When Doug Gallagher (MSM ’74) last walked across the Florida International University (FIU) campus, the young state university was home to around 5,000 students and only one or two buildings. Today’s FIU is quite a different place—a difference that greatly impressed Gallagher when he returned recently to speak at the College of Business Administration.
One thing that has not changed is the college’s commitment to nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit. It certainly took hold with Gallagher, who shared the secret of his own entrepreneurial success with the more than two hundred students currently enrolled in the introductory Organization and Management course.
Career demonstrates entrepreneurship in action.
After graduating from FIU, Gallagher quickly rose through the executive ranks with AmeriFirst Federal Savings and Loan Association and Brooks Financial Systems Inc. In 1985, he founded Gallagher Financial Systems, Inc., which grew to earn more than $20 million in annual sales revenue before being sold in 2008. Today, Gallagher owns a vineyard in Napa Valley and markets his successful wine brand, Sonador.
Gallagher felt his story truly resonated with the audience.
“One of the most meaningful moments for me was when almost all of the students indicated that they might one day become an entrepreneur,” he said. “That is the spirit of the free enterprise system that will sustain our great country.”
Presentation definitely inspires students.
“Gallagher’s presentation elicited a very enthusiastic response from my students,” said David Wernick (MA ’93) who teaches Organization and Management in the Department of Management and International Business. “He touched upon many of the themes of the course—motivation, passion and good business practices. He offered engaging anecdotes about his life as a salesman, entrepreneur, political candidate and family man. Numerous students came up to me after the lecture to express their gratitude for his visit.”
Iohana Sanchez, an international business major, found the presentation to be very informative.
“It offered reassurance that opportunities are out there and the possibilities are endless,” Sanchez said.