Written by Jeff Reid, Executive Director of the WT Enterprise Center.
As a freshman sitting in Introduction to Business during the fall of 1974, I never imagined my career would follow the path that it has. You see, I had a plan. My plan was to attend WT, earn a business degree, enjoy college life along the way and then start my own construction company. I was learning the practical side of construction through employment with several local contractor and really enjoyed the process of starting with a vacant lot and finishing with a completed house ready for the new owner. I knew that if I wanted to start and grow a business I needed a business degree and am so thankful for the education I received at WT. I was not opposed to the corporate world, I just wanted to try my hand at starting and running my own company. In some respect I guess I was an entrepreneur and was not even aware of it. It is interesting how things work out in life and how the course you have set for yourself takes many unexpected turns.
After successfully operating a custom home construction business for a number of years in Wheeler County, we moved back to Canyon in the fall of 1987. Building was in a bit of a slump at that time and I decided it would be good for my family if I was to get a “regular job” with steadier pay and benefits. I was very fortunate to land a job with the First National Bank of Amarillo as a credit analyst in the spring of 1988. David Terry and I first met professionally and became friends when we worked for Bank of America. I was a lender in their Canyon banking center and David was a stock broker. He came into my office one day and described an opportunity which had been presented to him, working for Don Taylor as a consultant at the WT Small Business Development Center. I was intrigued and asked if there might not be two jobs available. David accepted Don’s offered and ultimately they founded the WT Enterprise Center in 2001. David and I stayed in contact and we were both hopeful there would be an opportunity to work together again. In April of 2003 I had the chance to go to work for the WT Small Business Development Center and began the next phase of my career. It is truly an honor to work for your Alma Mater.
It has been a delight to be part of the WT Enterprise Center team since October of 2007. We have made many improvements to the building and as most good entrepreneurial companies do, we have changed our business model a time or two. These changes have taken place with our clients in mind and a genuine desire to assist the entrepreneurial community. We were blessed last year to receive awards of achievement from the International Business Innovation Association and the International Economic Development Council. These awards represent the dedication of the Enterprise Center team, the support of our stakeholders and most importantly our great clients. Although much has been accomplished, opportunities for the future abound. By this time next year, our new administrative building should be complete which in addition to our offices will have a dedicated co-working space and new training room. Other areas of opportunity are enhanced regional collaboration, heightened community awareness and the continuation of being recognized as a world class incubator.
As I transition into the role of Executive Director, I would like to thank David for bringing me on board and now entrusting me with the leadership of what he and Don started fifteen years ago. It has been most enjoyable and I eagerly look forward to the future as we help our clients build great companies which enhances the economic health of our region.