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Kailas J. RaoKailas J. Rao came with his family from India, settling in San Angelo. He earned his bachelor's degree from Angelo State University, and was encouraged to apply to attend graduate school at Sam Houston State.

Almost immediately he met two people whom he credits with having an immense impact on his success--Jean Neal, who headed the business department and who gave him a teaching fellowship, and Becky Lott, now Becky Rao.
Becky was a reporter for the campus newspaper, The Houstonian, and contacted him about doing a story on his being the first Sam Houston State student from India.

He earned his master's degree from Sam Houston State University in 1970 and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1974. While working as an assistant professor of accounting and accounting systems at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee he foresaw the business opportunities of personal computers.

He taught until 1980, forming his own company and working as a consultant with small to medium-sized Midwestern companies. In 1981 he founded Computer Bay, a Wisconsin company that over 11 years grew into a franchised network of 350 stores in 44 states and Canada with annual network revenues of $500 million.

In 1993, with four partners, he established the boutique investment-banking firm of GS2, specializing in asset management, brokerage, mergers and acquisitions and investment banking for small-to medium-sized businesses. In 1995 he sold his ownership in GS2, which had grown to more than 60 employees and managed assets of more than $500 million.

In 1995 he founded Indus, Inc., a digital wireless communications company serving two million customers in southeastern Wisconsin. That company merged with AT&T Wireless and their affiliate, TeleCorp, and Rao became chairman of Wisconsin operations for TeleCorp. He is also founder and president of the KJR, L. L. C. consulting company of Milwaukee.

Kailas and Becky Rao have created four tuition and fee scholarships at Sam Houston State University in honor of professors and administrators who were instrumental in their education. These include Albert Kidd, Bobby Marks, Ferol Robinson and Jean Neal.

"Dr. Rao symbolizes the epitome of a Sam Houston State University graduate," said Neal. "His excellence and success in the business world did not obscure his memory and appreciation for Sam Houston and the faculty that provided inspiration, guidance and motivation to continue to grow after receiving his degree."

Rao's philanthropy has also included Angelo State University, the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Museum, Junior Achievement, American Diabetes Association, and the Wisconsin Humane Society.

He has won numerous industry awards, including the Universal Wireless Communication Consortium Advocacy Award in 1999, three "Entrepreneur of the Year" awards by Ernst & Young and INC Magazine, in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and was recognized by several organizations for the growth rate and size of his companies.

As profiled at the November 9, 2001 Distinguished Alumni Banquet

 

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