Governor's Office Selects Coles Faculty for Entertainment Industry Advisory Board
KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 15, 2019) — As Georgia continues to expand its role as a destination for entertainment industry productions, Governor Brian Kemp will have a new voice – Kennesaw State University faculty member Keith Perissi – helping guide that growth.
Perissi, who is director of the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program at Kennesaw State’s Michael J. Coles College of Business, was sworn in as a member of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office Advisory Board on Nov. 13 during a ceremony with Governor Kemp at the State Capitol.
“I feel really grateful to be included in this,” Perissi says. “I take it very seriously to be a voice in the government for our university, for Coles College, for Joel Katz, and for our program. I’m extremely honored.”
Formed in 2015 by then-Governor Nathan Deal, the advisory board’s goal is to promote Georgia’s multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry and to provide relevant advice to the state’s elected leaders. Most of the 18 advisory board members work in entertainment or in adjacent fields. The board includes representatives from film and television production studios, an entertainment law firm, a real estate firm, and a practicing musician, among others.
The sole member of the advisory board working in education, Perissi oversees Kennesaw State’s MEBUS program. MEBUS is a 24-credit certificate program offering three capstone courses in music and entertainment business as well as marketing, management, audio/video production, communication, and entrepreneurship courses that prepare students for successful careers in the entertainment industry.
Perissi views his participation in the advisory board as a way to help ensure that Georgia’s entertainment industry continues to offer exciting, rewarding careers to new college graduates.
“As an educator, I want to be an advocate for our students in terms of creating opportunities to help them get hired in our state in this great industry,” he says. “Not only in film, but in television, music, and videogame development; basically, everything offered by our program and by our colleagues here at KSU. I am highly focused on job creation in this business, in this state, as well as both nationally and internationally, and for our students at Coles College and KSU.”
Perissi launched the MEBUS program in 2010 with legendary entertainment attorney Joel A. Katz, who represents a variety of high-profile artists such as Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Buffett, the Jackson family, and Kenny Chesney. A professional musician with more than 15 years of touring experience, Perissi is an entertainment industry veteran with strong relationships to local and national entertainers and businesses. He is a Kennesaw State alum with a degree in media studies.
During the induction ceremony, Governor Brian Kemp expressed his gratitude at having such an experienced collection of experts helping guide the state’s entertainment industry.
“The entertainment industry really makes Georgia the best state to live, work, and play in the country,” Kemp said. “It adds to our state’s business environment…and keeps our economy diverse and fun. I want to tell you all ‘thank you for your willingness to serve.’”
Georgia has become a national leader in film and television production since the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act was signed into law in 2005. The incentive provides a 20 percent state income tax credit to any entertainment production that invests at least $500,000 in a single tax year. Thanks to the incentive, the film and television industry alone directly employs about 16,000 Georgians and contributes approximately $2.9 billion to the state's economy, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which also estimates that thousands of Georgians are working in jobs indirectly supported by film and TV productions.
While Georgia’s entertainment industry has been thriving for more than a decade, Perissi says it is only now becoming mature. His role with the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office advisory board allows him to be a part of that growth, while always keeping students first.
“Georgia’s entertainment industry has so many things going for it,” he says. We’re building an indigenous workforce that is only now starting to really get going – for the benefit of our students.”