2017 “Professor for a Day” Offers MCOB Students Opportunities to Interact with Business Leaders
In early April the Mitchell College of Business celebrated Professor for a Day. The annual event brings senior business leaders from the region to campus to speak to classes. In addition to the classes, the executives participated in a roundtable lunch with students and faculty. Our three Professors this year were Donald Keeler, Senior Vice-President of Human Resources at Austal USA; Tim Smith, Managing Partner of Smith, Dukes & Buckalew, LLP; and David Trent, Site Director of Airbus Americas Engineering. All are members of the Executive Advisory Council of the College.
Mr. Keeler joined Austal in 2009 after experience with Dana Corporation and Eaton Corporation. Austal, Mobile’s largest employer produces Littoral Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transports for the United States Navy. Don said this about his visit, “I had a great time serving as Professor for a Day. In my interaction with the students, it became apparent to me how well prepared these students will be as they venture into their business careers. Each class was highly interactive providing insight into the materials they were studying and raising good questions regarding contemporary business applications.”
With over 20 years’ experience in public accounting, Mr. Smith brings extensive experience in construction contracting, professional services, non-profit organizations, and taxation. An alumnus of South Alabama, he holds the CPA in Alabama and Georgia and is active in a number of professional and civic organizations. Tim shared, “I was very impressed with the questions asked by students, particularly about how their education would translate into ‘on the job’ success.”
In addition to his other duties, Mr. Trent directs the only Airbus Assembly Line in the United States. With stints at Bombardier and Gulfstream before joining Airbus, David has over 20 years’ experience in the aerospace industry. He is the past Chairman of the Board of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce and continues to chair and serve on civic organizations in the area. David said, “What a great experience and opportunity to visit with students who will be our corporate and business leaders in the future. While I was able to share my journey, I am not sure who learned more, me or the students!”
Mr. Keeler summarized the day, “Based upon the attention of the students, it was clear to me how important they considered this opportunity to hear from and talk to an executive from the business community. I was pleased with the quality of student I met as they represented the quality of education available to them through the University of South Alabama.”