Texas Tech University

Accounting Student Receives Award from Texas Business Hall of Fame

Jacob Gordon

June 16, 2021

Darce Ross

Darce Ross, an accounting student at Rawls College, was recognized by the Texas Business Hall of Fame for his entrepreneurial passion.

Jerry S. Rawls College of Business student Darce Ross was named The Pefanis Family Award recipient for 2021 by the Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF). Ross, who is in the Accelerated Bachelor's-to-Master's in Accounting program and has an internship with the accounting firm KPMG, was recognized by TBHF as an up-and-coming business leader who demonstrates an early inclination toward community involvement. The award also comes with a $15,000 scholarship.

“Words cannot describe how much this award means to me,” said Ross. “To get this award alongside the many other talented recipients is truly meaningful and proves the value that I believe my business has.”

Ross was nominated by Robert Ricketts, Frank M. Burke Chair in Taxation and director of the School of Accounting. Ricketts was quick to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit residing in Ross.

“In his freshman year, Darce started a business refurbishing fellow students' shoes,” said Ricketts. “I had no idea that there was a demand for this, but Darce did and he developed a thriving business within just a few weeks. His work was excellent, and his business was surprisingly profitable. Actually, it was fascinating to an ordinary observer like me.”

It wasn't long after his first year that Ross developed a passion for photography and looked to apply his entrepreneurial skills there.

“I realized my passion for photography when I was 19,” said Ross. “Like many budding entrepreneurs, this began as a hobby, only later developing into a lucrative business.”

For the past two years, Ross has run his own photography business, Darce Ross Photo. He's been hired to capture a range of meaningful moments in people's lives, including senior photos, graduations and weddings.

As a small photography business, Ross not only has to compete with other photographers to be hired, but he's also competing against smartphones that are capable of taking high-quality pictures. To accomplish this, Ross has worked hard to develop his artistic eye.

Darce Ross
Darce Ross

“It is important to remember that photography is not merely snapping photos,” said Ross. “Professional photography continues to experience demand based on the photographer's artistic vision and the high-quality edits that separate professionals from individual ‘phonetographers.'”

Along with individual client jobs, Ross also provides photography services for The City Church of Lubbock to help promote events through the church's social media accounts.

Ross is expected to graduate with his master's and bachelor's degrees in accounting in May 2022, and he's already thinking about how to grow his photography business. While he hopes to eventually have his own venue for weddings and establish multiple metro-based studios, his primary audience in the future is going to be small businesses.

Ross hopes to start a blog similar to Humans of New York that focuses on highlighting small businesses around Texas.

“Most small start-up businesses face obstacles to accessing capital,” said Ross. “The attention and stories offered on my blog would provide a centralized location for investment opportunities by capitalists and angel investors, which are often difficult to find.”

Ross will also use the blog to highlight the benefits of operating a small business in Texas and hopes that would then entice other entrepreneurs from around the country to come to the state to start their next venture.  

While Ross has already taken several steps towards his future career goals, the award from the TBHF is a crucial one.

“This award will allow me to invest in my business,” said Ross, “which will help scale the business to service the whole state of Texas. I will be able to incorporate as an LLC, hire a team of photographers/videographers as well as editors, and start my search for a studio space in the Dallas metroplex area.”

While Ross is appreciative of the recognition and scholarship funding, he also sees the award as a networking opportunity as well.

“Not only does the scholarship have monetary value, but it also connects me with many other entrepreneurs that will help me brainstorm ideas which, in my eyes, is priceless.”