Business Alums Offer Valuable Mentoring to Students Competing in "The Hatch"
Nine aspiring student entrepreneurs competed for investor start-up funds and received valuable expertise from eleven successful BGSU alums. These committed mentors are worked closely with the students to plan and polish their business presentations to prepare for “The Hatch.” Similar to the TV show "Shark Tank," BGSU students presented their ideas to a panel of investors. Here are our dedicated mentors.
Written by MBA student Joel Waldman.
Jack Horney is a Senior Director with Capital One Bank. He is responsible for the retail bank’s small business and investment strategies. Before joining Capital One Bank in 2004, Jack was Senior Vice President for Fujitsu Consulting, an international Management and IT Consulting Company as well as Executive Vice President for Omega Performance, a consulting and training company in the banking industry. Jack and his wife, Peggy, are both alumni of BGSU. Jack mentored Alex Baroudi, whose idea is to start up a Mediterranean and Greek food truck business on campus and then expand to other college campuses.
Ed White is a former executive of Owens-Illinois, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of glass bottles and jars in 21 countries with 81 factories and 25,000 employees. Ed has served in numerous positions within Owens-Illinois (O-I), including his most recent position as Chief Financial Officer of the company. He retired this past year after serving O-I for more than 38 years. Ed has an MBA from the University of Hawaii and also held the position of Captain in the United States Army.
Ed, along with fellow alum Nicole Harris (below), mentored Hunter Bihn whose idea is to create safe, on-the-go needle disposal for diabetics.
Nicole Harris, PhD, is a District Sales Manager of Kinetic Concepts, Inc., a multi-billion dollar healthcare company that specializes in the making of medical devices used in wound care. Prior to KCI, Nicole was an employee of Johnson & Johnson, where she was recognized, on several occasions, as a top 10 sales representative for the company. Nicole has her PhD in Organization and Management from Capella University and also has an MBA from the University of Findlay. Nicole is an alumnus of BGSU, where she received her BS in Journalism with a double minor in marketing and communications.
Nathan Pulver is a 1995 BGSU alumnus who majored in graphic design. In 1999, Nathan started E-dreamz, a privately held firm located in Charlotte, NC. As the E-dreamz founder and President, Nathan has over 16 years of experience in the field of Internet design and development. With his broad industry experience and leadership capabilities, Nathan created a digital agency that specializes in e-Commerce, lead generation solutions, and Internet marketing. Nathan has grown E-dreamz to one of the top digital agencies in the Charlotte region. He mentored Ashley Bonner who wants to create an online database for college musicians.
Drawing on over 30 years of experience as CEO and Chief Operating Officer of several major club and spa companies, Art Curtis formed CurtisClubAdvisors LLC in 2011 to serve the global club industry by providing advisory services to help companies grow and improve profitability. Over the years Art has led business turnarounds, successfully guided the acquisition of numerous companies, opened new clubs, developed and implemented new management systems, and created multi-year reinvestment plans resulting in the deployment of several hundred million dollars of capital. Kyle Dickman is the student that Art mentored. Kyle wants to develop a watersports complex.
Student Kourtney Greco wants to create rewritable children’s bedtime storybooks and her mentor was Sandy Harsanyi-Murphy. Sandy graduated in 2000 from BGSU with a degree in computer art and animation. She worked for CBS Radio doing graphic design for seven years. She left to raise her sons and, while on leave, wrote, illustrated and designed a children's book and plush called “A Light in the Night.” It was picked up by the publishers of “The Elf on the Shelf” and went on to become a nationally published and award-winning book. She now owns Black Tie Studio, a design and marketing firm in Cleveland, Ohio.
John F. Meier was chairman and CEO of Libbey Inc. since the company went public in 1993 until 2011 when he retired. From 1990-93 Meier served as vice president of Owens-Illinois Inc. and executive vice president and general manager of its subsidiary, Libbey Glass. Since joining Libbey Inc. in 1970, Meier served in various marketing and sales management positions, including a five-year assignment in Belgium. He has served as past campaign chairman of the United Way of Greater Toledo, and is also an emeritus trustee of Wittenberg University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg and his MBA from BGSU. John mentored Scott Hodges whose idea is to start up a taco food truck business.
Paul Hooker is the owner and CEO of SFERRA, a New York City-based luxury linen company that has been in business for over 120 years. He was a mentor to Krysten Jablonowski who wants to start up a dorm room furniture retail store. Paul graduated from BGSU with a BS Degree in Business Administration in 1975. Upon graduation, Paul worked for Armstrong World Industries as a marketing rep in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1977, he purchased SFERRA and has been growing the brand ever since. SFERRA now sells to over 800 retail stores in North America and 35 stores internationally. He was inducted into the BGSU Dallas-Hamilton Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame last year.
Bob Venzel assisted hip-hop enthusiast Corey Jones with his business idea to create an educational rap label. Bob graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from BGSU in 1976 and an MBA from BGSU in 1978. In 1991, he became the co-owner of Venzel Communications, Inc., an advertising and public relations agency based in Perrysburg, Ohio. The company’s work encompasses a variety of non-profit and for-profit clients in a cross-section of industries including: business, manufacturing, education, health care, and municipalities.
Taylor Frazer had two mentors from CMC Group Inc. - Al Caperna and Craig Dixon (below). Taylor’s business idea is to create a textbook with vanishing highlighting marks.
Albert J. Caperna is the Chairman of CMC Group Inc., an association of companies that has been selling to retail and industrial customers both domestically and internationally for over 30 years. Named 1995 Master Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst, Young & Merrill, Al has been active in the creation of new divisions within Century, which have since developed into separate business units. Century has experienced tremendous growth under Al’s leadership as well as the leadership of Craig Dixon and their team, and now holds a prominent position among the 500 largest printers in the United States.
Craig Dixon is the CEO of CMC Group, Inc. Craig began his career with CMC Group, Inc. in 1990 as the Operations Manager for Century Marketing. He was promoted to Vice President of Operations in 1991 and President in 1994. Dixon holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with an emphasis in business from BGSU. Prior to his service at CMC Group, Dixon worked for Marathon Oil in Findlay, Ohio, for 14 years.
To read more about the entrepreneurial students and their business ideas, click here.