Council Brings Experience, Opportunities to WSOB


Students at Dalton State are being further introduced to the local business world through a program that connects them with professionals who are bringing new opportunities to learn and gain real-world experience to campus.

This Business Advisory Council (BAC) is a group of 15 members who each represent different fields, locales and viewpoints in the region and include members from the Greater Dalton Area, Chattanooga and Calhoun. They act as a board of advisors and collaborate with the Wright School of Business (WSOB) to promote their engagement, innovation and impact. Faculty members also benefit from the WSOB’s relationship with the BAC.

“We have members on this council from every walk of life,” said Dr. Marilyn Helms, dean of the Wright School of Business. “Through them, students will be able to learn in exciting new ways and really get immersed in the business world and at a much earlier point in their academic careers.”

Members of BAC are Ralph Boe, Lesa Downey, Jeff Mason, Mark Barnett, Phil Erli, Robert Matthews, Wesley Barrell, Jeff Fleming, Dan Nuckolls, Bob Caperton, Bryan C. Macon, George W. Spence, Jules Crawford, Manuel Martinez and Larry Winter. Several BAC members are alumni, and their perspectives are critical to the growth and positioning of the WSOB, Helms said.

Helms says a part of being engaged means staying closely connected to the larger community. The BAC gives WSOB faculty and staff an excellent way to gather opinions from professionals outside the campus. 

BAC members assist in networking events, judging entrepreneurial pitch contests, adding expertise to strategic planning and other brainstorming sessions, participating in mock interviews, speaking to clubs and classes and even teaching part-time or serving in an executive-in-residence role. The BAC also met with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) re-accreditation team on their recent visit to DSC. 

One of the main goals of the BAC is to spur innovation and growth across campus and beyond. Its members are bringing knowledge from many different fields and backgrounds to business faculty for planning purposes and for student interaction. By engaging students in projects and serving as career mentors, they motivate students to strive for new experiences and opportunities, including internships, entrepreneurial ventures, study abroad experiences and participation in community outreach programs, Helms said.

Caperton, for example, is a BAC member who is also teaching the WSOB course, Business Accelerator Practicum, at the school’s classroom at the Dalton Innovation Accelerator (DIA) in downtown Dalton. The class provides the real-life experiences and challenges of starting a business while introducing students to local business leaders.

“I have told several people over the last couple of months that my relationship with DSC is the most exciting thing I have going on right now,” Caperton said. “I still believe that.”

BAC and its members are helping to connect students to the community, assisting faculty with research and quickly becoming role models for aspiring business students. Many BAC members have assisted in the junior-level Professional Development Class in the WSOB and have edited resumes and cover letters and offered their expertise as guest speakers in class. 

“I’ve enjoyed working with the students,” said Spence, who is retired from Metromont Concrete. “I believe the resume and cover letter is such an important document for students to perfect as they enter their careers.” 

As they continue to have their biannual meetings at DSC, these Business Advisory Council members will become more involved in projects to improve campus and bring new opportunities to students. 

“I am a firm believer in paying it forward,” said Downey, vice president of North Georgia National Bank. “I think each generation should help the next generation to be ready to face the challenges of the real world.”