BGSU student entrepreneurs will present their business ideas to alumni investors during The Hatch on April 6, vying for funds to launch their businesses in a format similar to the popular television show “Shark Tank.” This event is streamed to Hatch Watch parties across the country and to several countries throughout the world.
What sets The Hatch apart from similar events is that the alumni investors make equity investments providing real money for students to launch real businesses. To date, more than $500,000 have been committed to student startups.
Fatima Camara, Senior
College of Education and Human Development
Fatima Camara is a senior apparel merchandising and product development major with a double minor in marketing and entrepreneurship in the College of Education and Human Development. She was born in New York City by two African parents, both from Guinea which is where she was raised. Shel left Guinea at the young age of 10 to move to France in order to obtain a better education. At the age of 16, she moved to Columbus, Ohio with her older sibling to continue her education and eventually ended up at Bowling Green State University. Although she is a citizen of the United States, 90% of her family is from Africa and she feels strongly connected to the Motherland
Fatima created 10.000 Threads, a clothing line that merges rich traditional African textiles and Forecasted fashion styles of Western society. Growing up on different continents made her realize that although African immigrants constitute of a large population in Europe and America, there is no substantial effort to market to them in particular. Traditional textiles are hand dyed using natural dyes and hand painted by local artisans then turned into her own authentic designs. Each complexly designed piece of fabric convey a message about historical and cultural landmarks, philosophical concepts, political thoughts, or religious and moral values of the society. She wants to make a social impact in the African Textile industry by providing better job opportunities to the local artisans who will be a part of this journey.
Mentor - Paul Hooker
Shannon Ebert, Graduate Student
College of Education and Human Development
Shannon Ebert, a native of Sandusky, Ohio, is a graduate student studying workforce education and development in the College of Education & Human Development. Shannon began her college education in high school where she completed 62 college credits and a two-year Interactive Media Technology program from EHOVE Career Center. She continued her journey at the University of Findlay where she played volleyball on a full-ride scholarship, completed her degree in marketing, and interned with Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development and then the Cleveland Browns. Shannon graduated a year and a half early from her undergraduate program and immediately started her master’s program here at BGSU. She will graduate with both her bachelors and master’s degree in 4 years at age 22. Given her experience and master’s research focus, she is passionate about helping students be better prepared before graduating high school.
Shannon created Workforce Academy which is an online learning software that high schools can subscribe to so that they can offer more elective classes to students that will help better prepare them for college, careers, and the real world. Subjects include areas like personal finance, professional development, career exploration, and college readiness.
Mentor - Bob Venzel
Andrew Hood, Senior
Schmidthorst College of Business Administration
Andrew Hood, a native of Jackson, Michigan, is a senior marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship. Throughout his time at BGSU he has been involved in extracurricular activities such as The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), held a Coca-Cola Ambassador position as well as works at the Slater Family Ice Arena for the four years he has been here. After concluding his education, Andrew hopes to pursue a career in the field of sales or running his own entrepreneurial endeavor.
Along with his partner, Sarah Walter, the team created a new form of dispensing prescription medicines with the implementation of a new pill canister design. The idea derived from the rising abuse of prescription drugs and the effects on families and loved ones. With the implementation of this device we believe it will not only all around better society, but also can be applied in many other areas such as elderly care and safety precautions with children. All in all, the main goal is to ensure pharmaceutical drugs are being used in the way they were intended, to help people.
Mentor - Al Caperna
Jacob Kielmeyer, Freshman
College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering
Nostalgia - Alzheimer's Assistance
Jacob Kielmeyer is a native of Bowling Green, Ohio. As first-year student he is considered sophomore status and is in the College of Technology. He plans on pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship. Jacob’s lifelong goal is to work for himself. His fierce entrepreneurial spirit started at a young age when retrieving golf balls from the course ponds near his home and selling them to golfers. After making his first $20, he was hooked. In high school, he started a number of ventures, including a successful hauling, demolition, and landscaping business.
Jacob created Nostalgia, a multi-functional Alzheimer’s therapy tool. Nostalgia started out as a senior DECA project inspired by his late grandfather but quickly morphed into an obsession that he has been working on for over a year. Nostalgia is a personalized tool that features four established Alzheimer’s therapies as well as one Jacob developed himself. Jacob hopes that the personalization that Nostalgia provides will help reconnect families with their loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Mentor - Bruce Fisher
Joe Lisa, Sophomore
Schmidthorst College of Business Administration
Wearable Charging Device
Joseph Lisa, a native of Van Wert, Ohio, is sophomore in the Schmidthorst College of Business Administration specializing in Marketing. He is a member of the H2O Church, a Peer Leader for the Schmidthorst College of Business and is actively involved as an RA in Kreischer Darrow Residence Hall. Joe plans to be a serial entrepreneur throughout the rest of his life. He has dreams beyond the average imagination and the work ethic to not stop until he reaches them.
Joseph created a wearable charging device for phones. His idea will make forgetting phone chargers practically impossible and will give you the freedom to have them without even realizing it. Joe believe he is the perfect candidate for this venture, as he has a knack for creativity, design and fashion. He is very well rounded with a solid base on circuit theory and basic electrical principles from the engineering courses he took while in high school. He also was responsible for running a successful exterior painting business near his hometown last summer generating over $103,000 in revenue, proving that he has the passion and drive that it takes to run his own business.
Mentor - Ed Leedom
Thomas Moody, Senior
Schmidthorst College of Business Administration
Virtual Reality Sales Trainer
Thomas M. Moody, a native of Findlay, Ohio, is a senior majoring in sales/services marketing and finance in the Schmidthorst College of Business Administration. Moody graduated from Findlay High School and always knew he was one day going to be a BGSU Falcon. As well as being a business student, Moody is also a Concert Violinist with experience performing in many different countries around the world as a part of the Ohio Ambassadors of Music. He also has been an active brother of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity over the past 4 years.
Entrepreneurship has always been near and dear to his heart growing up with parents as self-made entrepreneurs.
Thomas created a Virtual Reality sales software that is used for hiring positions in the sales industry. His idea is a company that will expand Virtual Reality technology from the world of gaming, into the world of everyday professionals.
Mentor - David Hainline
MarHarita Tavpash, Freshman
Schmidthorst College of Business Administration
Marharita-Sophia Tavpash, a native of Lviv, Ukraine, is a student-athlete majoring in business management. She plays for the BGSU tennis team. Before coming to BGSU, she went to high school at Lviv Linguistic Gymnasium. Her parents are private entrepreneurs and they are passionate about the chocolate and coffee business. In addition, her mother is a certified yoga instructor.
Marharita created the Ice Sleeve to be used as a compressor for athletes when they are injured. The Ice Sleeve is an alternative to a traditional ice pack because it won’t leak, uses ice instead of a frozen ice pack and will stay in place.
Mentor - Laura Jajko
Cory Thompson, Senior
College of Arts and Sciences
Cory Thompson, a native of Dayton, Ohio, is a senior majoring in graphic design in the College of Arts and Sciences. Cory is an officer of the AIGA BGSU student group, lab monitor for CAVE lab and has served as an intern for the BGSU Fine Arts Galleries. His work has been shown in juried gallery exhibitions; including the BFA Undergraduate and the NOWOH. Soon, he will be participating in the BFA Thesis Show for the School of Art.
Cory created an autism application for helping adults with autism become more independent by assisting them make executive decisions. The app will be completely customizable for each user and will utilize icons that gives a description of the situation with which the user needs is struggling. From there, the user will be given a set of instructions that is set up by the user or care giver to aid in decision making.
Mentor - Steve Zirkel
Sarah Walter, Senior
Schmidthorst College of Business Administration
Sarah Walter, a native of Woodville, Ohio, is a senior majoring in business management and international business. In addition to pursuing her education, Sarah is employed as the Assistant Manager at the Gibsonburg location of Pills n’ Packages Pharmacies.
She and her partner, Andrew Hood, created a pill canister design that will ensure secure distribution for both prescription and over the counter medications. This product was created as a response to the growing problem of medication abuse, stricter regulations on controlled substances as well as, an increase in accidental child drug ingestion. We believe that medications have been designed specifically to improve people’s lives and that our design, when used, will help ensure that medications are dispersed correctly to the people who are intended to use them.
Mentor - Al Caperna
Albert J. Caperna ‘76
Al Caperna has founded and owned numerous companies since receiving his degree from Bowling Green State University in 1976. His companies have produced a variety of patents, have been elected into Inc.’s “500 Honor Roll” and have been recognized as some of the fastest growing private businesses in America.
Caperna currently serves as chief executive officer of Century Marketing Corporation Group, Bowling Green, Ohio, one of the largest tape, label and tag converter businesses in the United States. His companies manufacture a wide array of print and recycling materials and systems, including food date coding systems, a printing equipment supplier of thermal and laser printers, and print holograms.
He serves on numerous boards, including New Hope Christian Community Foundation, Bowling Green Covenant Church, and the Juvenile Residential Center of Northwest Ohio. He is also currently a Dean’s Council representative and a member of the Schmidthorst College of Business Leadership Council. He is an avid supporter of numerous community organizations, including Bowling Green Bobcat Hockey and Adopt America Network.
Bruce Fisher ‘68
Bruce Fisher is a highly regarded leader in the swimming pool industry, who had been with the Hayward Pool Products Division of Hayward Industries for approximately 22 years. He joined the company in 1991 as vice president of marketing. Since then, he was promoted to vice president of sales, vice president of sales and marketing, vice president of global marketing and international sales and most recently, vice president international with line responsibility for this segment of Hayward’s business.
During his tenure, Fisher led Hayward's global expansion via strategic acquisitions and internal growth initiatives. He successfully spearheaded the expansion of Hayward's product line, brand, sales organization, and marketing department. He also is credited with introducing an industry-leading dealer relationship marketing program (Totally Hayward) that built partnerships between Hayward and its dealer network around the world. For the past three years he has driven the growth and profitability of Hayward’s International business segment to help offset the decline in the domestic market as a result of the 2008 recession.
Fisher has been an active volunteer within The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), serving in 2010-11 as Chairman of the Manufacturer's Council. In 2012-13, he was asked to be Chairman of the APSP CEO Search Committee due to the pending retirement of the current executive in that role. That project was successfully completed in July of 2013. Continuing his service to the Pool and Spa Industry, Fisher was elected to the Board of Directors of the APSP Trade Association as of November, 2013 as its first outside director.
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. He has served as an executive-in-residence for the Schmidthorst College of Business at various times since graduating in 1968.
He joined the Northwest New Jersey Chapter 24 of SCORE (sponsored by the Small Business Administration) in March of 2013, a volunteer organization that mentors entrepreneurs and small businesses.
David Hainline ‘83
As an owner and CEO of CSI DMC, a Destination Management Company present in over 10 destinations nationwide, Mr. Hainline brings a wealth of experience to his role. Formerly, Mr. Hainline spent 16 years in the broadcasting industry, where he sold and managed national accounts totaling over 12 million dollars for Infinity Broadcasting. Mr. Hainline served in a leadership capacity within many prestigious associations throughout the hospitality industry.
Hainline was a member of the Leadership Committee of the Professional Conference Management Association, served on the Annual Meeting Committee of the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association, chaired the Marketing Committee of the DMC Network, and sat on the Tourism Committee of the Washington, DC Convention & Tourism Corporation. He presently serves on the Bowling Green University School of Business Leadership Council.
Paul Hooker ‘75
In 1977, just two years after graduating from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Paul 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.
Laura Jajko is President at American Frame Corporation (americanframe.com), the first company to sell professional, DIY custom framing supplies and fine art printing services direct to the consumer. As a second generation leader in this family firm, Jajko has guided it’s transformation from a direct mail catalog company into a multi-channel resource for artists and photographers nationwide. As such, she is an advocate for a well-planned, strategic approach to building the American Frame brand, utilizing both high and low tech solutions for sustaining strong customer relationships while delivering a superior user experience.
Jajko is a native of Toledo, Ohio and holds degrees in International Business and Marketing from the University of Washington in Seattle. She is an active participant with the BGSU School of Art and the BGSU Foundation helping to raise $80K for the Robert D. Mazur Scholarship Fund. She also serves on the Board of the Toledo Arts Commission.
Edward G. Leedom ‘89
Leedom started his career with Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc. in 1989 and held various positions in the sales/marketing area from 1989-1996. From 1997-2001, Leedom was regional marketing director in the Great Lakes region for First Mercantile TrustCompany.
He rejoined Harbor Capital Advisors, Inc. in 2001. As a senior vice president of Harbor Funds Distributors, his responsibilities include developing and maintaining new and existing institutional client relationships in the Lower Midwest region as well as managing internal sales support activities.
Leedom received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University in 1989 and a CFP designation from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO.
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.
Steve Zirkel ‘84
Throughout Steve Zirkel’s 30 years of executive and leadership experience, he has conducted business in more than 30 countries, traveled to over 65 countries, and lived in London, England and Tokyo, Japan.
He has leveraged that diverse experience to drive growth at several global companies from making acquisitions in Japan and Australia to innovating and launching new global products for the automotive, appliance and chemical industries and establishing vision and strategies.
Zirkel has chaired or participated in key industry conferences/symposia in North America, Europe and Asia and featured as guest lecturer to graduate and undergraduate students in International Business at BGSU.
He has served on the Board of Directors for Paramount Insurance, American Red Cross, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the Planning Commission of Malvern, PA. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Schmidthorst College of Business Leadership Council at BGSU. Steve received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 from BGSU.
Michelle Drerup ‘00
Dr. Michelle Drerup is director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bowling Green State University in 2000 and completed a doctorate in clinical psychology at Indiana State University in 2005.
She focuses on the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders, as well as other health conditions linked to disturbed sleep. Dr. Drerup is a licensed psychologist and board certified in behavioral sleep medicine. She is involved in teaching, research and clinical services at the Cleveland Clinic. She serves on the Practice Committee of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and as a senior representative for the Women's Professional Staff Association at the Cleveland Clinic.
One of her most recent ventures has been development of Go! to Sleep, a six-week, web-based program to help people improve their sleep.
Michelle is married to her Falcon Flame, Matthew Yourkvitch and are the first married investors to participate in The Hatch!
Joseph Fisch Jr. ‘71
Joseph Fisch has over forty years of experience in the premium alcoholic beverage industry.
After graduating from BGSU, Fisch began his business career in the Management Trainee Program at Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., the world-wide leader in wine and spirits sales based in New York City.
During his twenty-five year career with Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Fisch held various senior executive positions within Seagram's premium spirits and beverage divisions.
Early in his career, he became the company’s youngest regional vice president at the age of thirty, managing the Chicago-based Central Division of Seagram’s specialty import brands company: The General Wine & Spirits Company. Three years later, Fisch was elevated to the Seagram Corporation’s largest spirit unit, The Seagram Distillers Company, managing its most profitable Eastern Division based in New York.
In 1989, Fisch was promoted to senior vice president central division based in Chicago of the newly created House of Seagram, which managed the corporation’s entire spirits portfolio. In this position, Fisch developed and oversaw aggressive growth and increased market share within the industry. In 1991, he returned to New York to oversee the House of Seagram’s most profitable spirits unit, the Atlantic-Pacific region.
In 1993, Fisch was appointed to the title of president of the Seagram Beverage Company. During his tenure, he created and initiated a strategic plan to expand the company into the high-end craft and imported beer sectors, while at the same time, recreating the company’s flagship Seagram Cooler portfolio of brands.
Fisch redefined Seagram’s corporate role within alcoholic beverages and the company’s competitive set. With the importation of Grolsch from Holland, (one of the leading Dutch beers nationally), and creating a joint venture with the Boston Beer Company (the maker of Samuel Adams), Fisch directed Seagram’s entry into the beer business.
Fish earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in marketing in 1971 from Bowling Green State University. He was inducted into the Hamilton Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame in 2013.
Earle Malm ‘71
Malm began his career with RCA where he held senior executive positions in sales, marketing and general management. He was responsible for revitalizing RCA’s consumer services business, expanding RCA’s commercial television business and leading the development of new business ventures into communications and services businesses.
Prior to joining ValueClick, Malm embarked in the investment industry with GT Capital Management, Inc. Initially he was responsible for developing GT Capital’s Institutional Business and later he assumed responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer for the GT Global Mutual Funds.
After successfully completing the ValueClick IPO, Malm returned to the investment industry as President and CEO of HighMark Capital Management, Inc., a wholly-owned registered investment advisory firm of Union Bank located in San Francisco. During his tenure, Malm was chairman of HighMark’s Board of Directors, president of HighMark Funds and a trustee of the HighMark Funds Board. In addition, he was a member of HighMark’s Investment Policy Committee and a member of Union Bank’s Fiduciary Management Committee.
Since retiring from an active senior executive role in 2012, Malm has been devoting his time to entrepreneurial, consulting and advisory activities through NVMLI, Inc., his private investment company. He serves as a member of the Service Marketing Institute Business Advisory Board for the Schmidthorst College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). He was one of five inaugural alumni investors in BGSU’s entrepreneurial program, “The Hatch”.
Malm earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1971 from Bowling Green State University. In 2008, he was honored as one of BGSU’S Accomplished Graduates from the Schmidthorst College of Business. He has been named to Who’s Who in Finance and Industry.
Brian Sokol ’82 ‘84
After receiving his MBA from BGSU, Sokol joined Loctite and served in marketing and sales management capacities over the next nine years. As vice president of marketing, Sokol was responsible for the commercialization of automotive aftermarket products in international markets, ranging from Venezuela and Mexico to Japan and Europe.
Later, Sokol joined Blue Coral, a privately held auto appearance products business. As president, through a combination of new consumer products and innovative direct response advertising, his management team grew the company from $33 million to $76 million in annual revenue culminating in a sale to Quaker State in 1996 for over $100 million.
As a corporate executive with Quaker State Oil Company, Sokol was responsible for the acquisition and merger of four consumer products businesses, which, along with targeted marketing initiatives, resulted in a growth of the enterprise to over $150 million in revenue.
Quaker State was sold in 1998 to Pennzoil Lubricants, and Sokol was named president of the consumer products group, where he dramatically reduced costs by integrating supply chain logistics and creating a 350,000 square foot world class manufacturing/distribution facility for the specialty chemical consumer products business.
Sokol invented or co-invented six patented appearance products, and his company received numerous Vendor of the Year awards from major retail partners such as Canadian Tire, Autozone, and Advance Auto.
In 2001, Sokol founded The Idea Institute. His business created and commercialized new products for such clients as Kimberly Clark, Slazenger Golf, and Activity Targeted Supplements.
Sokol earned his MBA in 1982 from Bowling Green State University.
Mark C. West, ‘90
Mark C. West is an executive with more than 25 years of experience in developing and implementing high-performing procurement and supply chain organizations. His proven leadership capabilities came through experience in key roles with multibillion-dollar companies, specializing in the re-engineering of procurement organizations due to mergers, acquisitions or historical underperformance.
West joined SharedClarity LLC in 2011 after serving as vice president of supply chain management for UnitedHealthcare since late 2009. He is responsible for the launch of SharedClarity, focused on improving the quality and cost of medical supplies industry-wide. SharedClarity became operational in early 2013.
From 2005 to 2009, West was executive director of supply chain management for the Cleveland Clinic Healthcare System. His re-engineering efforts challenged industry-wide health care purchasing practices, yielding bottom-line cost savings nine times historical levels. He also implemented state-of-the-art technologies to improve materials management processes, highlighted by the deployment of a new 230,000-square-foot service center.
West was also the founder and president of Purchasing Partners Incorporated, a purchasing services company dedicated to helping companies reduce their cost of acquiring goods and services. His experience also includes serving as the vice president of corporate purchasing for US Airways and corporate director of operations support for Honeywell International.
He received a Masters in Business Administration in Marketing from Cleveland State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management from Bowling Green State University. He is also Green Belt certified in Six-Sigma and sits on the Board of Managers for SharedClarity LLC.
MATTHEW P. YOURKVITCH ‘99
Matthew P. Yourkvitch, Esq. received his B.A. degree in Psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1999 and his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland Marshall College of Law.
He is a founding partner of Moore Yourkvitch & Dibo, a boutique law firm in downtown Cleveland that provides a range of legal services, including business counseling, formation, contract drafting, venture capital financing, and real estate acquisition and development.
He is passionate about the redevelopment of Cleveland and works with various community development corporations on real estate acquisition and redevelopment, tax credit financing, and small business advising. Since 2011, his law firm has been a funder and legal service provider at the Incubator at MAGNET, working with product-focused technology start-up companies in Northeast Ohio.
He has served as an adjunct professor of law at C-M Law, in the Urban Development and Transactional Law Clinic. He is a frequent speaker on community development lawyering and Nuisance Abatement Actions under O.R.C. Section 3767.41. He serves on the Board of Directors of Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, a non-profit that serves the neighborhood surrounding the Cleveland Clinic.
Matthew is married to his Falcon Flame, Dr. Michelle Drerup-Yourkvitch and are the first married investors to participate in The Hatch!