Odin Clack ’02 was just looking for a hobby that would spur his creativity. Instead, his pastime has combined with Clack’s entrepreneurial spirit to turn into Odin Leather Goods, a thriving regional brand.

The seeds of the small business were planted in 2012 when Clack, a corporate director of online marketing, went into a leather shop on a whim and picked up the tools and materials he needed to make a laptop sleeve. 

Soon, his experiment bloomed into a hobby that began to consume a good portion of his evenings and weekends. “Hobbies are expensive,” he said. “I started wondering, ‘How can I get a return?’”

The Dallas-area resident quickly figured out how to turn his passion for leatherworking into a business and now makes a significant side income from his creations. He also has leveraged a small budget, his contacts, and social media to double his business and gain loyal customers around the world.

Clack – who handles all of the production, marketing and shipping – primarily focused on improving his processes in order to increase production. When he started working with leather, he made two to three wallets a week. Now he produces more than 50 wallets along with other types of leather goods in that time span. “I ship 20-30 orders per week. Half are outside the state of Texas,” he said. “It is also normal for me to have bulk orders each week that consist of 50-100 pieces. I would have thought this was impossible four years ago given that I’m a one man shop. By focusing on efficiently managing resources and my processes I’ve been able to dramatically improve production speed.”

Clack currently is focusing on making Oden Leather Goods into a significant regional brand. He also is starting to do co-branded work with a variety of well-established companies, including Southwest Airlines, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, Jack Mason watches, Renaissance Hotels, and Rolls Royce.

Adding fuel to the entrepreneurial spirit

Clack, who earned a degree in marketing, credits Mays and Texas A&M University for instilling a strong work ethic and fueling his entrepreneurial spirit. He especially appreciates Mays internships, which gave him the opportunity to get real-world experience.  

As a student, he held a staff position in Texas A&M’s Department of Multiultural Services Department and served as co-chair for the Southwestern Black Leadership Conference. During his time in school, Clack also started a few businesses, including a small company in which he created web designs. “I came out of Texas A&M with a resume that showed a history of production, a history of work, and a history of success,” he said. “And I had numbers to back it up instead of just having a resume full of activities.”

New horizons opening up

Unlike many entrepreneurs who have a side business, Clack doesn’t want to eliminate his day job. “I enjoy what I do, and I’ve put the last 10-15 years into building my professional career,” he said. “My side business is a way to keep my creativity going, generate some additional income, and network.”

In an unexpected turn, Clack is beginning to share what he has learned from Mays, his day job and his small business with other entrepreneurs who are part of the maker’s movement.  “I have met a whole lot of great people and worked with a ton of great businesses in the area (through Odin Leather Goods),” he said. “Some of those contacts now are turning into consulting gigs. They’re looking at how I have grown my business and they’re asking, ‘How can I grow my business too?’”

Clack believes the combination of entrepreneurship and creativity offers a very viable way to earn a living. “In this day and age, with very little money in your pocket and a little bit of determination, you can generate significant income just off of good ideas, focus and a lot of hustle.”

 

Categories: Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

For Roger Montemayor ’99, entrepreneurship is synonymous with confidence.

His guiding question is simple: “Do you believe enough in yourself to take on great risk for great gain?”

Believing in himself to take risks has been integral to his success in taking the helm of his father’s company, Victory Insurance, and growing it to the point of attracting the attention of the one of the largest brokerage firms in the world, Arthur J. Gallagher, where he is now area president.

Since he was a college student majoring in business management, he has had all the makings of an entrepreneurial spirit — drive, passion, and a love of leading others to accomplish great things.

“I knew early on that I wanted my performance to control my destiny and took a job offer from my dad to work in sales,” he said. He worked for his father’s company Victory Insurance selling commercial property and casualty to businesses in around the Houston area.

In 2009, Montemayor decided to purchase the agency from his dad and his partner.

“Immediately after he closed, I formulated a plan to diversify our business and focus heavily on growth. I created a personal lines division, that focused on high net worth, complex personal insurance needs. I also opened up a group benefits division, Victory Benefits Advisors.”

Montemayor said that both of these divisions created instant organic growth for the company. By 2016, he had doubled the top line growth of his agency.

Montemayor said he has always had a passion to build business and to lead. “I think it’s because I love the pressure, I love the hustle, I love competition and I’ve never been complacent.”

Montemayor easily recalls a highlight of his career: In 2016, when Fortune 500 company Arthur J. Gallagher sought out with interest in a merger.

The rewards of his endeavors with Victory Insurance have been vast for Montemayor, especially when it comes to the people with whom he works. “I love the responsibility of taking care of my employees,” he said. “It’s extremely fulfilling to know that if I do my job the way that I should, many others will also share in the success.”

Montemayor also underscored that his background at Mays has been invaluable in helping him succeed. “The environment at Mays promoted competition and cultivated a drive that prepared me for the real world.” He credited the community of professors and mentors who were attentive to his preparation and growth.

He added that that the strength of the Aggie network has been crucial. “As Aggies, we take care of each other and we do business with each other. I’ve created so many professional relationships with Aggies, it’s unbelievable.”

 

 

 

Categories: Alumni, Center for Executive Development, Entrepreneurship, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Several research projects by University Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard Berry at Mays Business School have come to fruition.

Berry, whose research focuses on improving service in cancer care, has been involved with multiple studies on improving the quality of end-of-life care for patients with advanced illness.

Unlocking intrinsic hope in patients with advanced illness

Can cancer patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing?

In an article published in The BMJ Opinion (British Medical Journal) titled “The Dual Nature of Hope at the End of Life,” Berry and his co-authors suggest clinicians can help patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing. They differentiate between two types of hope: focused (focused on a cure and recovery) and intrinsic (peace with circumstances and ability to live in the moment).

…Read more

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M


Marketing Ph.D. student Brady Hodges was awarded second place and $750 at the International Business Pedagogy Workshops Poster Presentation at Georgia State University. 

The competition was part of a workshop held by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

According to the CIBER website, the poster sessions were designed to showcase and share cutting-edge practices in teaching international business. Poster proposals were evaluated by a peer review committee following a double-blind process. Criteria included importance of the topic to the audience, novelty, creativity, and adaptability for use by other faculty members. …Read more

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Willie Dennis, a Class of 2018 Full-Time MBA candidate at Mays Business School, was named among the 2017 scholarship recipients of the Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF). He was awarded $15,000.

According to TBHF guidelines, eligible candidates for the scholarship exhibit entrepreneurial aspirations, demonstrate a propensity for leadership in academic and campus activities and entrepreneurial achievements, and have good academic credentials.

Recipients were chosen after a round of nominations and then an interview process. A final recipient for each scholarship was selected to represent each of the participating universities.

Amber Acosta, associate director of the Full-Time MBA program, described Dennis as an active and contributing member of the MBA program. “His valuable insight in the classroom is matched only by his commitment to getting a well-rounded education,” she said. “Everything Willie does, he strives to do his absolute best. I have no doubt that Willie will be in the Texas Business Hall of Fame someday. We are so proud of him for receiving this prestigious scholarship.”

Previous Mays students to win TBHF scholarships include Full-Time MBA graduate Lloyd McGuire and Business Honors and Finance major Christopher Bybee ’17.

Categories: Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

In support of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Foundation has received a commitment of $25 million from the Mays Family Foundation, the largest single commitment in the school’s history. The gift is part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million, including a $15 million commitment in 1996 that resulted in the school’s renaming to Mays Business School.


The $25 million contribution will develop students’ entrepreneurial capabilities through a new Lowry Mays Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy program with the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and will support several areas of innovation in Mays Business School, including the proposed expansion of the school’s headquarters, the Wehner Building, and the school’s study abroad programs.

…Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Curiosity has always been at the heart of Steve Harding ’84’s career. Just after graduating from Texas A&M University with a business degree in accounting and management, he took a job in audit at KPMG Peat Marwick to learn about as many different businesses as possible. Later he took his inquisitiveness with him as he moved into the corporate real estate industry and held controller positions at privately held commercial and residential real estate companies, where he became interested in understanding the financial impact of engineering decisions in buildings such as the Dallas and Houston Gallerias, and finally to his current role as a chief financial officer.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Business Honors, Departments, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Two Mays Business School faculty members are in the inaugural class of Texas A&M University’s Presidential Impact Fellows. Sean T. McGuire, assistant professor of accounting, and Stephen Courtright, assistant professor of management, were among the 24 announced by President Michael K. Young and recognized on March 7.

McGuire

Young and Provost Karan Watson announced the award, created to support faculty members who are rising stars in their fields and who personify the commitments Young outlined in his October 2016 “State of the University Address” – to advance knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world. The award recipients come from across Texas A&M’s 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses, and comprehensive University Libraries.

“Today, we acknowledge a new investment in the excellence of select faculty who through their scholarship, personal commitment and results demonstrate they are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact towards creating a better world,” Young said. “I am proud to name these faculty as the inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows.”

The Presidential Impact Fellows program includes the use of the honorific title for life, and an annual stipend of $25,000 each of the next three fiscal years to accelerate each recipient’s pedagogy,

Courtright

research and service impacts. Identified by his or her dean and confirmed by academic leadership, these faculty members are considered candidates for continued or new national and international acclaim and will utilize this honor to participate in national dialogue, advance their scholarship and create new partnerships.

“This honor furthers our belief that these faculty are and should be considered among the nation’s very best and will enable greater recognition for their excellence,” said provost and executive vice president Watson.

The 2017 recipients will be honored at a March 21 ceremony and will be given a memento of glass art reflecting the synergy of transformational learning, discovery & innovation, and impact formed by Texas A&M commitments to creating a better world.

Categories: Accounting, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

The annual Retailing Summit, hosted by Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at the Westin Galleria Dallas, united retailers from across the United States and Taiwan. The CRS is based at Mays Business School.

On Oct. 13-14, executives from PetSmart, Walmart, Fishpeople Seafood, Carter’s, the Dallas Cowboys, Learfield, Tuesday Morning, Bridgestone, CVS Health, Groove Jones and newly formed Mizzen+Main discussed “driving customer-centric retail.”

Becoming the trusted partner to pet parents and pets 

Kicking off the first day, Eran Cohen, a 30+ year fashion veteran and current Executive Vice President of Customer Experience at PetSmart outlined the “big dog” retailer’s approach to creating a customer-centric world.

As the #1 specialty retailer in a $64 billion dollar pet industry, PetSmart has a wide portfolio that includes more than 1,500 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

…Read more

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

Aggieland Credit Union donated $10,000 to the Master of Science (MS) Business program at Texas A&M University to fund five new companies created by graduate students enrolled in the integrated business experience course. The course is a key component of the “learning business by doing business” approach of the program at Mays Business School.

In the first eight weeks of the fall 2016 semester, students in the course identified a product or service they would like to sell, conducted market research to determine how their product would be received, developed a business plan for a new company and requested up to $2,000 in start-up funds from loan officers of Aggieland Credit Union. The learning objective for the students is creation, refinement and delivery of a fundamentally sound business case. The measure of their success was the outcome of the loan decision.

Each of the five teams was successful with their respective pitches, and Aggieland Credit Union agreed to provide the necessary capital for each company to move forward in executing their business. “The integrated business experience is a remarkable opportunity for students to gain insights and perspectives about running a business that are difficult to obtain in a classroom setting. Our team is delighted to be part of making this experience possible for the students,” said Jason Goodman, senior vice president/COO at Aggieland Credit Union, who delivered the check on Oct. 7.

…Read more

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MS Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized