In a career that started on the streets and has now turned to academia, Jeff Brice, Jr. has run his own film production company, headed a construction business, and worked on job-development with ex-convicts and welfare mothers. As an affordable housing developer, he recalls, “We’d go into drug-infested properties, kick out the dealers, and then get grants to get the buildings rehabbed.”
The rough side of life was all-too-familiar territory to Jeff Brice as a young man. After a difficult childhood, he enrolled as an undergraduate at Tuskegee University. What his classmates and professors did not know was that he was homeless.
For more than two years as a student, Jeff Brice lived in a graveyard. Then he landed a job in a campus dormitory—it provided room and board. Pursuing an entrepreneurial road upon graduating, Dr. Brice became a music video producer “without even knowing what a producer was. I had no experience in films, but I found out that you could put a crew together for $25,000, make a video in two weeks, and get $100,000 for it. I saw an opportunity and I took it.” A thriving business in creating videos for eighties-era rock groups ensued. But he moved on to other fields, because “I got tired of it…. I only do things that interest me.”
Eventually, what interested him was studying business at the graduate level. That in turn sparked the young entrepreneur’s interest in teaching college.
“Everything in the MBA program was corporate. My expertise was how to get access to capital from different sources, like grants. I thought I could bring to the classroom a more realistic view of how to build a business. My contribution could be to provide a more practical application of things.”
The dream continues…
Dr. Brice is now a tenured Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Business Administration at Texas Southern University. He manages the faculty (graduate and undergraduate) and degree programs in the areas of Business Administration, Management, Marketing, Management Sciences, and Management Information Systems. Several of his former students are now successful entrepreneurs, and he himself is still one, living by the credo, “If you can’t do it, then you certainly shouldn’t be teaching it!” He developed the curriculum for his university’s interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program, and while at Hofstra University, was solely responsible for creating and teaching courses for that university’s Bachelor’s program in entrepreneurship. It went on to be recognized as one of the top fifty regional programs and one of the top one hundred programs in the U.S. by Entrepreneur Magazine. Dr. Brice has earned four consecutive distinguished research awards and he has published numerous articles.