By Troy Oldham
For Scott Walker (BA ’77), recipient of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business 2011 Distinguished Executive Alumnus Award,
the ultimate measuring stick of his life is helping the next generation of global entrepreneurs realize their potential.
A conversation with Scott Walker about his vision for business success in a global economy is a lot like riding a new super roller coaster at a theme park. The discussion starts on a positive climb, followed by a quick decent into the realities of the current business environment, followed by a series of climbs, rolls, and dives as he explains the highs and lows of life as a creator of value and wealth.
Scott Walker has a history of building successful new companies in multiple industries. He is a well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist, and leader in the financial technology industry. Through the creation of Billmatrix, Scott is largely credited for creating the electronic direct billing industry in bill payment. After selling Billmatrix in 2006 for $350 million, Scott was given the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® award for the Southwest Region. The same year, Scott received the Pinnacle Award from the Sales & Marketing Executives International Academy of Achievement.
Today Scott devotes much of his time to leading EPIC Aviation, one of the largest aviation fuel distribution companies delivering Avgas and Jet A fuel to both general aviation enthusiasts and large commercial carriers in the United States and Canada. EPIC has also been working with the Chinese company responsible for all jet fuel delivery throughout the country, and is entering a joint venture in which it would undertake the development of general aviation throughout China.
The most intriguing component of Scott’s story is its humble beginning. His story could easily be our own story of success if we were equally prepared to sacrifice, apply a focused commitment to succeed, and have a healthy dose of stubbornness. It is a story laden with disappointment, false starts, and significant paradigm shifts in the economy. The difference for Scott has been the relentless pursuit of what he believes about life: “Capital, and eventually success, will flow where it is treated best. Success seeks you out if you have a strong vision, a recognizable opportunity, and the will to make the vision a reality.” Scott pulls no punches. He believes it takes true grit to be an entrepreneur and suggests the following attributes of a successful entrepreneur: enthusiasm, courage, perseverance, knowledge, clarity, and flexibility.
Today, Scott continues to create and drive successful businesses in the packaging, energy, wine, and global aviation industries. While these areas pique his business interests, he also passionately pursues opportunities to share his experience and life lessons in an academic setting. In 2005 he established the Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He is also a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University and an advisory board member of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurism at the University of Texas at Dallas.
Scott’s passion about education is reflected in his commitment to helping young entrepreneurs discover their own purpose and potential. “I am concerned about a generation that expects the government to give them something. We must find and encourage leaders who want to add value and make a difference in the world.”
Ask Scott what fulfills him the most and he will tell you, “making sure the next generation ‘gets it’ and has the skills and abilities to be successful.” He continues, “I see a trend towards more divergence, I think fewer people are willing to do what it takes to change
the world. I want to be a change agent, through education, to help the next generation see that they can create real value and make a difference in the world.”
Douglas D. Anderson, Dean of the Huntsman School, noted that “Scott represents the four pillars of our school, global vision, entrepreneurial spirit, analytical rigor, and most of all ethical leadership, throughout his life. He is a tremendous model for
the entire USU community.”
Scott said he was very honored by this recognition, and quoting Winston Churchill, he shared a thought that continues to drive his actions, “Earning a living is not counting what you get out of life, but what you give.”
Click here to view Scott Walker's biography.