A pioneering teacher, a horse welfare advocate, a UD MBA alumnus – Alex Brown has led an exciting career that has spanned continents, industries and species.
A native of Cheshire, England, Brown was an assistant trainer of race horses in Fair Hill, Md., before joining the UD Lerner MBA Program.
“I felt it was the right time to return to school and get an advanced degree and I was thinking of moving away from the horse industry,” he said. “Of course the University of Delaware was my local choice. I loved Newark.”
After doing “surprisingly well” on the GMAT, Brown was offered an assistantship and started taking classes. Brown also started to show an interest in the internet, in its infancy at the time, after watching another grad assistant look up cricket scores online.
“I was fascinated that he could keep up to date with his cricket team on the computer,” Brown said. “This was about 1990. He was using usenet news groups.”
Brown was also intrigued by a study done by UD faculty members Dr. Diane Ferry and Dr. Christine Kydd on work place e-mail usage.
“I was fascinated that people could communicate with others via a computer,” he said. “Up to that point I had never really ‘championed’ anything. I was quite good at a few things, but I wanted to become an expert in something. So this was new. I chose the internet as my medium to become an expert.”
After finishing his degree, Brown worked in the MBA Admissions Office and taught Marketing. In 1997 he proposed teaching a new course, Internet Marketing.
“[Internet Marketing] had not been taught before at UD, or really anywhere,” he said. “It was well received by students. I essentially taught the subject on and off for the next ten years at UD.”
Throughout Brown’s career in higher education (he also has worked at the Wharton School at Penn), he continued to ride horses in the morning. Soon Brown’s two passions came together as he administered a web site about horse racing and welfare.
Brown was running the web site for a friend who was a trainer in Fair Hill and the site was not getting much traffic, but in 2006 the site began to blog about Barbaro, the champion horse trained at Fair Hill, who was preparing for the Preakness Stakes. After Barbaro’s tragic injury at the Preakness, the web site continued to follow the Barbaro story and the day the horse was euthanized the site received 70,000 visits.
While following Barbaro’s story, Brown started to address the broader issues of horse racing and horse welfare. Inspired by Barbaro’s owners, Brown began to advocate for ending horse slaughter, the practice of slaughtering horses for meat. He channeled his efforts into alexbrownracing.com
which has become a rallying point and resource for those concerned about horse welfare. This site also works with Alex Brown Racing Discussion Boards
, Alex Brown Racing Wiki
, Alex Brown Racing Facebook Group
, Alex Brown Racing YouTube Group
and the Alex Brown Twitter feed
“Thus far we have raised more than $1m to rescue more than 3,000 horses headed to slaughter,” he said. “We lobby government to try to pass federal legislation to end horse slaughter, and other related work.”
Currently, Brown manages alexbrownracing.com full time and gallops horses in the mornings at racetracks throughout North America.
Looking back on his time at the University of Delaware, Brown said that UD gave him a confidence that he lacked.
“Prior to coming to UD I really did not enjoy learning, and did not think I was very good at it,” Brown said. “But when I got to UD I really applied myself, and challenged myself. When I saw the internet I thought this was too cool an opportunity to give up. UD provided me that for sure.”
Brown recently completed his first book, entitled Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and his Legacy
, which will be available in March 2011. Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and his Legacy
is a thorough narrative of Barbaro’s life. It also examines whether Barbaro was a truly great racehorse, why he was so inspirational, and some of the outcomes that Barbaro has inspired. These outcomes include a heightened need for more research into the disease of laminitis, the end of horse slaughter, and the appropriate retirement of racehorses. The book is a result of more than 100 interviews, and includes more than 150 photographs.