As a business professor Bret developed courses and launched the technology commercialization, managing growth, and entrepreneurship concentrations at the University of Maine and the University of Vermont. At Green Mountain College, Bret taught M.B.A. courses focused on sustainability in the areas of marketing, operations, and strategy. In over twenty years of teaching experience he has also taught marketing and sales, market research, consumer behavior, quality assurance, and operations management courses.
Bret is the founder and past president of the Vermont Biosciences Alliance, a non-profit technology business development organization. He was the founder of the Family Business Initiative at UVM and serves on several business and non-profit boards, including the Maine Investment Exchange and the Vermont Investor Forum, not-for profits that brought investors together with growing entrepreneurial businesses in need of investment funding. Bret is also a director on the board of Cochran’s Ski Area, the first (intentionally) non-profit ski area in the country. The goal is to provide skiing and ski racing opportunities to kids from families with modest income levels.
Bret is currently writing a book on leading and managing through the challenges of rapid growth in smaller, entrepreneurial companies, which will be published by Praeger Publishing.
Leading Success in New Venture Growth: Navigating the rapids of entrepreneurial success and growth.: Entrepreneurial dreams to action! Launching and leading new ventures is the focus now. Students develop real-world launch plans for new ventures to achieve market success plus the internal leadership and processes to cope with the challenges of rapid new venture growth. Examples include: Developing marketing messages and effective pricing strategies. Getting the right people in the right seats: finding, hiring and motivating the best people to support new venture success. Leadership and learning how to "conduct the orchestra" - instead of trying to play every instrument yourself. Other topics include: Managing on the inside to achieve external goals. How to reduce and cope with the uncertainty, risks and change of leading new ventures. Students are expected to begin the course with a clear idea for a new venture. Prior entrepreneurship experience or a prior entrepreneurship course will be very helpful to students. Key words: entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing
Many think entrepreneurship means launching a new venture from scratch. But there are effective alternative approaches for introducing product or service innovations in growing markets and communities. This course explores different market strategies for introducing innovations based on identifying the high-potential customers and then developing promotional messages that attract customers. Students also develop effective, real world business models - for either businesses or for not-for-profit ventures. These are based on market research with potential customers or clients. You will learn how to start, conduct and analyze actual conversations with potential customers representing the markets and communities to be served. Students also learn how to assess the strengths and weaknesses of competitors plus overall trends in markets and communities. The goal is a successful, sustainable business model for their innovative product or service idea. (key words: entrepreneurship, marketing)