Extended Campus

Former Pro hurler credits RTP campus for business venture

For professional athletes, “retirement” rarely means settling down and enjoying the golden years.

Especially when that retirement comes at the age of 28.

For Scott Tyler — a pitcher who spent eight years in the minor leagues and enjoyed a brief stint with the Florida Marlins in the majors — a career in sports began straight out of high school. When that ended, Tyler was faced with entering the workforce without a degree.

That’s where Campbell University came in.

With zero college credits in January 2009, Tyler began classes at the University’s Research Triangle Park campus. This December, he’ll leave Campbell with not only a business degree, but an already successful business as well.

In April, Tyler and business partner Brock Pittman — who employed Tyler in another business venture, Royal Parking in Raleigh — started Ecostyle, which specializes in providing environmentally friendly transportation for Triangle-area businesses.

“We specialize in corporate transportation, utilizing alternative fuel vehicles like hybrids, biodiesel and ethanol vehicles,” Tyler said. “Businesses use us for airport transportation, we have partnerships with hotels, and we’re used at RTP headquarters … when we came up with the idea, I knew we could offer a better service in a more environmentally aware manner.”

Tyler said he saw a huge void in the transportation industry in the Triangle and noticed no companies offering green alternatives.

“The challenge is finding the vehicles,” he said. “Hybrids are in high demand, so they’re tough to acquire. Plus, there are few filling stations for ethanol vehicles and not many charging stations for electric vehicles.”

But that’s changing, Tyler said, and he sees a future with Ecostyle. And he credits Campbell University with providing him with the tools to get Ecostyle on the road.

“The statistic is that only 2 percent of retired baseball players actually go back and get their degree,” Tyler said. “I really wanted to go back and get my degree … when you’re plucked out of high school and retired at 28 like I was, you want to get back into the workforce, but you don’t always have time to go back to school. That’s why I chose Campbell RTP — they were flexible, they cater to adult students and I felt like they’d guide me in the right direction. And they have.”

Tyler had a 31-30 career Minor League record, pitching for 11 teams, including the Carolina Mudcats in 2006 and 2007 (where he met his wife, Cassie). He was the 45th overall player selected in the 2001 baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins, and in 2007, he was called up to the majors and joined the Florida Marlins, which he calls his biggest career moment.

Like Campbell, baseball also prepared Tyler for his second career in business.

“Baseball really instilled in me a hard work ethic,” he said. “The team atmosphere, having to become a leader, holding yourself accountable … all of these things translate into the real world. You have to be a leader to succeed, and baseball prepared me for that.”

— Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications