Leadership Lessons from the AD’s Office

Ross Bjork, TAMU Athletics Director

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Ross Bjork
Texas A&M Director of Athletics

Ross Bjork

Ross Bjork began his position as Texas A&M’s Director of Athletics on July 8, 2019.

He came to Aggieland from the University of Mississippi, where he served as the Director of Athletics for seven years. There, he oversaw a department with a staff of over 250 employees. During his tenure at Ole Miss, revenue generated within Athletics more than doubled, from $57 million to $117 million.

His many achievements include back-to-back Top 40 Directors’ Cup finishes, ranked 39th in 2016-17 among Division 1 institutions, and 38th in 2017-18, as well as the university’s first appearance in the College World Series in 42 years in 2014. New facilities and renovation improvements flourished under his leadership including the Manning Center, the Pavilion at Ole Miss and a large renovation at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

Bjork arrived in Oxford after a stint as Director of Athletics at Western Kentucky University where he quickly established an atmosphere of success. After Bjork made a midseason coaching change, the Hilltopper men’s basketball team went on to capture the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s Volleyball won the conference regular season and tournament in 2011 and reached the NCAA tournament each of his last two years, while men’s and women’s cross country each won conference team titles in 2011. WKU’s football program posted the greatest one-season improvement in conference wins in the history of the Sun Belt, posting a 7-1 league mark and second-place conference finish. WKU football also signed the conference’s top recruiting class each of his last two seasons.

During his tenure, each of WKU’s men’s and women’s athletic teams exceeded the NCAA required 925 Academic Progress Report Rate (APR), and WKU had more individuals honored for their academic achievements by the Sun Belt Conference than any other institution in 2011-12. For the first time in program history, the overall cumulative average GPA was over 3.0 for all 391 student-athletes and 228 maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Ten of the university’s 15 athletic programs posted a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better.

The youngest athletics director of the 120 NCAA FBS programs when hired at WKU, Bjork has an extensive career in intercollegiate athletics with more than two decades of experience as an administrator and student-athlete, having worked on the senior staffs at UCLA, the University of Miami and the University of Missouri. He began his administrative career at WKU as an Assistant Development Coordinator in 1996-97. Bjork is a native of Dodge City, Kansas, and received his bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from Emporia State University in 1995 where he was a two-year starter at fullback. Bjork was honored by Emporia State with the 2017 distinguished alumni award. He earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Western Illinois University in December 1996. Bjork has quickly established a leadership role in the SEC by serving as Chair of the awards committee and representing the SEC on NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee and the NCAA transfer working group.

The Bjork File
Hometown: Dodge City, Kan.
High School: Dodge City Senior High School
College: Emporia State University (B.S., Recreation Administration, 1995); Western Illinois University (M.S., Athletic Administration, 1996)
Wife: Sonya
Children: Sons, Payton (13) and Paxton (9)

Bjork’s Career Timeline
2019-: Texas A&M, Director of Athletics
2012-19: Ole Miss, Director of Athletics/Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics
2010-12: Western Kentucky University, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
2005-10: UCLA, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations
2003-05: University of Miami, Associate Athletic Director for External Operations
2001-03: University of Missouri, Assistant Athletic Director for Development
1997-2001: University of Missouri, Athletic Development Officer
1996-97: Western Kentucky University, Assistant Development Coordinator
1995-96: Western Illinois University, Campus Recreation Grad. Asst./Ath. Dept. Volunteer
1995: University of Tulsa, Marketing Intern
1994: Albuquerque Dukes, Front Office Intern

TexAgs – Aggie Football Recruiting & Baseball Update

TexAgs – Aggie Football Recruiting & Baseball Update

Tuesday, March 24, 2017

Back by Popular Demand!
Brandon Jones & Ryan Brauninger

Brandon Jones ’95
President & CEO

Brandon has overseen TexAgs’ daily activities since 1999 as President & CEO. His vision has been instrumental in pushing TexAgs year by year beyond the standard definition of “fan site” and helping it become a standard bearer for the industry. Brandon graduated from Texas A&M in 1995 with a degree in business management and lives in the Bryan-College Station area with his wife and four kids.

Ryan Brauninger ’12
Recruiting & Baseball Analyst

Ryan joined TexAgs in August of 2015. A college baseball player at McNeese State (Class of ’09), he moved to College Station in 2010 to pursue a Master’s in sport management at Texas A&M. Since receiving his degree, Ryan has been active in the youth sports scene in the Brazos Valley, the state, and region — including a summer stint with USA Baseball. He is a member of the TexAgs Recruiting team and a baseball analyst.

Campaign 2020 – Sky High Stakes

Campaign 2020 - Sky High Stakes

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Dale Laine
Laine Strategy Group, LLC

Dale Laine ‘78

Dale Laine brings over 30 years of political insight and strategic communications experience to his clients’ business objectives. Laine’s current portfolio includes legislative and regulatory work in Texas and Washington D.C. for a broad list of publicly traded companies, private business interests and trade associations. Laine’s work includes strategy efforts to assist in legislative and regulatory issues and engaging in successful procurement opportunities within state and local government sectors.

Prior to the formation of Laine Strategy Group, LLC, he was COO and a Managing Director of Public Strategies, Inc, (now HK Strategies) where he worked as a hands-on strategist for numerous Fortune 500 companies. His work included significant legislative, regulatory and crisis communications victories. Subsequently, his work history includes leading the Texas Cable Association as President and COO for nearly 12 years.

Laine served Governor George W. Bush as Deputy Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for the Governor’s successful 1998 reelection and as Executive Director of the 1999 inauguration of Governor Bush and LT Governor, now former U.S. Energy Secretary, Rick Perry. Laine spent nearly nine years as a senior aide to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm and worked for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison as her first State Director and Campaign Manager of her successful 1994 election to a full six-year Senate term.

Laine serves on the board of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (TCCRI) and as a previous board member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the national Public Affairs Council. He also served on then Governor Perry’s Private Sector Advisory Council working on the state’s critical infrastructure preparedness.

His civic activities include board service on the Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, where he has been honored with the prestigious Silver Beaver Award. Laine recently began service as a member of the Texas A&M University-Galveston Board of Visitors. Laine was previously a board member of the Texas Advocacy Project, a statewide non-profit association providing legal solutions to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Laine is a Major in the Texas State Guard and is assigned to headquarters as the Public Affairs Officer. He is an alumnus of the Young Men’s Business League, sponsors of the Austin Sunshine Camp for underprivileged youth, for which he was a previous board member. Laine is also an alumnus of Leadership Austin, and was honored as a 2014 Hall of Honor inductee of his alma mater, Texas City High School.

Laine is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he served as the commanding officer of Squadron 2 in the Corps of Cadets, and was a co-class agent for his nearly 5500 fellow classmates for five years. He has served on the boards of the Association of Former Students and the 12th Man Foundation. He is proud to have been chosen a Fish Camp namesake, “Camp Laine”, in 2012.

Laine lives in Austin, TX with his wife Amy and he has two grown sons.

Why Does Texas A&M Have A School of Innovation?

Andrew Morriss

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Andrew Morriss, Professor; Dean, School of Innovation; VP for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development

Why Does Texas A&M Have A School of Innovation?

Professor Morriss received his AB from Princeton University, his JD and Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, his PhD in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Master of Education in Educational Technology from Texas A&M University. His primary areas of research are international financial centers, regulation of business and the environment, and empirical legal studies.

He previously served as Dean of the Texas A&M School of Law (July 2014 to August 2017).

He is the author or coauthor of more than sixty book chapters and scholarly articles as well as the coauthor of Regulation by Litigation (Yale University Press) and The False Promise of Green Energy (Cato Institute).

Healthcare Panel

The Future of Austin, A panel Discussion

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A Healthcare Panel Discussion Featuring:
Dr. Brent Egeland, Steve Sanders, and Jennifer Sethre

Dr. Brent Egeland is a founder of Medpather (https://medpather.com/) and an inventor of Medpather’s patented system for medical pricing using continuous real-time costing through location aware resource utilization datasets.

Brent is a practicing Plastic Surgeon and Hand Surgeon in Austin, Texas. He has dedicated his clinical career to treating complex injuries and cancer reconstruction in adults and children at tertiary referral hospitals and trauma centers. He aspires to develop an academic plastic surgery program to pass this knowledge on to others.

Dr. Egeland completed his residency in the highly regarded University of Michigan Integrated Plastic Surgery program and was a Fellow at the Mayo Clinic.  He has received numerous awards for research and teaching.

Steve Sanders, CPA, is Chief Financial Officer of Sana Health, Inc. (https://www.sana.io).  Sana has developed and patented a non-invasive bio-therapeutic device for clinical non-pharmaceutical management of pain.

Prior to joining Sana, Mr. Sanders has had over 30 years of progressive management experience as a CPA and controller implementing and improving operating and internal controls, management reporting and GAAP-compliant accounting.

Jennifer Sethre is the President of Continuum Health (http://www.continuumhealthtech.com/), a revenue cycle management (RCM) provider to health facilities.  She is the CEO and Founder of Intry, a tech-driven matchmaking service for job applicants and employers.

As President, CEO, and V.P. of multiple technology and consumer product companies, Jennifer has pioneered supplier relationships in China, started two companies with successful exits, and served in public and private leadership roles in international corporations, working with companies from over 18 countries, inventing 8 disruptive products in their spaces.

12th Man Foundation

12th Man Foundation

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Travis V. Dabney, President and CEO of the 12th Man Foundation

Tavis V. Dabney ‘96Travis was named President and CEO of the 12th Man Foundation on Sept. 25, 2017. One of the longest-tenured employees at the 12th Man Foundation, Dabney has worked in various roles within the organization since March 2000. His career started in the Foundation’s Annual Programs office as Call Center Manager, and in 2003 he became a fundraiser in the Major Gifts division. Dabney was named the head of Major Gifts in 2013 and was a lead fundraiser for the Kyle Field redevelopment campaign. He was also heavily involved in fundraising efforts to construct several other football-specific facilities, as well as Blue Bell Park, Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball, Slocum Nutrition Center, Davis Diamond and E.B. Cushing Stadium. Travis and his wife, Krista, live in College Station and have one daughter, Kennedy.