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October 4, 2022

Center for Entrepreneurship Names 43 Entrepreneurship Fellows

Entrepreneurs to Impact Students, Advance Business in Nebraska and Beyond
Center for Entrepreneurship Names 44 Entrepreneurship Fellows
The Center for Entrepreneurship named 43 professionals as the inaugural class of Entrepreneurship Fellows, a group of successful entrepreneurs who engage students through guest lecturing, mentoring, connecting students to internships and serving as judges for the center's annual competitions. In this photo, Sam Nelson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and associate professor of practice in management, addresses the new fellows and the center's supporters at a welcome reception for its fellows on September 30 at the Scarlet Hotel.

The Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln named 43 professionals as the inaugural class of Entrepreneurship Fellows, a group of successful entrepreneurs who impact the university's students in a variety of ways throughout the academic year. Engagement opportunities include guest lecturing, mentoring, connecting students to internships and serving as judges for the center's annual competitions.

"The Entrepreneurship Fellows will help us build tomorrow's business leaders," said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance. "The world needs more entrepreneurs – people who spark economic growth and introduce innovations that improve our way of life. Our students will learn how to further build, grow and innovate from these experienced entrepreneurs.”

With more than 1,300 students enrolled in entrepreneurial courses at the College of Business and many more participating in events and workshops every year, the center helps develop the skills to start, operate and grow a business. Fellows will enhance the students' experience by sharing their knowledge and networks.

"Students learn best from someone who was in their shoes and found a way to succeed. The fellows will help us expand our ability to deliver world-class experiential education that provides students with real-world experience and networking opportunities. Furthermore, the fellows will help us build a larger entrepreneurship community at the university, which helps us in cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs," said Samuel Nelson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and associate professor of practice in management.

Fellows were individually identified and selected by the center's faculty and advisory board. They bring experience ranging from founders, innovators within established organizations, family business leaders, franchisors and franchisees, and investors.

"For the first class, we wanted a very diverse group of entrepreneurs representing different industries and size companies. For example, we looked for early-stage entrepreneurs, some that have recently sold their business, and some that are running large organizations. Additionally, we wanted some of our fellows to be service providers within the state's startup ecosystem, such as Invest Nebraska, Startup LNK and Proven Ventures," said Nelson. "Most importantly, we selected individuals who will provide positive interactions and learning opportunities for our students and are looking to make an impact on the future drivers of Nebraska's economy."

The entrepreneurship fellows are:

  • Aakriti Agrawal, American Express
  • Brian Ardinger, Nelnet
  • Christopher Aumueller, FanWord
  • Rick Bettger, Omaha Car Care
  • Erik Bird, Eat Fit Go
  • Mark Buss, PAL of Indy, LLC
  • Rick Cantril, Tebra
  • Carey Gille, Franchise FastLane
  • Breck Collingsworth, Resort Lifestyle Communities
  • Charlie Colón, Chick-fil-A Franchisee
  • Josh DeMers, Prepare Insurance
  • Bart Dillashaw, Enterprise Legal Studio
  • Sid Dinsdale, Pinnacle Bancorp
  • Mike Dunlap, Nelnet
  • Don Eckles, Scooter's Coffee
  • Brenda Fleck, Fleck & Sons
  • Laura Frantz, House of Colour Lincoln
  • Andrea Fredrickson, Revela
  • Angela Garbacz, Goldrenrod Pastries
  • Scott Henderson, NMotion
  • Dan Hoffman, Invest Nebraska
  • John Hogan, PLUS Services, LLC
  • Paul Hogan, Home Instead Senior Care
  • Jason Hornady, Hornady Manufacturing Company
  • Umeda Islamova, Rabata
  • Julian Ivey-Caldwell
  • Paska Juma, Google
  • Ashley Kloxin, Perspire Sauna Studio
  • Todd Koca, CrownSource
  • Sam Manzitto Jr., Manzitto Construction
  • Brooke Mullen, Sapahn
  • Chuck Norris, Nelnet
  • Reed Nyffeler, Signal
  • Christina Oldfather, Rabble Mill
  • Graham Pansing Brooks, SEAChange, LTD
  • Vern P. Powers, Hastings Industrial Manufacturing, Vestal W2O, Echo Canyon Corporation
  • Brandon Rigoni, Gallup
  • Janna Ronert, Image Skincare and Hush & Hush
  • Grant Stahla, Stahla Services, LLC
  • Jeff Vaske, Charter Hill Partners
  • Erica Wassinger, Proven Ventures
  • Matthew Wegener, ISoft Data Systems, Turbine Flats
  • Lizz Whitacre, Pawlytics

For more information on individual fellows, visit: https://business.unl.edu/c4efellows. To learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship, visit: https://business.unl.edu/entrepreneurship.