Spring 2024 Speakers

Join us in WB 144 to hear from each of these entrepreneurs!

Thad Hymas & Nate Miller

January 25 at 11am

Thad Hymas is the owner, along with his wife, of White River Chem-Dry, a carpet cleaning company. Thad has a background in construction management and has been in business with White River Chem-Dry for over two years. White River’s innovative process of using less water than traditional steam cleaning through hot carbonating extraction. Thad loves to clean and being involved in the process of seeing something from start to finish. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and five children.

 

Nate Miller is a graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He started working for Express Employment Professionals after graduation as a temporary employee in Lafayette. After 4 years, a series of promotions, and obtaining his PHR and SHRM-CP certifications, he decided to franchise Express Employment in Muncie, IN. He has been operating the current franchise for the past 9 years, providing employment opportunities to the Delaware and Madison County communities.

 

Dr. Huseyin Ergin

February 8 at 11am

Huseyin Ergin is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Ball State University. His research interests include computer science education, software engineering, and model-driven engineering. He earned his Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Alabama, as well as an additional M.Sc. from Sabanci University in Turkey, and a B.Sc. from Yeditepe University in Turkey, all in computer science or engineering. With extensive industry experience, Dr. Ergin has worked as a software developer in R&D departments, IT departments, startups, and manufacturing companies, giving him a comprehensive understanding of software development practices in various settings. He has also participated in programming, science, robotics, idea, startup, and entrepreneurship competitions/events. Currently, he is actively collaborating with industry partners to research software engineering techniques and practices. Dr. Ergin has secured over $150,000 in grant money for software engineering research from industry partners. In addition to his research work, he teaches software engineering classes and supervises software projects for local community partners, including startups, non-profit organizations, university branches, and local companies. He also founded the Capstone Connector, a program under the Innovation Connector of Muncie, which connects industry partners with student Capstone teams.

Bill Bussick

March 12 at 11am

Bill Bussick is the President & CEO of DuraMark Technologies, Inc an industry leading manufacturer of durable decals and labels.  Bill co-founded DuraMark in 2007 and it has become one of the largest digital label printers in the US.  In 2013, DuraMark launched a technology Division that was spun off and operates today as Lumavate, an innovative Product Experience Platform allowing marketers to centralize product data, manage digital assets and create digital product experiences.   In 2021, Bill led the acquisition of DuraMark to a Midwest based Private Equity firm.  Prior to DuraMark, Bill spent twenty-two years leading sales organizations for Fortune 1000 companies in the printing industry.  Bill is a 1983 graduate of Ball State University with a B.S. in Marketing.  He met his wife of 38 years at BSU and they have 4 children.  Bill also sits on the board of The O’Connor House, a home for pregnant and homeless women, his wife founded in 2005 located in Hamilton County.

Karen Mangia

March 19 at 11am

Karen Mangia is President & Chief Strategy Officer of The Engineered Innovation Group, a high growth B2B SAAS startup.  She also serves on the Board of Advisors for Podopolo, a VC backed startup revolutionizing podcasting with AI.   Karen previously served as Vice President of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), where she regularly consulted with senior leadership at Fortune 1000 companies as well as privately-funded high-growth businesses to accelerate transformation and growth. She previously held roles at AT&T and Cisco. Karen is the Wall Street Journal best selling author of five books and the host of the Success From Anywhere podcast.

Cindy Dunston Quirk

April 16 at 11am

Dogs have always been a part of Cindy’s life. Cindy was successful in sales and marketing after completing her Bachelor’s in Marketing from Georgia State University. It was gratifying, but her creative side was itching to get out and run. Cindy turned heavily to writing as a professional wordsmith and editor, forming her own creative firm in Anderson, IN. In 2009, she made another pivot that combined her business, marketing, and creative skills. She was inspired by her German Shepard’s allergies and founded her own pet treat company, Scout & Zoe’s. Her products, naturally shed elk antler treats and chews, are now available in over 10,000 pet stores across the globe. It’s a dog’s life and Cindy wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marc Lore

April 18 at 6:30pm

Marc Lore is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Wonder Group, a company that’s reinventing the at-home dining experience. Wonder is led by a team of proven entrepreneurs, some of the world’s greatest chefs and culinary experts, talented innovators from every area of the business, and backed by top-tier venture capitalists.

Lore is also the newest NBA owner having purchased the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx in Spring 2021 with his friend and business partner, Alex Rodriguez.

Additionally, Lore is the lead and largest investor in Archer, an aerospace company, Co-Founder and investor of Wizard, a company transforming e-commerce with conversational AI, and Mojo, a sports stock market, where fans can use their knowledge to invest in sports like never before. Lore has started and sold several companies in the e-commerce sector, including Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com, which he sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. Telosa is Lore’s legacy project – a city he is building from scratch to test a new model for society, called Equitism.

He graduated from Bucknell University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in business management and economics.

 Join us in AJ 175 to hear from each of these entrepreneurs!

Scott Morris

August 31 at 11am

Scott is a 1987 graduate of Ball State University with a double major in Entrepreneurship and Exercise Science. Upon graduation, he co-founded LML Estate Management, which he still owns today. He currently serves as the Entrepreneurship Center’s Advisory Board President and has been on the board for over 30 years. Scott is passionate about mentoring young entrepreneurs. He volunteers his time to meet with individuals about their entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial ambitions. He is on the board of numerous organizations in the Indianapolis area and volunteers with several different faith-based organizations. Scott was recently awarded the Miller College of Business’ Award of Achievement.

Intrapreneurship Panel

September 7 at 11am

Kaitlyn Park

Kaitlyn is a 2012 alumna of the Ball State Entrepreneurship program, and recently returned to the Midwest after a 7-year stint in the Silicon Valley startup scene. As an ENT senior, she traveled to represent the program and was an award winner in 5 national business plan competitions.

Her post-graduation goal has been to explore as many career opportunities as possible and refuse complacency. This has earned her a diverse industry background, highlighting full cycle roles in sales, marketing, and customer success management. Her experience in rapid-growth organizations enables her to take an advisory approach to her career, and currently serves as an Enterprise Customer Success Manager in the Cyber Security field.  Kaitlyn focuses on finding balance between her customer-centric corporate life, and her new small business venture, Basic B Bakery.

Patrick Spencer

Pat is Managing Director at Moneytree Software, an Accutech Company. His career has focused on managing teams and transforming them for the next level by working collaboratively across the organization. Pat has also led service organizations including Development, Product, Project Management, Client Success, Client Support, and Training. His career has focused on working with organizations desiring growth and enjoys the challenge of building the right culture and the right team. Pat graduated magna cum laude from Ball State with degrees in Organizational Behavior and Entrepreneurship. He also holds an MBA from Indiana University and resides in Indianapolis with his wife.

Mike Sullivan

Mike has over 20 years in the food and beverage industry. He has honed the skills learned from his degree in Entrepreneurship from Ball State as a multi-unit operator of many different concepts within the restaurant arena. He currently serves as the Director of Sales Growth for Java House Coffee. He also gives back to his alma mater by mentoring students pursuing food-related ventures and offering a realistic perspective on the ins and outs of running a restaurant.

 

 

Ted Baker

September 28 at 11am

Ted A. Baker serves as CEO & Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector, Inc., an independent Mixed-Use Business Incubator (with a technology focus) serving entrepreneurs in East Central Indiana. Now in his 14th year leading the Innovation Connector, Ted has witnessed tremendous growth with startups and successful business launches.  Previously he successfully started, grew & exited several for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations.  Ted has extensive experience with non-profit boards, governance policy and has advised and coached many entrepreneurs in East Central Indiana. Ted has also served extensively in organizations in the Muncie community, including Hillcroft Services, Ball State University Cardinal Varsity Club, First Choice for Women (co-founder,) current president of the Muncie Board of Works and Safety, Ball State’s Entrepreneurship Center Board, Muncie Sports Commission, and the Delaware County Public Defender Board. He is a well-known guest/keynote speaker and presenter in East Central Indiana and beyond.  Ted’s passion and energy for the work he does is contagious and sights his goal in life as to make a positive difference in the lives of everyone he meets and works with.

Rigel Jackson

October 26 at 11am

Rigel is the owner of an experiential photography studio. She is a native of Sonora, Mexico, graduated from college as an Industrial Engineer in 2002. Married Ryan Jackson in 2005 and landed in Muncie, Indiana. She is a self-taught photographer, picked up a camera when her first baby was born in 2009 and has never put it down. Launched Rigel Jackson Portraits in 2021 and her mission is to empower women with visual confidence through a portrait session.

 

Marc Lore

November 28 at 6pm

Marc Lore is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Wonder Group, a company that’s reinventing the at-home dining experience. Wonder is led by a team of proven entrepreneurs, some of the world’s greatest chefs and culinary experts, talented innovators from every area of the business, and backed by top-tier venture capitalists.

Lore is also the newest NBA owner having purchased the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx in Spring 2021 with his friend and business partner, Alex Rodriguez.

Additionally, Lore is the lead and largest investor in Archer, an aerospace company, Co-Founder and investor of Wizard, a company transforming e-commerce with conversational AI, and Mojo, a sports stock market, where fans can use their knowledge to invest in sports like never before. Lore has started and sold several companies in the e-commerce sector, including Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com, which he sold to Amazon in 2011 for $550 million. Telosa is Lore’s legacy project – a city he is building from scratch to test a new model for society, called Equitism.

He graduated from Bucknell University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in business management and economics.

This in-person event is limited to 250 attendees. Please register below:

 

 

John Merriweather

December 7 at 11am

John L. Merriweather is the President and CEO of GO Destination Services. Before founding the company in 1998, John worked in corporate training and quality management for a distribution company in Carmel, Indiana. John launched his career in the United States Army in 1990, where he served proudly for three years including a tour in Operation Desert Storm. John is a graduate of Indiana University, and he has completed Masters in Business coursework at the University of Indianapolis. John also graduated from the executive education programs at UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso), Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

 

Join us in person in AJ 175 from 11:00am-12:15pm!

Jake Timberlake

January 26

Jake Timberlake graduated from Ball State in 2019 with a Marketing major and Entrepreneurship minor. He started out in technical recruiting, which is a very popular post-college occupation, but quickly realized that chasing folks for jobs wasn’t for him. Using the skills he learned in recruiting, Jake tailored his resume to be appealing to software companies, which led him to Securly. This Silicon Valley start-up proactively identifies and prevents cyberbullying, child suicide, and self-harm, which was a mission Jake believed in. Starting out as a business development representative, Jake quickly became lead account executive for central USA. Additionally, Jake owns a marketing agency and drop-shipping venture, in addition to his employment with Securly.

 

Erin Hill

March 2

Erin Hill is the owner and founder of Lois Pearl Boutique in Yorktown, IN. What began as a line of custom-created women and children’s clothing has grown into an eclectic collection of carefully curated pretties. The boutique specializes in showcasing women-owned businesses and locally crafted goods. In addition to owning the boutique, Erin and her husband Matt, along with the children, own Indiana Oak Farm, just west of Yorktown. They raise registered show cattle and boer goats, as well as a roadside flower stand. When Erin isn’t at the storefront you can find her hiking the farm, wrangling foster dogs, or digging in the flower beds. Erin is a graduate of Purdue University and a Yorktown native.

 

Tiara Hicks

March 14

Tiara Hicks has been in the HR fields for close to 15 years supporting various industries including: construction, student housing, engineering, and hospitality. She has always aspired to own her own business and has a passion for bringing people together—and for great coffee. In 2020, she opened Rosebud Coffee House in Muncie with the hopes of breaking down barriers and making the coffee shop experience enjoyable for all. She turned a former bank building into Rosebud, creating a space where people on the south end of Muncie could meet and collaborate.

 

 

Kaitlyn Caraway Park

March 16

Kaitlyn is a 2012 alumna of the Ball State Entrepreneurship program and recently returned to the Midwest after a 7-year stint in the Silicon Valley startup scene. As an ENT senior, she traveled to represent the program and was an award winner in 5 national business plan competitions. Her post-graduation goal has been to explore as many career opportunities as possible and refuse complacency. This has earned her a diverse industry background, highlighting full cycle roles in sales, marketing, and customer success management. Her experience in rapid-growth organization enables her to take an advisory approach to her career, and currently serves as an Enterprise Customer Success Manager in the cyber security field. Kaitlyn focuses on finding balance between her customer-centric corporate life and her new small business venture, Basic B Bakery.

 

Connor Hitchcock

Connor Hitchcock

March 21

Connor is CEO and Co-Founder of Homefield, a premium collegiate apparel brand based in Indianapolis. The venture began as a fun side project out of his college apartment in Bloomington, Indiana that he carried to his first condo in Indianapolis in 2016. He and his co-founder/wife, Christa, made the lead and quit their jobs in 2018 to officially turn a side project into a full-time adventure: Homefield. In the 5 years since the jump, the Homefield team has frown from 2 to 40, moved offices 4 times, and acquired over 125 collegiate licenses, quickly becoming one of the hottest names in the collegiate-licensed space. Connor’s interests and areas of expertise lie in organic, community-based marketing and organizational development.

 

Lathay Pegues

March 23

Lathay Pegues graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After graduation he worked as a reporter and anchor for various news stations in the Midwest, even winning a Regional Emmy Award. However, once his news station suddenly shut down operations, he and others were left scrambling for jobs. He decided to put his career on hold and chase another dream. Along with two partners, he launched JohnTom’s Barbecue Sauce, inspired by his grandfather’s secret sauce recipe. Lathay moved his family back to his hometown of Muncie, IN and started the business while also working for the Muncie Star Press. In 2-14 he decided to take JohnTom’s full-time! Since then, the sauce has been on shelves in numerous stores and even awarded “Best Sauce in Indiana” by Indianapolis Monthly Magazine.

 

Dr. Matthew Rutherford

April 18

Dr. Rutherford is Professor, Johnny Pope Chair and Doctoral Program Chair in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Previously, he has served as a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and faculty member at Gonzaga University. He received his PhD from Auburn University, MBA from University of Southern Indiana, and Bachelor’s from Ball State. His experience is in new and small firm consulting. He has provided consulting services to hundreds of organizations of all sizes. His research foci are new venture strategy, family business, and new venture finance.

 

 

Jennifer Wiese

April 25

Jennifer Wiese is a mother of four boys with dietary needs. When her eldest son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 8, she discovered that following a gluten- and casein-free diet helped him be a happier, thriving little boy. The hitch was that the gluten-free foods available on grocery store shelves were dry, bland, and very expensive. Jennifer started BeeFree in January 2010 from the desire to feed her kids foods that fit their dietary needs and still tasted great. BeeFree is committed to bringing great tasting treats to anyone while sticking to their gluten, grain, and dairy-free standards. BeeFree is owned and operated in Noblesville, IN and can now be found on Amazon and in grocery stores around the nation.