Walgreens Bayside Business Forum to focus on disabilities in the workplace

Learn the best practices for integrating persons with disabilities in the workplace during the next Walgreens Bayside Business Forum on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7:30 a.m. sponsored by the USF St. Petersburg College of Business. It is free and open to the public.

Titled “The Long Road: Employment for Persons with Disabilities,” the event will feature

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities. He is a two-time presidential appointee, seven-time Florida gubernatorial appointee, author of the book Now What, and a recognized international disability expert.

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

JR Harding, Ed.D., of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Dr. Harding has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress and the Florida Legislature, resulting in an increase in independence and self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. During the Business Forum, he will explain his personal journey to emphasize the challenges of self-sufficiency and the tools he used that could be helpful to others.

“Sustainability of our communities requires that we have better success in the field of disability integration,” said Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D., Dean of the USFSP College of Business. “This is an important topic and we are fortunate to have Dr. Harding explain the challenges and rewards of hiring persons with disabilities.”

The forum will be at Franklin Templeton, 100 Fountain Parkway N, St. Petersburg. Continental breakfast and coffee will be served. Seating is limited, so reservations are requested. To RSVP, please call (727) 873-4700 or email

The Walgreens Bayside Business Forum is presented by the Dean’s Advisory Council of the USFSP College of Business and focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations shaping Florida’s business future. It is sponsored by Walgreens and Franklin Templeton Investments.

USFSP and LocalShops1 to present St. Petersburg mayoral forum

USF St. Petersburg will partner with LocalShops1 to present a general election forum for St. Petersburg mayoral candidates focused on economic development and the concerns of small businesses.

The forum, free and open to the public, will be at 6 p.m., Sept. 10 at the USFSP University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S. A public reception preceding the forum begins at 5 p.m. Complimentary parking will be available at the USFSP garage, 250 5th Ave. S. View campus map and get directions.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

William Jackson, Ph.D.

The forum will feature incumbent Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman, the two candidates who emerged from the Aug. 27 city primary. William Jackson, Ph.D., USFSP professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Director of the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program, will be among the panelists asking the candidates questions.

The forum will be moderated by USFSP political science professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan, Ph.D., associate director of the USFSP Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

Judithanne Scourfield-McLauchlan, Ph.D.

The forum is presented by LocalShops1 and USF St. Petersburg and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area, the USFSP Student Government Association and the USFSP Bishop Center.

“We are pleased to have two of our top academic experts from business and political science participate in this important event,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “This is another great example of the kind of community partnerships and civic engagement USF St. Petersburg values.”

The panelists will ask questions of the candidates, including those submitted by the audience. The other panelists include Mark Lombardi-Nelson, USFSP Student Government President and member of the USF System Board of Trustees; Linda Hersey, freelance journalist; Jack King, Three Birds Tavern co-owner; and Mo Venouziou, LocalShops1 vice president.

“Small, locally owned businesses are the foundation of our local economy, and we are excited to hear the candidates’ plans to help existing businesses prosper and new ones get off the ground,” said Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1, founded in 2008 to connect shoppers with business owners and to offer advocacy, support and education to locally owned businesses.

Seating is limited, so reserve your seat today.

Hemant Merchant

New global business professor ranked 10th most prolific scholar in the world

A USF St. Petersburg business professor has been ranked the 10th most prolific international management scholar in the world.

Dr. Hemant Merchant also was ranked the fourth most prolific scholar in the United States in a study published recently in Management International Review.

The rankings are based on publications appearing in the top three core International business journals from 2001 to 2009.

Dr. Merchant joined USF St. Petersburg last fall as a full professor of International Business Strategy.

He has been published in multiple leading business journals and has been awarded nearly $200,000 in grants. Dr. Merchant’s work examines the performance drivers of firms competing in emerging markets as well as service sector firms.

Dr. Merchant said he was honored by the ranking. “I was extremely surprised,’’ he said. “It’s an honor that probably comes once in a lifetime.”

It was particularly gratifying, he said, because his scholarly work was conducted while carrying a full teaching load. “To me, that’s a big deal,’’ Dr. Merchant said. “It shows what you can achieve with persistence.”

Most of the articles that led to his top ranking focused on value creation through international joint ventures. “What my studies in general try to do is understand the drivers of stock prices associated with the announcement of joint ventures,” he said.

Norine Noonan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the ranking underscores the high level of scholarship at USF St. Petersburg. “Dr. Merchant is an important part of our growing focus on globalization, including global business,’’ Dr. Noonan said. “We are thrilled that his scholarly productivity has been recognized by his peers and that he has joined our distinguished College of Business faculty.”


Pinellas legislators met at the University Student Center.

Pinellas legislators hear support for College of Business, SunBay Digital Math

The Pinellas County Legislative Delegation met at the University Student Center Wednesday and heard strong support for the construction of a building for the College of Business and continued funding for SunBay Digital Mathematics.

Interim Regional Chancellor Bill Hogarth welcomed the lawmakers to their first delegation meeting at the University Student Center. He said it has been an important addition to the campus that would not have been possible without the support of lawmakers. He also asked the legislators for their support for a building for the College of Business, the No. 1 new building priority for the USF System. The college is now spread across six buildings, he pointed out, which hampers communication and collaboration.

Two College of Business students, Lazar Anderson and Josh Moushon, also urged lawmakers to support a College of Business building.

“The building would be a point of pride for the university, as the USC has become,” said Moushon, a senior majoring in Finance. “It’s the next step for USFSP to keep moving forward and to drive education.”


Anderson echoed those sentiments. “Looking back on our academic careers, I think we can all remember a small handful of professors who really inspired us to be who we are today,” he said. “They were the type with open doors, happy to have us come in any time and ask for help on anything. Something about the culture of USFSP really brings in those especially inspiring types to teach. Unfortunately, instead of a collection of their minds working together to shape ours, those open doors are scattered across campus, and often hard to find.”

Chris Steinocher, president of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber’s top two legislative priorities are the College of Business building and continued funding for Sunbay Digital Mathematics.

Sunbay Digital Mathematics is a collaboration among USFSP, SRI International, the Pinellas County School District, the Helios Education Foundation, and the Pinellas Education Foundation that is studying new ways to teach math to middle school students.

Chris Steinocher

St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce President Chris Steinocher

“The College of Business is to us a cornerstone of a commitment that this community is focused on business,” Steinocher said. “The business community would see itself reflected in that building. It also is reflective of our interest in making sure we have the kind of workforce that businesses in our community are going to need.”

Finally, he said, it would give the business community “a place to interact with the students to work and grow together.”

Likewise, SunBay Digital Mathematics “is a reflection of priorities,” Steinocher said. “It is a statement about what matters most and it’s about ensuring that we’re doing everything we can so students can learn.”