Here is a brief look at some of the recent news stories that featured Neeley students, staff and faculty. For a complete look at Neeley in the News, check out In the News Archives.

Dallas News
July 1, 2013
TCU and SMU undergraduate business schools ranked among top 30 in the nation  - By Robert Miller

Two North Texas undergraduate business schools fared well in the latest academic ranking conducted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University was ranked 28th among 145 undergraduate business school programs that participated in the survey.

Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business followed at 30th.

Among Texas undergraduate business programs, University of Texas at Austin ranked highest at ninth place.

Texas A&M University was 33rd. 


Star Telegram
July 1, 2013
TCU students have bright future with high-tech party glasses  - By Jessamy Brown

Three TCU entrepreneurs hoped to raise $15,000 to start manufacturing their high-tech party glasses through Kickstarter, a crowd-funding website for donors to chip in to help launch upstarts.

It took six days to blow past that goal. And by the time the Kickstarter campaign ended at midnight July 1, 1,813 investors had pledged $78,128 to help the team make their prototypes a reality.

Their project is DropShades, light-up party glasses that react to music using “audio-responsive” technology. The glasses look a little like dancing venetian blinds. They don’t have lenses; they are based on a shutter-style frame with horizontal bars. The glasses sense the intensity of the music and LED lights flash to the beat .

“It has been a tough project for us but we love the product and like the industry were going into,” said DropShades’ chief engineer, Nick Cate, 22, a Tustin, Calif., native who graduated from TCU in May with a degree in mechanical engineering. “We see it as an awesome learning experience and we are having a great time, honestly.”

The project raised the most money of any Fort Worth-based projects listed on Kickstarter’s website.

The partners in Fort Worth-based DropShades are CEO Harrison Herndon, 21, a TCU senior studying political science and energy; and Skylar Perkins, 22, a TCU senior studying entrepreneurial business. Perkins, of Laguna Beach, Calif., is the company’s chief operating officer.

After making six prototypes, the men are finalizing design work and expect to begin manufacturing shortly and start shipping the glasses this fall. They hope the $39.95 glasses will be a hit with young people at music festivals, concerts and clubs. They’ve already sold about 700 pairs through preorders on their website plus 1,800 more via Kickstarter.

Paper Clips and Duct Tape

The idea was born at a concert in late 2011 when Herndon spotted sound-activated shirts that lit up in response to the music. But the lights are hard to see in a crowd, he said, so the friends decided to create glasses as a way for the light show to be more visible, said Herndon, who also is a disc jockey.

Cate drilled holes into plastic sunglasses frames, mounted a circuit board onto an arm and attached electroluminescent wire to the slats. A microphone connected to a signal processor translates the sound across the slats.

“Trying to get the glasses made was a process. I was using a RadioShack soldering iron and some paper clips and duct tape,” Cate said.

Along the way, the three have learned a lot about what it takes to start a business, including hiring engineers, designing prototypes and securing insurance and patents.

“Some of the hardest things are just some of the smallest details in dealing with the manufacturing and design process,” said Herndon, an native of Overland Park, Kan. A lot of people think you can just take an idea or a prototype to a manufacturer make and say ‘make this.’ There are just a lot of moving pieces that involved bringing a product to market.”

Along the way, the team sought advice from TCU alumni and help from experts at TCU’s Neeley Entrepreneurship Center.

“These guys have really been very smart about how they approached their project,” said Brad Hancock, the center’s director. “I think they’re more focused. A lot of students at TCU and across the nation have the desire, and they may come up with an idea and they lose focus. But they kept asking questions. They kept moving the ball forward.”

Funding from the Kickstarter campaign will pay for manufacturing expenses, including building a 400-pound plastic injection mold, which is necessary to produce the first run of 5,000 glasses.

Raising Money

To get help with financing, the group turned to Kickstarter of New York, which helps people with creative projects raise money. DropShades’ page on Kickstarter features pictures of the group making the prototypes and a promotion video with footage of the glasses in use at Brownstone restaurant in the West Seventh Street development.

When the initial fund-raising goal was surpassed, DropShades added “stretch goals,” additional funding targets with reward incentives: Dropshades would give backers a microfiber protection case when they reached $25,000 in pledges, a white frame at $40,000 and a glow-in-the-dark frame at $50,000.

Pivotal to the success of the campaign were the group’s efforts through social media, engaging with supporters and piquing the interest of technology websites and blogs, Herndon said. In the final 10 hours of the campaign on June 30, they organized a “Coordinated Facebook Blitz” to recruit more backers.

They asked supporters to post a link to the DropShades Kickstarter on their Facebook page at 6 p.m. That day, they raised $5,747, the most of any day in the campaign, according to Kicktraq, a tool to track Kickstarter projects.  


CW 33 Nightcap Logo
July 23, 2013
TCU Students Invent Cool Party Glasses  

CW33 ScreenshotsWhile most students are worrying about graduating, getting a job or simply making ends meet these TCU standouts are cashing in on a hot new invention. Three TCU entrepreneurs were wanting to raise $15,000 to start building their light up party glasses through Kickstarter, a social /crowd-funding website and they got a lot more than they bargained for.

   Harrison: This is our prototype they demonstrate how the technology works so the sound of my voice makes them go up and down.

   Harrison : They will come in different colors white, black.

   Nick Cate: These are actually glow in the dark.

 Watch the interview here:







July 23, 2013
Leadership fundamentals on and off the field   - By O. Homer Erekson, John V. Roach Dean, Neeley School of Business at TCU

During different stages of my life and professional career, I have come to know many coaches, sometimes from the bleachers and other times across the table or other personal ways. These include Gary Patterson, Jim Schlossnagle and Jeff Mittie from TCU, Dean Smith from the University of North Carolina, Randy Walker from Miami University and Northwestern, Charlie Coles at Miami University, and my father Owen Erekson who coached for many years at Brenham High School and Houston Reagan High School.

These coaches have many things in common and enjoyed incredible success in numerous ways. Each can count winning teams and special bowl victories or playoff games, which are important aspects of their success. As my brother Charles notes, “There is a reason we keep score.” For those of us who are major sports fans, there is something very special about celebrating a Rose Bowl victory or joining an after-game party on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

There are other ways these coaches mark success.

Patterson, Schlossnagle and Mittie live the elements of success: emphasis on fundamentals, hard work and commitment to excellence; importance of the team; supporting causes that are important to them and their community; caring about the people around them; and valuing education and helping students find a path to success.

Dean Smith believed in the concept of team and was a champion of human rights. Some people talk about his practice of having freshmen carry team equipment and compare it to the oft-repeated story of Michael Jordan carrying the film projector and canisters of game film shortly after making the shot that won the national championship for North Carolina. This practice wasn’t about hazing, but rather about being part of a team community. Smith also championed many social and political causes, perhaps most important was his commitment to civil rights. In the 1960s he took a strong stand against segregation, integrating a well-known restaurant in Chapel Hill and recruiting the first African-American player at the University of North Carolina. Reflecting back on being that first recruit, Charlie Scott has been quoted as saying, “Coach Smith never made it a point of conversation. Dean Smith taught us about life.”

Homer HeadshotSome might say Randy Walker was always the underdog, yet he led Miami University and Northwestern to highly successful winning records and major bowl victories that surprised many experts. He lived the adage espoused by John Wooden in his book, They Call Me Coach: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can.” I had a personal connection with Walker. He and I coached youth baseball together for several years. There were times when we faced frustrating challenges with players regarding attitude or inappropriate behavior. My initial reaction was to want to remove them from the team. Walker would say, “What would he learn from that? Let’s help him find a path to success.”

Successful coaches realize there is importance beyond the game: caring for the well-being of players and honoring the many persons whose lives they touch. I knew Coles as a colleague when I served on Miami’s Committee on Athletic Policy. What I remember so fondly about Coles is that he always asked about my family and remembered a previous conversation. We remained in contact for many years well after I left Miami. You could say he had no particular reason to care about me, but his devotion to the individual was a major part of his success.

As for my father, I never had the opportunity to play for him. By the time I was old enough to play youth sports, he had retired from coaching and was teaching mathematics and science. But the lessons were still there. “There is no I in Team.” “Be the first on the field and the last to leave the field.” “It starts with the fundamentals; everything else follows.”
Commitment to achievement and excellence was apparent in everything he did; however, the lessons I learned from him were broader and more profound. His devotion to family and friends was deep and very tangible. When I visit his former players in Brenham, Ed and Howard Kruse, there are many fun recollections of football victories. But they are quick to point out just how tough a chemistry teacher Coach Erekson was and how he prepared them to succeed as students at Texas A&M.

As a business school dean, I see many parallels between the world of athletics and the field of business. Success measured in terms of profits or return on investment is important, but fundamentally business is about creating value. Healthy businesses know that creating value involves leadership, teamwork and the pursuit of excellence. It also requires business leaders who are committed to their employees, customers and other stakeholders.

The best business leaders recognize that they are coaches as well. They may never lead a team on the field, but it is their responsibility to find ways to help each individual unleash their human potential. J. Luther King Jr. is a great example of a leader who has committed his life to building a great company while also to serving as a mentor for employees and student interns. They may not call him coach, but his employees and interns recognize that he is a teacher and role model who lives the Wooden Pyramid of Success: “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”