January 17, 2023

 

Wayne Roberts ’85 is passionate about Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. In addition to appreciating the school’s role in his successful career, the recently retired Abrigo president and CEO is excited about Mays’ commitment to become the nation’s preeminent public business school. 

Dedicated to supporting the school’s promising future, Roberts is the lead donor for a state-of-the-art building that is the centerpiece of the new Business Education Complex (BEC) on West Campus. His $7.5 million lead gift is supporting construction of the new building, which will open in 2025. “Wayne is an exemplar that all Aggies should aspire to emulate,” said Mays Interim Dean Ricky Griffin. “His myriad contributions have made—and will continue to make—a profound impact on Mays students, faculty and staff.” 

The BEC’s construction, which expands Mays’ footprint beyond the Wehner Building and Cox Hall, marks a key milestone in the school’s quest for preeminent status. Mays is already ranked among the Top 10 Best Colleges for Business Majors by Money, as well as 22nd by U.S. News & World Report and 35th in Entrepreneurship Studies by The Princeton Review.   
 

“Wayne’s generous support of the Business Education Complex was the key that turned our vision into a reality,” said Dr. Nate Sharp, Mays Business School dean-designate. “His generous giving has benefited so many aspects of our beloved university, and he is a role model for all of us who have ever been affiliated with Mays Business School.” 

The Road to Success 

Looking back, Roberts—a first-generation college graduate—never expected to have the level of professional success that he’s enjoyed. “I didn’t dream big early in my life because I came from very modest means. I thought if I could be a middle manager at IBM like my dad, that would be success,” he explained. “Of course, success is not all about money and title, but the art of what was possible felt limited until I got to Texas A&M.” 

Contemplating the current and future generations of Aggies who will eventually use the new building, Roberts appreciates how much both Mays and Texas A&M have developed over the years.  “I probably couldn’t get into Texas A&M these days,” he laughingly noted. “I wasn’t the most serious student. I focused on the ‘other education’ quite a bit and was involved in extracurriculars, but I eventually buckled down and learned how to study at Mays while making lifelong friends and acquaintances.” 
 

Success is based on your grit, perseverance, the will to win, your drive and how you treat others. The Aggie Network also played a huge part in any success I’ve had.
Wayne Roberts ’85

He also remembers being in awe of previous generations of Aggies. “As I walked around campus 37-plus years ago looking at the names Zachry, Albritton, Blocker and others, I certainly wanted to be successful like that and give back—but I never thought it would actually happen,” he said. “I paid my own way through school, and I worked hard to put myself through graduate school. Grit and the Aggie core values are what got me through.” 

Yet, that time also opened his eyes to his potential. “Texas A&M helped me realize, ‘Wow! Many of these folks have similar backgrounds as me, and they’ve found success. Maybe I can, too!’” said Roberts, who also earned an MBA from Texas A&M in 1986. “It’s not about being born into money; success is based on your grit, perseverance, the will to win, your drive and how you treat others. The Aggie Network also played a huge part in any success I’ve had.” 

Putting Lessons Into Practice 

Those lessons quickly translated into professional triumphs. After starting his career at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting), Roberts worked at Trammell Crow Company, returned to Accenture, and then joined Dell.   

Earning a reputation as someone who coached and built people, teams and companies, Roberts joined Rackspace Hosting in 2007. He quickly climbed to the executive team of Rackspace and served in several roles including global head of human resources and senior vice president for fanatical support, where he oversaw customer support and operations.  

Another opportunity for advancement came in 2014 when Roberts joined Accruent as chief operating officer. During his tenure, the company more than doubled its revenue as well as its number of employees and customers. 
 

Roberts then moved into the president and CEO role for Banker’s Toolbox in 2016. After acquiring and integrating five other companies, Banker’s Toolbox was rebranded as Abrigo and quickly became a market leader in helping community financial institutions with compliance, portfolio risk, lending and credit, and data solutions. Thanks to his leadership, the company increased its revenue more than 10 times and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by more than 20 times. Customer counts grew five times and the number of employees by eight times. Abrigo was also recognized among the best places to work in financial technology and in the Austin and Raleigh, North Carolina, areas during every year of his tenure as president and CEO.