search

UMD    AML





Another storied but endangered brand has received a new lease on life through the entrepreneurship of Alex Mehr, a UMD mechanical engineering alumnus (M.S., Ph.D. ’03) and co-founder of the online dating platform Zoosk. Just months after acquiring Dressbarn, Mehr and business partner Tai Lopez have successfully bid for Pier 1 Imports, which filed for bankruptcy in February and is currently in the procsess of closing its 973 stores.

Retail Ecommerce Ventures, co-owned by Lopez and Mehr, outbid Sycamore Partners Management to win a July 7 auction of the struggling retailer’s intellectual property and e-commerce business. The final bid was $31 million.

Lopez’s and Mehr’s firm seeks to “acquire well-known distressed retail brands and transform them into e-commerce success stories,” according to its website. They recently purchased housewares retailer Linens ‘n Things and collectible purveyor Franklin Mint as well. Mehr’s goal with Pier 1 is to turn it into a rival of the well-known household supplier Wayfair.

Mehr had already achieved considerable success as an engineer and scientist when he made the turn into serial entrepreneurship. During a stint at NASA, he collaborated on several space flights, both manned and unmanned; he has also authored peer-reviewed papers on complex systems theory, risk management, design optimization, genetic algorithms, numerical modeling, and other topics. At UMD, he completed a doctoral dissertation on the optimal design of complex engineering systems. He was advised by Professor Shapour Azarm of Mechanical Engineering.

In 2007, Mehr and fellow Terp, Shayan Zadeh (M.S. ’02, Computer Science) co-founded Zoosk, which has been dubbed the “Amazon of dating.” The platform would grow to become one of the 10 highest-grossing apps in the Apple App Store, with around 25 million users in 70 countries.

Mehr is a 2014 recipient of the A. James Clark School of Engineering Early Career Award, which honors individuals who have made meritorious, rapid achievements in the early stages of their professional lives.



Related Articles:
Alumnus Mark Paulus Receives 2021 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award
The Marvin Roush Fellowship: A Foundation for Progress in Risk and Reliability
Prioritizing Education Opportunities During Unprecedented Time
Paying It Forward with Double the Impact
A Game-Changing Education
Alumnus John Berger (M.S. ME ’85, Ph.D. ME ’90) Promoted to Senior Associate Provost at Colorado School of Mines
Adapt and Move Forward
From Terps Racing to Ford Motor Company
Alumnus Tom Hicks Welcomed to Arctaris Impact Board of Advisors
Alumnus Ethan Zweig Awarded 2020 Daily Record Excellence in Construction

July 17, 2020


«Previous Story  

 

 

Current Headlines

Prof. Michael Ohadi Receives ASME 2021 Heat Transfer Memorial Award

Prof. Michael Ohadi Receives ASME 2021 Heat Transfer Memorial Award

Alumnus Mark Paulus Receives 2021 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award

Young Investigator Fellowship Supports "Third Lung" Research

Unusual "cool flames" discovered aboard International Space Station

University of Maryland Engineers Have 3D Printed a Soft Robotic Hand That Can Play Nintendo

Graduate Student Receives STLE Scholarship

Prof. Patrick McCluskey and Dr. Diganta Das receive MIPS Award

An Improved Way to Fabricate Damage-Tolerant Ceramics

Unusual Flames Discovered Aboard the International Space Station

 
 
Back to top  
AML Home Clark School Home UMD Home ENME Home