Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

Founder
Academic Partnerships

Privately Held; 201-500 employees; Higher Education industry
2008 – Present (4 years) Dallas, TX

Academic Partnerships helps public universities deliver their traditional degree programs online, supporting the universities at all stages of the process. The company is guided by the principle that the opportunities presented through distance learning make higher education more accessible and achievable for students in the U.S. and globally.

Founder
Whitney International University System

Education Management industry
2005 – Present (7 years) Miami, Florida

Whitney University System invests in top universities across Latin America. Though these institutions, affordable and high-quality degree programs are delivered to all socio-economic groups, providing a post-secondary opportunity to many students who would not otherwise receive one. Whitney has acquired or invested in universities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Argentina, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Whitney institutions serve almost 200,000 college students annually.

Founder
Voyager Expanded Learning

Public Company; 201-500 employees; VLCY; Primary/Secondary Education industry
1995 – 2005 (10 years) Dallas, Texas

Voyager provides reading programs to America’s elementary schools, primarily in large urban school districts. The company became one of the fastest growing education companies of its type in the U.S. and today helps over 4 million students annually learn to read. Voyager was sold in January 2005 to a New York Stock Exchange company.

Founder
Wyndham Foods Inc.

1985 – 1992 (7 years) Houston, Texas

In 1985, Wyndham Foods was founded and became nation’s third largest cookie maker and supplier of confectionaries. Among its many acquisitions, Wyndham acquired Murray Bakery Products, the largest producer of Girl Scout cookies; Zatarain's, a hundred year old New Orleans-based food and spice company; Plantation Foods and Roush Products Company, a leading specialty breads company under the brand name Country Hearth. Wyndham Foods was sold in 1992 to President Enterprises Corp., Taiwan's largest integrated food company.

Co-Founder
United Meridian Corporation (UMC)

1987 – 2002 (15 years) Houston, Texas

United Meridian was founded in 1986 and grew into one of the five largest independent oil and gas companies in the US. UMC engaged in the exploration, development, production, and acquisition of natural gas and crude oil across North America. It also had major exploration and development activities in West Africa's Cote d'Ivoire, and Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and Bangladesh. United Meridian went public on the New York Stock Exchange and eventually was acquired by Devon Energy Corporation in a transaction valued at approximately $5.6 billion.

Co-Founder
Tracor

1986 – 1999 (13 years) Austin, Texas

Co-founded Westmark Systems, a defense and aerospace conglomerate. Westmark acquired Tracor, the first Austin, Texas-based company to go public on a New York Stock Exchange. Subsequent to the acquisition, the company operated under the name of Tracor. Tracor designed and manufactured integrated weapons systems and was a major contractor to the U.S. Navy focused on anti-submarine warfare systems. The company provided drones for the Air Force and advanced electronics for Apache helicopters and fighter planes. It also made re-entry vehicles for nuclear weapons and designed guidance systems for missiles. Tracor was eventually acquired by Marconi Electronic Systems (MES), a subsidiary of General Electric Company. Following the purchase of MES by British Aerospace in November 1999, Tracor became BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions.

Co-Founder
Mason Best Company

1984-1990 (6 years) Dallas, Texas

Mason Best was founded by Randy Best and well-known banker and financier Elvis Mason in 1984. The company was fashioned after the British merchant banks of the 18th and 19th centuries and focused on diverse sectors through the formation of industry-specific holding companies. Mason Best engaged in global commerce on behalf of prominent families including the Rockefeller and Tisch families of New York, the Crown and Wrigley families of Chicago, the Dedman and Crow families of Dallas, and many others around the world. Mason Best holding companies had a cumulative enterprise value of approximately $8.4 billion.

Founder
Surgicare / Medical Care International

1982 – 1989 (7 years) Houston, Texas

Founded in 1982, Surgicare was a pioneer of outpatient surgery. Through a merger, the company became Medical Care International, the largest operator of outpatient surgery centers in the United States. At the time, outpatient surgery was a disruptive innovation, reducing the cost of many surgical procedures traditionally performed in acute care hospitals by 40 to 80%. The company became one of the top performing public healthcare companies. It later entered into a landmark joint venture with Richard Rainwater’s Columbia Healthcare Corporation and was eventually absorbed by HCA, which owns and operates over 200 hospitals and other healthcare facilities in 24 states, England and Switzerland. Medical Care Internationals’ innovations in patient care and approach to ambulatory surgery became industry standards.

Founder
Agrow Credit Corporation, Southwest Feedyard & BarG Feeders

1978 – 1988 (10 years) Houston, Texas

An agricultural conglomerate consisting of an Agrow Credit Corporation (agricultural bank), Southwest Feedyard (cattle feed yards), BarG Feeders (swine production facilities), Agrow Swine (a grain trading company), Emery Grain Corporation (pure-bred cattle operations, ranches and farm land). By integrating these components, this conglomerate became very successful with sales topping $200 million by the early 1980s.

Founder
Art Conglomerate

1970 – 1996 (26 years) Houston, Texas

I built an art firm based on the acquisition of original paintings from dozens of contemporary American artists. We published the images as limited edition prints, greeting cards and art books, eventually selling the originals through a chain of fine art galleries in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming and California. By controlling the original works of art, the art group grew into an integrated art marketing company and became the largest of its kind. The group also included a bronze foundry for casting sculptures and two art magazines, Southwest Art and Art West. I retained divisions of this company for over 30 years.

Founder
Gold Lance Corporation

1965 – 1971 (6 years) Houston, Texas

While in college, I founded a company that manufactured high school and college class rings. Through a disruptive marketing concept the company sold its rings through retail jewelry stores, overturning the traditional distribution model of all class rings being purchased at high schools once a year. Gold Lance shortened the delivery time from 6 months to 6 weeks and offered an unprecedented variety of stones, types of gold and choices in design. The company became one of the fastest growing jewelry companies in the US and was sold to Beatrice Foods a few years after I graduated from college. Later, the company re-gained its independence and is flourishing today on the verge of its 50th anniversary.

Founder
Collegiate Diamonds of America (CDA)

1963 – 1967 (4 years) Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas Area

I founded my first company with two friends while in college. CDA marketed engagement rings on college campuses across Texas and Louisiana with offices at University of Texas at Austin and LSU in Baton Rouge. The business flourished as large numbers of students bought diamond rings from over 50 student representatives. Soon parents and relatives of students were buying rings and other diamond jewelry at discounted prices from CDA as the network of student reps expanded.