Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series
Southeast Regional Vice President, GEICO
Wednesday, November 9
Matt Friedman, CEO, Wing Zone
The College of Business at Clayton State University welcomed Matt Friedman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wing Zone, to the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series podium on March 17th. Friedman treated the audience assembled in Spivey Hall to the backstory of how he achieved tremendous success as an entrepreneur in the fiercely competitive restaurant business. Faculty, staff, students, and guests were engaged by the speaker’s promise to “inspire and motivate.”
A native of Long Island, New York, Friedman grew up enjoying a signature food item: “buffalo wings” associated with Buffalo, NY. When he enrolled at the University of Florida, he was not only distant from family but from one of his favorite foods. He began to envision a business opportunity just waiting to be developed.
Strategically positioned in the midst of thousands of college students, Friedman proposed using the kitchen at his fraternity house to test his idea. His friend and future partner, Adam Scott, launched a product line appealing to students wanting dinner and late night service: “Call 377-BIRD” for wings – and delivery! Friedman tapped a ready audience, yet carefully chose a classic menu of deep fried, non-breaded wings in seven flavors.
After their humble beginnings in 1993 at the fraternity house in Gainesville, FL, the company opened seven locations by 1999, opened its first franchise in 1999, and expanded internationally in 2010. Impressive! Wing Zone has evolved into a chain operating 100 locations in 25 states and six countries with sales over $46 million.
He elaborated on the components necessary for profitable franchise development and the essential steps the company has taken to build its brand concept. He also shared some advice: “Be resourceful. Find solutions. Focus.” Matt Friedman is an outstanding role model for entrepreneurship at its best!
You may view Mr. Friedman's lecture on our Clayton State University College of Business YouTube page.
Tom Darrow, Founder and Principal
Talent Connections, LLC and Career Spa, LLC
The College of Business at Clayton State University welcomed Tom Darrow to the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series podium on October 28th. Talent Connections was launched in 1999 and specializes in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), executive search, HR consulting, and contract recruiting. The company was named to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing privately held companies in 2007 and 2008. Career Spa was launched in 2009 and is revolutionizing the way the unemployed and misemployed navigate their career transitions and manage their careers.
Tom has over 25 years' experience in the Human Resources and Recruitment profession -- including 10 years with Price Waterhouse and Accenture. Tom was named the 2015 HR Leader of the Year by the SHRM Georgia State Council. Tom served as President of SHRM-Atlanta in 2006 and 2007. Under his leadership, SHRM-Atlanta grew by over 1,000 members (60%) to become the largest city Chapter in the country out of 600 Chapters.
He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame. He has performed at The Punchline and is a significant shareholder of the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers.
You may view Mr. Darrow's lecture, The Importance of Self Branding, on our College of Business YouTube channel.
Fall 2014 and Spring 2015
The Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series Inaugural Event, featuring Mr. E. Jenner Wood III -- Chairman, President & CEO of SunTrust Bank, Atlanta Division -- was a great success. The event was preceded by the SunTrust Business Ticker and Financial News Display Dedication in the College of Business building lobby. You may view a condensed version of Mr. Wood's lecture on our website and the full lecture, titled "Lighting the Way to Financial Well Being", is available on the Clayton State University YouTube page, found here.
Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series - Ed Baker, Publisher, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Ed Baker, Publisher of the Atlanta Business Chronicle, delivered the Spring 2015 Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series address. In a packed session attended by several College of Business Advisory Board members, university leadership, faculty and staff colleagues, and a large group of students, Mr. Baker specifically pointed to several sectors as being the key to Atlanta's economic reincarnation: new buildings, banks lending again, the two new sports stadiums, the hospitality industry, movies and entertainment, gaming, app development, and start-ups and entrepreneurship. Mr. Baker's lecture may be viewed in its entirety on our YouTube page.
This is an excerpt from Mr. Baker's lecture that focuses on Millennials in the workforce:
Peter deSilva, President and Chief Operating Officer, UMB Financial Corporation, President, UMB Bank, n.a.
The State of U.S. and Global Economy: Where Do We Go From Here?
William (Bill) Nuti, Chairman, CEO, and President, NCR Corporation
Changing of an Icon - NCR
W. Cliff Oxford, CEO Entrepreneur Advisors
The Rise of Entrepreneurialism - The bubble that will not burst