trifusiondevicesTriFusion Devices, the winner of the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), the world’s richest and largest student startup competition, was invited to ring the opening bell Monday at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City. Cofounders Blake Teipel and Brandon Sweeney participated in the morning ceremony, along with representatives from RBPC and Texas A&M University, including Philippe Hercot, executive professor and director of Aggies on Wall Street at Mays Business School.

TriFusion Devices was the first Texas A&M team to win the Rice competition, the world’s largest student-centered business plan competition. The team received checks totalling nearly $400,000.  

The team illustrates a collaboration between several colleges at Texas A&M, and it bolsters the arena of health care – a priority at Texas A&M and at Mays. “So many faculty and staff members invested in these young people. The team’s success is a beautiful example of collaborating across the university and beyond,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “It aligns nicely with our primary mission of advancing the world’s prosperity by developing such areas as entrepreneurship and health care.”

Their project was based on breakthrough additive manufacturing products and services aimed at simplifying and expediting the process of manufacturing custom prosthetic devices. The team applies a revolutionary, patent-pending process that fuses together 3D printed parts to next-generation biomedical devices. The result is a durable, lightweight, custom-fit prosthetic device created within 48 hours, saving time, labor, and materials by eliminating the residual limb plaster-casting process and the current need for test-fit sockets.

TriFusion Devices got their start through Startup Aggieland, a globally recognized, award-winning business incubator and accelerator program at Texas A&M. Through the mentorship and experience provided by Startup Aggieland and other university initiatives, such as the National Science Foundation I-Corps program, TriFusion’s founders were able to incubate their ideas and prepare for the commercial world. In addition to the Rice University Business Plan Competition, TriFusion Devices has received several other top honors, including winning the 2016 Baylor New Venture Competition, the Raymond Ideas Challenge at Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and the SEC Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition.

Don Lewis, the team’s mentor and coach at Startup Aggieland, said the team has a promising future. “Be on the lookout for this company,” he said. “They are a team to watch because of what they do. They’ve created a revolutionary way to 3D print plastics that are extremely durable and strong, and they are crafting them into very useful objects, like the prosthetics.”

The students plan to open a manufacturing production facility within the next few months in the Bryan-College Station area, Lewis said. Britton Eastburn, a Mays Business School MD/MBA student who was on the team at the time of the victory, has resumed medical school.  

TriFusion Devices competed against more than 750 applicants  on 42 teams from the world’s top universities before 300 judges over a three-day period to emerge as the top startup company at RBPC.

“We are grateful for the support, guidance, and encouragement that we’ve received from the Texas A&M University and Rice University programs,” Teipel said. “The experience and coaching we have received as we’ve launched our venture have proven immensely valuable to our success.”


Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Health Care, I-Corps, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) has recently been restructured. Don Lewis has been appointed as director of the Blackstone LaunchPad Initiative at Texas A&M University.

Chuck Hinton, who works with the NSF I-Corps program at Startup Aggieland, will assume many of the responsibilities of the assistant director of Startup Aggieland. He will also continue to serve the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Corps (I-Corps) program.

Earlier this year, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation expanded its campus entrepreneurship program to include Texas A&M University along with the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas at Dallas. Established by the foundation’s three-year, $3 million grant, the partnership between the three institutions will introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and offer opportunities to the universities’ 130,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. The CNVE was tasked with leading the initiative across campus.

The goals of the initiative are to identify 10 percent of the student body and engage them in a meaningful way in the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus, from one-on-one mentoring to entrepreneurial-oriented events and more.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Management, Mays Business, News, Staff, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M


Ben Welch

To strengthen ties with its corporate partners in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, Texas A&M’s Mays Business School hosted more than 60 companies at AT&T Stadium – home of the Dallas Cowboys – on Sept. 23.

The focus of the reception and networking event was to explore opportunities with the Center for Executive Development (CED) at Mays.

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, Mays Dean Eli Jones and Mays Assistant Dean for Executive Education Ben Welch spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and how Mays Business School is stepping up to provide it.

The CED offers executive certificates in business essentials, energy, health care, construction and cyber data in programs at the College Station campus and on the sites of the clients around the world. The programs are geared toward individuals who are serving in managerial/leadership roles who would like to refine their higher-level business skills and those who are preparing to enter a management-level position.

Young said the high caliber and strong work ethic of Texas A&M students and faculty have affirmed his decision to come here 18 months ago. He called it a “unique and extraordinary institution,” where the work the faculty is doing is of global import. “They are going to teach you how to use the knowledge and how to work with others. The students come to this university wanting to be citizens of substance, and they’re working with faculty members who feel the same way.”

The event was part of an expanded outreach to Mays alumni and corporate partners. The guests were corporate leaders from the Dallas area, and Jones said the business school partners with corporate leaders. “You’re here because you’re curious and you want to take your organization to the next level,” he said. “We at Mays can help you do that.”

Mays recently set a vision to  “advance the world’s prosperity,” building on three Grand Challenges: Entrepreneurship, energy and healthcare. Faculty members with expertise in those areas were available at the Dallas event to visit with the guests about how Mays is addressing them.

In his keynote speech, Welch – who has led the CED since 1990 – described five things that will guarantee return on investment: Priorities, respect, integrity, determination and enthusiasm. He said it is essential that each person express his priorities to those around him.

He targeted his message to the executives in the room who are developing their employees. “We want you to come away with what is integral at Texas A&M, and that is these five characteristics,” he said. “We want you to look at partnering with Mays Business School for one day, five days or a series of classes.”

Welch described the Leading Champions Program, a new experiential learning program that will launch in April. Mays and the Texas A&M Athletics Department are partnering to give participants exclusive access to athletic staff, facilities and social events. Enrollment will be limited to 30 people, and a highlight of the event was a drawing in which Debbie Hinson from Accenture received a free enrollment to the program.

Nancy Cramer, who received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1984 and is now president of Dallas-based Correct Course Consulting, said she enjoyed meeting with Mays leaders and learning about the school’s programs. “I look forward to renewing my relationships with the school and connecting with the students and faculty there,” she said.


Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Damien Harmon delivered his message about building trust with customers — who he called “boss”— to a packed house of nearly 500 students, faculty and staff at Mays Business School on Sept. 7. Harmon, the vice president of operations at Bridgestone Retail Operations, was the featured speaker of the 19th annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series, hosted by The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.


Journey onward

A father of six and a former NFL player, Harmon began his career in retail while working as a store manager for Best Buy. Overseeing $16 million in sales annually, he demonstrated his ability to lead and know different types of people. He was soon selected to oversee the opening of Best Buy operations in China and Turkey.

From an early age, Harmon’s success was credited to his mother for her entrepreneurial spirit and determination to see her children do well in life. Growing up in small town Gary, Indiana, academic study became the promise to a broader world. Through his mother’s encouragement, he developed an outside-the-box mindset that would propel him forward.

Logging upwards of a million miles a year to implement and grow Best Buy’s international business, Harmon developed expertise in marketing and store operations with the electronics giant, before joining Bridgestone Retail Operations.

Harmon’s eagerness to embrace challenge became the foundation for his current role as vice president of operations, leading to development of its strategic customer experience platform. He also maintains direct responsibility over retail operations, supply chain, IT, customer retention and service capability. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

The Petroleum Ventures Program has kicked off its inaugural semester with 25 petroleum engineering students, several finance students and a 23-member advisory board.

The interdisciplinary partnership between the business and engineering schools at Texas A&M University started with a $12 million gift from Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92, who gave $6 million each to the finance (FINC) and petroleum engineering (PETE) departments. The petroleum engineering graduates own WildHorse Resources in Houston. Their goal is to teach finance skills to PETE students and petroleum engineering skills to FINC students.

Anthony Bahr

Anthony Bahr

“I’d say we are off to a good start, and the advisory board members are excited at what is to come,” said Detlef Hallermann, a Mays Business School clinical professor who oversees the program. “What I am hearing from the board is that it’s been a long time coming. We’ve made the first step.  Now the board is going to help us look at what we are doing and provide direction for where we wish to go next.”

Students wrote multiple analytical analyses, reviewed by advisory board members prior to being  accepted into the program. Approximately 100 students attended the informational sessions and more than 60 students applied.

Princewill Imouokhome, a sophomore pursuing a bachelor’s in finance, said he was “immediately both interested and curious” about the program and the current state of the oil and gas industry’s impact on it. He applied because he wants to be involved in the energy industry.

“I saw an opportunity to gain both a competitive edge and to leave my comfort zone,” he said. “In my time in the program I have already seen a change in the way I see many things that a contingent upon the energy industry. I hope to gain knowledge, new perspectives on problem solving, and exposure to situations that force me to grow as an individual and a professional.”

Bahr said he is happy to hear about the popularity of the program. “I’m thrilled to welcome the inaugural class of business and engineering students into the Petroleum Ventures Program, and excited these students have made a significant commitment to their future careers in the energy business,” he said.

When fully implemented, the program will offer a Certificate in Petroleum Ventures for both PETE and FINC students. Hallermann is also director of the Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) and the Reliant Trading Center.

The program will have a profound impact on Mays at many levels, Hallermann said. It provides :

  • Increased visibility of Mays programs
  • Integration of engineering students in Mays undergraduate classes – mostly in finance, but also in other disciplines
  • Strategic importance
  • Groundwork for other programs

The advisory board’s first meeting is Oct. 6-7.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School invests significantly in global study opportunities for its undergraduate and graduate students. In 2015, the 599 Mays students who studied abroad comprised 13 percent of the Texas A&M students who did so. Within Mays, about 24 percent of graduating seniors had an overseas study experience.

A number of programs are coordinated by Mays’ Center for International Business Studies (CIBS). Julian Gaspar, CIBS executive director, explained, “CIBS’ mission is to empower Mays students to become globally competent and operate at a professional level in intercultural and international contexts.”

CIBS is a member of the national Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) Network: a select group of 17 universities, chosen by the U.S. Department of Education.  


“At Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, we believe that awareness of global issues is just as important as knowledge of accounting, finance, management, marketing, management information systems or supply chain issues… business is truly a global enterprise,” said Dean Eli Jones. “For anyone aspiring to leadership of a business – especially one that is has a global reach – cross-cultural skills and global competence are critical.”

Last year, 14 faculty and staff members led Mays study-abroad excursions to such places as Southern Africa, Brazil, Cuba and India. ( “As leaders, we really immerse ourselves in the education of our students,” Gaspar explained. “Before you take a group abroad you recruit the students, you then take the students abroad and teach. When you are abroad with them, you’re not only their faculty member, you’re like their parent and on call 24/7.”

One program with strong Mays participation is the Texas A&M Global Business Brigades (GBB), a chapter of Global Business Brigades – the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Over the past few years, Mays GBB students have provided basic business and financial literacy to micro enterprises (primarily in Panama) to help entrepreneurs succeed.

Gaspar also explained that CIBS offers Certificates in International Business (a minor in International Business) to Mays undergraduate and graduate students. Certificates entail both international business courses as well as a study-abroad component. While most of Mays certificate programs are available to all students, the school has also worked with the Department of Petroleum Engineering for 15 years on a specialized master’s-level certificate in International Petroleum Management.

Gaspar recently announced plans to grow Mays study-abroad programs. “To impact the world, you must first know the world,” he said. “The dean’s goal is to raise the overseas study experience from the current 24 percent to 50 percent, which is possible, provided we restructure our programs accordingly.”  In Fall 2017, seven new exchange partnerships will be added in Asia/Oceania and Europe.

The growth in study-abroad programs is in part due to the generosity of Mays corporate partners and donors. Corporate partners include Phillips 66, PwC and Deloitte. A recent $200,000 gift from former students Jarrett ’93 and Tracy Anderson ’92 will assist students who go abroad to study sustainable business development programs. The II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation CIBS Excellence Endowment, created through the Texas A&M Foundation, will provide financial support to the programs that assist micro-business expansion in developing countries.

The Andersons have generously supported Mays and Texas A&M in the past: An earlier gift came from their II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation, and the couple funded an endowed Presidential Scholarship at Texas A&M. Jarrett’s degree was in business management and Tracy’s was in accounting.


Categories: Centers, Departments, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Applications for 3 Day Startup are open until Sept. 14.

3 Day Startup is a learning-by-doing campus workshop designed to teach students entrepreneurial skills within 72 hours in a hands-on environment. This year’s workshop will be held Oct. 14-16 at Startup Aggieland, a business incubator located in Research Park.

Students are encouraged to use the weekend’s risk-free environment to work on business ideas for which they have a passion and may want to pursue after the program has ended. Mentors and professors from Texas A&M University will be available throughout the weekend to help students fine-tune their businesses.

Accepted participants will also attend a boot camp two weeks before the event, where they will learn key entrepreneurial principles and best practices for maximizing their experience in the program.

Texas A&M’s 3 Day Startup program is affiliated with 3 Day Startup, Inc., a nonprofit that helps teams run 3 Day Startup events by providing tools, resources and consulting. Learn more.


Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

Two long-time employees retired Aug. 31 from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, which is part of Mays Business School.


William “Judon” Fambrough stepped down after 39 years with the center. He has been one of the center’s most prolific writers and one of its most requested speakers. An attorney, Judon has written extensively about Texas property rights, including oil and gas, wind power, hunting leases and landowner liability.

Fambrough was a senior lecturer. He has held a joint appointment with the Agricultural Economics Department, where he taught Oil and Gas Law and Agricultural Law. He served in Vietnam as a Forward Observer, where he earned the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. He used his GI Bill to attend law school.

Assistant Director Claudia Orum retired after 27 years of service with the Texas A&M System.


Orum joined the Real Estate Center staff in March 2013, bringing with her 24 years of Texas A&M experience and 12 years of banking and corporate experience. She has overseen the business and financial aspects of the center, as well as the human resource functions.

Before joining the Real Estate Center staff, Orum was with Mays’ Center for International Business Studies for 15 years and the Texas Forest Service for eight. Prior to that, she worked for 12 years with the private sector in Houston.

Categories: Centers, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M

Dean Eli Jones recently announced appointments of new leadership. Duane Ireland was appointed to executive associate dean after serving in an interim capacity for the past year. Annie McGowan was named Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Arvind Mahajan (FINC) will take the lead as associate dean for graduate programs and Mike Kinney (ACCT) will become assistant dean. Mike Shaub will become director of the Professional Program in Accounting (PPA).

Duane IrelandIreland served in an interim capacity for the past year. “The interim position allowed us to get to know each other as colleagues and close work partners and enabled members of the college to work more closely with Duane in his new role,” Jones said. “The feedback I received was very positive.”

Ireland is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the Benton Cocanaugher Chair in Business at Texas A&M University. He joined the Department of Management in Mays in 2004. Previously, he served two years as head of the management department.

Annie McGowan was named Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Effective Sept. 1, McGowan will head the new Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which aims to realize Mays’ strategic vision as a vibrant learning organization that respects differences and embraces connectedness. “Annie will work with members of our college in the areas of cultural sensitivity and inclusion, diversity in student recruitment and retention and community relations,” Jones said.
McGowan is an associate professor of accounting and has served as the director of the Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) at Mays since 2008. Mike Shaub, Clinical Professor of Accounting, will take over as PPA director when McGowan steps into her new role.

29284304856_c097c34d4c_z“I am very excited to lead Mays Business School’s strategic effort to foster an inclusive environment where future leaders develop the cultural integrity to honor and leverage individual differences to achieve a competitive advantage,” McGowan said. “If academic institutions are to sustainably supply sufficient numbers of trained graduates to meet the needs of the workforce, diversity must be embraced as a mission imperative. Further, empirical evidence confirms that more diverse learning environments lead to improved problem solving and critical thinking skills because students that learn in them are better able to conceptualize multiple perspectives.”

McGowan will report to Dean Jones and work closely with Christine Stanley, Vice President and Associate Provost of Texas A&M University.

Changes were also announced in top administration of Mays MBA programs, which will have two academic leaders for the first time.

Presidential-Award-Pic-March-2016-IMG_5272Finance Professor Arvind Mahajan will take the lead as associate dean for graduate programs and Accounting Associate Professor Mike Kinney will become assistant dean. Both positions begin Aug. 1.

After many years of distinguished service in various leadership roles including serving the past year as the interim associate dean for graduate programs, Bala Shetty, an information and operations management professor and holder of the Cullen Trust for Higher Education Chair in Business, will return to a faculty position.

Mike KinneyMahajan, a Texas A&M faculty member since 1980, is a Texas A&M University System Regents Professor, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence and Lamar Savings Professor of Finance. He has served as director of the Aggies on Wall Street Investment Banking Program and the MS (Finance) Program, and as associate director of the Center for International Business Studies and the Center for International Business Education and Research.

Kinney is a KPMG Fellow. He teaches in the MBA and Executive MBA programs and the executive development programs, and has taught in the PPA. He currently serves as coordinator of the Ph.D. Program in Accounting.

Categories: Centers, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Sixteen veteran entrepreneurs from across several states spent hours last week studying and learning the ins and outs of launching their new business endeavors through Texas A&M University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. After presenting their business plans to their peers and esteemed mentors, the participants each went home excited to begin their personal and professional passions, taking along with them the wisdom, advice and much-appreciated guidance shared with them over the eight-day residency.

In its ninth year to be hosted by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), the 2016 EBV program once again served veterans with a military service-linked disability who have started or are interested in starting their own business. The national EBV program was launched in 2007 by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and in 2008, added Texas A&M University to a consortium that now includes 10 additional universities across the nation. Each university in the consortia makes a strong commitment to support this nation’s veterans and help to guide them down the path of starting and maintaining a successful business venture.

At Texas A&M, the EBV week is filled with expert lectures, one-on-one mentoring from volunteer entrepreneurs, access to tremendous resources, a lot of food and a full dose of the Spirit of Aggieland. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Departments, Management, Mays Business, Programs, Texas A&M