Dr. Richard C. Becherer
From 1974 to 1982, Dr. Becherer was a tenured Marketing Department faculty member at Wayne State. While an academic, his extensive consulting experience with health care organizations led him to start one of the first for-profit HMOs in the US in 1978 along with six other individuals who had been his clients.
That organization, Independence Health Plan, grew to over $100 million in revenues. The organization went public in 1983 and was named the seventh fastest growing small public company in 1984 by Inc. magazine. Dr. Becherer sold his interest in Independence Health Plan to pursue other entrepreneurial activities in 1986.
After being involved in several new entrepreneurial pursuits, including a biotech company, real estate development, and several marinas, Dr. Becherer returned to Wayne State University in 1991 to establish the university's first entrepreneurship courses.
When Dr. Becherer came to Chattanooga in 1995, his primary role was to "entrepreneurize" the College of Business at UTC. While the College of Business had pioneered an entrepreneurship course in the late 1970s, there was not an entire entrepreneurship program for students. A meeting of fourteen UTC faculty interested in entrepreneurship was the kick-off of both a very strong entrepreneurship program and a faculty who have focused on entrepreneurship in teaching, research, and community engagements.
Currently, the UTC College of Business is one of a handful of AACSB accredited programs that has both a full concentration in entrepreneurship for business students and a minor in entrepreneurship for students across the university who want to start and operate their own business. As of 2006, there are 150 students at the College of Business concentrating in entrepreneurship and approximately 85 minors. Additionally, the UTC College of Business MBA program is unique in that it has a required entrepreneurship course as part of its core program.
Dr. Becherer graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Packaging. He earned his MBA from the University of Georgia, and his DBA from the University of Kentucky. He has published in numerous journals, including Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, The Journal of Services Marketing, and Decision Sciences. In 1998, Dr. Becherer received the Edwin M. Appel Prize for "bringing entrepreneurship vitality to academe." It is presented each year at the Price/Babson College Fellows Program at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Harold L. Coker
Mr. Coker and his wife, the former Lillian Thomas, were married in 1953 while he was pursuing a career with the B.F. Goodrich.
"All through high school and college I worked in a tire store," Mr. Coker recalls.
"My dad was responsible for our family being 'car-crazy.' My two brothers, Bob and
Bill, and I had the same love for old cars that Pop Coker had. I have collected them
since I was 14 or 15 years old."
Jack L. Frost
After graduate school, Jack returned to American National Bank and continued his interest
in education by teaching night classes in accounting at the University of Chattanooga.
Later, he went to work for W. Max Finley at Tennessee Paper Mills where he served
as assistant treasurer and controller. He became a certified public accountant in
1955 and with his brother, Jim, started the Frost and Frost accounting firm in 1963.