May 4, 2012
Chancellor Hosts Oil and Gas Businessman in Seminar Class
Bryan provided insight and advice about being successful to students in Chancellor Hance's seminar class.
Written by Shelby McCollum
James Perry “J.P.” Bryan Jr., chief executive officer of Torch, is the great-great nephew of Stephen F. Austin.
The great-great nephew of Stephen F. Austin offered advice and insight to students ranging from business experience to how to raise a confident child, while also discussing how he became successful in the oil and gas industry and his love for Texas history.
Students listened as Bryan told stories of his being sent to a boarding school at the age of 11. From boarding school, he enrolled as an art history major at the University of Texas (UT). Bryan addressed some of the challenges of going to college and reassured students that it is okay if they hadn’t decided on a career plan yet.
“Don’t worry about the fact that you may not know exactly what you want to do,” Bryan said. “Don’t be bothered by that.”
Bryan shared that he later switched his major to history after realizing that art history did not offer much for him in terms of career opportunities. After graduating, he went to law school at UT, but quickly realized that law was not for him.
Since college, Bryan has worked in New York City, Canada and Texas, and he stressed how it is not the first job you have that is most important; it is the last job you have.
Bryan also offered advice on business practices. He told students that if someone is known as hard to bargain with, it is not necessarily a good thing. Bryan said people should not think in terms of the other side getting too much, but rather what you are getting out of a business deal.
“Always think of how you can get what you need out of the deal,” Bryan said, “but leave the other person satisfied with his side of the transaction.”
Treating your professional life like your personal life is also important, according to Bryan. He told students that there should not be any differences between the two.
And for the male students, Bryan offered a very important piece of advice.
“If you want self-confident children,” Bryan said, “show them how much you love their mother.”
A lifetime interest of Bryan’s, he also talked about his extensive art and history collection that includes more than 10,000 pieces. Referred to as Torch, it is considered the world’s largest private collection of Texana, which preserves art of Texas and the American Southwest.
“It should be an inspiration to all of you,” Bryan said, “to be a Texan.”
Bryan began amassing pieces in the 1960s and items in the collection span more than two millenniums.