By Alex Blevins — Professor Gregg Whittaker is again bringing an exceptional lineup of entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the region to his Entrepreneurial Mindset class. All students are welcome to attend the presentations during Whittaker’s class which meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:15 in the Idea X-Change.
This year’s group of presenters includes Dave Cummings, Tradebot CEO, 9/30; Fred Pryor, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, 10/5; Tyler Prochnow, Co-Owner of ThinkBig Partners, 10/21; Sandy Peterson, former healthcare industry CEO, 10/26; Darrin Clawson, CEO of Engage Mobile, 10/28; and Steve Gerbsman, financial industry CEO and Stanford University speaker and mentor, 11/6.
Whittaker says he is excited to bring to Jewell another group of well-rounded business professionals that exemplify leadership in entrepreneurship. These speakers come to Jewell to share their stories with students and to inspire students to follow in their footsteps. Whittaker says the effect the speakers have had on his students is tremendous. “It allows students to see that these extremely successful individuals really are just like you and me. These people had an idea and made it work for them in a way that resulted in a very positive outcome.” Whittaker believes that students in his class will be able to find drive to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas and goals through the stories and experiences shared by the speakers.
The first guest of the class, Matt Shatto of the Shatto Milk Company and CEO of TerraManus Technologies visited the Idea X-Change in early September. First year student and Accounting major Tim Posler was extremely excited to hear from Shatto, and says the opportunity has added to his outlook on a future career in the Kansas City area. “Meeting Shatto puts into perspective how many exciting new and growing companies there are in this area. I think Kansas City is a great area where I will find an organization to work for, be passionate about, and grow with after graduation.” Since 2003, Shatto Milk company has grown from selling milk in ten Kansas City retailers to a wide range of milk products in over sixty different retailers throughout the region including the Northland and Kansas.
For Whittaker, it is growth like that which proves there is an overwhelming wealth of opportunity throughout the Kansas City area for Jewell students. Whittaker says, “Many students believe they need to go to the coasts to find jobs when there is a lot happening right here. There are so many different companies and organizations for students to become passionate about.”
Each year these presentations provide an expanded and improved opportunity for networking for Dr. Whittaker’s students. Many of the companies represented by these presenters are looking for talent in the Kansas City area and the connections made with Jewell students can form beneficial bonds. Through the one-on-one communication offered by these presentations, students are welcomed to ask questions, share information, and form relationships. Whittaker encourages his students to make their own business cards to share with the speakers and other attendees. Presenters also welcome students to take their business cards and encourage students to contact them for future assistance and communication as the students grow in their education and development as entrepreneurial leaders of tomorrow.