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September 19, 2011
By Claudene Wharton
As the University of Nevada, Reno College of Business hosts its annual Business Week Sept. 26 – 30, the College turns its attention to entrepreneurship, bringing high-powered speakers as part of the week of activities aimed at celebrating business and providing workshops, speakers, information sessions and networking opportunities for business students, alumni and the community.
At 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28, Rick Sontag, founder of Unison Industries, will talk about his success as an entrepreneur. At age 36, Sontag bought a small aviation components company with about 65 employees, which he grew into a worldwide leader in aviation technology with nearly 1,500 employees before selling to General Electric in 2002. The presentation will be in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre on the Third Floor.
At 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29, Howard Putnam, former CEO of Southwest Airlines and Braniff International, will speak at the University of Nevada, Reno Joe Crowley Student Union Ballroom C. When Putnam came to Southwest Airlines in 1978, it was “little more than a puddle-jumper,” as he puts it, with 12 planes and 1,000 employees. Three years later, the company had tripled its revenues and profitability, and today it has about 550 planes and 35,000 employees.
“We are delighted to have Howard Putnam and alumnus Rick Sontag joining us on campus for our annual Business Week celebration this year,” said Greg Mosier, dean of the College of Business. “These are two men who have been at the forefront of building companies from which our students and others in the community can draw wisdom and inspiration. During these challenging economic times, creativity and entrepreneurship are especially crucial if we are to be successful in our efforts to diversify and stabilize our economy.”
Also as part of the Business Week activities, there will be two entrepreneurship-focused panels on Sept. 28. At 12:15 p.m., a panel of College of Business students and recent alumni who have started their own businesses will host a discussion, “So You Want to be an Entrepreneur,” in the Ansari Business Building, Room 101. At 5:30 p.m., a panel of representatives from local organizations that help entrepreneurs, such as the Nevada Small Business Development Center, will host a discussion consisting of “Entrepreneurial Nuts & Bolts,” giving tips and resources for those interested in starting their own businesses. This panel will be in the Joe Crowley Student Union, Room 402.
A third panel, comprised of the professors of economics from the College and a couple of guests from the community, will convene at 1 p.m., Sept. 30 to hold an “Economics Forum: The U.S. and Nevada Economies – Where are we and where are we headed?”. The discussion will be held in the William J. Raggio Building, Room 2030, and time to answer questions from the audience will be provided.
Other Business Week events include career exploration roundtables, career workshops, resume-writing workshops, a professional and graduate school fair, a volunteer fair and more. For more information go to Business Week activities.