When George Barrera receives his BBA in entrepreneurship Dec. 20, he comes full circle in a journey that led him to ultimately open his own business.
“My mom made it all about education,” said Barrera, a native of Brownsville. “She was a great influence. This is the day she has been waiting for–the best present I could give her for the holidays.”
Barrera began at UTSA as a mechanical engineering student because he loved working with his hands. Working full-time with a merchandising assembly company, Barrera admits that at first he prioritized work over school.
“I had to learn the hard way to put my schooling first,” he said. “Sometimes it takes failure to realize what you want to do.”
Barrera changed majors and soon found his true calling as an entrepreneurship student. Since 2013 he has operated his own business, George’s Specialty Services, a merchandise services, assembly and repair company.
“My entrepreneurship degree has helped me refine my skills and has given me a complete understanding of how to run a business,” he said. He credits faculty members Anita Leffel and Lisa Montoya with inspiring him during their classes and driving the program.
His college career culminated by participating in the college’s $100K Student Technology Venture Competition. His team, Smart Engineer Innovations, finished second in the competition. “This experience takes you to your limits, and you learn about yourself,” said Barrera, who dedicated his participation in the competition in memory of his late grandparents Maria Elena and Santiago Navarro.
When he finally receives his UTSA diploma Barrera wants to turn his attention to expanding his business and giving back to his family who has stood by him. His girlfriend, Bridget Bollom, will also be graduating with a degree in kinesiology. “It’s been a long journey, but I’m glad that I took it.”
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