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Senior Building His Future at Millsaps

by Web on November 5, 2018

From building sets for a theatre production to studying entrepreneurial investments, Spencer Ellswood connects with students and faculty across Millsaps College.

A senior from Austin, Texas, Ellswood choose to attend Millsaps because he found its sense of community inviting. “There’s something about the people at Millsaps,” he said.

Also appealing, he said, was the Else School of Management, its business classes taught by professors who are experts in their fields, and the ELSEWorks Entrepreneurship Program, which promotes economic development and the creation of positive social change.

Ellswood, who is working to earn a bachelor’s in business administration, especially values the knowledge he has gained that he can apply to his business, Core Custom Metal Works, LLC in Austin, Texas, which specializes in ornamental and structural steel projects.

“We’ve designed an outdoor cathedral meant for weddings, bid on a 3,000-square-foot addition to a warehouse building, and worked with investors to build custom steel buildings,” he said. “The majority of our work comes from ornamental projects. Those include gates, fencing, and pennants, along with other various custom works.”

The business law class he took under Millsaps Professor Harvey Fiser helped his company operate in a more professional manner, Ellswood said.

A class taught by Dr. Diane Baker, a Millsaps professor who teaches management, group behavior and human resources, made him realize the importance of learning how to work with others in business. “It’s enlightening how important that skill is,” he said.

Also helpful has been the entrepreneurial investments class taught by Dr. David Culpepper, Millsaps professor of accounting.

He lets you know that life isn’t about tests and papers,” Ellswood said. “Dr. Culpepper and the class focus more on application and real-world problem solving.”

International business law and international business in Latin America taught by Fiser and Dr. Jesse Beeler, Millsaps professor of accounting last year in Merida, Yucatan, provided a global view of business, he said.

As a business analyst for ELSEWorks, Ellswood has gained business additional experience by working with the site design and layout for the Midtown Depot Art Park & Beer Garden that is under development. He has also attended numerous meetings to assist Coffee Prose, a coffee and used bookshop planned across the street from the College at the corner of West Street and Millsaps Avenue, with marketing and other business needs.

Thanks to the Early Start Program, Ellswood is already working on his graduate degree. The program allows Millsaps undergraduate B.B.A. students who wish to continue straight into the graduate business programs at Millsaps to do so before they complete their undergraduate degree. Millsaps seniors who have accumulated enough undergraduate hours that they do not have to take a full course load the second semester of their senior year in order to graduate are eligible to take up to two graduate courses during that semester.

Ellswood, who took metal shop and engineering classes in high school, grew up helping his father with projects or working on projects that interested him.

“My experience has come from a lot of the jobs I was working as well,” he said. “I worked a summer camp that taught kids how to ride dirt bikes, and I was usually in the background working on bikes or running the tractors for the tracks. I worked at a ranch where I helped build a pole barn. The structural steel company had these grand plans to interpret and weld up amazing houses. In the last three or so years of the steel business, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn some new skills.”

Theatre productions on campus have benefitted from Ellswood’s skills for set design and construction. Ellswood, who serves as treasurer of the Art Club, helped the club in 2017 with Studio Day, during which students learned how to build wooden puzzle candy holders.

An RA for a student residence hall, a participant on the Millsaps Mock Trial team, and treasurer for Historical Mixed Martial Arts, Ellswood said he has found time to pursue interests in and out of the classroom during his four years at Millsaps.

“I drive motorcycles, run a steel company, and I rock out at Millsaps,” he said.

Ellswood said his long-term goal is to grow Core Custom Metal Works, LLC with the help of an investor. “We currently have a shop on a hundred acres of land that we intend on developing,” he said.