Upper Stratosphere


As years go by, college roommates can wind up distant memories rather than best friends for life, but at least in one case, that connection has only deepened with time.

Lorenzo Fertitta ’91 (BBA) and Tom Breitling ’91 (BA) are wildly successful by any estimation. “These are two guys who are really great business minds,” said School of Business Administration Dean David Pyke, as he introduced the pair at a student-only presentation in March.

“As an educator, I think a lot about educating our students; it’s fun to listen to these two talk and see the kind of thinking and depth of thinking they put into their businesses.”

Fertitta (below, left with Dean David Pyke, center and Breitling, right) is chairman and CEO for Zuffa LLC, which owns and operates the multi-billion dollar Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) global brand. When Fertitta formed Zuffa in 2001, priority one was to acquire the rights and assets relating to the UFC brand, which at the time was the premier mixed martial arts organization. Within a decade, Zuffa transformed the once-struggling UFC into the fastest-growing sports organization in history.

Breitling’s meteoric rise to success began with a simple sandwich order at a local eatery in 1993.

It was there where he and future business partner Tim Poster formed the foundations of a partnership that would eventually gross the duo more than $200 million in profits. To this day, Breitling sees that casual meeting as one of the most important moments of his career.

“It can all begin with a sandwich,” he advised the audience at USD’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.

“Grab a sandwich with someone and share your ideas. Ideas don’t make the world go round; the search for new ideas and the journey towards their implementation, that’s what makes the world go around.”