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BEACON: Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network of the Perdue School of Business

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BEACON – the Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University – is a hidden gem that is in plain view. Located at the northeast corner of the ground floor of the Perdue Hall, BEACON is the oldest outreach unit of the school.

BEACON has a dual mission of providing a variety of experiential learning opportunities to Perdue School students and providing research and consulting services to private and public sector organizations. First launched in two 10’ x 10’ windowless offices in 1989, when the school was only two years old, BEACON today occupies a state-of-the-art suite with seven offices, a six-cubicle open-concept work zone, a 12-seat conference room and a 24-seat modular multipurpose project room. The facility boasts 24 fiber-optic nodes, a 24-node high-capacity broadband network and a 24-unit mobile computing lab. In addition to the standard Microsoft Office suite of software packages, BEACON team members use nine sophisticated software platforms, including the SAP Dashboard Design Suite, the IMPLAN Economic Impact Estimation Package, the MindManager Mind Mapping Software and the ESRI Business Analyst Platform.

Beacon Staff

The BEACON team members are: Dr. Memo Diriker, director; Dr. Sarah Guy, associate director; Dr. Carole Champagne, coordinator of BEACON’s Bienvenidos a Delmarva Network; Cagla Oruc, Scholar in Residence; graduate assistants Mark Bohanan, Laurel Heflin, Joseph Buckley and Nicholas Strumbroski; and undergraduate project assistants Rachael Reiter, Alex Patrick and Rachel Lanza. In addition, depending on the project load at any given time, other faculty members and students join the team on an "as-needed" basis. In addition, Dr. Amit Poddar, chair of the Perdue School’s Management and Marketing Department, is the director of BEACON’s Mid-Atlantic Sales and Marketing Institute.

In the past few years, BEACON’s project portfolio has grown significantly in size, scope and geographic location. Recent projects and initiatives have taken BEACON team members to Alabama, Delaware Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, domestically, and to Belgium, Canada Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom, internationally. Some of the bigger BEACON projects included over 40 program and project evaluation studies, over 20 economic impact estimation studies, six scenario analysis projects, five strategic planning retreats conducted for local and regional organizations, several focus groups and online opinion leader surveys, and three major feasibility studies.

The BEACON project teams have undertaken research and consulting assignments in a wide variety of industry sectors. Some of these projects were in the agriculture, banking and finance, construction, food processing, forestry, government (local, county, state and federal), health care, K-12 public education, legal, oil and natural gas, real estate, tourism, nonprofit/NGOs, and wind energy sectors.

In addition to these projects, BEACON is home to five major outreach initiatives:

The Bienvenidos a Delmarva Network is a coalition of over 50 organizations that regularly interact with our region’s non-native born populations. The Delmarva Peninsula has over 25,000 households where the native language is not English. While the majority of these residents are citizens or legal residents, some are undocumented. The network members explore best practices in business and economic development issues related to these new Marylanders.

The European American Business Institute brings together professionals from trade and professional organizations such as chambers of commerce in Europe with their counterparts in the United States. In addition, this institute provides export and international business development assistance to local firms.

The Mid-Atlantic Family Business and Closely Held Corporation Forum is a brand-new BEACON initiative that will host annual conferences beginning in November 2017.

The GraySHORE Network is a coalition of over 125 private, public and nonprofit organizations that provide products or services to our region’s older residents. This network explores best practices in elder care, elder shelter, and business and economic development issues relevant to an aging population.

The Mid-Atlantic Sales and Marketing Institute (MASMI), led by Dr. Amit Poddar, is a bridge between the Perdue School and the region’s business community that aims to help meet the growing need for highly qualified candidates for professional selling careers. MASMI is also the host of the annual Sales Summit, the first of which was held in March 2016. Under Dr. Poddar’s guidance, MASMI recently has become an Associate Member of the University Sales Center Alliance, a consortium of sales centers with the mission of advancing the sales profession through academic leadership, education, research and outreach.

In addition to these initiatives, BEACON is home to smaller initiatives involving business and economic trend forecasting, entrepreneurship, leadership development, the renewable energy sector, and the region’s tourism sector.