Thinking outside the ATM box

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Ernst & Young named UNT alum Gary Walston a finalist in their 2020 Entrepreneur of the year program. The program was founded to recognize those who provide innovative solutions for growth in their field of business—and for four years, Walston has earned the title. 

As the co-founder and CEO of Dolphin Debit Access, Walston is no stranger to thinking outside the ATM box. His innovative ideas and willingness to take risks are what helped transform Dolphin Debit Access from a mere idea more than 15 years ago, into the nation's leading provider of all-inclusive ATM outsourcing services to financial institutions today.

Walston first discovered opportunities for growth in ATM operations shortly after graduating from UNT, while working for a bank marketing company. It was there that he discovered the vast, untapped market of ATM advertising.

While many people can often identify missed opportunities in business, Walston acted on them and subsequently founded ATM Advertising Solutions. ATM Advertising Solutions was a pioneer in ATM marketing at the time, and ultimately led him to start Dolphin Debit Access.

“I think when we started the business there was a selfish aspect to build the business, but over the course of my career I realized that it’s more about making a difference in peoples’ lives,” explained Walston.

Now, he does both. From operating his company with an astounding 25-30% compound annual growth, to giving back to UNT in more ways than one.

“I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit and want to be able to help students with that spirit,” said Walston. “While at UNT, the business school focused on a wide-range of courses that provided me with a well-rounded education… being a guest speaker is a good chance for me to give back.”

Walston not only volunteers his time as a guest speaker for UNT business students, but he also established The Gary and Tammy Walston Endowed Scholarship for the G. Brint Ryan College of Business in 2019—providing entrepreneurship students with a permanent tradition of empowerment and opportunity.

With Walston’s support, his legacy of entrepreneurial achievement will live on through future generations of UNT business students—giving them the tools to turn their degree into another Mean Green success story.