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Bobcats become bosses in businesses

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The successes of alumni can be seen all throughout the Hill Country, whether it be in business, art, film or music. Many of those alumni have set up shop in San Marcos.

Rio Rodriguez, the owner of San Marvelous, said he spent most of his college career partying at popular San Marcos hotspots before becoming a successful business owner.

“I had a really epic college experience,” Rodriguez said.  “We were always playing volleyball, floating the river and at Sewell Park as many times of the week as we could.”

Rodriguez said his lively college experience turned into an opportunity to network within the community when building his first company, which was later traded in to pursue retail.

“I was so successful at throwing huge parties that I started my first business (Rockstar Productions),” Rodriguez said. “We started to do big events with local bars, apartments, restaurants and stuff like that.”

The partying business proved to earn little monetary value, an issue which led Rodriguez to consider other options.

Rod Keller, the partner at Odgers Berndtson, the company known for selling self-balancing personal transporters, had a similar experience.

Keller said he spent his two years at Texas State as a regular party-goer.

“I was not very responsible,” Keller said. “I was immature. I was in a fraternity. I spent way too much time having fun the first year and a half.”

However, Keller realized he couldn’t party away his education. After a life changing experience working offshore prior to his junior year of college, Keller said he made a complete turn-around.

“I was like two different students from the first two years to the last two,” Keller said. “I went to work offshore halfway through college and I realized I could either do something like that for the rest of my life, being offshore seven days at a time, or I could come back and get my degree and build a different life.”

Susan Angell-Gonzalez, CEO of ShowMakers of America and founder of American Dance Company, is another successful alumna, but with a different story when it comes to her education.

She said her typical school day at Texas State started at 8 a.m. and was packed with campus activities and academics.

“In addition to academics and attending classes, I was a Texas State Strutter for four years and captain for two of the years,” Angell-Gonzalez said. “Classes usually began at 8 a.m. followed by afternoon Strutter practices and evening sorority meetings.”

Angell-Gonzalez learned the value of a dollar while attending Texas State. She worked hard to stay on budget and saved all her summer earnings to pay tuition.

As successful alumni, Rodriguez, Keller and Angell-Gonzalez all said they agree the only certain experience on the road to success is failure. Another resounding theme of success all three former Bobcats stressed is the importance of balancing interests and activities.

Angell-Gonzalez said she learned how to prioritize her goals not just with school activities, but with her personal life.

“At one time, I owned and operated three businesses under my corporate umbrella,” Angella-Gonzalez said. “It got to the point where my health was affected and that is where the wake-up call hit me.”

Rodriguez struggled to choose between his interests. To succeed he had to choose his passion and master his craft.

“What I ended up doing was I picked the top four things that I loved and was excited about doing—photography, fashion, marketing and branding—and I combined those things together,” Rodriguez said.

Regardless, these successful alumni agreed Texas State was a large part of their success in business.

 

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