Pat Dickson is the 2021 recipient of the Max S. Wortman, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Entrepreneurship. Dickson, the Wake Forest University School of Business Sisel Faculty Professor in Strategic Management, received the award for his lifetime of entrepreneurial achievement and scholarship.
Awarded by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), the accolade acknowledges individuals and organizations for a lifetime pursuit of entrepreneurial principles through research, pedagogy or venture creation. It is the organization’s highest honor.
“I think anytime your colleagues in your field – all of whom work extraordinarily hard to turn out important and meaningful work – single your work out for special recognition, it is truly the highest praise you can hope to receive,” Dickson said.
Dickson spent the first 15 years of his adult life as an entrepreneur, co-founding companies in the automotive parts and service industry and as a corporate executive working with small businesses. During that time, he became very passionate about the importance of entrepreneurship and the role small businesses play in the health of the world’s economy.
“At that time, the most respected management journals were publishing very little research in the areas of small business and entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, that of course made me even more determined to pursue this path,” Dickson said.
When he returned to school at mid-life to pursue a Ph.D., he decided to focus his teaching and scholarly work on understanding more about the entrepreneurial process and the dynamics of small business development.
“In the past 20 years, the field has emerged as an important area of consideration by many of the top management journals,” he said. “I have found my continued motivation in having a small role in helping to develop the field as an area of scholarly inquiry and teaching.”
Dickson is a former USASBE board member and past president. He has also served on the boards of the Academy of Management Entrepreneurship Division and the International Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. His areas of unique expertise include new venture opportunity assessment, resource acquisition, technology commercialization and the strategic management of new ventures.
“It is USASBE’s honor to recognize Pat with this award,” USASBE CEO Julie Shields stated in the award announcement. “He is the consummate servant leader and is always available for measured advice. We are deeply grateful for his consistent example of leadership. We are all better because of him.”
Prior to WFU, he was a member of the faculties of Georgia Tech and the University of Louisville. He has been a key figure in the WFU School of Business, previously serving as associate dean for the undergraduate program.
“The entire School of Business sends congratulations to Pat for this extraordinary accomplishment. For years, he has committed himself to building leaders and pouring knowledge into our students, while also advancing a discipline he loves. He continues to make an impact in the classroom, in the market and beyond,” said Michelle Roehm, Interim Dean and Peter C. Brockway Chair of Strategic Management.
Dickson is an active researcher and writer, and his work has appeared in the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Business Venturing and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice as well as other journals in the management and entrepreneurship fields. He was awarded a Certificate of Distinction for outstanding research by the Academy of Management and the National Federation of Independent Business.