CBAER director Michael Toma, Ph.D., is available for telephone interviews. Media may contact Jennifer Wise at 912-478-2301 or for interview and image requests.


Steve Charlier: How to Integrate the Younger Generation into the Workplace

Georgia Southern University Department of Management Associate Professor Steve Charlier, Ph.D., gives advice to businesses on how they can attract the younger generation and how millennials are transforming the workplace.

College of Business alumni receive AICPA Elijah Watt Sells Award

Two Georgia Southern University College of Business alumni received the 2017 Elijah Watt Sells Award from the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) for their performance on the CPA Exam. Candidates are eligible for the award during the calendar year in which they complete the CPA Exam.


Christopher Groll (’16), a finance alumnus employed by KPMG in Atlanta, and Linette Rousseau (’16), a Master’s of Accounting alumna employed with University of Wisconsin-Madison were among 58 CPA candidates who received the award.


To be considered, candidates must have obtained a cumulative average score above 95.5 across all four sections of the CPA Exam, passed all four sections of the examination on their first attempt and completed testing in 2017. A total of 95,858 individuals sat for the examination in 2017.


“The CPA Exam protects the public interest by ensuring, along with education and experience requirements, that only qualified individuals are able to become licensed as Certified Public Accountants,” said Mike Decker, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants vice president of examinations. “Passing the Exam is a career milestone. And the extraordinary performance of this year’s Sells Award winners is truly an impressive accomplishment.”


The Elijah Watt Sells Award program was established by the AICPA in 1923 to recognize outstanding performance on the CPA Examination. Sells, one of the first CPAs in the U.S., was active in the establishment of the AICPA and played a key role advancing professional education within the profession.


“The School of Accountancy has set as a core principle to support the highest level of professional credentialing for our students,” stated Tim Pearson, Ph.D., director of the Georgia Southern University School of Accountancy. “Our CPA exam pass rate continues to exceed the national average, and we have some very strong students perform exceptionally well on the exam.”


About the American Institute of CPAs

The AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the CPA profession, with more than 431,000 members in 137 countries and territories, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting. The AICPA sets ethical standards for its members and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, and federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, offers specialized credentials, builds the pipeline of future talent and drives professional competency development to advance the vitality, relevance and quality of the profession. The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Durham, North Carolina, and Ewing, New Jersey.


About the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the AICPA and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 667,000 members and students across 184 countries and territories in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMAs and accounting and finance professionals globally.

Halaby featured on WalletHub

Dominique Halaby on securing a business credit card.

When, if ever, should a small business owner consider a so-called secured business credit card?

For many small business owners, the mere notion of obtaining a secured credit card is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Generally, small business owners consider a secured credit card when they have less than perfect credit and find themselves struggling to obtain an unsecured card. The problem is that most owners in this position got there because of challenges/difficulties with managing their cash flow.

Obtaining a secured credit card requires that the card be “secured” against some amount of funding. The specific amount deposited determines the applicable credit limit. Therefore, if a small business owner wants a secured credit card with a $1,000 limit, they would have to first deposit $1,000 in separate bank account. This means that in order to assist their cash flow challenges, they must take cash out of their business. For most, this just isn’t a viable option. They find simply using a debit card to be sufficient. However, the use of debit card doesn’t help them to rebuild their credit.

This is often the primary reason why a small business owner would consider a secured credit card. When doing so, the important thing to know is that rebuilding your credit will take time. Ultimately, I would encourage borrowers in this situation to seek out credit cards/lenders that report to the credit agencies and try to avoid those that don’t.

Do you have any advice for people with bad credit who need money for a business venture?

First of all, bad credit means different things to different lenders. Generally, a personal credit score below 600 is the common benchmark. For potential borrowers in this category, there are options but they often come a higher cost.

One option is consider online lenders, like Fundbox. Fundbox will provide financing over a twelve week period at less than five (5) percent interest. This could be a good short-term fix for those small businesses struggling with short-term cash flow issues, however, over an extended period of time the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) could be extremely high (sometimes 50 percent). There is also OnDeck, which focuses more on the business than the borrower. Though this may not be viable for a startup, it could be a good option if the company has been in operations for more than a year.

The owner can also look to establish the company’s credit rating through factoring and equipment financing. Factoring is where a company sells its receivables to a third party. For companies that have business clients that are n net-terms, companies such as Blue Vine, can help them free up cash by purchasing unpaid invoices at a discount.

Also, small businesses that need of equipment may want to ask the vendor if they offer financing and report to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). If so, they would want to register for a DUNS number. Small businesses with a DUNS number can begin working on their D&B PAYDEX score. The PAYDEX operates much like your individual FICO score and is a way some lenders evaluate your company’s ability to repay debt. A good PAYDEX score can help your small business negotiate more favorable terms with your vendors, such as net-30 or even net-60 days.

Regardless of the lender, people with less than stellar credit should know that when they ask to borrow money they are going to be paying a higher interest rate. Just how high is going to depend on the repayment terms. That is why it is important to look at the fine print and try to place all terms in APR to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.

Do you think secured credit cards should pay interest on users’ deposits?

Great question! It would nice if lenders paid interest on users’ deposits but the fact is most do the exact opposite. Most secured credit card lenders actually charge an annual fee and a high interest rate to their consumers. There are a few, like Discover it Secured, that waive the annual fee and even provide a cash back bonus on purchases, but those are in the minority.

Why do you think there are so few secured business credit cards available?

There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the proliferation of debit cards has really limited the usefulness of secured credit cards. Debit cards afford the holder the ability to make purchases and track expenses just like unsecured cards. Secondly, online payment systems such as PayPal (and its subsidiary Venmo), has made it easier for people and businesses to transfer money from accounts and process transactions. Also, most small businesses with credit difficulties are simply not able to tie up the requisite funds to obtain a secured credit card. This means the market for secured credit cards simply isn’t large enough to entice more lenders to offer these services. Finally, low unemployment rates and strong job growth is making lenders more comfortable with borrowers’ ability to repay loans. As such, more lenders are finding that simply offering unsecured cards with a low credit limit and high interest rate to be a sufficient way to offer services to borrowers with a low credit score.

Halaby is the director of the Business Innovation Group at Georgia Southern University College of Business. To view the article in its entirety, visit