Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research: Fogelman College of Business and Economics. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)

By Gnuschke, John E. | Business Perspectives, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research: Fogelman College of Business and Economics. (Research Centers at the University of Memphis)


Gnuschke, John E., Business Perspectives


Sparks and the BBER: A Gold Mine of Research Services

The University of Memphis is proud to name the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) in honor of one of the nation's most outstanding business leaders and agricultural economists--Dr. Willard R. Sparks. Dr. Sparks has a lifetime of noted contributions in national and international commodities forecasting and research. Dr. Sparks is a noted business and community leader who continues to make a major contribution to defining the future of The University of Memphis.

Naming the BBER after Dr. Sparks is a small token of the appreciation that the University has for his outstanding support. The natural link between Dr. Sparks and the Bureau is based upon a common interest in all issues economic. Clearly, the new name will encourage and enable the BBER's research staff to reach for new and more significant research goals. Over time, the goal of the Sparks BBER (now SBBER) will be to gain national recognition and respect for its research on economic issues.

The linkage between the research interests of the University and those of the private sector are closer now than ever before. When financial times are tough, all of us are forced to reexamine our goals and find new avenues to pursue our research interests. Promoting private-sector partnerships via applied research and services is one of the primary avenues that allows university faculty and research staff to expand the depth, breath, and impact of their research.

The research staff of the BBER welcomes the name change and the new challenges and opportunities it represents. We are proud of our affiliation with Dr. Sparks and look forward to building an even larger applied research and service division of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. With Dr. Sparks' ideas and assistance, the SBBER will lead the University in its effort to build a national reputation for applied research and public/private partnerships.

Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research Mission Statement

The mission of the SBBER is to conduct economic and labor market research and service activities that complement the teaching, research, and public service mission of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at The University of Memphis. The objective of the SBBER is to maintain its status as one of the nation's largest and most successful applied research, technical assistance, and outreach divisions of a college of business. Performance measures include the following:

* Number of contracts received.

* Total contract funding.

* National recognition by peers.

* Outreach and public service activities.

* Technical assistance and training activities.

* Faculty and student involvement.

* Interdisciplinary research activities.

Paul R. Lowry's Leadership Set the Stage

From 1967 to 1984, Mr. Paul R. Lowry, or "P.R." to his many friends and colleagues at the University, served as the Director of the BBER. Just a few weeks ago, Paul passed away, but he left a legacy of Leadership that established a solid foundation for the Bureau. While Paul will be sadly missed by his family and his friends, his contributions to the Bureau will last forever.

Today, after four decades of operation, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research is one of the nation's largest and most successful research centers affiliated with a college of business. The long-standing support of The University of Memphis and the Fogelman College of Business and Economics has enabled the BBER to serve the applied research needs of government agencies, businesses, and citizens throughout Tennessee. In the last ten years, the BBER has conducted over $20.0 million in contract research related to issues of importance to the people of Tennessee. This research is an accomplishment that made Paul Lowry proud.

As the Sparks BBER, we will strive to be the best in research, technical assistance, and service for our clients. …

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