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The University of Texas at Tyler
UT Tyler Accounting Professor Provides Lessons from 'Blue Goose'
Dr. Gus Gordon, UT Tyler associate professor of accounting, with former Mexican president and Mrs. Vicente Fox while they visited the UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center Sept. 2008.
After leaving Texas to live in several other southern states, Dr. Gus Gordon, associate professor of accounting at The University of Texas at Tyler, has come back home to Tyler and the university – but not before living and beginning a business south of the border.
“I grew up in Tyler and all of my family lives here,” said Gordon, who first taught classes at the university in the 1980s as an instructor. “I moved off to several different states before I went to Mexico. It’s a type of homecoming for me. Tyler is a neat city in many respects, and certainly the university is an incredibly beautiful place. Seeing the changes here at the university is remarkable. I think it’s changing for the better.”
As the university grew, so did Gordon, with knowledge and first hand experience of developing a business in Mexico 10 years ago. He uses his experiences as a teaching tool for his students.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to come back to Tyler and to share some of the hard lessons that I’ve learned outside of the textbook situation with students, particularly through my business,” he said. “It’s about my own business, so I’m anxious to share it.”
His business, Operadora Ganso Azul, is a sewing factory that produces police and security agency attire. It “sort of happened by accident,” according to Gordon.
“While the director of business programs at Southern Mississippi University, I was asked to accompany a group of business students to Mexico since they knew I spoke Spanish,” he explained. “I’ve always had an interest in Mexico, generally. I had written a couple of research articles about doing business in Mexico and the advantages it has. My future customer wanted some help with prospects in a niche market, creating attire for security agencies. He asked me if I could set up something on a small scale. I agreed, and we just kept growing and growing from there.”
The business expanded from “zero people” to more than 500 today. Gordon returned to Texas last year, and with telecommunication technology, continues to oversee the managerial team every day.
“It’s been a really fun adventure,” said Gordon, who is chief executive officer and majority stockholder. “I’m living my dream. There were times when I thought it was going to be my nightmare,” he added with laugh. “But it’s something that I would never trade in all of my experiences.”
Picking the business’ name, Operadora Ganso Azul, (The Blue Goose), was an adventure in itself too, Gordon said.
“My name, Gus, can’t be pronounced by most Mexicans, because the ‘uh’ sound in Gus is not in the Spanish language,” Gordon explained. “So they pronounce my name more like the word ‘goose.’ That’s where that word in the name comes from. I have a Mexican partner whose nickname was ‘Blue.’ The company had gone through a lot of changes, and I once thought to change the name to something different, but I decided to keep it.”
When former Mexican president Vicente Fox visited the campus as part of the UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Lecture Series earlier last semester, Gordon met the official for the first time.
“I was living there in Mexico at the time when he got elected,” he said. “It really was a very interesting dynamic because it was the first time in over 70 years that a new political party was in power. I was certainly excited that he won.”
Overall, Gordon hopes to provide another business view from a neighboring country.
“I learned a lot about accounting and business and even about myself in the process of starting and operating this business,” he said. “Mexico is a neighbor – so close and yet so far away. A lot of their business and social culture is quite different from ours. I hope to bring students to a better understanding of both dimensions and apply that to our classroom discussions.”
Gordon holds a bachelor of science in economics from UT Austin, a master of science in economics from Baylor University and a doctorate of business administration in accounting from Louisiana Tech University.
His research interests include cost and managerial accounting.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.