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Coggin College of Business

2022 Fall Newsletter

Suddath LITS Lab Opens

Suddath Lab Opening with four people holding a scissor and cutting a ribbon Thanks to a generous partnership agreement between The Suddath Companies and the Coggin College of Business, transportation and logistics students are more technologically prepared than ever to meet the challenges in today’s business world.

The UNF Suddath Logistics Information Technology Solutions (LITS) lab was formally opened and dedicated in a ceremony at the College Oct. 11.

Dawn Russell, Director of the UNF Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, said the new Suddath LITS lab facility will give Coggin College of Business students a distinct advantage.

“This lab will have a tremendous impact on our ability to build critical thinking and data analysis skills in our students.  The real-time, live-feed transportation & logistics information strengthens our instructional capabilities as we can facilitate classroom discourse, reacting to real-world information in real-time,” Russell said.

Thanks to the generosity of Suddath, the lab has been equipped with computer, data and video capabilities that are in use in the industry today. Students using the lab are immersed in simultaneous live data feeds across multimodal transportation systems including road, rail, sea and air.

“Suddath is proud to support this initiative, delivering an enhanced learning experience that both inspires and prepares the industry’s future leaders,”  said Michael J. Brannigan, Suddath President and CEO. “Jacksonville is a dynamic and growing multimodal transportation hub and we’re very pleased to play a part in cultivating – and keeping – the best talent here, with many different roles that offer promising and rewarding careers.”

"We are extremely fortunate to partner with The Suddath Companies to offer this new state-of-the-art technology lab within our College’s Transportation and Logistics program,” said Dr. Richard Buttimer, Dean of UNF’s Coggin College of Business. “Our students will gain greater opportunities to research solutions that can alleviate challenges impacting the supply chain and will help UNF to develop more skilled talent for the growing transportation and logistics industry.”

Women's Leadership Alliance establishes partnership to enhance financial planning

The Women’s Leadership Alliance has generously committed to a combined $150,000 in donations to the Coggin College of Business and the Financial Planning programs. The fruits of the gift will be visible on multiple levels in those programs. Because of the donations from the Women’s Leadership Alliance, the College has named a scholarship after the organization and established a Financial Planning Fund.Women Leadership Alliance Changing the Conversation blue circle

“We are thrilled to be partnering with UNF's Coggin College of Business, and their Financial Planning program, to help amplify this awareness and support programs that increase access to financial advising education and internship experiences,” said Stephanie Gularte, Executive Director of the Women’s Leadership Alliance.

“Our top priority at the WLA in making this contribution is to see more women receive meaningful support financially and professionally, that empowers them to build a thriving career as financial advisors, helping the industry to better reflect the diversity of clients served by this industry,” Gularte added.

Ron Heymann, Director of Financial Planning for the Department of Accounting & Finance at the Coggin College of Business, said the Women’s Leadership Alliance contribution will have immeasurable impacts on students.

“The partnership with the Women's Leadership Alliance is a huge opportunity for our Financial Planning program to help match our graduates with firms all across the country and to position them with strong and successful female mentors in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry,” Heymann said.

A portion of the gift will support scholarships and will be awarded to students seeking a career in financial planning. The Women’s Leadership Alliance gift also establishes the Sally Law Financial Planning Fund, named in memory of one of WLA’s benefactors and members.

Learn more about the Financial Planning Program.

GlobalMBA adds Korean school to partnership

GlobalMBA KNUUNF’s Coggin College of Business GlobalMBA recently added a new partner school to the program. Kyungpook National University located in Daegu, South Korea, now joins the partnership with the University of North Florida, Technische Hochschule Koeln in Germany, and the University of Warsaw in Poland. 

KNU was added to the consortium this year to replace our previous partnership in China. While attending KNU in their third semester, students will be visiting local companies and learning about business and cultural practices in South Korea.  The international cohort of students participating in the GlobalMBA now spends their fall semester in Germany, spring semester in Poland, summer semester in South Korea, and final fall semester at UNF in Florida.  These students earn two master’s degrees: Global Master of Business Administration from UNF and a Master of Arts in International Management & Intercultural Communication, which is jointly awarded by our partners in Germany and Poland. 

Kate Mattingly Learch, director of study abroad for the Coggin College of Business, said the addition of South Korea to the GlobalMBA curriculum is key.  

“As a technology and automotive global hub, the addition of KNU adds a new dimension for our students interested in studying international business and communication,” Learch said. “KNU is a fantastic school and a top university in South Korea.” 

There will be future opportunities for UNF faculty research and exchange in South Korea.  

The partnership will also bring South Korean students to the U.S. and expose them to the business and culture of Jacksonville, UNF and Northeast Florida that they’ll bring back to their native country, Learch said.  

Learn more about GlobalMBA.

Former UNF business educator passes

Wayland Coppedge HeadshotTommy Coppedge, a long-time professor at the Coggin College of Business, passed away. Coppedge’s life closed peacefully on Sept. 8. Born Wayland Thomas Coppedge III, he was a native of Jacksonville and was known to have an avuncular personality and even taught in classrooms at times with his beloved dog at his side. At one point in his career at UNF, he was voted “best faculty” by students across campus. The award came without formal institutional recognition, speaking to his character, according to Andres Gallo, Earle Traynham Professor of Economics and Director of the International Business Program at the Coggin College of Business. “That was Tommy, a faculty member of the Old Guard,” Gallo said. “He was strongly opinionated, fair to his students and always willing to help them succeed.”

CEI Innovation Challenge week a hit

CEI Innovation Week Winner; group of students holding a checkThe UNF Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation featured Innovation Challenge Week and proved its merit for several Coggin College of Business students in October. The event is a week-long experiential learning opportunity for UNF student teams to provide creative solutions for real-world problems and compete for cash prizes.

The competition challenged teams to build out a business deck for a final pitch competition where winning teams won up to $5,000. The student teams were supported by sponsoring companies such as Crowley and Community First Credit Union along with CEI, UNF faculty and the Florida Small Business Development Center at UNF.

Three student teams competed in each challenge. The winners were:


Crowley Challenge Winner: Team AP Solution

  • Team members: Angel Vila Perez and Ana Paula Melilo
  • Project: Automated Partnering (AP) Solution is a digital freight matching platform for trucking brokerages

Community First Challenge Winner: This or That Budgeting App 

  • Team members: Helen Kemp and Izeyic Phifer 
  • Project: This or That Budgeting App is a free app that helps young adults budget through individual decisions providing alternate options that impact budgets and spending habits

Learn more about CEI.

UNF Alum turned entrepreneur encourages students

Steve Elder talking to a group of studentsUniversity of North Florida Coggin College of Business alum Steve Elder is an accomplished entrepreneur who took a $20,000 investment and turned it into iRocker, a water sports and lifestyle brand company now worth approximately $70 million. Elder was named Florida’s Entrepreneur of the Year by EW in 2021. 

After seeing great success, he came back in September to his alma mater to speak with Coggin College of Business students who are aspiring entrepreneurs. In the workshop, he answered student questions and shared the story of his entrepreneurial journey, the process taken to build a company from the ground up and tips for early-career success. 

During the interaction with students he recounted his experience as an employee at a Fortune 500 delivery company and how Elder branched out on his own while expanding his family as his wife was having children and his personal responsibilities were growing. Through it all, though, Elder encouraged students to remain true to their vision and that is ultimately the quality that builds businesses such as iRocker, he said.

Consider becoming a guest speaker.

UNF Beta Alpha Psi gets national recognition

Beta Alpha Psi LogoThe UNF chapter of Beta Alpha Psi; Xi Eta was named a “Superior Chapter” by the international organization for the 2021-2022 academic year.  Beta Alpha Psi is an international honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students attending universities accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the European Quality Improvement System.

“The (UNF) Xi Eta Chapter has far exceeded the baseline requirements of Beta Alpha Psi and has excelled in the areas of academics, professionalism, and leadership. As faculty advisor for the chapter, Mark Leininger has provided an invaluable service to (UNF),” said Kimberly Ellison -Taylor, Beta Alpha Psi President, in a letter to UNF from the international organization. 

This is the third year in a row the chapter has been awarded Superior Chapter status. The Chapter was chartered in the 2019-2020 academic year and it has earned Superior Chapter status every year since it was founded. The recognition includes a $500 award. The financial support for the award comes from KPMG and the KPMG Foundation.

Former CCB professor pledges $200,000

Jeff Steagall HeadshotJeff Steagall, a veteran economics professor of 21 years with UNF, has made a bequest gift of $200,000 from his estate to the Coggin International Business program.

Since the donation is a bequest, it will be some time before scholarships can be awarded to students in the study abroad program. However, Steagall stipulated the establishment of five scholarships be named after current or former faculty or staff at the Coggin College of Business. They include:

Earle C. Traynham, former Dean of the College and UNF Provost, retired.

Jeffrey E. Michelman, Professor in Accounting.

Andrés Gallo, Professor of Economics and Director of the International Business program.

Anne Sheridan Fugard, former Director of Study Abroad for the IB program reporting to Dr. Steagall.

Kate Mattingly Learch, Director of Study Abroad for the IB program.

Jeff Steagall was with the UNF business college for two decades before going on to serve as Dean of the Goddard School of Business & Economics at Weber State University from 2011-2019.

To show additional appreciation to the former dean, Steagall will be providing more funding to award the Earle Traynham Scholarship soon. You can provide a gift to the Traynham Scholarship now, by visiting and entering “Traynham Scholarship” in the Comments section.

Coggin College of Business gift in the name of Shapiro

Four people smiling with a Jaguar game on TVDr. Edward Graham and his wife Lee have contributed $25,000 to the Coggin College of Business to establish the Stephen Shapiro Endowed Scholarship fund.

The generous donation is earmarked for students who qualify for the scholarship while they also merit consideration for outstanding performance in their studies. Graham chose to name the endowment after Shapiro in recognition of his guidance, mentorship and caring he showed him during his studies at the University of North Florida which has helped lead to his current position with the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Shapiro, who was part of the original founding of UNF and the original business school in 1972, said he was honored by the endowment in his name. 

“To be recognized by a former student and his wife in this way is really a tribute to Ed’s success as a student and professor. His remembering my small contribution to his career turned out to be life-changing for him and I am most proud that I contributed to his success,” Shapiro said. 

Graham said it seemed a natural move to name an endowment after a UNF business professor who was so influential in his life and career.

“We hope that students will be reminded of the influence a professor, or a program or an entire university, can have in directing or re-directing an individual’s energies,” Graham said. “Steve reminded me that I needed to keep my mind open… he helped me, changing my life. For all of this, I am eternally grateful.”

Business Career Fair defies hurricane

Business Career Fair with group of studentsThe Fall 2022 Business Career Fair brought hundreds of Ospreys and career opportunities to the Adam W. Herbert University Center at UNF on Oct. 24. Drawing 300-plus students, the Corporate Traffic Logistics-sponsored fair was originally supposed to take place in September but was delayed due to Hurricane Ian. But that did not keep our employers from offering hundreds of career, internship and co-op experiences for Ospreys seeking a career in the Business field.

The event took place as a part of the UNF Career Week, a week-long series of fairs, events and mixers that brought a record 357 registered employers and 977 students to campus. Associate Director of Career Services Emily Roth said, “UNF Career Services is proud to see the support of our employers in spite of Hurricane Ian. Our students came out in strength to explore fantastic opportunities in Jacksonville but also with regional and national employers.”

The Spring 2023 Business Career Fair will be on Wednesday, March 1, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Adam W. Herbert University Center.

IANA Expo in California draws UNF contingent

IANA Intermodal Expo 2022 container with a group of students in frontThe Intermodal Association of North America held its annual Expo that was well represented by UNF Coggin College of Business students during the event that ran from Sept. 12 through Sept. 14 in Long Beach, Calif.

The event seeks to provide networking options for the supply-chain field and is a prime opportunity for UNF students studying logistics and supply-chain transportation issues to explore the industry. The Coggin College of Business students in attendance took advantage of the conference and expo.

“This was a life-changing event for me as I got to meet and network with intermodal professionals around the country,” said Yu Yan Li, a Coggin College of Business student who took part in the IANA Expo. “I learned so much from the history of the Port of Long Beach, the importance of each pier, ways to reduce diesel emission, supply chain connections of import and export goods, etc.”
The impact of the event was not lost on Coggin College of Business faculty who noted the students received financial help from IANA to attend the expo.

“These transportation & logistics students received IANA-sponsored scholarships to attend. Thank you IANA for your investment in our students and the future of our intermodal industry,” said Dr. Dawn Russell, associate professor of Transportation & Logistics and director of the Masters of Science in Logistics & Supply Chain Management Program at the Coggin College of Business. 

Good business for Coggin of College Business Alumni

Chris Kalin HeadshotA North Florida native and a University of North Florida Coggin College of Business graduate Chris Kalin has been promoted to Regional President of PNC Bank.

Kalin has nearly two decades of banking experience and received his BBA degree from UNF in 2008. He went on to get his MBA in 2014 from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Kalin was Senior Vice President and Corporate Banking Relations Manager from 2017 to October of this year when he got the promotion. He fills the Regional President role at the PNC Jacksonville office for Brian Bucher who is retiring.

Kalin still mentors students at the UNF Coggin College of Business and a PNC news release said he participated in Jacksonville Leadership and Lifework Leadership while serving on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of North Florida.

Meanwhile, fellow alum Melanie Patz has advanced to CEO and President of United Way of Northeast Florida.Melanie Patz Headshot

Patz began her position in September as the top executive at the United Way after serving as Vice President of Community Impact and Investment at Baptist Health in Jacksonville from 2014 to 2022. But she had experience with the local United Way organization before, serving as Vice President of Community Impact from 2003 to 2014.

Patz earned her MBA from the Coggin College of Business at UNF in 2018. Her Bachelor of Science in Business degree is from Samford University.

Patz has extensive involvement in community service on the First Coast including serving on the board of directors for System of Care and the Early Learning Coalition among many other civic activities, a United Way news release said.

Patz is filling the top position at United Way vacated by Michelle Braun who retired this year.

Coggin College of Business faculty recognized as "outstanding"

Courtney Azzari HeadshotThree UNF Coggin College of Business professors have been recognized for their excellence in the “Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award” in the 2022 UNF Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022. 

Courtney Azzari, Associate Professor of Marking & Logistics, and Nilufer Ozdemir, Associate Professor of Economics, both were honored in the recognition from the University. 

The announcement and recognition comes from UNF Academic and Student Affairs which describes recipients of the honors as illustrating “the commitment to teaching, scholarship, outreach and research among members of the university.” Ozdemir Headshot

Ozdemir and Azzari are among 10 UNF professors who received the Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award acknowledging their academic excellence in the past two years. While the honors were recently announced, the awards will be presented to faculty in a formal ceremony in the spring. 

And also Leonard Ferman was recognized in the awards for Outstanding Adjunct Teaching. Ferman teaches management courses at the Coggin College of Business.Leonard Ferman Headshot

Dean Buttimer addresses inaugural CGAN luncheon

Dean Buttimer talking to a group with UNF Executive Presence on the TVCoggin Graduate Alumni Network (CGAN) members gathered at Seasons 52 Fresh Grill at the St. Johns Town Center for lunch with the Dean of the Coggin College of Business in November.

Dean Richard Buttimer welcomed the group, sharing initiatives underway at UNF and within the University of North Florida Coggin College of Business. The room was full of energy as CGAN members, Coggin College of Business leadership and Graduate Program Directors reconnected and shared great conversations.

Are you a Coggin Graduate Program Alumni? As a Coggin Graduate Alumni Network (CGAN) member you will enjoy benefits including: priority invitations to Coggin Graduate mixers, executive programs, opportunities to participate in the mentor program and invitations to select UNF athletic events hosted by the Coggin College of Business.

Join the Coggin Graduate Alumni Network (CGAN) for this and many other benefits:

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