Meet a Roadrunner: Alexander Hilmy '11 is an entrepreneur on the rise
(March 1, 2017) -- Meet Alexander Hilmy '11. He's the founder and CEO of Hilmy, an up-and-coming design firm in San Antonio.
The son of Egyptian parents, Hilmy was the first in his family to be born in the United States. His physician father ran a medical practice, so Hilmy always had his sights set on going to medical school and eventually taking over his dad's practice.
"I was initially a pre-medical student at UTSA," he said. "I wanted the best preparation possible for medical school, so for the first two years I was concentrating on meeting that goal."
But Hilmy had a natural entrepreneurial spirit. As a student, he'd created small businesses, offering his services as a tutor, a mechanic and a photographer. The excitement and challenge of creating and running his own business made him realize he was truly meant for a different career.
"I'm just suited for business," Hilmy said. "I knew I wanted to be working for myself and empowering others by creating jobs for people who are better than me."
He consulted with his UTSA advisors, as well as his parents, and was encouraged to pursue a degree in business, with a concentration in entrepreneurship.
"I think in the typical classroom, you'd just read about the greater philosophies of business," Hilmy said. "That was certainly a part of my experience but what was special about my time at UTSA was that we were able to engage with real entrepreneurs and learn first-hand how to succeed in business. When I graduated, I didn't feel like I was thrown to the wolves."
Hilmy founded his San Antonio-based firm in 2012 as a photography business, but it ultimately evolved to offer services in branding and corporate identity.
"We started with photography but then came video and printing, and soon I realized we needed to expand into a branding agency," he said.
The firm's unofficial mascot is Nigma, a white bull terrier that Hilmy's had since his UTSA days. The pup became a viral sensation not long after Hilmy opened in Tobin Hill.
"We were still building our client base, and on a slow day we just started photographing Nigma in our studio," Hilmy said.
That day, he wrapped Nigma dramatically in a gray cape and, mimicking a Vogue cover, printed the words "DOGUE" over her head. The image took off online and the subsequent attention raised Hilmy's profile considerably.
Though many more projects have rolled in since the firm's founding, including one to brand the new Frost Tower that is expected in 2018 or 2019 in downtown San Antonio, Hilmy isn't leaving Nigma behind. He plans to release a book of satirical images of her later this year.
Despite being high in-demand, Hilmy is also making time to return to UTSA to speak with entrepreneurship students and give them advice.
"Entrepreneurship is the road less-traveled because it's a challenge," he said. "You have to engineer your own path when you're an entrepreneur. It's arduous, but it's worth it."
Learn more about the UTSA College of Business Entrepreneurship Programs.
Learn more about Hilmy.
Do you know a Roadrunner who is achieving great things? Email us at email@example.com so that we may consider your suggestion for our next installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
The ITC will livestream. Smithsonian Affiliations, the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos & the Conservatorio de Músico will bring U. S.-based scholars of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies to Puerto Rico to engage with local scholars about migration, music, art, literature, education, history, and diasporic experiences.Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Infection, Immunity and Vaccines discussed during this two day conference.The Eilan Hotel and Spa, 18603 La Cantera Terr., San Antonio
UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty and staff will conduct a presentation on recent developments in astronomy and astrophysics followed by stargazing in the observatory.Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory, 4th floor, Main Campus
The annual concert series begins the choirs and orchestra performing Dvorak's "Te Deum" . This concert is open to the public. Admission $10.Arts Building Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The second of three in the annual holiday concert series which will feature the Chamber Singers (Santa Baby), Saxophone Ensemble (Sleigh Ride), Jazz Ensemble (Sugar Rum Cherry), Flute Ensemble and more performing holiday favorites. Admission $10.Arts Building Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The Roadrunners close out the regular season at home against North Texas.Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
This event showcases innovative student projects and research performed across multiple disciplines. The symposium is designed to provide a public venue where UTSA senior engineering students to present advances achieved in their design projects.H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
Join the Office of Information Technology for the grand opening of the Digital Experience Lab (DEx Lab). The DEx Lab is open to the entire UTSA community and contains innovative learning tools and serves as a virtual reality lab.Applied Engineering and Technology Building (AET 0.202), Main Campus