Aggie Friends Make Business a success
Little did either one know when they met at Texas A&M, that they would co-found a business together.
When Brian and Craig met at Texas A&M, they had no idea that 11 years later Brian would run into Craig in Dallas and ask Craig to join him in co-founding a company.
Brian Rutledge and Craig Baugh met at Texas A&M during Brian’s sophomore year and Craig’s freshman year. They were neighbors in the same apartment complex and shared a few other activities. Both were biology majors. Brian, in fact, was a lab assistant for Dr. Aufderheide whose research was in cloning. However, one day while walking by the KAMU TV station, Brian thought it might be fun to work there, so he stopped in and applied for an internship. . That was the first step in a totally different direction for his career that eventually would also change Craig’s career path as well.
Brian wrote articles for the TV station that he would later turn in for assignments when he changed his major to journalism. He started as an intern, but eventually worked his way up to directing the aggie football coaches show with R.C. Slocum. He had numerous opportunities while working at the station and enjoyed it immensely; so, after graduation, he headed to California. He worked for Warner Brothers and Disney and freelanced. Growing Pains was just one of the shows that Brian worked on during his time in California. He returned to Texas and worked in San Antonio at Channel 5. When he left the TV industry, he was producing a nationally syndicated pet show. At this time though, Brian recognized the future in digital marketing. In 1998, he moved to Dallas and ran into Craig one night on Greenville Avenue.
It was then that Brian told Craig about his ideas for a company and asked him to join in as one of its founders and as CFO. Craig was working on environmental compliance at Texas Instruments and had been doing so for 12 years. In the beginning, Craig kept his job at Texas Instruments and worked on the side; however, in 2006, he joined full time and has been running the business side of the operation ever since.
They also decided to eventually move the company to Austin since there was a better job market and because offices were cheaper in Austin than Dallas. Austin also served as a more compact city to live in and conduct business. Today the company has offices in Austin and Nashville with 25 employees between the two. GPO created a software platform to write at scale by blending human written content with AI. GPO creates relevant content online that educates customers about products, services, and location in the food services, healthcare, hospitality, telecommunications, automotive, and retail industries. Some of their well-known clients include Firestone/Bridgestone, Dominos, Nissan, US Cellular, Hyatt, The Container Store, Allstate, and Tractor Supply just to name a few.
Both of them appreciate the time they had at Texas A&M. Brian enjoyed working at KAMU and feels that the “experienced instructors afforded [him] the opportunity to learn things that he couldn’t have learned anywhere else.” Craig also had unique experiences while driving President Bill Mobley to various appointments on football days and while working in the President’s box. He was able to meet Mr. Olsen in the President’s Box, and of course he enjoyed the games from that vantage point. Craig felt that A&M provided a safe environment for someone coming from a small town to navigate things at such a large university.
Texas A&M not only gave these two an education and great experiences, but it brought them together as friends and very successful business partners.