Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UAB students seek to unearth treasure in struggling area

The unemployment rate in Camden, Alabama is more than double the national average. A staggering 47 percent of households earn less than $25,000 per year.

The Wilcox County area needs help. The UAB School of Business is providing some.

“This all started because I was chatting with my friend Ed Partridge (Dr. Edward Partridge, director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and president of the American Cancer Society Inc.) about the health disparity in Wilcox County,” says Mickey Gee, executive-in-residence in the UAB Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics. “It is not a delivery problem, it is an economic problem. So I hand-picked six School of Business students to find and implement a solution that will generate tourism and revenue to this area so desperately in need.”

The student volunteers are Olu Dosunmu-Ogunbi, Calvin Burchfiel, Daniel Owens, Gabrielle Hood, Eboni Thomas, Lewinale Harris and Derrick Strong. They were each chosen because of individual skills in marketing, industrial distribution, management, web work and web design.

The students will develop a marketing strategy for the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce. They will help develop the brand and tag line the chamber will use to promote the county. They will also work with Black Belt Treasures, a non-profit organization promoting the arts of the Black Belt region, on their point-of-sale system, bar coding, inventory management and website support.

The School of Business students will mentor a group of students from each of the two local high schools. They will be assisted by faculty volunteers Jacob Gelber and Nathan Oliver in addition to Gee. They are calling the project “One Tank Treasures” because it only takes one tank of gas to reach the Wilcox County area from most of Alabama’s major cities. Plus, the area offers so many treasures for tourists and retirees.

You can follow the students’ journey daily by visiting their One Tank Treasures Blog.

No comments: