The 2018-19 Annual Report, published by the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi, tells stories of outstanding achievements made by our faculty, students, staff, donors, and alumni over the course of the academic year.
MISSISSIPPI DEFENSE DIVERSIFICATION INITIATIVE The United States Department of Defense (DoD), Office of Economic Adjustment awarded The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) a Phase I grant in 2016 to support national security technology acceleration and economic diversification efforts for defense contractor communities in Mississippi. Over the last three years, this Mississippi Defense Diversification Initiative (MDDI), made up of the College of Business and Economic Development and Trent Lott National Center, developed three pilot models to aid regions whose economic health is dependent on defense programs. 1. Goal: Incorporate defense community topics into the Master of Science in Economic Development (MSED) program at Southern Miss. Accomplishment: Launched in summer 2017, the Economic Development for Defense Communities (ED 711) course educates economic developers on how to help communities adapt to DoD program changes. The same year, the MDDI supported USM efforts to launch a Hacking for Defense (H4D) course that allows student groups to work on Department of Defense (DoD)-provided problem sets. The current DoD provided problem sets that are matched to the state’s military footprint, and the student groups are interacting with military personnel stationed in Mississippi. 2. Goal: Provide economic diversification technical assistance for Mississippi-based defense companies and communities. Accomplishment: The MDDI team identified and targeted companies likely to be innovative and technology-focused and built a network of interrelated companies. The network is growing into a business ecosystem capable of short- and long-term economic strategies that advance the state’s opportunities. The network has now been expanded to include supply chain companies, defense-dependent communities, military installations and assets, and other defense stakeholders. In addition, Governor Phil Bryant signed Executive Order 1401, recognizing the need for the state to become more strategic and proactive with the defense economy to protect, grow and diversify defense and national security assets as an economic driver for the state. The Executive Order created a task force to develop a statewide defense plan. 3. Goal: Create an online platform to build defense-related businessto-business relationships and assist technology transfer and commercialization of defense intellectual property. Accomplishment: The team developed the MDDI website, launched two social media platforms, and produced three videos for descriptive communication in advancements of technology transfer and to provide examples of partnership efforts that will continue after the OEA grant is complete. Housed on the MDDI website are many resources to support defense business, such as an entrepreneurial “playbook.” Fall <strong>2018</strong>, Southern Miss secured continued funding for Phase II, outlining the following objectives: • Objective 1 - Continue to incorporate defense diversification assistance into the business development ecosystem and create defense industry networks in Mississippi. • Objective 2 - Continue to incorporate defense diversification into the academic curriculum. • Objective 3 - Develop a strategic plan for Mississippi’s Defense and Homeland Security Economy to synchronize Mississippi’s existing defense-related economic assets and programs in support of a statewide defense plan for the governor. • Objective 4 - Lead Mississippi’s MEP network in building a DFARS Cybersecurity Requirement assistance tool for Mississippi companies. MDDI continues to be recognized statewide as a champion for defense diversification. The network of private sector companies, non-profits and public-sector partners is continuing to grow. At the 20<strong>19</strong> International Homeland Defense and Security Summit in March 20<strong>19</strong>, Governor Phil Bryant announced the Mississippi Defense Strategic Plan. Dr. Chad Miller, along with fellow members of the Mississippi Defense Initiative Task Force and the Governor, at the Homeland Defense and Security Summit in Biloxi as they unveiled the state’s defense strategic plan. 22 | C O L L E G E O F B U S I N E S S A N D E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS PROGRAM The Southern Miss International Business program, housed in the School of Management, was recently ranked among the nation's Top 50 by online resource guide by Study.com. Dr. John Lambert, associate professor of international business, has worked diligently to increase awareness and engagement in the program. One of many ways he has done so is by beginning the International Business Speakers Series, welcoming three guests during the spring semester to campus to share their expertise with students, faculty and the community. In addition, Dr. Lambert’s International Business capstone students immersed themselves into a semester-long applied learning project in collaboration with community partners. In groups of four, students worked closely with their assigned businesses to create and present plans to resolve their partners’ export issues. Sanderson Farms, SumaGrow and the French American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) Gulf Coast chapter were the three organizations to work with the students throughout the semester as they developed international business plans. Shelly Reboul, international sales manager, represented Sanderson Farms, while SumaGrow was represented by Aimee Murry, public relations and marketing communications manager. Both attended and took part in critiquing the students’ final presentations. Students working with Sanderson Farms discussed how they could better leverage their product in Asia. Students working with SumaGrow presented plans to break into the Brazilian market. “The students were eager to investigate ways to expand our products into Brazil and dedicated to ensuring the culture of our company was reflected throughout the report,” said Aimee Murry. “When I showed our company president the business plan developed by these students, he was impressed and asked about their availability for hire.” Aimee Murry, International Business Series speaker Shelly Reboul and International Business Capstone students Students working with the FACC Gulf Coast chapter received the opportunity to travel to the company’s location in New Orleans to present their project, which focused on revising the trade brochure the FACC uses to engage potential new members. Dr. Lambert serves as the vice president for trade with the French American Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast chapter, in addition to serving on the Mississippi District Export Council. A N N U A L R E P O R T 2 0 1 8 - 1 9 | 23