Alumni, professors major contributors to the success of entrepreneurship week


The Entrepreneurship Week held at the IDEA Bank of the University of Troy was a week full of learning opportunities and the chance to gain individual knowledge on how to create, develop and maintain a company in a series of sessions led by local business owners, many also former TROY graduates.

Lynne Firmin George, director of economic development and IDEA bank, said the week could not have been better.

“Most of the programs were full to capacity, and I’ve already noticed more appointments and more calls, emails and inquiries, which is great,” she said. “We also received excellent feedback from the students who came, which is essential. I want the students to come here, interact and tell us what they need so that we can help them.

One of the main goals of Entrepreneurship Week was to highlight what the IDEA Bank can do to help not only students but also community members achieve their business goals, and George stated that this goal has been achieved on several occasions.

“On Friday I had someone who saw us on the news and had an idea and questions to see if she could work with us which is the outcome I wanted,” she said. “I think the week went very well and the participation rate was better than I expected. “

TROY alumni played a big part in the success of the event; of the five sessions, four were led by TROY graduates or current professors.

“The alumni who participated in Entrepreneurship Week were crucial, just game changers in our programming. Each of them has such unique stories, and the students were able to truly connect with them, ”said George. “It’s so different for students when you bring in someone who doesn’t work at university but who went to school, who knows the community and can just relate to. Not only did they share their areas of expertise, but they personally connected with students, gave them advice and inspired them. “

Will Pouncey opened the week with his “Back of the Napkin Numbers” talk followed by a panel discussion featuring seasoned business owners Lyndsay Cox Taylor, Frank Marquette and JR Eason. On Wednesday, graphic design professor Chris Stagl explained to attendees about creating a logo and branding strategies, and Danielle Wallace recalled the next day the importance of bridging the digital divide with brand storytelling.

Pouncey and Eason both embarked on their business ideas early on, while Taylor and Wallace had different careers before becoming business owners. George said she was happy the students were given both perspectives.

“Lyndsay and Danielle have more experience to be able to share more about their overall journey, but seeing someone so young already succeeding in their business goals was encouraging for them,” she said. “To have (the students) be able to see the short term with Will and JR to also see people who worked in a company and who broke up… both types of stories are important.”

The IDEA bank opened earlier this year and George said his goal is to welcome more programs as people become aware of all they have to offer. The next big event will take place on October 12 from noon to 1 p.m. and will focus on how small business owners can use TikTok, a popular new social media platform that uses videos to connect with others. people around the world, to grow and develop.

To stay informed of upcoming events and events at IDEA Bank, follow the Facebook page or consult the calendar.

Discover the speakers below:

Will Pouncey

Pouncey is the President and Senior Financial Advisor for Optical consulting, a management consulting firm that advises business owners in three key stages of the business lifecycle: start-up, growth and sale. His Monday afternoon session, titled “Back of the Napkin Numbers,” focused on creating good financial projections in the start-up phase of building a business.

Pouncey’s responsibilities as a financial consultant include M&A consulting, seed funding, growth strategy, and financial forecasting / modeling. He is also the main advisor for optics with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at TROY.

Pouncey received his Masters in Economics from the University of Troy in 2020 and is certified in Financial Modeling and Valuation. When not working, he spends time with his fiancé, Bailey, and their German Shepherd, Bexar (Bear), playing golf, chess or working in his carpentry shop.

Franck Marquette

Prior to joining TROY, Professional Practice Professor Frank Marquette founded and managed for 25 years a creative engineering and manufacturing company producing results for the film, television, museum, amusement park industries. and handling robotics. His clients included Walt Disney Imagineering, the producers of “The Lord of the Rings”, the National Museum of New Zealand and a host of commercial and private projects related to the creation of experiential worlds and autonomous vehicle systems.

Use of digital design and manufacturing technologies with a focus on additive manufacturing (Industrial 3D printing), Marquette was tasked with developing an academic program to blend high-tech manufacturing with higher education at the University of Troy. The program is currently a minor and provides students with a mastery of digital design tools for AM combined with apprenticeship and internships by project. Students who successfully complete the program gain concept, design, and manufacturing skills with an understanding of “constructive disruption” as it applies to the current industrial revolution.

JR Reason

JR’s passion as an entrepreneur began at a young age when he started his online resale store in high school, which helped pay for his college education. Since graduating in 2017, JR has worked for Troy University and is currently employed by Harmon Dennis Bradshaw as an individual and group insurance advisor.

Eason is a founding member of Fuse Coffee, located in Troy Square, and still runs its online resale store at night and on weekends, as well as a flea market stall. He also helped start the Pike County Young Professionals organization that aims to encourage some of the young talent in the hope that it will help to strengthen the age gap in the community.

Eason said he continually seeks other opportunities to start and grow other businesses and that his real desire in life is to help people, whether through his day-to-day role at “HDB” or providing advice to other entrepreneurship goals. .

Eason and his wife, Haley, reside in Troy, and the couple are excited about the growth of the community and hope to continue to “plant their roots” in the years to come.

Lyndsay Cox Taylor

Originally from Crenshaw County, Taylor graduated from Troy University Sorrell College of Business. Immediately after graduation, she moved into direct selling, followed by several years of recruiting at the Admissions Office at the University of Troy.

Ten years ago, Taylor opened a wine and cheese bar that quickly morphed into a full-service restaurant. Sip in the square, soon Sips Beer Garden and Food Court, was named Pike County Business of the Year in 2014 and Restaurant of the Year in 2016. After a few years in the restaurant business, she began investing in real estate in downtown Troy and has now diversified into short and long term rental properties. , achieving Superhost status through AirBnB since 2018.

Taylor is an advocate for entrepreneurship and looks forward to spending many more years owning a business and real estate.

Chris Stagl

Chris Stagl is Associate Professor of Graphic Design and Associate Chair of Art design at the University of Troy, where he has been a faculty member since 2020.

Stagl has been active in design since 1992 when he started working at printing and screen printing companies in Ocala, Florida. His design interests lie in typography, identity, video, and storytelling, and he takes great pride in having his work showcased in galleries and in print, but he really enjoys seeing his students’ successes.

Stagl has taught in Florida, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama and considers himself lucky to have had so many opportunities to travel and see the country.

Currently, he serves as president of education for the Montgomery Advertising Federation, where he hopes to create an outlet for his students to make a seamless transition to the design and advertising industry.

Danielle Wallace

Wallace is the owner and brand writer of Chayil Media Publishing where she helps big brands turn facts into cohesive, sales-driven stories. She is also the founder of a digital / print magazine titled “Memories of a Virtuous Woman”.

Wallace is a proud graduate of the University of Troy Hall School of Journalism and Communication, where she studied audiovisual journalism. A former TV news reporter who has served communities in central and southeastern Alabama, she now brings her “journalist mindset” to helping clients strategize to stand out, by digging more deeply into the facts and by being full of curiosity for the content of its customers.

Tuesday’s roundtable featured local business owners sharing their experiences with starting a business. Those present were encouraged to ask questions and participate in the dialogue. (photo by TROY)


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