Where are they now? 2006 Barrett alum Prescott Smith heads public affairs firm named to Sun Devil 100
Prescott Smith cites Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University as a reason he stayed in his home state, where he now serves as vice president of Technical Solutions, a Scottsdale-based public affairs firm.
“Honestly, maybe the biggest thing that the Honors College did to help form my current life and career was to keep me in the Phoenix metro area. I’m relatively confident that if I went out of state for college, that I would have at least started my career outside of the state of Arizona. If that happened, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Smith, who graduated ASU in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in marketing and honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
“I also may not have chosen ASU when I pursued my MBA. I would absolutely be the poorer for making another choice as ASU and the honors college gave me all of the tools that I needed to succeed in the ‘real world’. I am absolutely proud to be a Sun Devil and a Barrett grad. I wouldn’t have it any other way,” added Smith, who received his Masters of Business Administration in 2012.
Smith stays connected with his alma mater in several ways. He is a Dean’s Club level donor and serves on the Barrett Alumni Council. He has been on several panels to share his personal experience and insights with students. He was recognized with the Barrett Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.
Smith recently received another accolade from the university when he and his firm were named to the 2021 Sun Devil 100 list, which recognizes the top 100 fastest-growing alumni-owned or -led organizations.
The Class of 2021 features 100 organizations represented by 133 ASU alumni. Companies range from individually-owned businesses to large corporations from more than two dozen industries, including architecture, construction, education, food and beverage, legal, nonprofit, technology and transportation. The organizations that make up this year’s class are a diverse mix that have combined total revenues of $6.67 billion for the last year, employ more than 8,400 people and have locations in 11 states.
We asked Smith to reflect on his experience at ASU and what it means to be placed on the Sun Devil 100 list. Here’s what he had to say.
How do you feel about your firm being selected for the 2021 Sun Devil 100 list? How significant is this designation?
It is an absolute honor to be selected for Sun Devil 100 for a fourth consecutive year. Our company has been in business for over 35 years. So, being able to continue to show growth and compete with a lot of these newer Sun Devil-owned companies has been rewarding, to say the least.
Sun Devil 100 recognizes alums for their entrepreneurial spirit, the growth of alumni-owned or alumni-run businesses, and the contributions those alums and businesses make to the community. How do you think you and your business meet this criteria?
Technical Solutions is the definition of a boutique, entrepreneurial firm that has a large impact on the community. While the firm has been in existence for over 35 years, it continues to grow and change with the needs of the Valley.
Now we are primarily tasked with eliciting community input on development projects that shape the landscape of downtowns and neighborhoods. Our unique work results in better developments and more synergy between new and existing areas.
Outside of work, both Susan Bitter Smith, Technical Solutions president and I contribute to the greater community by donating our time and resources to many different boards and organizations.
How did you decide to attend ASU and Barrett, The Honors College?
With strong family encouragement and several merit-based scholarships, ASU and Barrett were high on my list of schools. However, it was actually Barrett Founding Dean Ted Humphrey who won me over officially.
As a high school senior, I came to Barrett for a campus tour. As I was waiting for my tour guide after checking in, Dean Humphrey happened to walk out of his office and start a brief conversation with me. After hearing my reason for visiting, he actually cleared his schedule for the afternoon and personally took me on my Barrett tour. This left an unimaginable impression on me and showed me that I belonged in the Barrett, The Honors College family.
How did being an honors student enhance your undergraduate experience? Was being an honors student beneficial?
ASU is one of the largest universities in the country. Being part of the honors college allowed me to have a more personalized, ‘small school’ experience as well as a large university one. Honors classes, special programs, and honors priority in class registration were all very valuable parts of my undergraduate experience.
What is a favorite recollection of your years at ASU and Barrett, The Honors College?
My best memories from ASU are definitely tied to the two honors college study abroad trips that I was able to enjoy. The programs were designed to allow students to immerse themselves in other cultures while learning about both the past and present of each destination. The experiences and friendships created in those programs last a lifetime.
If you were to give advice to a current Barrett student, what would you tell them?
I would give three pieces of advice to current students. First, study abroad if you can. Those experiences will be some of the best from your college years. Second, find something on campus (outside of academics) to get involved with that you enjoy. For me personally, I interned in the ASU Athletics Marketing Department. It was an opportunity that was presented in an honors marketing class. So I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. It taught me firsthand about the real working world while doing something constructive for ASU Athletics and actually lead to my first job out of college. Lastly, I would suggest getting to know your honors college professors on a personal level. The honors college faculty are some of the most knowledgeable and unique people that you will find at any university in the country. They will be some of the best people to meet and connect with during your time at ASU and Barrett.