INFLUENCE OF MTSU’S RESEARCH CENTER FELT NATIONALLY
MURFREESBORO—The Business and Economic Research Center at Middle Tennessee State University is putting the university and the region on the national map because of the studies conducted by its director, Dr. David Penn, and assistant director Dr. Murat Arik.
The BERC recently released an underemployment survey in the Tullahoma area, which attracted the attention of New York-based “Dan Rather Reports.” The producer and crew visited the Career Center in Tullahoma and conducted interviews with six unemployed individuals in the area. The crew then went to MTSU to interview Arik, the author of the survey. The segment was broadcasted earlier this month over HDNet.
“It is obvious that our underemployment survey has gained national attention both through The New York Times and this television documentary,” said Ted Hackney, director of the Coffee County Industrial Board, in an e-mail to board members and to the BERC.
Arik also conducted an analysis in latter 2009 of three counties in the northwest corner of Tennessee: Dyer, Lake and Obion counties, exploring the impact of the development of the Port of Cates Landing. If funding becomes available, Cates Landing will include a loading dock and connecting intermodal rail and roadway freight facilities. The proposed transportation system will connect area businesses to the Mississippi River, the Canadian National Railroad via the Tenn-Ken Railroad and local and state highway networks. In his two-month study, Arik determined that if the project comes to fruition, it could reduce the poverty rate in that area of the state by 50 percent.
MTSU’s BERC, which is part of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, provides updated and searchable local economic indicators in easy-to-use formats and publishes the Tennessee Housing Market Brief, Tennessee’s Business, Midstate Economic Indicators and Global Commerce. In 2008-2009, the BERC made 13 presentations to various organizations and agencies, conducted nearly 60 media interviews and co-sponsored the annual Economic Outlook Conference. The center entered into several contracts, including a health-care analysis for the United Southern and Eastern Tribes, an industrial cluster analysis for the Middle Tennessee Industrial Association and a Maury County strategic analysis and call center workforce supply-and-demand study. In addition, director Penn teaches a course on campus titled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.
For more information on the BERC, visit www.mtsu.edu/~berc. Or call the center at 615-898-2610.