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Clifton Builders Stretch and Grow Entrepreneurial Mindset

Largest Cohort of Clifton Builders Begins This Fall
Clifton Builders Stretch and Grow Entrepreneurial Mindset
Thirty-five students start their journey this fall as the largest cohort yet of Clifton Builders at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Thirty-five students start their journey this fall as the largest cohort yet of Clifton Builders at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The program continues to grow in its fifth year as a part of the Clifton Strengths Institute, enabling its students to learn from, study alongside and network with fellow entrepreneurial-minded individuals. 

Designed by Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton, the Clifton Builders program aims to help Nebraska, the nation and the world identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs and business developers to develop economic growth and prosperity. The basis for selection results from entrepreneurial traits identified in students’ Gallup’s Builder Profile 10 assessment results, application and interview performance. 

“The program was created to find and develop entrepreneurs, startup types, rainmakers and extraordinarily talented salespeople and leaders – people who have a natural gift to create economic energy where none existed before,” said Clifton. “The United States has an oversupply of innovators and an under supply of entrepreneurs.”

Dr. Tim Hodges, executive director of the Clifton Strengths Institute and assistant professor of practice in management, believes the Clifton Builders management major and minor equip students with tools to build, lead and manage people. The program consists of three tracks: business builder, team builder and community builder. Experiential components of each track provide students with elite real-world experiences that will make them a disruptive force in industry. In addition to their track of focus, students build connections, participate in activities in the College of Business, visit businesses and more.

"The students in our Clifton Builders program have natural talents that help them create a positive impact in their communities, businesses and teams,” said Hodges. “They have been called 'disruptive' — a term not always seen as a positive. But we believe there is no changing the future without disrupting the present. Disruption is not a threat, it is an invitation to move on and to redefine normal, especially in trying times such as a pandemic. These students have what it takes to lead us to a better future." 

Selected in the spring of their first year, builders begin courses the fall of their sophomore year. First-year students of all majors who have aspirations to change the world by building business, teams or communities through leadership and involvement should apply. Applications for the Fall 2021 cohort are due October 16. For more information, visit:

The 2020 cohort of Clifton Builders includes:  


Bellevue: Jace Noble, business administration

Elkhorn: Robert Khorram, finance; and Alex Mueller, business administration

Gretna: Grace Fuller, accounting

Hastings: McLean Witte, finance and marketing

Lincoln: Jake Bowman, accounting; Maddie Elbracht, Clifton Builders management and marketing; and Trevor LeGrande, Clifton Builders management

Madison: Eduardo Mora, advertising and public relations

Omaha: Nicholas Anderson, Clifton Builders management; Bailey Hanus, business administration; Nathan Hauser, Clifton Builders management and finance; Hailey Hutfless, finance; Jack Johnson, finance; Sam Lilly, Clifton Builders management; Ridley Miller, finance; Alex Nielsen, Clifton Builders management; and Jacob Zadalis, Clifton Builders management

O’Neill: Jacob Wiese, business administration

Osmond: Anthony Heiman, Clifton Builders management

Phillips: Lauren Eihusen, Clifton Builders management


Astoria, Oregon: Maria Heyen, Clifton Builders management and international business

Cave Creek, Arizona: Brook Bowman, business administration

Downers Grove, Illinois: Nicholas Chapa, accounting

Eden Prairie, Minnesota: Olivia Dohmen, Clifton Builders management

Franktown, Colorado: Elizabeth Jardee, business administration

Leawood, Kansas: Zach Molzer, Clifton Builders management

Maple Grove, Minnesota: Caleb Druckemiller, actuarial science

Olathe, Kansas: Mason Mattes, Clifton Builders management

Plainfield, Illinois: Patrick Malec, Clifton Builders management and finance; and Thomas Rouse, business administration

Rosemount, Minnesota: Carter Baune, finance

Shorewood, Minnesota: Charles Dutton, supply chain management

Springfield, Missouri: Grace Laflen, accounting and global studies

Wilmington, Delaware: Julia Michener, actuarial science

Published: October 6, 2020