Name: Kevin J. Murley
Department: Business and Entrepreneurship
Came to Blair in: 2005
Classes Taught: Entrepreneurship and Business Management
Education: MBA in International Business from Thunderbird University (Arizona) and an undergraduate degree from Towson University
Previous Jobs: former regional sales manager at a manufacturing company, marketing director for an industry association, teacher at a university in Mexico, marketing director for a partnership of wireless companies
Hobbies: hiking, biking, skiing and trading stocks
A young man sits at a crowded desk in the Business and Entrepreneurship Office, flipping through pages of student reflections found in a lopsided pile of journals. Eyebrows furrowed in concentration, he reads a student's account of relatives faced with nearly insurmountable debt — a financial burden that could have easily been avoided, had they taken a business course. When the student begins to express her gratitude for the financial acumen she has developed through his business class, Kevin Murley's deep blue eyes brim with a newfound resolve to teach.
As head of the Entrepreneurship Academy, leader of the Blair Investors Club and teacher of entrepreneurship classes, Kevin Murley is equipped to impact the lives of many Blazers. "If you're interested in learning about money, interested in business management, these are the most life-changing series of activities you could undertake," he says.
Murley's own interest in entrepreneurship blossomed at a young age. "I always had an interest in business, starting from the many odd jobs I worked as a teenager — fast food stands vender, newspaper boy, waiter — you name it, I did it," he remarks genially. Murley alludes to the extent these early successes impacted his career. "I learned to provide good service and work hard," he says. "As a bicycle courier, the more papers I delivered, the more I got paid. As a bartender at a bar, the more I served up, the more money I made."
Transcending his role as bicycle courier, Murley transformed this same passion for entrepreneurship into an MBA in International Business at Thunderbird University. "I came from a place with no opportunity," he says. "It was even more rewarding to figure it out on my own without my parents showing me the way." At college, Murley learned how to run businesses from the top-level down — completing cases that modeled real-life business management. "The people I surrounded myself with were competitive — they pushed you to achieve at higher levels," he says.
Running his hands through his short brown hair, Murley speaks to the allure of entrepreneurship but concedes that many challenges can inhibit success. "Understanding people and how to serve customers the best way, handling finances of the company, managing people — these are all challenging parts of a business. But you're in control of your life — you can make your own decisions," he says. "Most people don't have that."
As former regional sales manager at a manufacturing company, marketing director for an industry association and marketing director for a partnership of wireless companies, Murley has ample experience to overcome the challenges of business management. Living in Mexico to teach marketing at a university and later to promote communication devices for wireless companies, Murley became fluent in Spanish — a skill he cites as vital to his former jobs. "We had local partners in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Kenya…all over the world," he says. "I was responsible for delivering on the sale of pagers and phones with text-messaging — working with companies like Motorola and Rim."
A veteran of many different career paths, Murley has tentative plans for the future. "I have thoughts of running an educational foundation on entrepreneurship and investing," he says. For now, however, he is focused on supporting those students who show an interest in his business courses.
For those students who demonstrate a commitment to courses and show an insatiable desire to engage in entrepreneurship, Murley suggests joining the Blair Investors Club. He becomes animated as he recalls a group trip to New York City, where students participated in a wholesale fair. "They learned to identify products that sell, negotiate for the best prices on wholesale items, and negotiate with buyers. They were selling products — stuff like jewelry, handbags, purses, little sunglasses, belts, hats, and clothing, anything that could sell," he recalls.
Murley also encourages members to enter business competitions, which require students to create a business plan. Pulling out a colorful pack of playing cards, Murley explains that Aaron Sacks, who graduated this year, won the 2006 National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship business plan competition for his customized card printing business, "You're on Deck." Murley rattles off other students whose budding enterprises originated from hobby. "I've got someone who sells a themed line of photography featuring blue-collar folks at work. There's a girl working on party cubes — she adds ingredients to ice that make them fizz and bubble in water," he says.
Closing the last journal and putting it on the stack in front of him, Murley feels a sense of accomplishment that has developed over the three years he has worked at Blair. "Many classes and the HSAs don't provide you with the basic skills you need as you grow older…the priorities of the school system are not as important to your success in life," Murley says. "But the skills you learn in my classes will stay with you forever."
Lauren Kestner. Lauren Kestner loves Trader Joe's chocolates, cheesy television soap operas, summer trips to Lake Anna, coffee ice cream from Coldstone Creamery, hikes at Northwest Branch and shopping at Heritage. Playing soccer for Blair or her MSC club team and running at the gym consumes much … More »