Ex-MLB Commissioner Highlights Entrepreneurship Week Events

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Former MLB commissioner and world-renowned business executive Peter Ueberroth was the keynote speaker of Missouri Western’s Entrepreneurship Week.

A former multi-sport athlete, Ueberroth has displayed a passion for both business and sports that continues to this day. Craig School of Business Dean Logan Jones was instrumental in bringing Ueberroth to campus for Entrepreneurship Week and looks forward to hearing his speech during the capstone luncheon.

“Having a speaker of this caliber really brings people to really see what the entrepreneurship center is doing,” Jones said.

Ueberroth displayed this high caliber for business acumen from an early age. At just 22 years old, he was hired as a vice president of Trans International, where he worked until leaving four years later to start his own travel company, First Travel Corporation. In 1980 when Ueberroth sold FTC, it was the second largest travel company in North America. After selling his flagship business, Ueberroth reentered the world of sports.

Serving as the organizer of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Ueberroth was faced with various challenges, including a boycott from the former Soviet Union and 14 of its allies. Additionally, unlike in previous Olympic games, the 1984 games received no government funding, which meant Ueberroth had to corral private business interests to sponsor the events. Ultimately, he defied the odds, and the 1984 Summer Olympics, which made a $250 million dollar profit, were widely regarded as successful.

Ueberroth brought stories like this, as well as thoughts on the current state of sports business, to MWSU entrepreneurship week, which also featured business school namesake Steven Craig. Missouri Western’s Director of Entrepreneurship Annette Weeks played a key role in bringing both speakers to entrepreneurship week and Weeks spoke highly of Steven Craig in particular.

“Everybody loves him,” Weeks said. “Steve’s got all kinds of nuggets of advice, and many come to the luncheon just to hear him speak.”

The capstone luncheon, which will take place on Friday, March 29 at noon in Fulkerson Hall, will also feature the presentation of the Emerging Entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The awards, Weeks said, are an important aspect of entrepreneurship week, and serve to help recognize talented businesspeople who might otherwise go unnoticed or under-appreciated.

“It’s great for us to have an opportunity to lift people up for what they’re doing,” Weeks said of the awards.

In addition to the awards presentations, various workshops will take place throughout entrepreneurship week. Among the presenters are St Joseph-based insurance group Tolly and Associates, who have been long-time sponsors of entrepreneurship week and continue to contribute time and money to ensure its success. The group’s workshop, entitled “Protecting your Business” took place on Monday, March 25 at 2:45 p.m. in the Rochambeau Room in Fulkerson Hall.