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Released January 29, 2004

By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG -- Ed Pinero's not a one-dimensional kind of guy.

He's worked on erosion control on the islands of St. Croix, St. John and Puerto Rico. He's interested in e-commerce and has taught the subject in the Southern Miss Caribbean Studies program in Jamaica. He thinks geospatial applications are the tools of the future. And he wants to know all he can about economic development.

All this and he still finds time to ride his Harley.

Ed Pinero's definitely not one-dimensional, and he's not just "Ed Pinero" anymore, either. Thanks to almost five years of work, this multi-talented man has a new set of initials to put after his name: "Ph.D."

Pinero, 38, an employee for 10 years, is the first Southern Miss employee to earn a doctorate in international development, "the process by which nations and organizations work together to improve the quality of life globally through political, economic, and social change," notes the department's Web site. Graduates from the program "should be prepared to build on past development theory and experience, but be entrepreneurial and creative enough to face the emerging economic frontiers and opportunities of tomorrow."

Pinero, who has been associate director of Southern Miss' Gulf Coast Geospatial Center at Gulf Coast Research Lab since its inception, is definitely the kind of person who fits right in with the department's definition of the typical student: "… an American upper-middle-class 38-year-old public sector employee seeking knowledge … (who) has traveled internationally before joining the program, speaks Spanish [though Pinero doesn't], and learned of the program by word of mouth."

"It just fit," Pinero said of the program, now in its fifth year, with seven graduates to date. "My emphasis was e-commerce and economic development, and this Ph.D. program went in the direction I needed to strengthen my career aspirations with the university. This degree has given me the knowledge to support the research and economic development enterprise of the university. It was the natural progression and the perfect Ph.D. for me."

"It's an excellent executive opportunity that has allowed me to pursue a Ph.D while maintaining a full-time job with Southern Miss. It will help open doors to further my research interests in e-commerce and geographic information systems."

Dr. Bill Hawkins, executive director of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, thinks Pinero's accomplishments are stellar. "We're proud of Ed, who completed this rigorous course of study while maintaining full-time duties in his job and as a husband and father," he said. "The program put him in a good situation with his position here at the university."

Hawkins noted that the international development program is "outstanding because it fills a big niche for nontraditional students seeking the degree for personal development or job competition. The university could really benefit from more of these type programs."

Pinero said the program emphasized methods to enhance the economies of different states and different countries. "It helped us learn the theory behind the methods and how to apply them." He credits his major professor, Mark Miller, as "the key to my completing the program."

Associate Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer Dr. Cecil Burge, whom Pinero describes as "a mentor who has been a champion in helping guide my professional growth," sees Pinero's research as gifted.

"His dissertation dealt with electronic commerce - the supply side and the marketing side," he said. "He found that many failing manufacturers didn't incorporate the Internet in their operations. For example, in Mississippi, broadband infrastructure is not readily available to many manufacturers. This makes them least likely to survive. Small manufacturers who have moved to the electronic commerce model tend to remain viable longer."

Burge described Dell, which he calls the "premiere model for e-commerce" because of its unique ability to serve its customers through Internet technologies. Dell takes orders for computers via the Internet, orders parts in real time upon order entry, assembles the computer, and then sends the order on to the customer."

"They can provide this service while having zero inventory," Burge said. "Ed's research basically undertook to learn why the e-commerce model pioneered by Dell is not being adopted by other manufacturers, particularly smaller manufacturers in Mississippi. He wanted to know what small manufacturers knew about e-commerce techniques and what the impediments to wider adoption involve."

Southern Miss' Vice President for Research and Economic Development Dr. Angeline Dvorak thinks the entire international development program has global implications. "The work of Ed Pinero reflects the strategic impact of the international development program in enhancing the economic future of our state and region, while confirming the truly global presence that The University of Southern Mississippi enjoys," she said.

But research is not Pinero's only focus. He's married to Christie, a junior high math teacher. They stayed occupied with their 4-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who was one month old when her father started the international development program. Both Christie and Alyssa said they are proud of Pinero's accomplishments and await the next big adventure.

For more information about the international development program, contact Dr. David Butler at (601) 266-4735.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM