WT Enterprise Center celebrating 20 years of service to the Panhandle area

By David M. Wilson

The WT Enterprise Center soon will celebrate its 20th anniversary of serving entrepreneurs in the Texas Panhandle.

A celebratory reception to commemorate this milestone and honor the legacy and future of the WTEC will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 20 at the center, 2300 N. Western St. in Amarillo. The event is open to the public; attendees can RSVP here.

WTEC is a department of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University.

WT President Walter V. Wendler; Kyla Frye, WTEC executive director; and Coco Duckworth, WTEC entrepreneur-in-residence and success coach with Encourage Consulting will speak.

Don Taylor and his protégé, David Terry, developed a vision for a business incubator that has become a leader for aspiring and existing businesses in Amarillo and across the Texas Panhandle. Sue Taylor, Don’s wife, said her late husband had always envisioned a one-stop-shop where business owners could go to get help – accounting, taxes, strategy, marketing and more.

In 2001, through a joint partnership between WT and the State of Texas, Taylor’s vision was made a reality when the WT Enterprise Center was established as the first and only business incubator serving the top 26 counties of Texas.

“When the WTEC came to fruition, they created a center where people could come together and develop relationships and community, and build trust, in order to help them build their businesses,” Sue Taylor said. “Don established a place where aspiring business owners could come for help without fear of intimidation and be provided concepts and ideas that were real for them and easily understandable. I see it continuing on today in the programs and expertise offered through the WTEC.”

Dr. Neil Terry, WT executive vice president and provost, provided direction and oversight of the WTEC while serving as the dean of the Engler College of Business from 2006 to 2020.

“Through a combination of engagement channels such as incubation, coaching, network opportunities, and facilitation of financial support, the Enterprise Center is a critical asset for the entrepreneurial and economic development aspirations of the Texas Panhandle,” Terry said.

Over the last 20 years, the center has impacted hundreds of businesses and contributed to the economic development and growth of the Texas Panhandle. Roughly 74 percent of companies assisted by the WTEC are still in business to this day.