Our Stories

Casting His Line

Fishing Pro Readies to Test Investment Waters

Andy Patton
President & CEO, Clarus

Vanderbilt MBA 2010

Not many people can boast interests as diverse as Andy Patton's. He taught high school Latin, Greek, math and music for three years. He was an equity analyst covering the oil and gas industry. He's an avid fisherman who ties his own flies and has guided professionally in Wyoming. The Nashville native is sufficiently accomplished as a picker and singer to have performed professionally on the guitar and mandolin.

The bad news for his career: He had ignored any direct business education in college. The good news? His diverse background, he says, gave him a framework to understand new things and a willingness to tackle them. For Andy, who with his wife and two sons had put down strong roots in Nashville, Owen was the ideal spot for his new undertakings.

During his first year, Andy especially relished a class in "Launching the Venture," which helped him launch his career in venture capital. Whether it involves new ventures or mature companies, finding value is a little like finding fish: the greatest reward comes through perseverance and a willingness to explore beyond the most crowded waters.