Prepared to Face the Challenges

  Katherine Manson
  Tuesday, February 3, 2015 10:40 AM
  Archives 2014 - 2015

Abilene, TX

Young Entrepreneurs on the Rise

McMurry University produces graduates with a variety of degrees and passions. They are provided with the education to enter the workforce, achieve their professional goals, and face the challenges ahead. With the national trend of young entrepreneurs on the rise, a number of those graduates are entering the workforce aspiring to operate their own business as an entrepreneur of their generation.

According to an article published by Forbes in 2012, approximately 30% of entrepreneurs are between the ages of 20 – 34. That number has only continued to rise as graduates are drawn towards the flexibility, challenges, and accomplishments of becoming an entrepreneur.

Meet four McMurry graduates who used their undergraduate growth and experience to build a successful business and become young entrepreneurs.

Photo montage

Isaiah Navarrete ’01

Isaiah Navarrete ’01 purchased Cobra Coating in 2005 when the Odessa, Texas company had less than 10 employees. Almost ten years later, the company, that applies coatings to oilfield pipes and fittings, has locations in Odessa and Cleburne, Texas with more than 60 employees. The McMurry graduate was the 2013 Odessa Hispanic Businessman of the Year and credits his business courses and athletic involvement at McMurry for much of his success.

“Playing football at McMurry provided me with teamwork skills and taught me perseverance that carried over to help me run a business. You’re going to have hard times, but you have to keep going and support each other. The camaraderie of playing football taught me that,” said Navarrete.

According to Navarrete, Dr. Patricia Lapoint and Mr. George Starbuck, two of his favorite business professors, taught him valuable skills about running a business that he didn’t fully understand until being a business owner himself. Through his business courses, and his time studying abroad, Navarrete became a more capable entrepreneur.

Adrian Navarrete ’03

Entrepreneurship runs in the Navarrete family. The younger brother of Isaiah, Adrian Navarrete ’03 took over his father’s business, Roberto’s Backhoe Service, Inc., in 2008. Located in McCamey, Texas, the business is a general oilfield maintenance and construction business that has been running since 1980.

Prior to operating Roberto’s Backhoe Service, Inc., Adrian worked in other business-related jobs and trained under his father, Roberto Navarrete.

“Accounting classes at McMurry were really helpful in learning how to run a business,” said Adrian. “Just being in college at McMurry helped me learn to operate a business because you learn networking, interacting with different people, and motivation.”

Following his brother’s footsteps, Adrian enrolled at McMurry, but says he wasn’t entirely ready for college his freshman year. After a brief hiatus, he returned to the University and graduated with the support of his peers and mentors.

“The professors really help and care about you,” said Adrian. “This company wouldn’t be as successful as it is today without McMurry.”

Sabrina Davis ’08

Sabrina Davis ’08 had always dreamed of opening a bakery. Located in Abilene, Texas, Sweets du Jour opened in 2012 featuring a variety of bakery items, soups, and sandwiches.

The McMurry accounting and finance graduate said she already knew how to bake, but it was the business classes that helped her succeed in opening Sweets du Jour.

 “I don’t believe I’d still be open without the education I received at McMurry,” said Davis. “The satisfaction of when a customer bites into something, and they get this big grin, it reassures me that I did my job right.”  

Davis recently expanded her bakery to offer catering and private dinner parties. In addition, many
McMurry faculty are customers at Sweets du Jour, and once a year Davis speaks to a McMurry business class of undergraduate students about the process of opening your own business and entrepreneurship.

“I didn’t go to culinary school,” said Davis. “But if you have a passion for something, and the drive, you can do anything you want.”

Jason Rodriguez ’00

Jason Rodriguez ’00 began the process of launching his market research, marketing, and branding company, Zpryme, in 2005, and officially rolled out the business in 2007. After graduating McMurry, Rodriguez received his Masters of Business Administration at Texas State University, entered the workforce, and pursued another graduate degree at the University of South Florida.

“I always knew I wanted to own my own business. That foundation was built at McMurry,” said Rodriguez. “The McMurry atmosphere is really inclusive in building successful future entrepreneurs.”

Zpryme is an established name in market researching for the energy industry and is located in Austin, Texas. In addition, the company works with hundreds of companies such as BMW, Toyota, Toshiba, IBM, and numerous other Fortune 500 companies with an energy, transportation, or mobile focus, both in the United States and overseas.

“Today’s graduates are competing on a global scale,” said Rodriguez. “Entrepreneurs need to think global, sustain a level of professionalism, and produce a successful business plan. The atmosphere at McMurry gives their students that.”

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