Faculty Spotlight

Brian Martinson
“I want to help other people get their careers started.” Dr. Brian Martinson is the Director of Graduate Programs for the College of Business Administration and Assistant Professor in Tarleton’s Department of Management.

Dr. Brian Martinson credits the experiences that he has had throughout his adult life with guiding him to discover a career he loves.  Additionally, these experiences have inspired him to share his gained knowledge and expertise with others who desire to enrich their futures.  

Originally from Minnesota, Dr. Brian Martinson has a background as diverse as anyone. His original plan was to become a wildlife biologist, but after changing majors several times, he settled on a double major in Theater and Philosophy. After several years of work and life experience, he earned his PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Strategic Human Resource Management from the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Keep reading to learn more about Tarleton’s Dr. Brian Martinson. 

As an undergraduate student, Dr. Martinson attended the University of Minnesota at Duluth.  Approaching graduation as a double major in Theater and Philosophy, he noticed that most of the jobs he wanted required experience. Dr. Martinson stated: “As I got close to graduation, I started looking for work as a director, but nobody hires you without experience. I thought, ‘OK, I will create a company, direct plays, build a resume, and then I will start applying for work.’ ”

As it turned out, Brian built a non-profit corporation and ran it for ten years along with his wife, who is an actress and director. After that time, looking to start a new chapter, Dr. Martinson and his wife decided to hire a new executive director for the organization and look for a new opportunity. However, while running a non-profit, Brian realized that he loved business, and especially management.

Never having been outside the US, Dr. Martinson and his wife took a giant leap of faith when his wife accepted a teaching job at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.  While there, Dr. Martinson planned to take some accounting and finance classes, but instead enrolled in their MBA program.

“Up until then,” Dr. Martinson said, “I had never had a business class, but now I was in an MBA program.”  Dr. Martinson remembers being worried about being able to manage the courses, as he had no background or formal training in business. Instead, because of his business experience, he excelled in the classes, taking particular interest in investments, financial management, and international business.

Dr. Martinson and his family lived in Egypt for four years, until they moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he started a business called EZ Tax. “I liked to do taxes, I liked finance, and this position let me put into practice all of my business experience, plus do things I liked to do,” Brian said.

After a few years in Mississippi, Dr. Martinson and his family moved to upstate New York where he was hired by Ithaca College as Assistant Director of Employment and Employee Relations. Later, he became Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Finance.

At Ithaca, Dr. Martinson was introduced to Human Resources. “Up until this point, I had never even had an HR class,” he recalled. He subsequently moved on to Cornell University where he worked as a Director of Human Resources until his family’s move to Texas when his wife was recruited to work for TCU.

Dr. Martinson earned his doctorate from the University of Texas at Arlington in Business Administration with a specialization in Strategic Human Resource Management and stepped into his role at Tarleton.  At Tarleton, he is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, and serves as Director of Graduate Programs for COBA. In that role, he is the representative person of the faculty for student policies and procedures.

Additionally, Dr. Martinson is actively involved in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), an international association of HR professionals, and serves as the president for the local Cross Timbers SHRM chapter and faculty advisor for the TSU student chapter, which is active locally, regionally, and nationally.  In his free time, Brian loves to study and learn about topics in Human Resource Management, as well as travel, build things, and hunt.

Dr. Martinson credits two important roles with leading him towards his destination of professorship. “The first career I had out of college, I had for ten years. Once I got done doing theater, I felt like I could retire. I had no money because it was non-profit, but I had experience and learned commitment. I easily worked 100 hours a week (fortunately I was salaried). Through the opportunities I had to meet people and learn, I thought, ‘I want to share that.’ ”

While working in higher ed administration and across departments, Dr. Martinson discovered a fondness for higher education.  He stated: “I love education, I love knowledge, and I think the whole institution of higher education is a great service, and a great business. But I realized that I wanted to have a bigger effect on the people who leave higher ed – the students who go out into the workforce – and really try to help them prepare to be the best HR managers they can be. I realized I wanted to help other people get their careers started.”

Dr. Martinson can be reached via email at martinson@tarleton.edu



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