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Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 176 - December 18, 2018
To start a new medical school, it is important that we draw on the expertise of individuals who have been successful. Their expertise need not always be in medicine. Business acumen, for example, can translate into how efficiently we run our clinics and how well we treat our patients. Fortunately, these people sit on our boards of directors, people who volunteer their time to ensure that UNLV has the best medical school and clinical practice possible to serve our community. So it is with Brian Lauzon, whose business success has been remarkable. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Brian, who’s working to make the UNLV School of Medicine a Center of Excellence.

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Successful Business Executive Brian Lauzon Helps Shape UNLV Medicine
UNLV President Marta Meana and UNLV School of Medicine Community Engagement Board Member Brian Lauzon outside the UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center
When UNLV President Marta Meana recently toured the UNLV Medicine Ackerman Autism Center and its main fundraising arm, the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation, one of the tour guides was Brian Lauzon, a man responsible for the double-digit growth in revenue and profits for some of the most powerful brands in the world, including M&M, Snickers, Skittles, Twix, Trident Gum, Hall’s Cough Drops, Rolaids, Listerine, Pedigree Pet Food and Uncle Ben.

Lauzon, who served as an executive officer with Warner Lambert and TJ Lipton as well as president for more than 15 years of various Mars Incorporated subsidiaries in the U.S., Canada and Asia/Pacific, is now on the UNLV School of Medicine Community Engagement Board, the UNLV Medicine Board and the Grant a Gift board.

“It’s exciting to be on these boards,” said Lauzon prior to the tour. “I’ve done startups through much of my career. When I look at what Barbara (UNLV Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson) has done in two years, it is mind boggling...I can see the UNLV School of Medicine and it’s practice plan (UNLV Medicine, the school of medicine’s clinical arm) and the Ackerman Center being centers of excellence respected around the world. I really believe it will be done.”

Lauzon’s can-do positive attitude is appreciated by Terri Janison, the Grant a Gift President and CEO who led the tour that President Meana and Mary S. Croughan, the UNLV Vice President for Research and Economic Development, took of the Ackerman Center on Rancho Drive.

“He’s been an amazing asset from the standpoint of strategic planning and marketing,” said Janison. “He’s tenacious in wanting to help and he does it with a sense of humor. He’s showing us how what he’s learned can correlate to the nonprofit world...we had planning sessions where he showed how each job is important to the success of our mission to help support children and families living with autism.”

Lauzon, who retired from Mars 16 years ago and since 2004 has headed Lauzon & Associates, a business consulting group in Las Vegas, first lived in California after his retirement. “I was a bachelor and didn’t want to pay high taxes so I thought Las Vegas would be a good fit.”
“We’re fortunate to have someone with his business expertise on our board,” said Dr. Michael Gardner, head of UNLV Medicine. “Brian’s enthusiasm, strategic thinking and knowledge of marketing has proved invaluable to UNLV Medicine.”
It was in Las Vegas that he said he met “the love of my life,” the woman who would become his wife six years ago, Paula Elyar-Lauzon, a senior vice president of administration for Boyd Gaming. A graduate of UNLV, she has been chairperson of the UNLV Hotel Dean’s Global Advisory Board and active with various other non-profit organizations including Global Gaming Women and United Way. “She said I should share what I know, reach out to help others,” Lauzon said.

That opportunity came during a dinner Lauzon and his wife had with Randy Gabe, a Southwest Gas Vice President and a member of the Grant a Gift board. “I was very impressed by his background and asked if he would be interested in joining the Grant a Gift board," Gabe said. "He makes us think about the whole business process...while we are helping people we still need sound business practices.” 

Gabe said Lauzon was a key player in the partnership formed between the UNLV School of Medicine and the Grant a Gift Foundation and their decision in 2016 to open the Ackerman Center for Autism, which bears the name of Gary Ackerman, a Grant a Gift board member whose son has autism.

“Barbara Atkinson was fantastic in her support, as was Gary,” Gabe said. “Brian (Lauzon) was one of the important voices for good management…he was instrumental in seeing the clinic opened..he wanted to make sure it was operated in sound fashion, not only medically but in a business sense.”

Ackerman, the owner of Gaudin Motors, says Lauzon’s grasp of finance, marketing and planning, has been critical to the success of the autism center. Businesswoman Donna Curry, chair of the Grant a Gift board, echoes his appraisal.

“He has been instrumental in our having a strategic plan that works,” she said. Not surprisingly, Lauzon’s success on the Grant a Gift board led to his being asked to join both the UNLV School of Medicine Community Engagement Board and the UNLV Medicine board of directors.

“We’re fortunate to have someone with his business expertise on our board,” said Dr. Michael Gardner, head of UNLV Medicine. “Brian’s enthusiasm, strategic thinking and knowledge of marketing has proved invaluable to UNLV Medicine.”

Lauzon said his philosophy of business was largely formed by his father, a pharmacist who owned his own drugstore in West Springfield, MA. “The biggest thing he showed me was integrity -- there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things.”

As a boy, Lauzon stocked shelves in the drugstore. There, he said he learned principles of inventory management, including that a good shelf presence was critical for sales. “What I learned back then I used at Mars,” he said.

Today Lauzon, who believes a nonprofit must do well financially in order to continue to do good in the community, is largely focused on making the UNLV School of Medicine “a center of excellence.”

“We have a huge opportunity to get this done properly,” he said. “We want to be seen as a true innovator in how you move medicine forward.”
MEDICINE BY THE NUMBERS - 53,042

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 53,042 prospective students applied to medical school in 2016-2017, and a mere 21,030 students matriculated into U.S. programs. 


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