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
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.”
Paul Kasriel, BA in Economics (1968)
Paul Kasriel’s long career in economics started with a professor taking a sick day.
As a student at USF in the 60s, he took an economics elective that he didn’t find
especially interesting. Then one day, the professor was out sick and another faculty
member, Jim Herman, filled in. That professor’s teaching style spoke to Kasriel,
who signed up for another introductory economics course Herman was teaching.
“He was every bit as good and better as that day he’d filled in,” Kasriel said.
“I really enjoyed that course, and he continued to pique my interest in economics.”
Kasriel, who recently retired as chief economist of Northern Trust bank, said Herman’s
teaching shaped the course of his life.
“The way he laid it all out was very understandable to me and interesting to me,”
Kasriel said. “I actually blame him for getting me started in a career in economics.”
Kasriel went on to get a master’s in economics at Indiana University, another semi-fluke:
he applied to other graduate schools in psychology, but Indiana offered him a fellowship
to study economics. That set him on a path to the Chicago Federal Reserve after
graduation, and then to 25 years with Northern Trust.
As Northern Trust’s chief economist, Kasriel made forecasts about the general economy
and interest rates and traveled the world sharing his research with clients. He
said the best compliment he was offered over his career by clients was that he was
the first economist they were ever able to understand.
“I did believe that if you can’t explain what you were talking about to your grandmother,
you probably don’t understand it yourself,” he said. “Also, what good is it if someone
else can’t understand it? Your job is to persuade people.”
Now semi-retired, Kasriel lives in Sturgeon, Wis., with his wife of 46 years, Catherine,
also a USF alumna whom Kasriel met after a USF Honors convocation -- “I said, ‘not
only is she pretty, but she’s smart.’ ” He plans to spend his retirement doing consulting
work, struggling to learn the bass guitar, and sailing on Green Bay.
Kasriel said looking back on his career, while he did do some of the sitting in
a tower, poring over charts, work that people typically think of economists as doing,
he’s happy to have spent so much of his life getting to do relevant research and
teaching people across the world the ins and outs of the economy.
“For a kid who grew up in Tampa, Fla., that was pretty exciting stuff,” he said.