Published on October 8, 2014 by Cassady Weldon  
Mike Verlander

What a student learns in the classroom will be applicable in the business world, a NASCAR executive told students in Samford University’s Brock School of Business. 

Mike Verlander, vice president of sales and marketing for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was on campus Oct. 3 for a sports marketing lecture sponsored by Samford’s American Marketing Association chapter.

Verlander presented a case study on Danica Patrick, a driver for the SHR team, and discussed crisis management in a sport where accidents are inevitable.

SHR is the title-winning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned by three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. The team consists of four drivers: Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, and Kurt Busch. SHR operates in a 280,000-square-foot shop based in Kannapolis, N.C.

Verlander, a 2003 Samford journalism and mass communication graduate, enjoys coming back to his alma mater and said he hopes that he is able to show students how he has applied what he learned at Samford.

“So much of what you focus and study for tests, you’re actually going to use. It’s applicable and transferable to a job,” said Verlander. “There are aspects of what everyone is doing on campus that will be applied at some point to your income."

Clifton Eason, assistant professor of marketing, said, “The Samford chapter of the American Marketing Association is pleased to have brought in a speaker from a nationally recognized brand. The topics covered today are issues that marketing professionals come into contact with on a regular basis, and this was a great opportunity for our students to see "real world" application of the concepts we introduce them to in the classroom.” 

Cassady Weldon is a journalism and mass communication major and news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.