• By The UCI Paul Merage School of BusinessIrvine, CA - (November 01, 2023) -
A $1 million commitment to the Merage School from Pamina Barkow and Greg Harrison will help support talented students and aspiring entrepreneurs make their mark on the business world.
Barkow and Harrison, co-founders of Orange County-based PI Medical Partners, strongly believe in the vision of the Merage School to develop the next generation of business leaders, contribute to the wider community, and promote corporate diversity.
“Pamina’s and Greg’s support will help guide the future generation of entrepreneurs and allow alumni and community members to better understand the needs of our students,” said Dean Ian O. Williamson. “Pamina has been an invaluable member of the Merage School family for years and we are proud of the profound impact she has had on the Orange County business community.”
As an immigrant who grew up without access to resources, Barkow has worked tirelessly to have a distinguished career as a leader and entrepreneur. She initially worked in international real estate marketing, leading a large multinational firm. She pivoted to health care when the real estate bubble burst in 2008 and started a series of clinics with her late husband under the name Orange County Pain Management. In 2021, Barkow led the merger and acquisition for the company’s sale, garnering fierce national bidding. Following the close of the deal, she went on to co-found and become CEO of PI Medical Partners, a management service organization dedicated to serving medical practices in the personal injury sector.
Barkow acknowledged that she didn’t achieve all of this without support, and she wants to ensure that students receive the same assistance that she did in school. Considering her background, Barkow’s investment focuses on entrepreneurship, healthcare, and an emphasis on single parents.
“I believe in people being larger than the circumstances that they were born into,” she said. “If somebody were born into a circumstance where they have big dreams and drive but a lack of access to resources, I want those students to know that I was one of them. There were a lot of helping hands for me along the way, and me and Greg are here to serve as a helping hand now.”
A dedicated alum
Barkow believes an education from UC Irvine is an invaluable stepping stone to a successful career. She has a decorated background with the school, earning a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and English Literature and an Executive MBA in 2016.
As an alum, she has helped make crucial strategic decisions for the Merage School through her service as a previous Chair of the Dean’s Leadership Circle and as the incoming Chair for both the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Barkow’s involvement with UC Irvine extends beyond the Merage School as a lecturer and consultant for the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute for six years, a member of the OC Alliance and a current UCI Trustee.
Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Director of the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Imran Currim celebrates this dedication to the next generation. “The true essence of leadership lies in those who not only achieve success but pave the way for others to follow. Pamina Barkow and Greg Harrison embody this spirit by generously giving back to the Merage School and investing in the future of aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders. Their investment reflects their shared vision to generate positive change in the business world, and we are grateful for their inspiring commitment to making a difference."
Part of the reason Barkow continues to give back is due to the impact her business degree has had on her career. She learned the foundational knowledge and confidence to be a well-rounded executive in the EMBA program and built an invaluable support network at the school, with several professors continuing to serve as mentors.
“I think it’s really important to have alumni leaders that show up and give to help drive the community,” Barkow said. “I also believe in giving back. During my time at the Merage School I received a lot, now it’s my turn to give to the next generation of talented individuals.”
After earning his law degree from Loyola Marymount University, Harrison was involved in investment banking until 2013 when he co-founded SkyBell Technologies, the largest competitor of Ring Doorbells. He was on the lookout for his next project when Barkow approached him with the idea for PI Medical Partners.
When Harrison was connected with the Merage School through Barkow, he was immediately inspired by the school’s mission to make positive contributions to the community, particularly the move to drive social change. He pointed out that Dean Williamson’s clear roadmap for the future of the business school combined with his gift for assembling visionary business and community leaders is what creates his recipe for success.
“The Dean is just outstanding and it’s hard not to fall in love with his vision for the school and the community,” Harrison said. “There’s a big drive to be a change agent in the community and what became clear to me is I wanted to be a part of this movement. I really think there’s no higher purpose than perpetuating that virtuous cycle of receiving and then turning around and giving back.”
Individually, Barkow and Harrison have both forged their own paths to the top of a competitive industry. By coming together to make this gift, they are now clearing countless paths for the next generation of changemakers, all while hoping to inspire those who come after them to do the same.
About The Paul Merage School of Business
The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers four dynamic MBA programs – plus PhD, specialty masters and undergraduate business degrees – that prepare business leaders for our digitally driven world. Through our programs, students acquire the exceptional ability to grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, digital information technology and collaborative execution. While the Merage School is relatively young, it has quickly grown to rank consistently among the top five percent of all business programs worldwide through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network and close relationships with both individual business executives and global corporations. Additional information is available at merage.uci.edu.