From Masonry to Fisher Degree

November 7, 2019

Through the School of Business, Rob Brown Builds a Solid Foundation for His Company

Rob Brown

Rob Brown began his pursuit for higher education in 2008 at Cornell University. A year later, he returned home for family reasons and continued to pursue his degree at St. John Fisher College.

Then, the recession hit. After deciding it was time to join the workforce, Brown found a position with a family friend who owned a masonry business that specialized in foundations for building structures.

After several years in a manually grueling position, he began to feel trapped. “I felt stuck in a dead-end job wondering if I would ever have an opportunity to better my circumstances. I knew I had to finish what I started,” he recalled.

Brown returned to Fisher in spring 2018 to pursue a degree in corporate finance. He began taking classes, mostly at night, while continuing to work full-time.

After his boss closed his business, Brown saw an opportunity to launch his own masonry company and Brown Masonry, LLC was born. He leveraged his work experience to get the company off the ground, all in the midst of studying for finals.

His small company is now expanding and he has creatively partnered with other masons to keep up with the high volume of work. Brown oversees every aspect of his business, but managing his time efficiently has allowed him to keep pursuing his Fisher degree. Like his peers in the classroom, he spends a lot of evenings and weekends studying.

Brown credits the supportive faculty in the School of Business for helping him stay on the path to earn his degree. He says attending business school while running his own business has been beneficial as he is able to apply his coursework directly to the company and bring his work experience into the classroom. The skills he has honed in the classroom have also given him the knowledge to handle the behind-the-scenes operation of his business. He says his experiences have taught him to take matters into his own hands.

“If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen,” he said.

Brown anticipates he will graduate with his finance degree in December 2019. While he does not know where the future will take him, he does know that a degree, and a measure of perseverance, has helped him build a foundation for new opportunities.