Student Spotlight: Madison Wolf
Madison Wolf is an economics major in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration and a member of the Wall Fellows Program, a highly selective program that prepares students for leadership positions in major domestic and international organizations. Wall Fellows take workshops on leadership and soft skills, support various projects and events at CCU, and travel domestically and internationally to visit companies and meet executives.
Wolf came to Coastal Carolina University from the Golden, Colorado, because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone and explore a different place. She loves being close to the beach and studying at an accredited business college.
In the summer of 2018, Wolf traveled with other Wall Fellows to Iceland, where she worked on a consulting project for an Icelandic company. “I had a wonderful experience in the Wall Fellows Program,” said Wolf. “Gina Cummings, the program’s director, is a great resource in all personal and professional endeavors. The program helped me grow in all aspects of my life more than I ever expected when I first joined.”
Wolf also served as a tutor in the Wall Center for Excellence. “I had a wonderful time as a tutor,” she said. “It was a great learning experience for me as I became more confident in my core business classes. It was also a fun job because I got to witness how my tutoring helped my fellow students.”
Wolf currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the Wall Fellows Program.
Alumni Spotlight: Scott D’Ambrosio
When Scott D’Ambrosio ’08 graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a degree in finance, a career in alternative energy solutions was not what he wanted to pursue. However, when his childhood friend, John Gurski, founded Energy Toolbase, a company that specializes in the economics behind alternative energy deals, he decided to take a chance. He gave up a lucrative career in finance and joined the fledgling company.
Starting Energy Toolbase was not a simple task. Gurski and D’Ambrosio spent countless nights teaching themselves how to code so they could develop software for the company. “This is one of the distinctions that makes us different from anyone else,” said Gurski. “We aren’t software guys learning alternative energy, but industry guys who learned software.” Their persistence paid off, and the company became an industry leader thanks to its precise and user-friendly tools that help developers reduce their energy bill. D’Ambrosio is now the executive vice president of Energy Toolbase; currently, the company has more than 1,700 users in all 50 states.
D’Ambrosio gained a lot from his education at CCU. “Reflecting on the lessons my professors taught me, I now realize their value and importance,” he said. “The Wall College of Business’ curriculum is relevant to many aspects of both everyday life and business.” His favorite experience at CCU was going on a study abroad trip to Europe, where he visited European universities and businesses. This trip enabled him to learn about other cultures and gain a more global perspective.
As an alumnus, D’Ambrosio tries to find ways to support CCU students. Last semester, he spoke to students in an environmental economics course. He wants students to understand there is a difference between learning something just to pass a test and understanding it. He told students, “If you understand the concepts of business and finance, you will be a valuable asset to any company coming out of school.”
D’Ambrosio is a great example of someone whose persistence and risk-taking led to incredible things.
Organization Spotlight: SiteTech Systems LLC
Mark Twain reportedly said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the inflation-adjusted price of farmland has increased from $1,000 in 1968 to over $3,100 in 2018. As the value of land increases throughout the United States, it is becoming increasingly important to properly inspect, assess and analyze properties, which is what SiteTech Systems LLC does.
SiteTech Systems is a GIS, real estate research and analytics company located in Myrtle Beach. The company was built to serve financial institutions (including banks and credit unions), developers, home builders, local realtors, government businesses and local businesses. According to Todd Woodard, founder and president, SiteTech specializes in both residential and commercial real estate valuations for financial institutions throughout the southeastern market. Additionally, the company performs business valuations along with consulting assignments throughout the U.S.
Todd Woodard has a strong connection with the Wall College of Business. He serves as chairman for the Board of Visitors and has made several presentations to business students. The company has also hired many Coastal Carolina University students and graduates. According to Woodard, “The majority of current employees are either currently attending CCU or have graduated with a business degree through the Wall College of Business.”
Over the last 16 years, SiteTech Systems has built an extensive database which consists of approximately eight million parcel and property records throughout South and North Carolina. As the company continues to grow, so does its need to hire educated and motivated students with strong analytical ability. The company hopes to continue hiring qualified candidates from CCU for internships and full-time positions, as well as assist in the education of CCU students. If you are a student or graduate and are interested in working at SiteTech Systems, contact them at 843-808-9716 or submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 52 percent of Americans took health supplements in 2012, including fish oil. Fish oil has many health benefits thanks to its Omega-3 fatty acids, including increasing HDL (good) cholesterol and reducing blood pressure and risks of degenerative diseases like type 2 diabetes. Despite its many benefits, many Americans are reluctant to use fish oil due to its texture and smell. Sean Edwards, CEO, and Ross Kunmann, CFO, of fish oil company Lysi US, are on a mission to dispel the negative stigmas surrounding fish oil. They are the exclusive suppliers for Lysi fish oil products, an Icelandic fish oil company, in the U.S.
Brothers Tryggvi and Thordur Olafsson first founded Lysi and started producing fish oil on the shores of Iceland in 1938. The company now holds more than an 11 percent market share of global fish oil production and refines more cod liver oil than any other company in the world. Edwards and Kunmann are helping Lysi expand to the U.S. Lysi US primarily works out of the Conway Innovation Center in Conway, S.C. and also has warehouse space in Baltimore.
Edwards and Kunmann became involved with Lysi while conducting a consulting project for them with fellow members of the Wall Fellows Program, a career and leadership preparation program housed in the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration at Coastal Carolina University. The Wall Fellows travel to Europe annually. While there, they visit different companies and learn about local cultures and business environment. In recent years, the Wall Fellows traveled to Iceland to learn about Icelandic companies and provide them with consulting work.
Lysi US provides a wonderful example of how students can turn their experience at Coastal Carolina University into a viable business. Edwards and Kunmann capitalize on their connection with CCU by working through the Conway Innovation Center, which is sponsored by CCU, by providing internships to Coastal students and through their connections with CCU’s Icelandic Alumni Association. One of their goals is to have Lysi US provide fish oil supplements to CCU athletes.
Employee Spotlight: Melinda Tavernier
Obtaining a degree requires a significant investment of time and money, but if it leads to a successful career in business, the rate of return on higher education is quite high. Melinda Tavernier is the student coordinator in the Wall Center for Excellence at CCU, and her job is to help business majors start their careers by helping them find internships that will give them work experience and help them develop soft skills such as interviewing, making effective presentations, networking, etc., through a series of Professional Development Activities (PDAs). One of the unique aspects about the Wall College of Business is that every business student is required to complete 12 PDAs during their college career.
Tavernier organizes and promotes the college’s PDAs as well as helps students find internships and reports their internships for credit through a program called Handshake. “I am always on the lookout for new ways to help students prepare resumes, practice interviewing skills, create professional profiles, find internships and ultimately start their own careers,” said Tavernier. “I would love to see a 100 percent participation rate on Handshake. This lets me know students are finding resources they need to succeed.”
Tavernier received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education administration and supervision from Winthrop University. She served as an adjunct faculty member at CCU and founded and managed a couple of charter schools before she joined the Wall Center for Excellence. Her husband, Pierre-Olivier Tavernier, also works at CCU, and two of her children graduated from CCU.
Tavernier is passionate about student success. “My supervisor, Ellen Hayward, and I are both concerned about student success,” said Tavernier. “Working together on common goals has helped us take on new roles in serving students.”
This year, the Wall Center for Excellence added an interview room and a career peer center to help students with their resume. Tavernier hopes the Wall Center for Excellence will be a launching point for business students to start successful careers after graduating.