Cameron School of Business

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Newsletter for Cameron School of Business Alumni

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Update for CSB Alumni

In This Issue (July 2019):

Dean Robert BurrusMessage from the Dean 

Welcome to the summer 2019 edition of the Cameron Insider! We’ve all heard the description of summertime: “Oh, those lazy days of summer.” This saying is indicative of the thought that summer is a season of relaxation, refreshment and reflection.

Around Cameron Hall, our summertime atmosphere is anything but relaxed. We have hundreds of students participating in online courses and study abroad programs, our faculty are conducting research and preparing for the fall semester, our administrative team is focused on strategy, and our staff is busy preparing to offer our services to the next batch of CSB students. All activities will lead to our students receiving an excellent education.

It is not uncommon for a business school or university to create an academic “center” to address specific topics or issues. These centers are designed to give students the ability to put into practice what they learn in the classroom. One important facet of these centers is that they connect academics (researching faculty) and business professionals (practitioners), drawing from the strengths of both these groups to ensure students learn the most current information from both leading research and industry practice.

Cameron created two such centers in the spring of 2018, and both are highlighted in this edition of the Cameron Insider.

  1. UNCW Cameron School of Business’ Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight was launched in March 2018. The center was created to develop students' ability to think and work collaboratively by teaching, coaching and pushing them to operate with a win-win mentality.
  2. UNCW Cameron School of Business’ Center for Cyber Defense Education was launched in April 2018 and is dedicated to raising awareness levels of cybersecurity issues and supporting the development of cyber defense expertise in all UNCW students, faculty and staff as appropriate to their chosen academic discipline or vocation.

Applied learning has always been the hallmark of UNCW and the Cameron School of Business. The creation of these centers will further Cameron’s mission of preparing students for knowledge-based decisions, career progression and business leadership in a global environment.

This March, Peyton Mandel, a rising junior in the Cameron School of Business, attended the 2019 Wells Fargo Sophomore Leaders Conference in Charlotte. She and 900 others applied to attend and only 40 were selected. Then, out of the 40 selected to attend, she was one of just 14 chosen for a full-time internship with Wells Fargo this summer.

Let me also introduce to two of our alumni – Marissa Ruehle ‘15 and Joey Perkins ‘09, ‘11M – both entrepreneurs. Marissa Ruehle recently opened Casa Blanca, a café and roastery on Market Street in Ogden. Coffee has been her passion for as long as she can remember and with the entrepreneurial skills she acquired with her CSB degree, she developed her passion into a now-thriving business.

Joey Perkins is the president of J.S. Perkins Consulting. JSPC delivers value-added management and technology consulting services, and their menu of services provided includes financial and operational risk management, strategy and operations and technology services. Joey returned to Cameron to participate as a presenter in a Business Week session in March, and recently generously established the Joseph S. Perkins Scholarship in Business, which will be used to assist students pursuing a degree in CSB and to encourage students who value activism within the community in a spirit of promoting the well-being of others.

If you are interested in creating your own scholarship or would like to donate to the Cameron School of Business, visit


Rob Burrus

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Prof. GuptaCameron’s Centers for Excellence and Education

The Cameron School of Business takes great pride in creating meaningful opportunities for students, and continues to invest in efforts that provide an education to differentiate CSB students as they move into a competitive and ever-changing job market. CSB established two such initiatives last year that have proven successful in offering students new resources, support and experiences to enhance and complement their classroom education. In March 2018 CSB, launched the Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight, and in April 2018 the UNCW Center for Cyber Defense Education was formed.

The Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight was created to develop students' ability to think and work collaboratively. By offering a variety of events hosted by faculty, the business community and sales professionals, this center offers Cameron School of Business students a competitive advantage in acquiring jobs and internships. The main objective of the center is to increase engagement with all stakeholders in the professional selling environment.

The past year has been very productive for the Center for Sales Excellence and Customer Delight. In September 2018, the CSECD was formally admitted into the University Sales Center Alliance as an Associate Member – an impressive achievement, as only 52 universities globally have earned membership. In early March 2019, they hosted their first internal sales contest with nCino, a locally founded cloud-based bank operating system. Twenty-four CSB students participated in role play with nCino sales representatives and sales managers. The contest was quite successful, and a Syneos Health Scholarship was awarded to the contest winner and CSB student, Sean Butler ’19.

In addition to hosting guest speakers, sales career fairs and meet and greets, the center also held its first forum focused on sales enablement software. Industry experts, corporate sponsors, professional sales students and faculty attended the forum, which concentrated on the enabling software available to sales reps and managers that dramatically facilitates the sales process. Center director and professor of marketing Vince Howe is proud of the impact the CSECD is already having on students and the sales community.

“We’ve achieved our goal of engaging with our professional sales students, professional practitioners, and our faculty to share knowledge, best practices and sales technology trends,” he said. For further information about the CSEDC, contact Dr. Howe at or visit the website at

UNCW established the Center for Cyber Defense Education in anticipation of the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designating UNCW a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in September 2018. The designation, valid through 2023, was established in 1999 with seven universities and is currently awarded to 189 schools; about six percent of four-year U.S. institutions. The CCDE is dedicated to raising awareness levels of cybersecurity issues and supporting the development of cyber defense expertise in all UNCW students, faculty and staff to strengthen the cybersecurity aptitude of the entire community of scholars so they are equipped to wisely balance the unique risks of living in an all-digital future.

By 2021, with cybercrime predicted to cost the world 6 trillion annually and an estimated 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide, cyber warriors from all majors and career fields will be needed to meet the coming challenges in the cyber realm.

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Giving Back from a Place of Gratitude

Joey Perkins

Last September, Seahawks near and far watched in shock as Hurricane Florence battered Wilmington, leaving in its wake significant structural damage to UNCW and the beloved city they call home. Students and alumni alike were left wondering what they might face upon their return to campus. Though rebuilding efforts are still underway, UNCW continues to stand strong, and the campus community has seen its collective bond fortify as a result of shared experiences. The storm unified Seahawks both past and present – a much-needed silver lining following a period of destruction and loss.

Though Cameron alumnus Joey Perkins ’09, ’11M was not in the area at the time of the hurricane, he followed the storm coverage closely from Washington, D.C. “Seeing the damage caused by the storm stirred up a deep feeling of gratitude for Cameron and I reflected on how my experiences at UNCW positioned me for the future. I felt a duty to take care of the community that helped me and perhaps more importantly, those who will come after me,” he said.

Perkins, founder and president of J.S. Perkins Consulting LLC, felt compelled to donate to the university’s hurricane relief fund. Eager to invest in a more permanent connection with CSB as a proud alumnus, he turned to utilizing the business acumen he acquired on campus and honed in the workplace to bridge that connection. Perkins returned to campus in March as a Business Week presenter for the first time since earning his Master’s in Science of Accountancy in 2011.

“I have been back to the Wilmington area on a few occasions for various reasons since graduating, but until I returned for Business Week, I hadn’t really been back to campus. I enjoyed seeing how things have changed, and it was a lot of fun engaging with the students. When I was in school, I always looked forward to Business Week. It provided me with a quick glimpse into successful minds, and it was really impactful. I am excited to be able to do this for the students today,” Perkins said. But he did more than just present at Business Week. He attended several accounting department-sponsored events and spent time with a number of faculty members including David Mautz, chair of the Accountancy and Business Law Department, and accountancy professor Randy Hanson, in an effort to foster an ongoing relationship with the business school. Perkins also had the opportunity to spend some time with former professors from his time in Cameron – most notably Joanne Rockness, whom Perkins credits with motivating him to pursue a degree in accounting.

Perkins recently joined the UNCW Foundation Board and will begin meeting with the board regularly in August. Understanding that campus involvement goes beyond providing his knowledge and expertise, he also set up an endowed scholarship. As a former student coming from out of state to UNCW, Perkins knows that the cost can be prohibitive. For this reason, he has dedicated his gift to providing support for a deserving out-of-state student. The scholarship will be used to assist students pursuing a degree offered by the Cameron School of Business in accounting, finance, management or entrepreneurship. Through the gift, Perkins hopes to encourage a student who values activism within the community in the spirit of promoting the well-being of others.

Over the course of the school year, Perkins has greatly influenced Cameron’s students and laid the groundwork for a continued relationship through his willingness to give his time, resources and talents. As his thriving consulting business continues to grow, Perkins hopes the culmination of his multifaceted commitment to the university will result in the recruitment of talented individuals from Cameron for internships and job opportunities.

While focusing primarily on the management and growth of JSPC, Perkins also supports public-sector client engagements, primarily concentrated in the Department of Defense and Public Health sectors. Perkins’ areas of expertise are in financial risk management, strategy and operations and IT consulting. Prior to founding JSPC, Perkins worked for Deloitte Advisory for nearly five years in the federal practice where he focused on business process design and improvement, audit readiness, program management and organizational change management for SAP (GFEBS) deployment/enhancements. He graduated from UNCW with a Master’s in Science of Accountancy with a concentration in information systems audit.

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CSB Alumna Marissa Ruehle and Dr. Steve Harper Introducing Wilmington to Something Different

CSB alumna Marissa Ruehle has a passion for coffee. Now, she is bringing that passion to other coffee aficionados in Wilmington. In March of this year, Ruehle opened Casa Blanca, a café and roastery on Market Street in Ogden. Ruehle has been interested in working with coffee since she started her first job at Port City Java, and after earning her business degree with a concentration in entrepreneurship and business development from Cameron School of Business in 2015, working to design and open her own business in coffee was a natural next step. Opening Casa Blanca has been a true labor of love.

This isn’t the first successful business venture Ruehle has had a hand in starting. Prior to Casa Blanca, she opened Sunday’s Café in Wrightsville Beach. She also worked closely with three other CSB alumni, Rocco Quaranto, Kelly Struble and Wells Struble, to open Tama Tea, located in The Forum shopping center on Military Cutoff Road.

Former CSB professor of entrepreneurship Steve Harper remembers Marissa as a dedicated student with clear potential, and isn’t surprised by her advantageous new business venture.

“Marissa took three entrepreneurship courses with me during her time here as an undergrad. She impressed me on numerous occasions, and her experience and expertise in coffee became quite clear in my “Managing Emerging Ventures” course when the class studied the evolution of Starbucks. Marissa’s experience –working in a coffee shop in high school and then throughout college – gave her a valuable perspective when we talked about the quality of various coffee businesses,” Harper said. “Seeing former students such as Marissa find success doing something they love is truly rewarding.”

Ruehle feels that much coursework she completed during her time at CSB significantly contributed to her ability to undertake this project. “The business plan and proforma I created in Dr. Harper’s courses provided me with a foundation for what I wanted to do with Casa Blanca. The work I had already done while I was in school gave me an advantage; I was at least ten steps ahead of anyone else in my position,” she said.


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Peyton at Wells Fargo CSB Junior Spends Her Summer with Wells Fargo

We miss 100 percent of the chances we don’t take. This adage is often something worth remembering when considering trying something new, especially as an undergraduate student. Rising junior Peyton Mandel can attest to the surprising successes that can come from being willing to take a chance.

In March, Mandel attended the 2019 Wells Fargo Sophomore Leaders Conference in Charlotte, NC. Only a select number of college sophomores had the opportunity to attend, and ultimately it was an experience with the potential to shape her post-college career, as well.

In an ongoing effort to assist students with their professional endeavors as they prepare for their post-graduate careers, Teresa Walker, CSB’s director of work practice, provides regular updates and informs CSB students about upcoming conferences and events or information about potential internship and job opportunities for which to apply. Last spring, Mandel found one of Ms. Walker’s emails of particular interest and pursued it. As a pre-business major with an interest in finance and business analytics, the prospect of attending a conference held by Wells Fargo was enticing. Unlike some conferences, attendance was not simply confirmed by signing up. There was a required application process, and Mandel was one of approximately 40 students selected to attend from a pool of more than 900 applicants.

Mandel initially applied simply because she was hoping to gain insight into Wells Fargo, the banking industry in general, and to network with those currently employed with the company. However, after she was selected to attend, she learned that this conference was more than an event for professional growth. Conference attendees were also being considered for a competitive number of full-time summer internship positions within Wells Fargo, something Mandel was seriously interested in attaining.

Although formal interviews were conducted at the end of the three-day conference, Peyton fully recognized the potential of the event and understood that those responsible for selecting the internship candidates would be watching and evaluating the students throughout the entirety of the conference. She made certain to take full advantage of all of the conference offerings and networking opportunities, engaged with Wells Fargo business leaders and conference presenters, and displayed her authentic self.

Mandel was selected for one of only 14 internship slots this summer. She is currently in Charlotte in the chief administrative office in the employer brands sector. This sector markets the company to prospective employees and works to attract and educate prospects as well as to convert prospects to full-time employees. Additionally, the sector analyzes how effective the strategies in place are. The strategic analysis portion of the position is what she is most excited to experience.

An ambitious student, Mandel has worked exceptionally hard in her first year at UNCW. She transferred in from UNC Charlotte after her freshman year because she wanted to find a more personalized educational setting. After hearing only positive feedback from a neighbor at home and CSB alum, she transferred.

“My experience within Cameron over the last year has far exceeded my expectations. The student morale, the culture and the caliber of the academics have impressed me immensely. I am thankful for the academic rigor I found in my courses and for the additional resources provided to the students such as those offered by Teresa Walker. Her email led me to apply for the Leaders Conference in the first place,” she said. During the conference, students were given the opportunity to meet with alumni from previous conferences, specifically those who went on to hold internship positions and now work for Wells Fargo full-time. It is Mandel’s hope that she will be able to fully engage during this summer internship process and one day in the near future find herself in a full-time position as well.

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Upcoming Graduate Program Application Deadlines!

We're sure you have heard of the recent growth in programs at UNCW and the Cameron School of Business. We are proud to offer two new online master's-level programs: M.S. Business Analytics and M.S. Finance & Investment Management. These, paired with our Online MBA and Online Executive MBA, round out our graduate-level offerings to CSB alumni that live all over the state, country and even the world.

Several of these programs offer six entry points per year, and the MSBA offers two. Application deadlines are approaching - don't hesitate to reach out to Candace Wilhelm if you have any questions before applying!

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