C-Suite Executive/Entrepreneur/Community Leader
Shawn Taylor, a proud Purdue graduate was raised by a single mother of four in the projects on the crime-infested Southside of Chicago. By some accounts, he should be in prison, on drugs or dead. Instead Mr. Taylor charted his own course and now stands among some of the most elite businessmen in Houston, a feat he credits to tenacity, discipline and the support of a loving mother and numerous mentors.
In his high school years, Mr. Taylor was a National Honor Society student, captain of the football team and a decorated athlete. After high school, he attended Purdue University on the Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program to study accounting. He continued to excel academically, graduating with Distinction (Top 10 % of his class) with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Mr. Taylor began his professional career in Dallas at the world’s largest accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. During his 10 years with the firm, he was instrumental in leading the Dallas office in the recruitment and retention of minority employees at a rate never achieved by any other office in the firm.
Although Mr. Taylor experienced steady success in his career, he wanted to create a new business model that would lead him to attain economic wealth. The business turning point in his life came when, in 1994, he decided to pursue entrepreneurism. Through his relationships with executives at PepsiCo, he set forth on a path to become a Taco Bell franchisee. After creating a business plan and resigning from Arthur Andersen, he started his own company, Family EATs Limited Partnership (FELP) and acquired, owned, developed, and operated as many as 33 Taco Bell locations in the Houston market. FELP became the largest African-American owned Taco Bell franchise with sales approaching $30 million and over 500 employees.
In typical Taylor fashion, he was selected for several leadership positions within the Taco Bell franchise system, including serving on the Franchise Management Advisory Council. In 2007 he decided to take advantage of the demand for Taco Bell franchises and market opportunities and successfully sold FELP. For the next five years, he invested his time in non-profit organizations focused on education and supporting his high school aged kids.
Mr. Taylor has never been one to shy away from a great opportunity, and in 2011, he aligned with a group of prominent business professionals to purchase the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team. He also has served on the board of trustees for the Astros Foundation and was chairman for the 2013 Astros Golf Classic. In early 2013, he and his partner became a franchisee with Zaxby’s Franchise Inc. Mr. Taylor was the president and operating partner of Zaxby’s Houston, LLC, a multi-unit restaurant franchise, from 2013-2019. With a proven record of success under his belt, he enjoys speaking to students about his humble beginnings and teaching them about maximizing opportunities regardless of their surroundings. He also serves on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including KIPP Academy and Houston Community College Foundation. In 2012 he was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management.