Texas Tech University

Steve Lipscomb's Hopes for the Alderson & Griffin Center

Steve Lipscomb wants the Alderson & Griffin Center to elevate and amplify the lives and dreams of entrepreneurs and family business owners.

Jacob Gordon | May 8, 2024

In April, the Alderson & Griffin Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship (AGCFBE) welcomed Steve Lipscomb as its executive director. As Lipscomb settles into what he calls his new adventure at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business , he has been working to focus his vision for the AGCFBE.

"I think there's an opportunity to create something that elevates and amplifies the incredible things that are already happening here in Lubbock," said Lipscomb. "We hope people will join us to find the dream or build the thing that only they can imagine."

Lipscomb knows the early stages of business creation can feel like drinking from a firehose. He believes that Rawls College, Texas Tech University, and the AGCFBE occupy a unique position at the intersection of enterprise, innovation, and academia.

"There's an energy that emerges in communities housing academic institutions like Texas Tech and The Rawls College of Business," he said. Incredible people are already here researching, creating, and innovating. We want to engage students, faculty, and people in Lubbock, the state of Texas, and far beyond."

In order to construct that future, Lipscomb and the center's namesakes, David Alderson and Mark Griffin, plan to continue offering the McCoy Family Speaker Series as they begin connecting communities, collecting resources, and growing the center's impact. Lipscomb will draw upon his years of experience starting, growing, and assisting public and private companies, including the World Poker Tour (WPT), which he created in 2002.

Lipscomb hopes that the AGCFBE can simplify things for entrepreneurs and small business owners by bringing people together to share ideas and address business problems in new ways.

"Simple is always better," Lipscomb stressed. "Poker is a perfect example of that principle. Texas Hold 'em is a game that I can explain to you in two sentences, but the nuances of betting and player interaction are things you can explore for a lifetime."

In the early days of creating the WPT format, Lipscomb focused on the players and their emotions.

"We viewed every WPT final table as a Shakespearian tragedy, with five of six players dying by the end," said Lipscomb. "To have any chance of success, the WPT shows needed to get viewers invested enough in each player to jump up and cheer or throw something at the TV when the cards decided their fate."

This focus on the people took a lot of work; Lipscomb was trying to recreate poker for television from scratch.

"It took us eight months to edit the first episode," said Lipscomb. "It was just me and an editor in a small edit bay, working twelve to fifteen hours a day to create the format. The way we know it was successful is that people watch the format today and it plays simple."

Lipscomb wants the AGCFBE to mirror the World Poker Tour's focus on people and simplicity.

"People won't have the same needs, but they do all have needs," said Lipscomb. "I hope we can be a resource that people find, not just in the hallowed halls of Rawls College and Texas Tech, but far beyond."

For Lipscomb, the success of the AGCFBE will be in helping entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, business owners, and business aspirants to either get started or continue the meaningful work they are already doing.

"I truly believe that regional centers like Lubbock, that contain resource hubs like Texas Tech and The Rawls College of Business, are not just the past and the present of our free enterprise system, but they are poised to be an even more important part of the future," said Lipscomb. "We want to do things here that help people build their dreams, and that is an exciting prospect for all of us."

Read the Texas Tech Now story on Steve Lipscomb for a more in-depth exploration of his background.

About the Alderson & Griffin Center for Family Business & Entrepreneurship

Made possible by an endowment from two prominent entrepreneurial families, David and Lisa Alderson, and Texas Tech Regent Mark Griffin and his wife Claudia, the Center for Family Business & Entrepreneurship provides innovative networking opportunities, insightful educational forums and discussions, and relevant academic programs and applied research. The center's community is made up of a wide range of entrepreneurs including emerging leaders, successors, senior generations, students, and key nonfamily executives. By creating partnerships with Texas Tech entrepreneurship programs including think tanks and incubators, the center plays a vital role in engineering a new class of entrepreneurs who will form the family businesses of the future.