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Beacon Newsletter


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Greetings from BEACON!


We could not be more excited to kick off  BEACON’s 30th year of applied research and community outreach. Many things have changed over the past 30 years at BEACON. Our name has evolved from the Project Management Group, to Enterprise Development Group, to our current name BEACON. We now reside in Perdue Hall Suite 100. Although the technology we use to conduct applied research has changed, the core of our mission has always remained the same:

  1. Providing Perdue School students with a wide variety of experiential learning opportunities;
  2. Providing the business and economic development data, information, skills, and know-how our region's public and private sector decision makers need. We do this through targeted outreach programs, applied research, trend and scenario analyses, demand forecasting, strategic planning, feasibility studies, and modeling for resource allocation, process improvement and economic impact studies.

Over the years, we have employed over 350 graduate and undergraduate research assistants and completed over 750 projects. Our student teams never cease to amaze us with their capabilities and willingness to take on challenges. Our clients have spanned from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to many states and even a few overseas venues. We have conducted over 200 strategic planning projects, over 50 feasibility studies, close to 50 economic impact studies, as well as many other types of projects that helped organizations in the local and greater community make informed business and policy decisions.

We look forward to commemorating BEACON’s 30th anniversary during the 2019-2020 academic year with a series of celebrations. We will welcome back BEACON alumni from around the globe, celebrate our many partnerships and share our vision for the future. Please stay tuned for more information.

-Dr. Memo Diriker, Director and Dr. Sarah Guy, Associate Director

Shore Leadership

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

BEACON is launching its 2020 update for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Lower Eastern Shore (CEDS). In 2003, shortly after its creation by the Maryland Legislature, the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore, submitted the first CEDS. Since then the CEDS has undergone consistent five-year restructurings as well as annual updates. This current review will include an enhanced interactive dashboard with several Key Performance Indicators for better tracking progress. For more information about CEDS please visit the website of the Tri-County Council for the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Salisbury-Wicomico Regional Airport

Transformational Community Leadership


Gabriella Winsky and Jessica Iacona, BEACON Graduate Research Associates, continued their journey to expand their knowledge about Wicomico County through the Transformational Community Leadership monthly series. The September session took place at the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport. Winsky and Iacona were able to hear from the Salisbury airport manager Dawn Veatch, President/CEO of Piedmont Airlines Capt. Lyle Hogg, and Wicomico County’s Director of Administration Wayne Strausburg on the opportunities and challenges of operating a rural regional airport. 




Monday, Feb. 10: Understanding the Business of Politics in Maryland & the U.S.

Thursday, Feb. 13: Taste of the Eastern Shore

Tuesday, Feb. 18: Economic Development Day in Annapolis

Student Spotlight: Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney

I am a graduate research assistant with BEACON at Salisbury University. I was born and raised in Frederick, MD, and after graduating high school, I attended Shenandoah University. While attending Shenandoah, I played four years of collegiate soccer and studied sport management, while also obtaining a coaching minor. I graduated in May 2019 and decided to pursue an M.B.A. at Salisbury University. I was lucky enough to be provided an opportunity to work as a graduate research assistant with BEACON located in the Perdue Business School. 


Since I started with BEACON in May, I have worked with nonprofits, for-profits and private businesses. Since being here, I have worked with my fellow “BEACONites” on economic impact studies, feasibility studies, strategic planning and decision analysis projects. Thus far, my favorite project has been the economic impact study of Salisbury’s National Folk Festival. I enjoyed not only interacting and surveying individuals at the event, but also compiling the data and analyzing the impact of the event itself.After graduating in May 2020, I plan to move to Sydney, Australia, or Auckland, New Zealand. I have always loved traveling, and I believe it is important to experience more than what the United States has to offer. I would love to work in the sport industry, but anything in marketing, consulting and operations would be a dream come true.

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SU is an Equal Opportunity/AA/Title IX university and provides reasonable accommodation given sufficient notice to the University office or staff sponsoring the event or program. For more information regarding SU’s policies and procedures, please visit .  


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