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Beacon Newsletter


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Greetings from BEACON at Salisbury University


Last fall, as we were reflecting on BEACON’s contributions to the region’s economy during the past 30 years, we realized that we were leaving out some key BEACON contributions that happened on our own campus.


Let’s travel back in time and remember some of these key contributions:

  • Did you know that the first incarnation of the Mid-Atlantic Sales and Marketing Institute (MASMI) was founded in 1989? After several years of successful operations, MASMI merged with another Perdue School outreach unit called the European American Business Institute (EABI) to create the Project Management Group (PMG). Over the years, as a variety of additional projects, programs and initiatives were added, PMG became the Enterprise Development Group (EDG). Finally, in July 2000, the EDG was renamed the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON). During these transitions, the MASMI name was kept in “cold storage” until the arrival on campus of Dr. Amit Poddar. Today, under Dr. Poddar and his team’s leadership, MASMI has become a national powerhouse.
  • Did you know that members of the BEACON team have, over the years, provided guidance and technical assistance to the founders of several Salisbury University outreach units? Some of these are: the Mapping Sciences Group (now the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative or ESRGC); the May Literacy Center; the Institute of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement or PACE; the Shore Hatchery; PRESTO, the campus-based academy that offers learners of all ages mostly individual lessons in piano, strings, voice, guitar, percussion, theatre, and some wind and brass instruments; and the Re-Envisioning Ethics Access and Community Humanities (REACH) Initiative.
  • Did you know that members of the BEACON team worked with legendary colleague Dr. Phil Bosserman to prepare and submit 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization paperwork to the Internal Revenue Service in relation to the internationally renowned entity that is today called the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution?

While we cannot take any credit for the stellar accomplishments of these successful outreach units of Salisbury University, we are delighted to have played a very small role in their evolution.


Memo Sarah

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

Project Summary


BEACON was asked by a local county to develop an evaluation instrument to be used for awarding and administering COVID-19 assistance grants to small businesses and agricultural operations. The BEACON team developed a series of key performance indicators that were used to evaluate each applicant’s eligibility based on the grant program requirements. These indicators also were designed to determine the estimated economic and employment impacts of the grant awards. At the conclusion of the project, BEACON provided the county decision makers with a comprehensive report with funding recommendations for each applicant. This report also contained a variety of classification information for each applicant (such as business size, agricultural vs. non-agricultural, seasonal vs. non-seasonal, etc.). The final funding allocation decisions were made by the county decision makers based on the recommendations and data presented in the BEACON report.

From the BEACON Archives


A Decision Analysis and Support Tool for Chesapeake Utilities Corporation


In spring 2007, BEACON was invited to develop a Decision Analysis and Support Tool for the Chesapeake Utilities Corporation of Dover, DE. Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK) is a diversified utility company engaged in natural gas distribution, transmission and marketing; electric distribution; propane gas distribution and wholesale marketing; advanced information services; and other related services.

The tool that was developed by the BEACON team was based on a Scenario Analysis and Planning platform called iDecide. Basically, this tool was a sophisticated simulation model with simple input output protocols and an intuitive Graphical User Interface (GUI). This easy to visualize GUI enabled key decision makers of the company to explore future scenarios for which robust data and information was not available.


This in turn gave these decision makers the ability to test the differential advantages of various strategy options they were considering.

In addition to developing the tool, the BECAON team conducted a series of training sessions for the users in the company. Over the years, BEACON has enhanced and added significant capabilities to these kinds of decision analysis and support tools for a variety of private, public and nonprofit sector users.

BEACONite Spotlight: Rachael Reiter

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Rachael Reiter worked at the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) as an undergraduate research assistant, graduate research assistant and project Manager from fall 2014 to fall 2017 while she was earning her undergraduate accounting degree, Master in Business Administration and CPA license. She started at RSM US LLP in fall 2017 as an assurance associate and is now a senior assurance associate specializing in real estate and employee benefit plans.

Reiter began at BEACON her freshman year of college and it was her first exposure to professional business. 

Reiter shared: “BEACON created the foundation for my professional career. It taught me business etiquette and attire, how to work in an office and client communication.” Reiter worked in teams under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Guy, associate director, and Dr. Memo Diriker, director. Reiter said: “Although I was a student, I was not treated as one. I was treated as an employee and given responsibilities administratively in the office as well as client work that I was held accountable for. It was a great learning environment with the support of Sarah and Memo who said ‘It’s okay to make a mistake, but don’t make the same mistake twice.’”

Reiter’s work at BEACON was project-based and focused on helping businesses in the community make decisions and solve problems. The majority of her work involved collecting and analyzing large data sets to present in a user-friendly way to help the client make decisions. Reiter has taken those skills and applied it to her current job where she acts as a first choice advisor for her audit clients. Reiter elaborated: “BEACON gave me first-hand experience in juggling multiple clients and working with them to build relationships and understand their business. At RSM, I strive to understand my clients’ businesses so I can not only identify problems, but offer them solutions.”

The last and most important aspect Reiter learned from her time at BEACON was the importance of finding a company with strong values and ethics. Reiter said, “I always felt like my voice was heard and it gave me the confidence to speak up and share my thoughts.” One saying at BEACON was self/family first, then school, then BEACON. Reiter shared: “One of the things that drew me to RSM was the similar values and strong ethics I came to expect from my time at BEACON. RSM’s values are respect, integrity, teamwork, excellence and stewardship. They also focus on ‘The 5 Cs,’ which are caring, curious, collaborative, courageous and critical thinker. RSM sees beyond the employee to the individual which is similar to how I felt at BEACON.”

Looking back on her time at BEACON, Reiter remarked: “I am so grateful for Sarah, Memo and all the BEACONites I worked with. I am still in touch with many of them and continually reach out to them for business advice and life advice. Once a BEACONite, always a BEACONite!”

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Contact Information

1101 Camden Ave.

Perdue Hall, Suite 100

Salisbury, MD 21801


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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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