Arizona State University has been gaining a nationwide reputation as a breeding ground for entrepreneurs. Accordingly, next week, the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU is holding its first-ever Sun Devil Select event, to honor some of the country’s top ASU alum-owned and alum-run businesses. Seventeen firms from a variety of industries will be recognized for their achievements.
“We’re honoring organizations that demonstrate innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit,” explains Sidnee Peck, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is hosting the event. “The inaugural Sun Devil Select class includes firms from Chicago, the Los Angeles area, Kansas City, Dallas and the Phoenix area.”
The winning firms and alums are:
- Betablox – Weston Bergmann is an angel investor and the founder and chief executive officer of this Kansas City-based group that helps select startups navigate through their first stages of business.
- Dunn Transportation – Margaret Dunn is founder and president of this transportation company, which owns Scottsdale’s popular Ollie the Trolley and an executive coach service.
- Fan Interactive Marketing – Joel McFadden serves as chief operating officer for this California firm specializing in customer relationship management, interactive marketing, database knowledge and email deployment.
- FSW Funding – Robyn Barrett is the managing member of Factors Southwest, LLC, an independently owned factoring firm in Phoenix that helps small to mid-size businesses to secure funding.
- Higher Ed Growth – Frank Healy is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that helps schools reach enrollment goals by using proprietary technology.
- Homeowners Financial Group USA – William Rogers is chief executive officer of this family-oriented, award-winning mortgage company based in Scottsdale.
- Infusionsoft – Marc Chesley serves as chief technology officer for this Chandler-based sales-and-marketing software firm recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States eight years in a row.
- itSynergy – Michael Cocanower is founder and president of this Phoenix IT consulting firm with more than 200 clients.
- Off Madison Ave – David Anderson is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Phoenix-based marketing and advertising firm with clients that include Nike and LifeLock.
- Print.Save.Repeat. – Errol Berry is co-founder and chief executive officer of this Chandler toner-cartridge manufacturer that focuses on recycling and saving businesses money on printing.
- RedShelf – Tim Haitaian is co-founder and chief financial officer of this Chicago-based company that partners with publishers and college bookstores to more easily and affordably deliver eTextbooks.
- Signature Technology Group – Charles Layne serves as president and chief executive officer of Phoenix-based STG, which provides data-center services that support more than 300,000 devices across North America.
- Skin Script Skin Care – Lisa VanBockern is the owner of this Tempe skin care company that makes natural clinical products designed to address anti-aging, sun damage, acne and other issues.
- Skyhook – Dallin Harris is founder and chief executive officer of this Mesa-based Internet marketing firm that has worked with clients including AT&T, Subway and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
- Tiempo Development – Cliff Schertz is president and chief executive officer of this Tempe company that provides software firms with an integrated platform of services to accelerate how they develop, deploy and support their products.
- Vetscience/Fruitables Pet Food – David DeLorenzo serves as president of this Dallas company that makes natural dog treats.
- Western Window Systems – Scott Gates is president and chief operating officer of this Phoenix-based window and door manufacturer that has been making energy-efficient products for more than 50 years.
The Sun Devil Select Class of 2015 will be recognized at a special invitation-only luncheon on ASU’s Tempe campus on March 20. They will reconnect with their alma mater and spend time networking with each other and current ASU students, including some budding entrepreneurs. They will also meet Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business; Christine Wilkinson, head of the ASU Alumni Association and ASU senior vice president and secretary; and Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Sun Devil Select is just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business-creation experience. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships to sustain its activities.
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