Born in 1966 in Anniston, Alabama, Brian Shulman grew up learning valuable lessons in entrepreneurship and financial investment from his father, Stan Shulman. A music and entertainment industry pioneer, Stan managed and promoted artists like the famous actress Jayne Mansfield and “Little Richard,” one of the founders of rock and roll. One of his father’s greatest business successes was the joint venture he formed in the late 1970’s with TV marketing giant K-Tel International to promote worldwide “Greatest Hits” compilations of established and upcoming rising artists. His father’s business allowed Brian and his family to be exposed to new cultures and ways of commerce through international travels that included Red China and East Berlin.
At a very young age, Brian learned invaluable lessons about business and negotiation when his father invited him to meetings with his international clients. He also learned what is needed to innovate in business as the “Greatest Hits” compilations grew in popularity and buoyed the reputation of established and rising artists.
One of the most enduring lessons passed to Brian began over 35 years ago when his father purchased shares in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. His father taught Brian as much as possible about valuation and investment so he would be able to fulfill long-term goals and prepare for expected needs. To this day, Brian still holds his shares in Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Stan Shulman produced this hit record under his music label Dunes Records.
At 14, Brian said: “Dad, I want to be a punter in the NFL.” Despite their surprise, the family supported him and Brian did all he could to achieve this dream.
As a high school freshman he joined the football team and discovered his love of punting. He also sought the advice of numerous professional and collegiate All-American punters. He met with and filmed punters’ plays to develop a strong technical foundation. They inspired him to train harder and smarter to be stronger, faster and more flexible to attain consistent and strong performance on the field. By his senior year of high school, he was selected as an all-district linebacker and elected team captain. Despite those accomplishments, Shulman kept his focus on his passion: to be a punter in the NFL.
With no scholarship offers or a single invitation from a university football team, Shulman decided to begin as a walk-on. Within a year, Brian joined Auburn University’s football team. In February of 1986, Coach Pat Dye awarded Brian Shulman a scholarship and named him the team’s starting punter. At the end of his first game as a starter, he was named the leading punter in the entire NCAA. By the end of the 1986 season, he was ranked as one of the top five punters in the nation with a 44.16-yard average. He finished college as a two-time All-Southeastern Conference (SEC), 2nd team All-American punter and captain of the 1988 SEC Champions. Brian would go on to be drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1989 in the 8th round and the last punter ever drafted in the NFL.
After being cut by the Green Bay Packers in 1990, Brian Shulman gave up football and moved on to business. He started in sales with a straight-commission position selling advertising specialties. Knocking on every door he could find in Atlanta, Brian would start at the tallest building and work his way through every office to help companies promote their brand through specialized advertising. With each office and new client, he honed sales skills crucial to his success in business over the next 30 years.
A chance meeting with a colleague led to a director of sales position with a local emergency medical service (EMS) company. With no experience in EMS, Shulman increased revenue by 400% in his first year. Baxter Healthcare, the largest healthcare supply company in the world, recognized his sales ability and quickly hired him for their sales team in Birmingham, Alabama. From Baxter’s high-quality sales training and seasoned professionals, he learned the ins and outs of hospital sales. Soon, he outperformed most of his counterparts. Like many athletes who have been part of or lead a sports team, he attributes his success to the support of his excellent team.
Despite his success at Baxter and the strong job security it provided, he recognized that professional and financial growth there was limited. When a recruiter presented him an opportunity to sell software to hospitals, Brian was interested but concerned about the 60-percent pay cut and extensive travel. Still there was potential to earn an extremely generous commission. With two young children, it was a difficult choice to make: stay at his present job for security and steady income or leave a “sure thing” for potentially long-term high rewards?
Shulman took a calculated risk and joined Enterprise Systems Inc. (ESI), a new publicly traded software company in Wheeling, Illinois. ESI sold software to hospitals to help them reduce costs. In less than 2 years, he generated more than 70% of the entire sales force’s revenue. Brian’s work ethic and skills were rewarded with a generous commission and shares in the buyout of ESI by a larger technology company. Recalling his father’s investment lesson, he invested his entire commission in numerous “dot.com” companies. This led to further stock investments that brought generous returns and valuable knowledge about high-growth sectors. The experience would enable him to discover an innovative idea for an education technology company and navigate the risks of a new industry.
Motivated by the knowledge that he was helping to improve the quality of healthcare, Brian continued his work in the healthcare IT industry. During his time at Eclipsys Corporation (now part of Allscripts), he headed the Southeast region. In short time it became the most profitable such firm in the $1.4B market cap healthcare IT industry.
Brian gained insight into innovation working under the direction of Eclipsys’ group of healthcare IT pioneers. They included Harvey Wilson, Greg Wilson, and Jack Risenhoover. All took immense pride in assisting hospitals with technological advances that saved lives with better data and the reduction of drug-to-drug interactions and complications.
In 2001, Brian Shulman founded LTS Education Systems (formerly Learning Through Sports, Inc.).
He was inspired to create the company after observing his young son’s love of video games… and lack of excitement about school. “It seemed a natural fit to combine the growing popularity and access of video games with the need to improve motivation related to academics,” he said. “That was the concept for LTS, and still is to this day what we do at K12.”
Shulman’s experience in healthcare IT helped him recognize that the education market would soon be moving to the same model. Indeed, LTS was one of the first education-technology companies to deliver their programs exclusively through a cloud-based delivery vehicle. This rapidly growing educational technology company has been a leader in the emerging “Gaming to Learn” space in K-12 education for the past 16 years.
LTS’s cloud-based solution partners have included world-class providers Akamai and Limelight Solutions. The challenge to transform learning to meet the needs for at-risk and struggling learners was obvious. LTS responded by employing online technology, modern video games and personalized learning experiences to captivate students who are otherwise disengaged in traditional education mediums.
LTS released its flagship online game-based learning program, Mascot University, in Sept. 2001. Mascot University motivated students by delivering a brief “brain-break” for playing time in their favorite sports video game after they completed a reading lesson or correctly answered a number of math questions.
In 2002, “Mascot U” was renamed Kid’s College. For 11 years, Kid’s College was upgraded and enhanced annually until its sunset on Dec. 31, 2013, when the HTML5-engineered Stride Academy replaced it as LTS Education’s principal gaming- to-learn solution for tablets, PCs and Macs.
LTS game-based learning systems have since reached millions of students and taught millions of lessons inside the classroom and outside – in homes, afterschool programs and community centers of learning.
LTS was acquired by K12 Inc. in April of 2016. All LTS employees were retained. K12 is integrating the Stride product line into K12’s larger suite of products to support their online offerings.
Since his early start as an athlete, Brian Shulman has observed a disturbing decrease in good sportsmanship in every major sport. That includes youth leagues and the professional ranks.
He regards his own former coaches as some of his strongest influences. Compelled to pay it forward and make a positive impact in the lives of today’s young athletes, he has become over the past two decades a nationally-recognized speaker and writer on the subjects of sportsmanship, steroid education, character education, and bullying prevention.
He is the author of The Death of Sportsmanship and How to Revive It and has addressed issues of sportsmanship and steroid education before Congress, the United States Air Force Academy’s Center for Character Development, and other groups supporting the cause.
"Bad behavior in sports gets too much attention. In our increasingly combative society, sports seem to be dividing us more than uniting us,” he has said. “As the games take on intimidating intensity, more and more children resort to the same bad behavior they see in collegiate or professional sports, or they opt out, retreating to activities that offer no opportunity to build individual and team skills.”
Shulman believes that good sportsmanship can be revived in young athletes, but that it must be taught, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic. In his view, coaches and parents are the ones who must learn it and teach it. Collegiate and professional athletes must also set good examples.
Through years of research and partnerships with some of the largest athletic associations in the country, including collegiate (the Southeastern Conference, Sun Belt Conference) and high school athletic associations (Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Pennsylvania), Shulman has become a leading authority on sportsmanship education. Through LTS Education Systems, he has designed practical solutions that work to revitalize athletics in school systems.
Today Brian Shulman serves as an investment professional team member with Princeton Capital Partners, founded in 2008 by Greg Wilson, Jack Risenhoover and Mr. Shulman. Princeton Capital Partners specializes in fostering value creation and strategic support for smaller, undervalued public healthcare companies. The partners and advisors of Princeton Capital Partners have five decades of expertise in enhancing operations to drive margin expansion, cash flow, and sales growth, as well as the discipline and hands-on experience to engage in turn-around situations.
Since its inception, Princeton Capital has made thirty-one investments, twelve of which have been acquired by third parties.
Shulman, together with his fellow team members at Princeton Capital Partners, have built significant long-term relationships with healthcare professionals, leaders, consultants and financial analysts, enabling the group to provide extensive knowledge to help drive growth and operational success in portfolio companies.