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Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research: Fogelman College of Business and Economics. (Research Centers at The University of Memphis).

Sparks and the BBER: A Gold Mine of Research Services

The University of Memphis is proud to name the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) in honor of one of the nation's most outstanding business leaders and agricultural economists--Dr. Willard R. Sparks. Dr. Sparks has a lifetime of noted contributions in national and international commodities forecasting and research. Dr. Sparks is a noted business and community leader who continues to make a major contribution to defining the future of The University of Memphis.

Naming the BBER after Dr. Sparks is a small token of the appreciation that the University has for his outstanding support. The natural link between Dr. Sparks and the Bureau is based upon a common interest in all issues economic. Clearly, the new name will encourage and enable the BBER's research staff to reach for new and more significant research goals. Over time, the goal of the Sparks BBER (now SBBER) will be to gain national recognition and respect for its research on economic issues.

The linkage between the research interests of the University and those of the private sector are closer now than ever before. When financial times are tough, all of us are forced to reexamine our goals and find new avenues to pursue our research interests. Promoting private-sector partnerships via applied research and services is one of the primary avenues that allows university faculty and research staff to expand the depth, breath, and impact of their research.

The research staff of the BBER welcomes the name change and the new challenges and opportunities it represents. We are proud of our affiliation with Dr. Sparks and look forward to building an even larger applied research and service division of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. With Dr. Sparks' ideas and assistance, the SBBER will lead the University in its effort to build a national reputation for applied research and public/private partnerships.

Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research Mission Statement

The mission of the SBBER is to conduct economic and labor market research and service activities that complement the teaching, research, and public service mission of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at The University of Memphis. The objective of the SBBER is to maintain its status as one of the nation's largest and most successful applied research, technical assistance, and outreach divisions of a college of business. Performance measures include the following:

* Number of contracts received.

* Total contract funding.

* National recognition by peers.

* Outreach and public service activities.

* Technical assistance and training activities.

* Faculty and student involvement.

* Interdisciplinary research activities.

Paul R. Lowry's Leadership Set the Stage

From 1967 to 1984, Mr. Paul R. Lowry, or "P.R." to his many friends and colleagues at the University, served as the Director of the BBER. Just a few weeks ago, Paul passed away, but he left a legacy of Leadership that established a solid foundation for the Bureau. While Paul will be sadly missed by his family and his friends, his contributions to the Bureau will last forever.

Today, after four decades of operation, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research is one of the nation's largest and most successful research centers affiliated with a college of business. The long-standing support of The University of Memphis and the Fogelman College of Business and Economics has enabled the BBER to serve the applied research needs of government agencies, businesses, and citizens throughout Tennessee. In the last ten years, the BBER has conducted over $20.0 million in contract research related to issues of importance to the people of Tennessee. This research is an accomplishment that made Paul Lowry proud.

As the Sparks BBER, we will strive to be the best in research, technical assistance, and service for our clients. We will expand the scope of our research and rise to the challenge of a new day. New opportunities always create new levels of enthusiasm and creativity, and we believe that new opportunities are just around the corner for the SBBER.

Bureau History

In 2003, the SBBER celebrates its 40th year of operations. Established in 1963, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research has served as the primary applied research and public service unit of The University of Memphis' Fogelman College of Business. At that time, the University provided financial support for the Bureau and was assisted by designated grants from the City of Memphis and Shelby County governments. The Bureau initially published an academic journal (Mid-South Business Journal), an economic newsletter, and project-specific reports on sponsored research activities. Over the last 40 years, the Bureau supported the teaching, research, and public service mission, goals, and objectives of the College and the University.

Throughout this time, the Bureau has maintained close ties with the business community, units of state and local governments, the public, and the press, earning a national reputation for the quality of its research and public service activities. The Bureau has won national awards for its publications (AUBER Awards of Excellence in Publication, 1994 and 2001) and its web site (AUBER Best of Web Award, 1997-1998), and is a recognized leader among bureaus of business across the nation.

The Center for Manpower Studies was organized in 1970 as part of a nationwide institutional grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The University of Mississippi and then-Memphis State University were joint recipients of the USDOL Institutional Grant for the Southeast.

The Center for Manpower Studies at The University of Memphis is perhaps the only remaining university-based program funded by the institutional grant program. The Center has trained students, conducted labor market research, and provided technical assistance and support activities throughout the South for over three decades. Twenty years after the institutional grant program was ended, the Center continues to provide the full range of services initially envisioned by the USDOL. Through contract funding and University support, the Center continues to train students, conduct research, and provide technical assistance and training for professional staff of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Tennessee Department of Human Services, and other state agencies involved with education and training activities.

Since 1986, the Bureau and Center have conducted postprogram client surveys for state and local governments in Tennessee, surveying approximately 100,000 individuals leaving programs such as the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Program (JOBS), the Families First Program, the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (VR). The BBER/CMS has also conducted numerous economic impact studies for local and regional governments and non-governmental agencies.

Bureau Staff and Projects

The Bureau full-time staff consists of individuals who have earned their doctorate, master's, and bachelor's degrees in areas such as economics, adult and higher education, personnel services, organizational communications, IT management, business administration, and English. Their expertise and experiences include a multitude of components, including the following:

* Market assessments

* Survey research

* Impact studies

* Revenue and cost estimates

* Labor market studies

* Competitor analyses

* Economic policy and program evaluation

* Workforce development and training

* Applied behavior analysis

* Welfare reform

* Casino gaming

* Public economics

* Economic forecasting

* Cost-benefit studies

* Real estate appraisal

* Real estate investment

* Real estate finance

* Organizational economics

* Tax revenue forecasts

* Quantitative business analysis

* Economic journalism

* Demographics

* Focus group research

* Employee satisfaction

* Communication surveys

* Child care evaluation

* Database design and support

Publications

As mentioned earlier, the Bureau produces award-winning publications and maintains a prized web site (http://www.people.memphis. edu/~bberlib/). These publications and information site serve as a valued source of public data. More importantly, the information provided by these outlets is free to the public, a rarity in today's information market.

Business Perspectives

Business Perspectives functions as the quarterly magazine of the SBBER, serving over 4,000 subscribers, including business professionals, educators and students, and government entities. The publication highlights experts in the topic field who examine and discuss the chosen topic. Interests include the global, national, and regional economies.

The Memphis Economy

As the Bureau's and Center's monthly newsletter, The Memphis Economy also serves over 4,000 subscribers, including local news media and business professionals, educators and students, and government officials. It provides national and regional economic data to the target audience. The newsletter also contains a monthly news article about the local economy. Data presented are for the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (Memphis MSA), which is composed of Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette counties in Tennessee; DeSoto County in Mississippi; and Crittenden County in Arkansas.

The Bureau Web Site (http;//www.people.memphis.edu/~bberlib/)

Recognizing the need for instant data and reference, the Bureau created its web site to inform and assist an online audience. In addition to Memphis MSA demographic and economic information (which is constantly being updated), the web site provides published studies conducted by the Bureau. The site also maintains a consecutive two-year library of past publications of both Business Perspectives and The Memphis Economy, available as downloaded PDF documents.

Bureau Staff

Dr. John E. Gnuschke, Director

Dr. Lee Grehan, Assistant Director

Shirley Stanphill , Assistant to the Director

Dr. Haskel D. Harrison, Senior Research Associate

Dr. Jeff Wallace, Senior Research Associate

Andrea Orchik, Senior Research Associate

Dr. Richard Evans, Director of Forecasting

B. Lewis Alvarado, Research Associate

Stephen Smith, Editor/Research Associate

Jean Honey, Research Associate

Catherine Tyler Calame, Survey Project Coordinator

J. Stephen Wills, Local Tech Support Provider II

Gwendolyn Riley, Clerical Associate Doris Watson, Secretary

Contact Information

Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research

The University of Memphis

330 Deloach, Suite 221

Memphis, TN 38152-3130

Phone: (901) 678-2281

Fax: (901) 678-4086

E-mail: scsmith@memphis.edu

http://people.memphis.edu/~bberlib/

RELATED ARTICLE: Representative Clients

* Tennessee Department of Human Services, Families First

* Tennessee Department of Human Services, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

* Tennessee Department of Human Services, Child Care Services

* Tennessee Department of Human Services, Customer Service

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, Welfare-to-Work

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, Workforce Investment Technical Assistance

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, Technical Assistance Support and Training

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, EDWAAA

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, JTPA

* Tennessee Department of Labor/Workforce Development, JOBSWORK

* Tennessee Department of Transportation

* Tennessee Council on Vocational-Technical Education

* Tennessee Higher Education Commission

* Tennessee Valley Authority

* City of Memphis

* Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce

* The Memphis Zoo and Aquarium

* Memphis Area Legal Services

* Memphis Area Association of Realtors

* Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority

* Memphis/Shelby County Port Commission

* Shelby County Government

* Gate Gourmet

* Assisi Foundation

* North Tennessee Private Industry Council

* Workforce Essentials

Research Areas

* Economic Impact Studies

* Focus Group Research

* Customer Satisfaction Surveys

* Needs Analyses

* Cost/Benefit Analyses

* Program Evaluation Studies

* Individual Interviews

* Direct Mail Surveys

* Longitudinal Surveys

* Labor/Workforce Development

* Tax Revenue Forecasting

* Publications
COPYRIGHT 2003 University of Memphis
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:includes related article listing representative clients
Author:Gnuschke, John E.
Publication:Business Perspectives
Geographic Code:1U6TN
Date:Mar 22, 2003
Words:1775
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