William L. Ball, AICP , MA in Economics (1988)
Chief Operating Officer
Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc., Planning & Engineering
As a freshman at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, I took my first economics class in 1983 (Microeconomics). I had excelled academically in high school without working very hard and was shocked when I got a “D” on my first economics exam—and so mastering economics became my challenge. With some hard work, I salvaged a “B” in that first Economics class and was hooked on the subject.
After receiving my B.A. and while working in a new job in banking, I pursued a Master of Arts in Economics at USF. Those studies led to a graduate assistantship opportunity with the USF Center for Urban Transportation Research and, after receiving my M.A., a transportation research faculty position. After a few years, I used that experience to seize an opportunity with Tindale-Oliver & Associates, Inc., a 75-person transportation planning, urban planning, and engineering firm with 6 offices throughout the U.S.
Now, nearly 25 years after completing my academic pursuits, I maintain great relationships with many of my USF Economics professors and mentors and am grateful for the experiences they provided and the knowledge they imparted. I can look back and say without hesitation that the USF Economics Program provided an outstanding foundation for my career and where it has evolved today. It taught me how to think, not only from an academic perspective but, more importantly, from a “common sense” business perspective and I owe much of my success to that background.
Alison Jimenez, MA in Economics, 2002
President and CEO, Dynamic Securities Analytics, Inc.
Alison completed her Master of Arts in Economics in 2002 and shortly thereafter founded Dynamic Securities Analytics (DSA). It did not take long for Alison to build DSA into a highly successful business consulting firm that specializes in securities litigation. DSA provides economic analysis of brokerage accounts and determines compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. DSA is retained by national brokerage and law firms to perform this analysis.
Alison’s success has been widely recognized. She has received such accolades as the USF Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2010 and was appointed to the Florida Advisory Council on Small and Minority Business Development. Furthermore, Alison holds two pending patents for technological advancements in economic data analysis.
As to the value of her MA degree, Alison states “earning a Master of Arts in Economics from USF helped to qualify me as an expert witness by demonstrating that I have the knowledge and ability to prepare complex analysis. Additionally, I have applied the data analysis skills that I learned in Econometrics and Macro Economics to offer innovative services to DSA’s clients”.
Her advice to students, “Get a career-related internship while in school. It will help you to determine if that is in fact what you want to do with your career, and it will give you an advantage in landing your first full-time job”.
In the future Alison not only wants to build on her past success in business, but also contribute to the Tampa community and USF: “I want to further utilize technology to provide insightful economic analysis to my clients, but without sacrificing any of the personal customer service that DSA is already known for. I would also like to continue to contribute to the Tampa community and one day serve on USF’s board”.
Bob McKee, MA in Economics (1993)
Chief Economist – Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR)
After completing his Masters of Arts in Economics at USF, Bob relocated to Tallahassee where he became employed by FDOR. He worked as an Economic Analyst for the Property Tax Oversight Program from 1995 to 1999. In 1999 he transferred to the Office of Tax Research and analyzed proposed legislation during the 1999 Legislative Session. In the fall of 1999, Bob left FDOR to join the Florida Association of Counties where he lobbied Florida’s Legislative and Executive branches on behalf of Florida’s County Commissioners, handling finance, tax and appropriations issues. In 2007, Bob returned to FDOR, first in the role of Chief Economist and then as the Deputy Executive Director, heading the Office of Legislative Services during 2008. In January 2009, Bob went to the Florida Senate as the Staff Director of the Finance and Tax Committee, also serving as the Senate Principle to the Economic Estimating Conference and the Revenue Estimating Conference. He returned to FDOR as the Chief Economist in January 2011.
Bob is also a Certified Public Accountant.
As the Chief Economist for FDOR, Bob leads a team of six economists in the Office of Tax Research. The duties include forecasting collections of sales tax, corporate income tax, documentary stamp tax, insurance premium tax, mortgage intangibles tax, motor fuel tax, gross receipts tax, communication services tax, severance tax and the rental car surcharge, as well as forecasting the property tax base by county. Another duty is to produce revenue impact analyses of proposed legislation for consideration by Florida’s Revenue Estimating Conference.
Reflecting on the value of his MA, Bob states “Knowledge is currency in today’s information economy. The MA program gave me a set of tools to use in analyzing prospective changes in law and the knowledge to use them appropriately.”
His advice to students, “Never be afraid to question assumptions. Do not be offended when someone questions yours.”