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As an author, public speaker, investor, consultant, and teacher, Dr. Ray Smilor is an internationally recognized expert in entrepreneurship.  He is Emeritus Professor of Professional Practice in Management, Entrepreneurship and Leadership at the Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.  


From 2009-2015, Ray served as Professor of Professional Practice and the Robert and Edith Schumacher Executive Faculty Fellow in Innovation and Technology at TCU’s Neeley School of Business.  He was executive director of the Beyster Institute at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego from 2000-2009.  The Institute had offices in Washington, D.C., Moscow, Russia and Casablanca, Morocco and became a leading education, training and consulting organization focusing on advancing entrepreneurship and employee ownership worldwide.  He was vice president of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, from its startup in 1992 through 2000, helping to build one of the most prominent organizations promoting entrepreneurship in the United States.  He made the entrepreneurial leap to the Kauffman Center from The University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his Ph.D. in U.S. History.  At UT, he became a tenured professor in the Graduate School of Business, developed one of the most prominent entrepreneurship curriculums in the country, and served as executive director of the university’s internationally recognized think-tank, the IC2 Institute. 

Ray has published extensively, including fifteen books.  His writings range from referred articles in academic journals to opinion pieces in magazines and trade publications.  His work has been translated into a number of languages, including Japanese, French, Italian, Russian, and Korean.  His practice, research and writing encompass the areas of entrepreneurship, economic development, and technology commercialization. 


He has consulted with and made presentations to a range of companies, including IBM, 3M, Bell Helicopter, The Boston Financial Group, and Frito-Lay, as well as entrepreneurial associations such as the Entrepreneur of the Year Institute, Young Presidents’ Organization, and Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and government organizations such as the U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, and Minority Business Development Agency.


Ray is a sought-after motivational speaker, teaches and lectures internationally, and works with a range of startup and growth companies.  He was program manager and principal investigator on major government contracts to promote entrepreneurship globally for the U.S. Department of State in the Middle East and North Africa, and for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Russia.  He was selected as an Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990 for his activities in support of entrepreneurship and inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year Institute. In 2011, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship presented him with the John E. Hughes Award for Entrepreneurial Advocacy for his work in advancing entrepreneurship worldwide. 


He is an award-winning teacher. In 2013, 3 Day Startup, a company that kickstarts student ventures, selected him as one of the top 25 entrepreneurship professors in the United States. In 2015, he received the Karl Vesper Pioneer Award from the Experiential Classroom for “distinguished achievements in advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship.”  He continues to teach his course in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Executive MBA Program at the Neeley School at TCU.


He is chairman of the Advisory Board for the Neeley School’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and serves as a member of TCU’s College of Science and Engineering Advisory Board.  Ray has been married to his entrepreneurial partner in life, Judy, for 50 years. Together they have raised (and been raised by) their two fine sons, Matthew and Kevin.  They treasure their daughter-in-law Melissa and their two grandchildren, Natalie Elaine, a social butterfly at 8, and Samantha Erin, a sweetheart at 3 years.

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