“As an alumna I’ve seen a lot of growth within the business program and it’s been exciting to see the opportunities evolve for students,” says Angela Watts ’05. The small and midsize business strategist and consultant found her way into the business world through hands-on experience at Plymouth State, and she’s enthusiastic about planned upgrades to Hyde Hall.
The 1970s-era building, the home of PSU’s Applied School of Business, is slated for major renovation over the new few years, which will provide students with a facility worth of its outstanding business programs. Major planned areas include a Finance Lab, a home for PSU’s Sales Institute, and a dedicated space for Plymouth Creative, a student staffed agency that is an outgrowth of the pioneering Plymouth Marketing and Design Agency course. Student business organizations will also have dedicated spaces.
“Renovating Hyde Hall will better establish Plymouth State as a place where students want to come to grow their skills and learn business,” Watts says. “It can drive more students there and encourage more mentors like myself to work with students who are eager to learn.”
A health education/physical major, Watts developed her business chops through organizing campus activities for fellow students. “I learned my love of business from working at the intramural program,” she says. “My mentor there was Mark Wojcinski, and he promoted me as a freshman.”
Wojcinski, the University’s former club sports advisor, is among the many faculty and staff members who go the extra mile to empower students. He also is credited for helping to launch the Women’s Hockey Team when interested students approached him about the possibility of making their informal group an official club team. He became their first coach and served in that capacity for three seasons before Women’s Hockey was elevated to varsity status beginning with the 2006–07 season.
“Wojo” took Watts under his wing as well. “Business wasn’t my major, but he taught me about management and growing the program, and put me in charge of marketing it,” she recalls. “Since then, there has been a lot of revamping of the whole fitness center at the HUB and coming back years later it’s so impressive. I was proud to see that because I helped grow it.”
Fast forward to today, and Watts is co-founder of Fun Brands LLC. Her co-owners include Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher; Watts successfully pitched the two celebrity investors on Shark Tank and she has shared her insights with the PSU community as a Panther Pitch guest presenter. She meets regularly with Kyle Dimick ’24, who won a Pitch award this past year for his healthcare concept. “He’s really smart and has potential, and I’m committed to mentoring him while he gets his product off the ground,” she says.
A successful entrepreneur, Watts has advanced skills in developing revenue channels, capitalizing on market conditions, and enhancing sales funnels. Modernizing Hyde Hall, she believes, will provide PSU students with a more conducive business climate because she knows that inspiring surroundings can spur productivity and breakthroughs.
“Ideas come from the environment that you’re in and the people you’re surrounded by,” Watts says. “It’s important to have the spaces that drive creativity and help students do their best.
“Working in a state-of-the-art facility gives you more confidence, knowing that you’re at the level of the ‘Googles of the world’,” she adds. “It’ll put Plymouth State on a higher playing field. You want students to feel proud about their school, and I’ll be excited to come back to Plymouth to see all of the renovation updates myself!”
In January, the University System of New Hampshire authorized $30.5 million for a major renovation to modernize Hyde’s building systems, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, and to reconfigure classrooms and corridors to make them nimbler and more functional. This vote of confidence will be enhanced by an additional $10 million campaign goal for advanced technology common to industry and leading business schools to fulfill the project’s promise and potential. Gifts of any size are welcome! To take the Giving Week challenge, click here.