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.

NBC 5 logo
December 2, 2011
TCU Student is Entrepreneur – by Jane McGarry
Neeley student Gabrielle McBay was interviewed about her business, Crumbs by Gabrielle, which she started when she was 14.

Gabrielle McB ray


TCU 360
December 1, 2011
Business students work on recycling project
- By Travis Puckett
Students in the entrepreneurship and energy class in the Neeley School of Business are continuing work with a local professional engineer on an innovative water recycling system.

Rod Ekern, president of Hagan Engineering in Bedford, created the system with the intention of helping to save the drinkable water supply in North Texas. The system is designed to recycle the used water from showers, washing machines and bathroom sinks. The water would be piped around the foundation of the home, ending up in the yard to be used for irrigation purposes.

The system is not made up of any mechanical, electrical or pumping systems, Ekern said. He said it would be safer for the environment because it doesn’t use any power and needs low-maintenance care.

“Pretty much you put it in the ground and forget about it,” Ekern said. He said the product would likely last as long as the life of the home, with minimal maintenance.

Ekern said he got the idea to create the product while thinking about a new way to help people handle this summer’s drought.

“Here in the area, we were reaching the point that we didn’t have enough rain to provide for the amount of water we were using,” he said. “I wanted to create something to help equal that out.”

Professor of entrepreneurship and energy Louis Stripling
said he read an article about Ekern’s design in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and decided to approach him about working with the class.

“We started working with him around mid-October,” Stripling said. “We met with him in class and started developing various aspects of the [business] discipline.”

Senior business major Nick Parsley
said the class was split into four groups to focus on market evaluation, finance, regulation and legal research. Parsley said his group looked into different areas of Texas legislation concerning the patented product, such as the legal aspects of installing the system in homes and the requirements for installation.

A group of students presented the system to the Vice Chancellor Kathy Cavins-Tull to incorporate it into the new housing being built in the Greek. But first, the product must be circulated throughout the environmental, biology, chemistry and engineering departments to test how the system could be installed in the new buildings.

Stripling said the spring entrepreneurship and energy class will continue work on the product’s business plan, hoping to enter the plan into a business contest next semester.

The project was beneficial to both his students and Ekern, giving the engineer the opportunity to flesh out his business plan and giving students real-life experience, he said.

“[The project] gives them the opportunity to latch onto something real, with more depth to it,” Stripling said. “It was not a business plan for something like a new cigar bar or fruit stand.”

Parsley also said he recognized how the project would help him in future business endeavors, by giving him the chance to apply what he’s learned in his other business classes.

Ekern said he had enjoyed watching students take his product and incorporate their own ideas. True entrepreneurs could recognize a problem and find ways to fix it with whatever resources they have available, he said.

“If this design goes to market, these students can put on their resumes that they helped work on this product,” Ekern said. “It’s a good career boost.”

Fort Worth Business Press
December 2, 2011
Shadow of Bankruptcy: Local reaction to AMR bankruptcy: disappointing but not disastrous
- by Rob Robertson
The decision by AMR Corp., the Fort Worth-based parent of American Airlines and American Eagle, to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy was a disappointment but hardly a damaging blow to the region’s business-friendly reputation and economic development efforts, say local officials.

Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said the filing was disappointing but wouldn’t ruin what has otherwise been a good year for the city and the region.

“It has been an exceptional year for us, especially given the backdrop of the overall U.S. economy and the uncertainty of the job market,” he said. “We’re disappointed that American Airlines is having to go through this. We know this was not the plan and we know they had been working at trying to negotiate a more favorable environment through labor agreements and weren’t able to get there.”

Ira Silver, an associate professor in the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University, didn’t think the announcement would have much impact on the region’s image either, adding that businesses will understand that AMR made the decision to file to become a better, more competitive company.

“I think that most businesses thinking of coming into the area think much more strategically in terms of the long-run viability and growth of an area,” Silver said. “The D-FW area has population growth and job growth that’s much greater than other parts of the country and that’s not going to change because AMR declared bankruptcy.”

Thornton said the coming reorganization will ultimately strengthen American Airlines and should not affect the region’s image and business recruiting efforts, either. “All of the major carriers have gone through this, so I don’t see this as being a factor” in drawing new businesses, he said. “In fact, many may feel a lot more comfortable when a restructured airline emerges from this reorganization. When it’s over we should see a stronger member of this community.”

Silver agreed. “In the long run this will be a good thing,” he said. “In the short run there may be some cutbacks, but I think a lot of that is going to set up longer term growth, and that’s going to be good for the area.”

Star Telegram
December 2, 2011
American Airlines’ bankruptcy to have ripple effect on DFW
- By Jim Fuquay
When American Airlines’ parent, AMR Corp., filed its bankruptcy petition Tuesday, it started a wave of uncertainty that will spread through the North Texas economy, from the fate of more than 24,000 area workers, to its presence at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, to the millions in taxes it pays to local governments. But experts say the effect will probably be more like a ripple than a tsunami.

Economists, academics who study the aviation business and industry consultants are relatively unworried about how the airline’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization will affect the broader Fort Worth-Arlington economy and the airport in particular…

 “AMR was wise” to file when it still had $4.1 billion in its treasury, Boyd said. That gives management more control over the months-long bankruptcy, he said.

That “cash cushion,” as Weinstein termed it, is more than any of the other U.S. carriers had entering bankruptcy. United Airlines had $1 billion in cash when it filed in 2002. Delta had $1.7 billion when it filed for bankruptcy Sept. 14, 2005, just minutes before Northwest Airlines filed while holding $2.1 billion. For that and other reasons, most of the industry observers contacted for this report had a largely positive view of the decision to go to bankruptcy.

“My own reaction was, it’s good news,” said Texas Christian University professor Dan Short, who calls himself an interested observer of the finances of area companies. “I think you would have seen American Airlines slowly bleed to death” without it, an outcome he termed “devastating” for the area.

Fox 4 News
December 6, 2011
Southwest Focuses on Operating Costs
- By Brandon Todd
Management Professor Richard Priem was interviewed about Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly sending a message to his employees basically telling them what happened to American Airlines could happen to them. It all comes down to high costs.

Richard Priem

Fort Worth Business Press
December 16, 2011
Real estate entrepreneurs fund TCU contest
- by Betty Dillard
Nancy Tartaglino Richards and Lisa Barrentine of residential asset management company First Preston HT in Addison have established the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University.

The annual competition invites undergraduate college students to come to TCU to present business plans for profitable ventures that also create meaning for the organization and/or improves quality of life.

Winners receive cash prizes and are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to values by donating all or a substantial portion of their prize winnings to a charitable organization of their choosing.

The Neeley Entrepreneurship Center hosted the first competition in April 2011. Student teams from more than 20 universities are expected to participate in the next competition at TCU, April 19-20, 2012.

Richards and Barrentine have been honored by Ernst & Young with the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and by the Kauffman Foundation for their support of entrepreneurship. They received the Five Star Humanitarian Award in recognition of their community support and leadership. Richards serves on TCU’s board of trustees, and on the advisory boards of the Dallas Women’s Foundation and the YWCA-Dallas. Barrentine is a member of the board of Habitat for Humanity-South Collin County, and previously served on the board for Southwestern University.