Dr. William McDowell, Chairholder
Dr. William McDowell holds the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship. McDowell joined MTSU in 2014 after launching several successful businesses (and churches) and teaching entrepreneurship at East Carolina University. McDowell believes college creates opportunities for future entrepreneurs to get experience without risk. "We work with people to organize their ideas and build a structure: a marketing plan, a production plan, financing options. Jones College can really help idea people launch their ideas."
McDowell launched the 2015 Business Plan Competition, open to all MTSU students and alumni. Prominent area early-stage company investors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders judged student presentations. Prizes awarded were $7,500 for first place and $5,000 for second. The 2015 winner was Matthew Wright, PhD candidate in molecular bio-sciences, for his business plan for Salomon's House, a life-science startup that focuses on the conservation of endangered plant species and explores the plants' chemical profiles for potential use in the development of pharmaceuticals.
History of the Chair
Pam Wright (B.S. '73) embarked on her entrepreneurial adventure in 1981 when she opened Wright Travel Agency in Nashville. Today Wright Travel boasts 28 locations in seven states with annual sales of $128 million. In 2007, Pam pledged $1.25 million to MTSU to establish the Pam Wright Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. She is a member of the 2009 class of Tennessee's “Women of Influence” and an MTSU Distinguished Alumna.