SARASOTA, Fla. (April 15, 2016) – David Eckel, the broker/owner of Wagner Realty, says his company retained its agents through the housing slump, even when many competitors were releasing theirs.
“It cost us a lot of money,” he told a group of USF Sarasota-Manatee business students and professors Thursday, adding, however, that his decision produced greater employee loyalty in return.
The anecdote was one several imparted by the businessman during an induction ceremony for Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business students. Eckel, also a member of USFSM’s Community Leadership Council and a longtime advisor to the College of Business, was honorably inducted into BGS at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium.
Addressing a crowd of about 25, he recounted parts of his professional life, from the 1960s in Buffalo, N.Y., to the mid-1990s when he bought a small real estate brokerage after its owner died. At the time, Wagner Realty consisted of four agents but now stands at about 250 agents, whom Eckel calls “customers.”
Interspersing his talk with humor, he told the group that change is constant, be prepared to take rejection, admit and correct mistakes and continue to seek mentors, even after college.
“Money isn’t everything,” he said. Moments later he quipped, “If your professors disagree with something I’ve said, you better listen to them.”
Eckel wasn’t the only one inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma. Eleven USFSM students, including two graduate students, were admitted to the organization, which signifies excellence in business education.
Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business, urged the students to “put this on your resume. It matters.”
Undergraduates inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma were:
Judith A. Alton
Cayton S. Chrisman
Daniel C. Hamala
Michael R. McNaught
Noah R. Miller
Ivan V. Newman
Those graduate students inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma were:
Jonathan D. Crick
Sumner E. Darling
“I just really appreciate this honor,” Crick said after the ceremony. “It means a lot.”
Zach Nemitz a winner at STEM conference
Kudos to biology student Robert “Zach” Nemitz. His poster was among the winners at the recent regional STEM Summit and academic competition at USF Tampa.
Zach’s display examined the large and diverse array of bacteria inside mosquitos, including some that play a symbiotic role. The senior placed second in the “State Colleges/USFSM & USFSP” category, earning a certificate and tickets to the Florida Aquarium.
The win came as a surprise, he said.
“At the time, I gave it my best show when describing the research project to the judge and the other interested parties, but had no idea how or if I would place in the score ranking,” he said. “It was a great opportunity and an excellent experience, having been to three of these events now.”
He added that, despite its smaller size, USFSM is able to “stand among USF Tampa and other Tampa-area colleges.”
USFSM faculty winners announced
Sarah Fayard and five faculty members – Drs. Richard Reich, Elaine Augustine, Cihan Cobanoglu, Ekaterina Berezina and Jean Kabongo – won top honors at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s 2016 Faculty & Staff Recognition ceremony Friday.
Fayard, associate director of community engagement and faculty affairs, won the Outstanding Staff Award for 2016.
“I’m thankful to those who nominated me and I’m very grateful,” Fayard said afterward. “When you work hard every day, it’s nice to receive recognition.”
Dr. Reich, who is marking 10 years at the campus, won the Excellence in Service Award.
Dr. Augustine received the Excellence in Teaching Award.
Dr. Cobanoglu was presented the Excellence in Research Award (tenured).
Dr. Berezina was named winner of the Excellence in Research Award (pre-tenured).
And Dr. Kabongo won the Outstanding Professor Award.
This marked the second consecutive semester Dr. Kabongo won as Outstanding Professor, an award presented by USFSM students. Both Drs. Kabongo and Cobanoglu are making five years at the campus.