SOM [RE]Connections Event 3.15.12

By: Roger Lu

Thursday’s connection event was an unforgettable experience for every attendee. International business students had the opportunity to get connected with business pioneers in our community. The fact that Mr. Cussio is within the same age group as us, made the whole presentation more interesting. During the networking session, I was fortunately introduced by Dr. Apfelthaler to Mr. Pompan, the founder and Managing Director of an investment banking firm named Clear Capital Advisors that advises middle market and emerging growth companies.

The first speaker Mr. Brendon Cussio is the vice president of finance and marketing of a fast growing silicon recycling company: Solarsilicon Recycling Services, LLC. During his speech, Mr. Cussio presented us a vivid picture of his company’s development in this new merging market.

Like most companies with insightful view towards its future market, it is not technology innovation only, but also the innovative understanding of where the company should reach out. Under the support of national favorable policy, Chinese solar energy is booming its productivity in recent years. According to my research in local news agencies, Chinese solar energy was a top producer in 2009 . In China upcoming surplus capability became a problem in 2011 . Although this can pose as a disaster, to some this can be a great business opportunity.

Mr. Cussio’s revolutionary view of global supply gave us a peek on how innovation is important to this developing company. As a president in charge of marketing, he certainly knows in order to maintain his company’s leadership; it requires not only technology innovation, but also a creative view on globalizing its operation. Vast markets in solar energy give Brendon a perfect opportunity to recycle silicon materials to better advance his business. Therefore, Solarsilicon set up its supply chain in China, and he uses his nitch market strategy to become the first silicon recycling company in California.

In businesses today, individuals not only need a brilliant idea but also a lucrative financial backing. Unlike most of the big programs, commercial banks are not interested into small projects in this economy due to their limited return and uncertainty of profits. Fortunately, California State Loan gave Solarsilicon a breathing chance to unveil its invention. By millions of injected capital, the company was able to roll its business ahead. During its meeting in March, one of CPPCC’s controversial topics was, the establishment of a more liberal policy towards private capital investment. The lack of capital fluidity in the loan market is now a prevalent issue in global banking industry. On the other hand, private capitals have nowhere to invest due to strict laws on personal investing. In certain instances government loans become the appropriate option for some small business owners.

Mr. Cussio’s success would not have been possible without the commitment of his executive team. According to Mr. Cussio, it was impossible to start an innovative entity by himself. It is the team’s wisdom and critical decision making that keeps the company moving towards the right direction from the beginning. From my own personal experience, one of my close friends in college started a partnership with several investors upon graduation. Unfortunately, due to disagreements on various visions of the partnership, the computer retail store was not successful. Therefore, a joint view and contribution on a company’s developing direction is critical its growth.

The second speaker Mary Ann Rooney gave input on a Human Resource point of view on how to grow businesses. Her experience in the Small Business Development Center, tells the necessity of building up network in running a business. Under a lot of circumstances, people’s communication and information exchange create unexpected results. Besides networking, instead of focusing on the monetary, she stressed that it is people’s thinking of themselves and who do they really want to become determine what they will achieve on their business path. This target oriented strategy works when people is lack of object to reach out.

The last speaker Dr. Bruce Pompan is also school’s instructor of Merger and Acquisition class. He elaborated growth tips in more academic areas such as diversity, risk taking and return of investment. His explanation presented two aspects in diversity: the diversity of products, and diversifying customer base. Quite frankly, my humble understanding of this concept is the internal and external practice in diversity, which means creating profiting points and sharing lower risk on each of them. Talking about risk, one simple understanding in economy is the equivalent risk and profits. For that reason, being able to take considerable market risk is the precondition of, but not necessarily leads to considerable returns.

Every business opportunity is targeting on Return of Investment, and controllable financial loss. These two are basic drive for all profit entity runners. Using his academic study, Dr. Pompan gave a numerous expectation of a private entity’s reasonable growth rate at 25%. In another word, it is essential for a start up company to have a 30 – 40% increase during its first five critical years. This visualized target created a vivid picture to existing and future business runners in seats of a efficient business growing standard.

Talking with these business runners gave the business majored students a valuable place to reconnect with successors. What even more precious is young models like Brendon Cussio was graduated from our school, his worth learning career path opens our eyes on possible future growth. Meanwhile, students like us offered our immature but refreshing opinions, this thinking collision stimulated every attendee’s interests into the event. Thanks to Dr. Shane and Tommie Joe for organizing the meeting for local business runners and school students to connect to each other.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of author, a CLU student

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