By each account, Appalachian State University alumni Chad Emerick '08, Jason Tudor '08 and Ted Siewers '10 found incredible value in their Appalachian experience.
The three Raleigh natives first formed a cohesive team while studying in the Walker College of Business. Emerick and Tudor had known each other since high school and were introduced to Siewers through their early business courses circa Fall 2006.
They turned their friendship an into a successful business venture when they formed Neergroup Marketing, a web design and search engine optimization (SEO) development company. Emerick, Tudor and Sieweres serve as Neergroups' automation expert, marketing master and vice president of sales, respectively.
We asked the Appalachian alumni to look back on their collegiate career and offer insights on how their experiences put them on the path to professional success.
Q: Tell us a little about Neergroup.
A: Neergroup Marketing is looking to help any size business increase sales and grow to the next level. We focus on customer retention, generating referrals and leads, word-of-mouth recommendations and increasing sales. We do website design and development, logos and graphic design. We show businesses the value of having excellent reputation management, social media management and search engine optimization management. At our foundation lies a commitment to lifelong learning and mastery of our craft. Our agency is unique in our devotion to forward thinking, creativity and results for our clients.
Q: What’s your advice to students applying to Appalachian?
A: If you want a phenomenal education, amazing outdoor opportunities and fantastic college life, then Appalachian is the place to be! Appalachian gives you the big school feel, but the classes sizes are small enough to get know your professors. The professors in Walker College of Business were always willing to help me understand and grow into a better person. Additionally, the rafting hiking and snow skiing are just some of the great outdoor activities right in Boone’s backyard.
Q: Do you have advice for new business majors at Appalachian?
A: Success comes from failure. You will not be successful unless you fail, learn from it and keep moving forward! The dream is free, the hustle is sold separately! So don't second guess yourself when staring at a big opportunity. Just go for it, make the most of it, then reap the rewards down the road. Appalachian State helped us grow into a productive and educated member of society. The Walker College of Business provided our team with a solid business background in marketing, management and leadership!
Emerick and Tudor earned their degrees in marketing and management. Both said they developed a close relationship with Dr. Ben Powell through their understanding entrepreneurship class. They also mentioned Dr. Dana Clark's friendship and destination management course as instrumental.
Siewers (a hospitality grad who went on to earn his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington) echoed Dr. Clark's guidance as a professor and a friend.
"He has been a great professor, friend and mentor," said Siewers. "He helped me get my internship and provided support and recommendations. We have kept in touch all the years I have been gone!'
The three Walker College alumni added that sales management and strategic management as notable classes in helping build their business and careers.
Unlike many peer schools, who utilize graduate students to teach courses, Appalachian offers professor-led classroom experiences. Faculty members are engaged community members, exceptional researchers, and — first and foremost — excellent teachers helping students find meaningful experiences from the classroom to their careers.