MONTICELLO – It’s taken a few years, but professionally, Brian Deaton is stepping out of his comfort zone. For the first time in its life, the 44–A one-year-old Texas native moved from his home state. Deaton and his family chose Monticello, Arkansas to put down roots. Deaton decided it was time to get back to what he loves most: agricultural economics. Deaton started in August at the University of Arkansas at Monticello as an associate professor of agriculture. Deaton will teach agribusiness and agricultural economics and will also contribute to the efforts of the Arkansas Division Agricultural Extension Service.
Deaton grew up in Abilene, Texas, and was exposed to farming life on his grandfather’s ranch in Sanderson, Texas. His grandfather got him interested in farming by giving him goats, sheep and peacocks. He says they even built a post so the peacocks could escape the prey of nearby foxes.
Deaton eventually found his place in high school at Cooper High School in Abilene. There he completed an advanced course in biology. Deaton originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but soon found he enjoyed tinkering with computers more. He eventually went to engineering school as an undergraduate at Trinity University in San Antonio (2000). Deaton said he was a computer science student until his freshman year. While at Trinity, during the dotcom bubble, he became interested in stock trading. He then took a job as a financial analyst and programmer at a small company and worked there for the next three years.
Deaton then headed to Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, where he earned his master’s degree in finance (2006). Initially, he planned to work in hedge funds and become a professional trader. His interest shifted to markets and the economics of information. A Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics soon followed (2013).
Deaton then began teaching students at McMurry University, where his small class of students turned a $1 million wallet into nearly $2 million funds. He enjoyed teaching students how to manage money and risk. Deaton said, “When you can make money on anything, it’s pretty exciting.”