Throwback: Student Org. started a bartending class

I don’t know about you, but if OU offered a bartending class I would sign up. Well when Chris Good, Debbi Brock, Heather McNally Miklo and Wendy Wigton Reinhart were here in the late 80s, their club, Association for Collegiate Entrepreneurs, started one. With the university’s approval they partnered with the C.I. where one of their bartenders taught the class. No wonder C.I. is the business bar, and can you imagine President McDavis hearing that one of the student organizations was sponsoring a bartending class? Well, they did, and at one point they made $8,000 at $45 a person for the class. This class was quite the success, and it actually served as a tool to teach about alcohol awareness and safety (they used colored water to “make drinks”, not alcohol). Personally, I would like to see this come back.

These former students were majoring in Small Business Entrepreneurship, similar to our current Entrepreneurship major. At the time, Ohio University was the only one to have this type of major, but for some reason it was cut a few years later.

Debbi, who attended from 1986-1989, was the secretary of the Association for Collegiate Entrepreneurs. She would then become president, even with the boys encouraging her to not run (very different times). From there, she went on to work for the International Headquarters of the Association for Collegiate Entrepreneurs and became the first female executive director in 1991. This trailblazer for women everywhere was working in the field of entrepreneurship that was 80% male at the time. Actually, the field is still predominately male. The semester after Debbi graduated, Heather McNally Miklo and Wendy Wigton Reinhart got the class off the ground.

Debbi attributes her success to not making the basketball team here at OU. She took that energy and invested it in entrepreneurship. Now she is in academia. She, as well as many others, understand that the skills learned through entrepreneurship are incredibly important to creating opportunities for success. Having the basic business acumen to handle different ventures, ideas, and even freelancing your skills creates possibilities that are limitless.

Spotlight: Dr. Crawford

Dr. Crawford has been at Ohio University for two years now. He started off here as a visiting professor, but he is now here in the more permanent position of Assistant Professor of Strategic Management. We are highlighting him in our spotlight series to show the different facets and assets of this department. If you want more information on the center check out this link. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship is a new, flexible way to get involved in entrepreneurship that will help you be successful in your future career.

Dr. Crawford truly brings a unique perspective to the field, and his passion, energy and curiosity is absolutely contagious. Self-described as being “raised by wolves and circus people,” he comes from a very interesting past and has become a very interesting person.

“Entrepreneurship is the creation of new order. It’s about creating companies, about creating new wealth. It’s about trying new things.” That is how Dr. Crawford defines entrepreneurship. The aspect he loves most about entrepreneurship (and his job) is the autonomy—the ability to pick and choose projects based on personal skills and motivation.

After finding a role model and supporter in an English teacher (a lady much like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society), he decided to follow her path and attend school to become a teacher. As a junior at the University of Toledo, where he also played basketball, he was approached by the Dean of the business school at his university who offered him this advice: you can write in any profession, but in business you can make some money doing it. Following that advice, he went on to get an MBA in marketing from Miami University. While in school he started a company (with a logo that suspiciously looks a lot like the cover of the first Twilight novel) called Red Apple consulting. During this time he was also a nationally ranked powerlifter and body builder.

He takes inspiration from Tom Peters, one of his favorite authors, who has a mantra of “Do cool [stuff] every [darn] day” (edited for content). He really takes this to heart as seen in this video of him doing cool and dangerous stuff (including a standing back tuck and driving his RX-7 140mph). And now, that is what he studies. He is focused on studying outliers. He wants to understand why Google is Google and why Facebook is Facebook. Understanding how one becomes an outlier is a very interesting topic, and Dr. Crawford believes it has a lot to do with dedication and hard work. He believes in hard work, setting high expectations, and finding the freaks. People that are different are outliers, differences make the systems stronger.

That is how he ended up here. From being “raised by wolves and circus people” to voted Best OU Professor by the Athens Messenger, Dr. Crawford is someone you should make time to meet. He is an interesting, passionate guy that brings a lot to the program. Shoot him an email at crawforg@ohio.edu if you want to get connected. Don’t forget that the possibilities are limitless.

Win $10,000 for the best business plan!

Want to start a business? Have a great idea? Well a contest in Nelsonville is holding a competition just for you. Ever heard of a little thing called Jackie O’s? Well they got their start with the help of a business plan competition sponsored by Start It Up Nelsonville.

The hope is that this competition will help the fostering of economic development, particularly in light of the opening of the Route 33 bypass. This organization is also pledging $5,000 to local high school students who submit essays about why they love Nelsonville.

If you have a great business idea you want to start in this area of Ohio and want the chance to win $10,000 then check out more information here.

Student Spotlight: Austin Stahl

The entrepreneurship students are the greatest example of why this program is great. We want to highlight them in our spotlight series to show how awesome and diverse they are.

Graduating this spring, Austin Stahl is a senior studying Journalism. However, unlike many students outside of the College of Business he is making the effort to add entrepreneurship to his resume. This Loveland Ohio native defines “Entrepreneur” as someone who can make big things happen with few resources. He says, “They are a little bit crazy, truly believe in what they are doing and are extremely good at blocking out the haters.”

Before deciding on the Entrepreneurship Certificate, Austin knew he wanted to go into business. His first thought was to pursue a business minor, but later he decided on the Entrepreneurship Certificate. He hadn’t taken any business courses when he added the Certificate, he just knew he liked the idea and wanted the business background.

“I want to go into business and was planning to add a business minor, and then I found out about the certificate and decided to pursue that instead. I liked its flexibility and the fact that it was a little bit different than a standard business education.”

He has big dreams for his future in energy after starting off in an entry level sales or marketing position. “Ideally I will work my way up the solar industry and become the Chief Marketing Officer at a larger solar company. That or involved as a co-founder of a startup in the clean energy space. “

From wanting to be a professional athlete to wanting to be a sports writer to a blooming clean energy entrepreneur, Austin is a prime example of what entrepreneurship is. It is the ability to have options and make your opportunities limitless.

Spotlight: Mr. Paul Benedict

The Ohio Center or Entrepreneurship hired new faculty this year. We want to highlight them in our spotlight series. Reach out to them and ask questions. Use these great people as resources for your future success.

Mr. Paul Benedict has a close relationship with entrepreneurship. Working in entrepreneurship for the past 14 years in some capacity from helping startups, to starting startups, to investing with Adena Ventures, he has had the chance to look at entrepreneurship from many angles with an emphasis on investing.

To him, entrepreneurship is about solving big problems, doing something different, trying something no one else has tried. He understands the importance of failing in the pursuit of trying something you’ve never tried before, but he will be there for students to help them learn from their mistakes. The goal is to do something great. Do something that is going to make someone’s life better or job easier.

However, that is not where he started. As a little kid he dreamed of one day playing first base for the New York Yankees, but as he said that dream was “crushed very quickly.” However, after baseball dreams and political ambitions he found his heart in entrepreneurship.

When asked, “What is one thing you want the students you work with to know about you?” He responded with, “The honest answer is that I love this [stuff]” (edited for content). He is very passionate about entrepreneurship and loves working with students. The creativity and the possibility for creation are what make his job worth it. He jokes about picture of the Titanic that read “Perhaps my purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.” He wants to help students learn from his mistakes in order to better facilitate their success.

The one piece of advice he’d give to OU students is to start something. Either to support a cause or for a profit, start something. Try to solve a problem, try to break stuff, try to do something crazy. See if you can pull it off. If you look at entrepreneurial teams that have been wildly successful, they start as friends. They use the deep trust and friendship to build from, and college is a great time to form those useful and meaningful bonds.

If you want to talk to Mr. Benedict you can reach him at this email Benedict@ohio.edu.