One of the defining opportunities in the career of BYU Marriott alum Reed Quinn was learning from seasoned business leaders in the BYU Marriott Executive MBA program. Using his business-world success and the expertise he gained from the program and his career, Quinn hopes that he can be part of providing that same opportunity to future entrepreneurs.
As an undergraduate, Quinn studied economics at BYU. After completing his undergraduate degree in 2003, Quinn put his education to use as he focused his career primarily on product management and development. He oversaw projects in a variety of industries including gift-card packaging, sports medicine, electronic gaming, and home improvement. After gaining some solid business experience, Quinn decided to return to BYU to complete his master's degree through the EMBA program.
“Before I went to college, my dad sat me down, and we had a discussion,” says Quinn. “He said, ‘You should really think about getting an advanced degree.’ Since then, I always planned on a master’s degree.”
Quinn weighed his options before deciding on BYU Marriott’s EMBA program, a decision he’s never regretted. “I learned as much from my classmates as I did from my professors,” says Quinn. “I was fortunate to be with colleagues who had thirty or forty years of experience compared to my four years at that point. They brought a wealth of experience for me to learn from. The EMBA program at BYU Marriott was absolutely the right place for me.”
By working with other business-minded individuals who had extensive expertise, Quinn was able to gain invaluable insight and experience that he may have missed had he chosen to pursue a different path instead of the EMBA program.
One of his most memorable experiences as an EMBA student at BYU Marriott was co-founding a company called KT Tape. Quinn, along with three other students, created a new kinesiology tape to help with the recovery and prevention of athletic injuries. To promote their product, Quinn and the other founders competed in multiple graduate-student competitions.
The new product and the team’s business plan won awards across the nation. “We received more than $220,000 from competitions,” says Quinn. KT Tape is now a household brand used by athletes across the nation.
After graduating from the EMBA program in 2009, Quinn used his education and his experience with KT Tape to create Spark Innovations, a brand-building and selling platform. Quinn explained that many large corporations already function much like Spark Innovations does through the buying and selling of smaller subsidies. However, Quinn's new company takes this model and scales it down so smaller businesses can experiment with building brands. Spark Innovations is a hands-on example of the efforts Quinn is making to help guide other businesses and leaders to success.
In addition to supporting brand-centric businesses through Spark, Quinn aims to turn the focus of new entrepreneurs toward the benefits of placing their products in retail spaces. “Many budding business leaders overlook retail space in favor of online stores and brand building,” says Quinn. Quinn says these new creators lean toward online service or product businesses, and he believes that significant opportunities are missed by doing so.
“If you get your product into a brick-and-mortar retailer, your brand is going to be one of only about five brands that they carry for that product,” says Quinn. “I always want to be one of those five.”
As he shares his expertise in business, Quinn wants others to know that learning from business veterans played a significant factor in the direction of his career. He hopes that future entrepreneurs will see the unique perspective his experience, along with the experience of others, offers and be encouraged to try their best at walking the paths less traveled. “What I found is if everybody is going one way, you can find success going the other direction,” says Quinn.
Writer: Erin Kratzer