Claflin News

Business Community Alliance Breakfast Honors Community Business Leaders, Addresses Economy

Mar 28, 2012

Dr. Vermelle Johnson, now interim vice president for Academic Affairs at Claflin University, remembers being nervous 33 years ago when she was in charge of the first business community breakfast at Claflin.  Feeling a bit nostalgic at this year’s Business Community Alliance Breakfast Tuesday, Dr. Johnson honored the committee members who forged a relationship with the business community years ago, and thanked the businesses today for continuing to support Claflin

“Thank you for your presence today and for all that has been done in those 33 years since the first business breakfast,” Johnson said.

The annual breakfast is organized in collaboration with the School of Business Advisory Board, consisting of representatives from various businesses and corporations. Johnson was on hand to present this year’s Henry N. Tisdale Excellence Awards, presented to outstanding local businesses for community service, and service to Claflin University and the School of Business. This year’s recipient for community service was The Times and Democrat newspaper and Ms. Gail Fogle of First Citizens Bank, an advisory board member, was recognized for her service to The School of Business.

The event also featured a panel discussion on the topic, “The Economy: Where Do We Go From Here?” Stephan Bridges, field executive for State Farm Insurance, Michael Johnson, president of Cox Industries, Robert Jennings, vice president of Zeus Industries, and James Torgerson, market manager at Walmart, all weighed in on enduring the economic downturn. From keeping a positive attitude to making sure the company has good financial standing, committing to community service and “going green,” each discussed the tactics they are using to remain sustainable.

“Wherever we go from here, education must go with us,” noted President Henry N. Tisdale. “In terms of economic development, education will be one of the keys."

The breakfast is a part of the School of Business Business Week featuring forums, lectures and special guest speakers on the top business topics of today. Events continue through Friday.

Business Week Schedule of Events

Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Understanding Business Ethics & Sustainability

All events for March 28, 2012 will be held in the auditorium of Grace T. Kennedy Business and Communication Building (GTK Room 123)


10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Greening Your Business (Panel Session)

Mr. Steve Spivey, Santee Cooper, Ms. Chantal Black, SC Department of

Commerce and Dr. Jim Payne, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College


6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Business Ethics (Panel Session) – Dr. Arthur Dobrin and Judge Pandora Glover

Host Organization: NABA - (National Assoc. of Black Accountants)


Thursday, March 29, 2012: Social Media & Technology


11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Impact of Social Media and Technology on Business (Ministers’ Hall)

Ms. Tess Taylor, CEO, Taylor Resources Writing (Charleston, South Carolina)

Host Organization:  American Marketing Association (AMA)


Friday, March 30, 2012: Entrepreneurship & Small Business Development

All events for March 30, 2012 will be held in the auditorium of Grace T. Kennedy Business and Communication Building (GTK Room 123)


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Sigma Nu Tau – Entrepreneurship Honor Society

(Charter Ceremony and New Member Inductions)

Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award - (Claflin University Sigma Nu Tau)


2:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC) Ventures - Business Team Competition

Entrepreneurs Roundtable (Evaluators of Competition Team):

Ms. Amy Thomson, Senior International Trade Specialist (US Department of Commerce)

Ms. Tammy Taylor, Sizeview Boutique (Orangeburg, SC)

Mr. B. Alexander, Seed Technology (Columbia, SC)


3:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Acknowledgements

Dr. Vermelle Johnson, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Harpal Grewal, Dean, School of Business

Claflin Photos