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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Sam Fox returns to UA

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Brandi Walker

Sam Fox, CEO and founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, answers questions at the 2015 UA Executive of the Year Luncheon at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa on Friday. Fox was awarded the Eller College of Management Executive of the Year award.

Sam Fox, founder and CEO of Fox Restaurant Concepts, was honored Friday at the annual Executive of the Year Luncheon presented by the UA Eller College of Management.

President Ann Weaver Hart, Gov. Doug Ducey, Karl and Stevie Eller, and UA students and faculty gathered at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa to celebrates Fox’s accomplishments.

Before dropping out to open his first restaurant at the age of 20, Tucson local Sam Fox graduated from Sabino High School and studied real estate at UA Eller College.

Fox Restaurant Concepts currently has 44 restaurants, 15 different concepts and is in eight different states. Fox said they plan to open more than 30 restaurants in the next few years.

Hart said the Eller Executive of the Year Award is one of the highlights of the whole year.

Since 1983, each year, the Eller College National Board of Advisors has honored an individual who it believes exemplifies executive qualities in private enterprise and public service.

Hart referred to Fox as “an Arizona, homegrown product” and “a wonderful example to our students” due to his success.

“When Karl [Eller] called me up and mentioned some of the people who have won the award in the past,” Fox said, “some big-time CEOs and leaders in their industry, and then asked me if I’d accept the award, I was just blown away.”

Ducey said Fox has always been a great friend to him, and he was there to celebrate and be supportive of him.

“We’ve been friends for years; it’s probably been over 10 years now,” Ducey said. “I met him through Young Presidents Organization. This was before he was the Sam Fox we’re celebrating today. I was building Cold Stone, and he was building his restaurant concepts, and I just have a lot of respect for what he’s done.”

The namesake of the Eller College, Karl Eller, said Fox has “developed a heck of a project” and that “it’s a great respect to see him take an idea from the University of Arizona and be successful.”

Jeff Schatzberg, dean of the Eller College of Management, said the purpose of the gathering is not just to celebrate leaders but also to give their students access to those leaders.

Before the luncheon, Fox met with Eller undergraduate students, and he later met with MBA students. Fox said having the chance to meet and interact with the students was his favorite part of the day

Amy Harris, a business management junior, was one of the students who able to meet with Fox and ask him questions. 

“It was a really cool experience,” Harris said. “He’s very down-to-earth, and he answered a bunch of questions that we had as young entrepreneurs. I think it was a really memorable experience.”

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Follow Chastity Laskey on Twitter.

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