Former Fighter Pilot, Entrepreneur Directs Baylor Center

Oct. 14, 1997

by Alan Hunt

WACO, Texas - Former U.S. Marine pilot and entrepreneur David Allen has been named director of the nationally ranked John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business.

Allen, 53, who started his new job Oct. 1, was born and raised in Waco. He graduated from Baylor in 1968 with degrees in English and history after working his way through school working summer jobs on a California production line and as a crew member on tugboats in the Houston Ship Channel.

After graduation, he served as a pilot in the Marine Corps from 1968-72, flying a total of about 800 hours - nearly half of them in F-4 fighters.

Later, he joined Van Outdoor Advertising Inc., which was owned by his father-in-law, and he purchased the company in September 1978. He operated it until 1982, when he sold the business. The same year, Allen purchased Puremco of Waco, a domino manufacturing company. "We were the sole domino manufacturing company in the U.S.," he said. "Our production averaged about 100,000 sets of dominoes per year." He sold the company in March this year.

Allen also operated an outdoor advertising company in Bryan, and sold the company in 1994.

He says he is no stranger to Baylor. "My father, Truett Allen, grew up on Eighth Street, Waco, about a block from campus, and he loved Baylor. He instilled that in all of us. Over the years, I found myself spending more and more time on campus because I simply enjoyed being there. And I like the people at Baylor. It is a fine university."

He said he is looking forward to his work at the Baugh Center, which includes the Institute for Family Business and the FastTrac program for entrepreneurs. The Baugh Center has been nationally ranked for the quality of its entrepreneurship programs by Success magazine and U.S. News & World Report.

Allen described the role of an entrepreneur as "exciting." He explained, "You are continually faced with new situations, and the challenge of trying to solve problems in new ways. Additionally, you have to adapt to what that new challenge presents. It's exciting."

Members of Cogdell Memorial United Methodist Church, Waco, Allen and his wife, Betty, both teach Sunday School classes and Allen serves as a lay speaker. They have two daughters, Mrs. Meredith York, 27, and Claire, 20, a sophomore at McLennan Community College.

For more information, contact Allen at (254) 710-2265.

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