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Watch The Recap of Hatch 2020

BGSU student entrepreneurs (Hatchlings) present their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch, vying for funds to launch their businesses in a format similar to the popular television show “Shark Tank.”

What sets The Hatch apart from similar events is that the BGSU alumni investors make equity investments providing real money for students to incubate real businesses. To date, more than $800,000 has been committed to student startups.

The Paul J. Hooker Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, serving as "Hatch headquarters," is one of 20 centers worldwide recognized by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Read The Hatch 2020 Recap









Gary Dible '97

Gary Dible graduated with a degree in Construction Management Technology. For 22 years he worked for The D.S. Brown Company, an Ohio-based bridge component manufacturer in North Baltimore. Dible held positions of Product Manager, Engineering Manager, and the final 12 years as Supply Chain Manager. Pursuing his passion for Biggby Coffee (and a dream of owning his own business), in July 2014 he opened his first Biggby Coffee franchise in Bowling Green, Ohio. In June 2017 he acquired his 2nd store in Maumee, Ohio. Dible’s ultimate goal is to own three Biggby Coffee franchises, with the 3rd store being opened within the next two years. He is actively involved in his communities both personally and professionally, and understands the key to success is giving back. Originally from McComb, Ohio, he married his high school sweetheart Amy, and has helped raise 3 children in Bowling Green.

FisherwebBruce Fisher ‘68

Bruce Fisher was a highly regarded leader in the swimming pool industry. He joined the Hayward Pool Products Division of Hayward Industries in 1991 and held a variety of leadership roles for the company, including vice president of sales and marketing and before retiring, vice president international. He is currently the principal of Walker Lake Holdings, L.L.C. 

During his tenure, Fisher led Hayward's global expansion through a series of strategic acquisitions and internal growth initiatives. He successfully spearheaded the expansion of Hayward's product line, brand, sales organization and marketing department. He is also credited with introducing Totally Hayward, an industry-leading dealer relationship marketing program. Since retiring from Hayward, Bruce has been active as a member of the Board of Directors of various Private Equity owned businesses as well as serving in an advisory/Director role for an equipment start-up company in the swimming pool industry.

Prior to joining Hayward, Fisher 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, now owned by Phillips Lighting. He was also general manager and COO of The Light Store, a start-up retailer/wholesaler of lighting products and ceiling fans located in Texas and Colorado, which grew from one location to 17 under his leadership.

Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1968 and has served as an executive-in-residence for the College of Business in the 1990'

Paul Hooker 2019
Paul J. Hooker '75

In 1977, just two years after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Paul J. Hooker purchased the New York City based luxury household linen importer, SFERRA, from the last of two family members who started the firm in 1891, Enrico and Albert Sferra. 

Hooker recognized the need to maintain the company's identity and encourage growth within the luxury market. With that in mind, he took SFERRA from a one-room office on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to a 35,000-square-foot distribution facility in Edison, New Jersey, plus a beautiful showroom just off of Madison Square Park in New York City. In the process, he grew annual sales from $250,000 when he bought the business in 1977 to over $30 million in 2011.

Hooker's tireless focus to develop new business and his attention to details have established SFERRA's leadership position in the luxury linens industry and galvanized the company's emergence into the new global economy. Today SFERRA presents the most comprehensive range of luxury home textiles for the bed, bath and table worldwide.

Hooker umpires varsity high school baseball and was the varsity baseball coach at Red Bank Catholic High School from 1974-2000. In 1990, Hooker, along with his wife, founded a not-for-profit sports program for children with disabilities, named RallyCap Sports. Today, RallyCap Sports assists over 150 families with programs in basketball, soccer, Little League softball, golf, flag football and tennis. Hooker plans to take RallyCap Sports national, making his volunteer run program available to children with special needs nationwide. He worked with BGSU student Luke Sims to launch RallyCap Sports at Bowling Green State University

SophiaheadshotSophia Jarrell '16, '18

Sophia Jarrell earned both a bachelor’s degree in 2016 and master’s degree in 2018 in violin performance from BGSU.

While studying violin performance and entrepreneurship at BGSU, Jarrell launched the Black Swamp Fine Arts School in Bowling Green, OH, fulfilling a longtime goal to open a school where families would receive excellent instruction in all areas of the fine arts. In its first year, the school welcomed more than 100 students. Now in its third year, the school continues to flourish with its mission of encouraging the creation of beautiful souls through the instruction of dance, music and art.

In addition to serving as the school director at the Black Swamp Fine Arts School and teaching violin and ballet, Jarrell has also served as the music director for the Radiant TV network, presented an original children’s ballet with an up-and-coming composer and developed a music game through The Hatch at BGSU.

Jarrell is passionate about educating other artists and young entrepreneurs about succeeding in business. In 2018, she was invited to present on the topic at the National String Teachers Association in Georgia. Recently, Jarrell was nominated as a candidate for Toledo’s 20 under 40. She is thrilled to give back to The Hatch program through mentoring a 2019 Hatchling

Ed Leedom ‘89

Ed Leedom retired in 2019 after 30 years in the financial services industry, having served most recently as Senior Vice President of Harbor Funds Distributors in Chicago, IL, where he worked with endowments, foundations, retirement plans and their investment consultants. 

Leedom is a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and currently serves as Treasurer for the Alpha Sigma Phi Foundation. He is also a member of the BGSU College of Business Leadership Council and the Division of Student Affairs Leadership Council. 

Leedom received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from BGSU and a Certified Financial Planner designation from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO in 1994.

mariana mitovaMariana A. Mitova, Ed.D. '04, '08, '17

Dr. Mariana Mitova is a teaching professor and program coordinator of the Apparel Merchandising and Product Development (AMPD) program at BGSU. She is also the founding faculty advisor of RallyCap Sports for People with Special Needs at BGSU.

Mariana is a MBA graduate of BGSU’s College of Business and a doctor in Leadership Studies from BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development. She also holds two Bachelor of Science Degrees, one in Finance from Southwest University, Bulgaria and the other in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development from BGSU’s Apparel Merchandising and Product Development.

Mariana’s entrepreneurship journey began in 2003 when her husband moved forward with his life-long dream to open a restaurant. On Black Friday of 2003, Naslada Bistro opened its doors in the food court of Woodland Mall. The business started on a shoe string! Three years later, they relocated the restaurant to their current location on 182 South Main Street, in Downtown, Bowling Green after an extensive kitchen construction. As the support person in the endeavor, she managed bookkeeping, financials, tax filing and payroll until the business grew large enough to support the expense of accounting service. She also worked with her husband to build the brand customers see today. Mariana and her husband, Boby, recently celebrated 16 years in business in a very competitive industry where only 2% of the businesses survive past the first two years.

Together Mariana and Boby have two sons, Alex and Mason.

Rich Myers Richard Myers ‘71

Rich Myers graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting from Bowling Green State University in 1971. After a year and a half employment with the State of Ohio Tax Department, he turned to be a principle in his family business, Myers Crop Center, Inc., as a fertilizer and agricultural chemical dealer. While there, he utilized his accounting degree, along with his office manager wife’s dedication, to not only provide financials, but also to enjoy his life’s joy of crop production. Enter “computerization”. In fall of 1979, the company started to computerize their financial side of the business. After two years of testing customized code, the decision was made to launch Liberty Software Systems, Inc. the company had customers across the United States and Canada. LSS’s software through the years migrated across many Operating System Platforms and still provides for a few ‘old time’ customers today.

Rich, has ‘farming in his blood’. Throughout this, he continued to work the family farm, often in an experimental lab. Still today, albeit a scaled down version, he enjoys working the land and the look of a ‘well fertilized’ and ‘clean’ field of corn and soybeans!

Rich feels blessed to have worked alongside several innovative people during his life and still has a ‘couple ideas’ for businesses in his head today.

NowlinEric Nowlin '82

Eric Nowlin is a Private Equity board member, advisor and investor. He currently serves as Operating Partner & Chairman of the Board for Surewerx Industrial, and on the Board of Directors for American Plastics, Reliable Parts Holdings, Arrowhead Engineered Products and Questco PEO. His corporate career spanned 30+ years, including roles as President of Grainger Canada, and leading 7500+ team members in Grainger’s US Business in Branch Operations / E-commerce and inventory management. His previous corporate roles included Vice President of Sales (West) for Maytag, and Vice President of National Accounts for Maytag.   

He currently resides in Corona Del Mar, California

venzel Bob Venzel '76, '78

Bob Venzel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration specializing in marketing from Bowling Green State University in 1976 and an MBA from BGSU in 1978. In 1991, he became the co-owner of Venzel Communications, Inc., an advertising and public relations agency, based in Perrysburg, Ohio. The company’s work encompasses a variety of non-profit and for-profit clients in a cross-section of industries including: business, manufacturing, education, health care and municipalities.

Manny ConteEmanuele “Manny” Conti ‘89

Emanuele “Manny” Conti is an operating partner for Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe, a private equity firm based in New York City. During his career, he has been CEO of two companies and has 25 years of experience in software, business information and technology-enabled services. He is a board member of three technology-based start-ups. He also is chair-elect of the BGSU Foundation Board. Conti is a BSGU alumnus and graduated with a finance degree in 1989.

Joesph FischJoseph Fisch Jr. ‘71

Joseph Fisch Jr. is the founder, president and CEO of United States Beverage. He has over 45 years of experience in the premium alcoholic beverage industry, and under his leadership, U.S. Beverage has attained worldwide recognition. Fisch and his wife, Gail are Falcon Flames, and both are 1971 BGSU graduates.

HeathGeorge Heath

George Heath is a retired group president at Sherwin Williams in Cleveland, where he drove the growth of its industrial businesses from $1.6 billion to over $3 billion in five years, closing seven acquisitions and leading 7,000 employees in more than 50 countries. He is actively involved in higher education, teaching economics and entrepreneurship at University School in the Cleveland metropolitan area. George was a BGSU athlete and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from BGSU in 1987. 

Mark WestMark C. West ‘90

Mark C. West is the retired president of SharedClarity. Currently, he is focused on providing venture capital to start-ups, including Magna-Halter working with former Hatchling Sara Yarger. West is a 1990 graduate of BGSU’s Schmidthorst College of Business and is married to his Falcon flame, Julie. He and his family call Phoenix, Arizona, home


matthew yourkvitchMatthew Yourkvitch ‘99

Matthew Yourkvitch is a founding partner of Yourkvitch and Dibo, a boutique law firm in downtown Cleveland. Yourkvitch is passionate about Cleveland's revitalization and works with community development corporations on real estate acquisition, redevelopment, and small business advising. He graduated from BGSU in 1999 and is married to his falcon flame, Michelle, better known as Dr. D, a past Falcon Investor.

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