The Leadership Team
of the The McNair Center For Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise

at Houston Baptist University


Founding Director, McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise

Michael W. Player, M.S.

Michael W. Player serves as the founding program director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at Houston Baptist University. Player has helped launch many companies and started several of his own businesses. He states, “We are grateful for the support of the McNair Foundation in preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs. We’re here to put people to work through free enterprise and to give back to God for His many blessings.”

Michael is a Certified Entrepreneur Program Director from the esteemed Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; FastTrac® NewVenture™ and FastTrack® GrowthVenture™ Programs.  Mr. Player fully designed, orchestrated and obtained the start-up funding needed to launch and market the Center of Entrepreneurial Leadership at MidAmerica Nazarene University in January 2012 where he served as their Assistant Director over the Center.  He has also taught at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, at their acclaimed Henry W. Bloch School of Management, Regnier Institute for Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  Mr. Player owned and operated a prominent Advertising Agency/Digital Marketing & Public Relations Firm, MVP Marketing, LLC. for over 25 years.  He recently sold his Kansas City based advertising agency and joined Houston Baptist University bringing an innovative and exciting insight for entrepreneurship.  Player earned his BBA in marketing at the University of North Texas and a Master of Science, Human Relations and Business at Abilene Christian University.

Entrepreneurs in Residence

John Howell

John Howell is President of Tekmanna, a green biotechnology firm focused on growing the purest algae possible for nutritional purposes here in the USA. Previously, he was Founder and President of Light Process Company, a $12 million manufacturing firm named to Houston Business Journal 100 Fastest Growing Private Firms three years in a row. Along with consulting for start up companies, John has founded other businesses including retail aquatic nurseries in two Texas cities. He teaches college courses in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, New Business Development, International Business, and General Management at Houston Baptist University.

Darren Shearer

Darren Shearer is the founder and CEO of High Bridge Media, a media and marketing agency specializing in publishing and promoting the world-changing ideas of inspiring thought leaders. Its book publishing imprint, High Bridge Books, has published more than 60 books since 2013.

Darren is also the director of the Theology of Business Institute, a global think tank with the mission of helping marketplace Christians to disciple their co-workers, companies, industries, and communities. He has authored three books, including Marketing Like Jesus: 25 Strategies to Change the World and The Marketplace Christian: A Practical Guide to Using Your Spiritual Gifts in Business.

A former Captain in the United States Air Force, Darren earned the United States Air Force Commendation Medal for his meritorious service in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom.He holds a M.A. in Practical Theology from Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA), an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Management from Pace University (New York, NY), and a B.A. in English from Charleston Southern University (Charleston, SC).

Darren and his wife, Marie, reside in Houston, Texas and have three young boys.

© 2019 HBU McNair Center For Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise