Topic: Miller College of Business

November 6, 2007

Rather than honor popular, tech-based entrepreneurs, such as the chief executive officer of Google or Microsoft, Ball State University is recognizing three business leaders who embody the essence of its nationally recognized Entrepreneurship Center.

For the second consecutive year, Ball State's Entrepreneurship Center will honor one of the successful entrepreneurs with The Ascent Award on Nov. 10 during a dinner at the Conrad in Indianapolis.

The selection process began earlier in the semester with a nationwide search for entrepreneurs and then a group of Ball State undergraduate students selected three finalists. The award recipient will be chosen just prior to the ceremony by a group of Ball State entrepreneurship alumni.

"Last year's event far exceeded our expectations," said Larry Cox, director of the Entrepreneurship Center. "Each of the Ascent honorees was extremely accomplished yet so humble. This year's entrepreneurs are just as exceptional — their stories demonstrate the ascent that we are seeking to highlight through this event."

Finalists are:

  • Former physicist John Shearer started his energy company by researching wireless electricity in a lab behind his family's coffeehouse. Today, he runs Powercast, a firm that has created products designed to deliver energy by utilizing wireless technologies. For more information, go to
  • Serial entrepreneur Tony Hsieh is the original investor in an Internet shoe company that was later renamed Under his leadership, the company has grown gross merchandise sales from $1.6 million in 2000 to $597 million in 2006. For more information, go to
  • A former inmate, Vickie Stringer started Triple Crown Publications by writing a fictionalized story of her life. She wrote the story in the federal penitentiary while serving five years for selling illegal drugs to a police informant. Stringer's company has published 45 titles by more than 25 authors. For more information, go to
  • Ball State's Entrepreneurship Center, a division of the Miller College of Business, has consistently ranked as one of the nation's best by several publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, go to