Barhorst endowment boosts distribution research for Texas A&M Engineering

Undergraduates at Texas A&M University soon will take a closer look at distribution of services, thanks to a gift by Warren and Lisa Barhorst of Houston.

The couple owns Barhorst Insurance Group Ltd. with 30 locations across Texas. He is chairman and chief executive officer, and she is vice president of operations.

Photo of Warren and Lisa Barhorst

Their gift of $25,000 to the Texas A&M Foundation will create the Lisa and Warren Barhorst '88 Endowment for Undergraduate Research in Service Distribution in the engineering technology and industrial distribution department.

"This gift by the Barhorsts will allow Texas A&M to be a leader in the emerging area of undergraduate research in service distribution in the United States. We thank them for their generous foresight and support," said Dr. Walter W. Buchanan, department head and holder of the J.R. Thompson Department Head Chair in Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution.

The endowment will provide industrial distribution students with travel funds for field trips, presentations at professional meetings and other expenses related to research on distribution of services. Matching funds from Nationwide Insurance will help complete the gift.

"The changing business environment is requiring professionals with strong problem-solving skills. These same skills are what professional researchers at the University use on a day to day basis. These skills are not limited by education level but more by the desire and determination of the researcher. Thanks to this generous gift and the matching funds it has already attracted and will continue to attract, our most highly motivated undergraduates can acquire these skills, develop them, take them to industry and make a difference. We are very grateful to Warren and Lisa for this farsighted approach to education and talent development," said Dr. F. Barry Lawrence, Industrial Distribution Program director and holder of the Leonard and Valerie Bruce Leadership Chair in Industrial Distribution.

Warren E. Barhorst earned an industrial distribution degree from Texas A&M in 1988. As a student, he was a member of football coach Jackie Sherrill's 12th Man Kickoff Team, a squad of non-athletic scholarship students that commanded considerable national interest.

After graduation, Barhorst worked for Mannesmann Demag. In August 1993 he signed a contract to represent Nationwide Insurance, establishing the Barhorst Insurance Group later that year.

Barhorst was honored with Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for the Houston Gulf Coast Area for Business Services in 2008. The same year he released the book, Game Plan … The Definitive Playbook for Starting or Growing Your Business, cited for its "energy, stick-to-it-iveness, focus and a sense of strategy and attention to tactics" by reviewer Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes business magazine.

He recently served on the board of the Texas Association of Business.

At Texas A&M he is a member of the Industrial Distribution Industry Advisory Board, the 12th Man Athletic Ambassadors Council and the 12th Man Kickoff Team Foundation.

The Barhorst Insurance Group has been ranked among the nation's 5,000 fastest-growing companies by Inc. magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and 29th among Houston companies in that category by Houston Business JournalTexas Monthly magazine has listed the firm as one of the best places to work in Texas since 2006. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program recognized the Barhorst Group as the National Flood Agency of the Year in 2005 and 2007, with a Special Recognition Award for Flood Education and Marketing in 2008. The company has been listed three times since 2005 among the "Aggie 100," the 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a non-profit organization that receives major gifts and manages endowments for the sole benefit of Texas A&M University.