Businessman Brian Lauzon predicts great things ahead for UNLV’s Ackerman Autism Center and for the UNLV School of Medicine as a whole.
When I look at what (UNLV Founding Dean Dr.) Barbara Atkinson has done in two years, it is mind-boggling. I can see the UNLV School of Medicine and its practice plan (UNLV Medicine, the school’s clinical arm), and the Ackerman Center being centers of excellence respected around the world,” he said. “I really believe it will be done.”
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 Inc. subsidiaries in the United States, 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, who since 2004 has headed Lauzon & Associates, a business consulting group in Las Vegas.
Lauzon’s can-do attitude is appreciated by Terri Janison, president and CEO of Grant a Gift, the fundraising arm for Ackerman.
“He’s been an amazing asset from the standpoint of strategic planning and marketing,” she said. “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.”
Sharing the Credit
Lauzon credits his wife, businesswoman and UNLV alumna Paula Eylar-Lauzon, ’89 BS Hotel Administration, ’97 MBA, with encouraging him to become involved in nonprofits. Eylar-Lauzon, a senior vice president of administration for Boyd Gaming, has been involved with various nonprofits and has chaired the UNLV Hotel Dean’s Global Advisory Board.
“She said I should share what I know, reach out to help others,” Lauzon said.
That opportunity came during a dinner the couple had with Randy Gabe, a Southwest Gas vice president and a member of the Grant a Gift board.
Gabe said, “I was very impressed by [Lauzon's] background and asked if he would be interested in joining the Grant a Gift board. He makes us think about the whole business process. While we are helping people we still need sound business practices.”
He described Lauzon as 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 was one of the important voices for good management. He was instrumental in seeing the clinic opened.”
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.
“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 a drugstore in West Springfield, Massachusetts. “The biggest thing he showed me was integrity — there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things.”
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.”