Column: Economist Roger Tutterow returning to Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Center

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on August 29, 2014

One of Georgia’s most prominent and popular economists — Roger Tutterow— is going home again.

Tutterow is returning to the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University to resume his role as director of the Econometric Center as well as serve as a professor of economics. For the past nine years, he has been a professor of economics at Mercer University in Atlanta.

Tutterow will be rejoining his long-time colleague, Donald Sabbarese, at the Center.

The two of them were co-directors from 1994 to 2005. Sabbarese will continue to work at the center as director emeritus.

In an interview, Tutterow said he was tempted to return to Kennesaw because he enjoyed its entrepreneurial spirit and its stimulating academic environment.

Roger Tutterow

Roger Tutterow

“I’ve always maintained great affection for the institution and my colleagues there,” Tutterow said. “When the opportunity came for me to return and to work with Don, it seemed like a natural fit.”

“I have enjoyed my affiliation with Mercer University, and I’m grateful for many relationships developed there,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kathy Schwaig, dean of the Coles College of Business, was delighted to welcome Tutterow back to KSU.

“Roger’s expertise in financial economics and statistical modeling is known throughout the state and nation, and we are proud to have him once again,” she said.

In addition to his academic positions, Tutterow is often interviewed in numerous local and national media outlets. He also serves as a consultant on financial economics and statistical modeling for corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to closely held businesses.

“We look forward to working with both public- and private-sector clients,” Tutterow said of the Econometric Center. “Our commitment will be to provide objective analysis that looks to support good decision-making.”

Tutterow also serves as the chief economic adviser for the Henssler Financial Group, an Atlanta-based financial services firm.

Tutterow, 51, is a frequent guest on the speaker circuit, appearing before groups in 23 states and talking on a variety of business, economic and political topics.

In 2003, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed him to serve on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, a role he continues under Gov. Nathan Deal.

In 2010, Tutterow was named to the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, where he got to know A.D. Frazier, the former chief operating officer for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, who was serving as chairman.

“Roger is an asset to the state. He believes in what we are doing,” Frazier said. “He’s a first-class academic; he’s a first-class speaker; and he works his bananas off. He is tickled to be back at Kennesaw. And he’s as happy he’s been in the four years I’ve known him.”

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School

The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, a nonprofit day and boarding preparatory school for college in northeast Georgia, has received a $2.1 million gift from the estate of the late Norma Knapp Horan-Vogt.

This contribution will go toward the school’s endowment and will support excellence in the arts and provide financial aid for students.

Horan-Vogt , a resident of Lakeland, Fla., passed away in November 2013 at the age of 92.  She was employed by Publix supermarkets for many years where she served as the administrative assistant to Bill Hollis, vice-president and board member at the company.

From the impeccable way she dressed, to her beautiful and contagious smile, to her gracious hospitality and charm, Horan-Vogt was a great joy to others, according to a press release from the school. She was preceded in death by her beloved husbands, Douglas Horan and Kenneth Vogt.

Horan-Vogt was a life-long Presbyterian, music lover and advocate for children.  For many years, she was a friend to the school and faithfully supported the mission of Rabun Gap with charitable gifts.

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School will honor her spirit of giving by establishing the Norma K. Horan-Vogt Faculty Chair in the Arts. This honor will be held by an Arts faculty member, distinguished by his or her love of teaching.

Additionally, the school will establish the Norma K. Horan-Vogt Scholarship, a need-based scholarship to be awarded to a deserving student.  Her life will be celebrated at the school during a ceremony on Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m.

United Way sets bigger campaign.

United Way's' Milton Little stands with Barbarella and René Diaz as they unveil the 2014-2015 campaign goal of $75.5 million

United Way’s’ Milton Little stands with Barbarella and René Diaz as they unveil the 2014-2015 campaign goal of $75.5 million

If Rene Diaz had his way, people would be less focused on the annual campaign goal for United Way of Greater Atlanta and more focused on how that money is invested in the community.

But Diaz, and his wife, Barbarella, know that you can’t do one without the other. That’s why they agreed to co-chair the 2014-2015 United Way campaign — with an ambitious $75.5 million goal approved by the board on Aug. 27. It is a 1.5 percent increase over the 2013-2014 campaign that raised $74.39 million.

“The need out there is so huge we have no choice but to have a bigger campaign,” he said in an interview. “It’s not an option. Our community needs United Way and our agencies.”

Diaz said that’s why he, his wife, the campaign cabinet and the United Way team are exploring new ways to retain and attract donors. He believes that in addition to the traditional core donors, inroads can be made among small businesses, women-owned companies, young professionals and industry associations.

He remembered when Diaz Foods first got involved in United Way when he was 31, and his company’s first campaign may have raised $3,000. Although the donations from each small business may not be that significant, when you total them up, they would add up.

Again, what’s most important is for donors to understand how their dollars improve people’s lives.

“It’s amazing what we do with those dollars,” Diaz said. “That’s really the celebration. I don’t want to celebrate the number. I want to celebrate what we do with those dollars.”

United Way’s Tocqueville Awards.

Speaking of United Way … United Way of Greater Atlanta presented its 24th annual Tocqueville Awards on Aug. 19 to “change agents” in the community.

The Tocqueville Award went to Bob Yellowlees, retired chairman of Global Payments and National Data Corp. The Chairman’s Award went to Walt Mercer, executive vice president of SunTrust Banks. The O’Connell Community Impact Award went to Our House. And the Champion of Greatness Award went to SunTrust Banks.

The Tocqueville Awards are named in honor of Alexis de Tocqueville, the French political thinker, philos opher and philanthropist; the awards are presented to Tocqueville Society members who make notable efforts to serve the public good .

To be a member of the Tocqueville Society, someone must donate $10,000 or more to United Way on an annual basis. By the way, Atlanta just celebrated being the only city in the United Way system with 1,000 Tocqueville members, according to Keith Barsuhn, chief development officer at Atlanta’s United Way.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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