Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame 

In 2022, four new members were inducted into the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame

Watch the 2022 Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on YouTube!

What do Golden Corral, Cheryl’s Cookies, Silk Soy Milk, and RainX windshield wiper blades have in common? BGSU alumni were the driving force in their founding.  

BGSU has been developing entrepreneurs for years and the Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership is at the forefront of driving entrepreneurship.

The Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame recognizes BGSU graduates, honorary degree holders and members of the regional community who have achieved distinction for founding, leading or building a new business enterprise for five years or more. These individuals have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped to shape our economies and improved our quality of life. So far, more than 50 world-class entrepreneurs have been inducted into this elite group of innovators.

Julie Brandle '93

Julie Brandle '93

Julie Brandle is the president and a founder of Metis Construction Services, a female-owned commercial general contractor located in Kent. Metis completes ground-up, renovation and facilities maintenance projects throughout Ohio, and across the country. With over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and public relations, Brandle oversees these areas of expertise for Metis along with being an integral part of the management team that designs and manages the overall business strategy.

Brandle is a committed community advocate and currently serves on the boards of Kent State University's construction management program, the Portage Development Board (economic development), Akron Civic Theatre, Akron Urban League, Greater Akron Chamber, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Northeast Ohio, Rotary Club of Akron, Coleman Foundation and the Hattie Larlham Foundation. She volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio. Brandle is a Lifetime Gold Award Girl Scout and holds the adult honors of Women of Distinction and the Thanks Badge.

Brandle is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she earned a double major in interpersonal and public communication and Soviet studies, as well as a travel grant scholarship to study in Kiev, Ukraine. She is a graduate of Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses, ScaleratorNEO, Leadership Portage County and Leadership Akron's Class 37 where she serves her class as President.

Bruce Fisher '68

Bruce Fisher '68

Bruce Fisher is a retired vice president of Hayward Pool Products, a manufacturer of pool products based in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. Fisher was an active volunteer within The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), serving in 2010-11 as chairman of the Manufacturer's Council and as a member of the board of directors from 2013-15. Fisher also served as a member of the board of directors of Latham International and the board of directors of World & Main between 2011-2019. Currently, he is a member of the board of directors of Advanced Pool Technologies LLC.

Prior to Hayward Pool Products, he was a product manager, vice president of distributor sales, vice president of marketing of the Residential Division, and vice president and general manager of the Decorative Lighting Division of Lightolier, a division of Genlyte. He was also general manager and chief operating officer of The Light Store, a start-up retailer/wholesaler of lighting products and ceiling fans located in Texas and Colorado that grew from one location to 17 under his leadership. During his lighting career, Fisher served as the chairman of the industry trade association and worked closely with the professional staff to raise awareness of good lighting practices in residential and commercial applications. 

Fisher graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with specializations in economics and marketing.

Mike Hart '83

Mike Hart '83

Mike Hart is the CEO of Hart Associates, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency based in Toledo, Ohio, where he began his career in 1982.

As CEO, Hart has worked with his team to build an agency that rests on a foundation of Midwestern values while delivering high-end solutions and creativity typically associated with larger agencies on the east and west coast. Everyday the team strives to develop lasting relationships with their clients while also producing incredible work for brands such as ProMedica, Paramount Health Care, Therma-Tru, La-Z-Boy, Johnson and Johnson/DePuy, HCR ManorCare, The Ohio Lottery and Lima Memorial Health System.

Hart has been recognized as EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2005, The Ad Club of Toledo's Man of the Year and The Press Club of Toledo's Man of the Year.

Hart graduated from BGSU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a specialization in sales management.

Eric Nowlin '82

Eric Nowlin '82

Eric Nowlin is the president and principal founder of Private Equity Advisors, a consulting firm based in Corona Del Mar, California. Nowlin invests and provides advisory services for private equity clients making investments into distribution businesses and serves as chairman and outside board director on multiple boards.

Before starting Private Equity Advisors, Nowlin had a 32-year corporate career which included leading over 10,000 team members for global industrial distributor, WW Grainger. Nowlin served as president of Grainger Canada and Vice President of Grainger’s U.S. branch operations, e-commerce and inventory management teams. Previously, he was a senior executive for the Maytag Corporation as Divisional Vice President of Sales and Vice President overseeing large corporate accounts. 

Nowlin graduated cum laude from BGSU with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

The Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame celebrates the success stories of our alumni and friends who inspire future generations of entrepreneurs and innovators, and it is named in honor of Paul J. Hooker ’75 in recognition of his support of the center.

E-Week Events

The Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Hall of Fame is part of Entrepreneurship Week (E-Week) at BGSU.

Each April, the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthrost College of Business hosts entrepreneurial leaders from around the world to share their experience and expertise through presentations and other events including The Hatch, the Women in Entrepreneurship Panel and the Sebo Series in Entrepreneurship. There are many opportunities to engage through lunch and learns, presentations from world-renowned speakers and much more. Several E-Week events are open to the general public!

For the complete list of events, check out the master schedule.

Updated: 10/31/2022 03:44PM