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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

This year's Hatchlings represent several colleges within the University and range from freshmen students to alums. Their business ideas focus on everything from water purification, personal LED labels and everyday fashion to technology organizers, assistive wearable devices and recreation tools.

These finalists were selected from more than 100 applicants. On September 10th, they will pitch their business ideas to virtual audience.



Bayes Brandon Hatch

Brandon Bayes, 2020 Graduate

Schmidthorst College of Business

Major: Marketing, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Product: Anti-Tip Trash Can

Brandon Bayes, of Rudolph, Ohio, is a recent graduate of the Schmidthorst College of Business. He began his entrepreneur path at a young age, starting with selling pumpkins and has since moved on to bigger ideas. Brandon runs a website creation and development business. He plans to continue with his business endeavors and travel out west more.

Brandon’s business idea is an anti-tipping trash can that reduces the amount of garbage polluting our environment. With this eco-friendly product, people can help the environment while also keeping their communities clean. The times of picking up trash out of your yards or cans out in the street are soon to be over.

Hatch Fact: Brandon enjoys spending time outdoors, along with traveling and hiking. 

Marissa Brubaker, 2020 graduate

Schmidthorst College of Business
Major: Master of Business Administration
Product: Forever Evolving

Marissa Brubaker, of Bowling Green, Ohio, recently obtained her MBA. While in school, Marissa and a fellow cohort member recorded, edited, and produced informative videos that are distributed to hundreds of high schools in Ohio in hopes that it will inspire seniors to further their education at BGSU. In her free time, she’s busy weight training or completing her duties as a real estate agent, who helps first time home buyers find their forever home. Marissa plans to get her hands on her first fixer upper.

Marissa’s business idea is a company that supports women in many aspects of their lives. She believes the market lacks functional and stylish high impact sports bras. Marissa’s idea plans to bridge this gap by redesigning the build of the garment. This sports bra can be worn functionally at the gym and also crossover to a comfortable everyday garment. Marissa believes in the power of giving back; for every sports bra sold, a percentage of the proceeds will go towards a scholarship fund that supports incoming freshmen women obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The goal behind her brand is to empower women to change the world alongside her by inspiring them to feel confident and supported not only in their sports bras, but in their journeys where they’ll find the power behind an education.

Hatch Fact: During Marissa’s junior year of college, she completed a competitive internship with Young Entrepreneurs Across America where, in one summer, she built a painting business from the ground up. She and her team painted the exterior of 55 homes, brought in more than $89,000 in revenue for the company in three months, and she personally generated enough additional funds to graduate with her bachelor’s degree debt free. It was here that she found her passion for entrepreneurship and learned the power behind tenacity and a strong idea.

Brubaker Marissa Hatch
Clark Jacob Hatch

Jacob Clark, alumnus

College of Education and Human Development
Major: Tourism, Leisure and Event Planning, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Product: Save a Shot

Jacob Clark, of London, Ohio, is an alumnus of the College of Education and Human Development who majored in tourism, leisure and event planning with a minor in entrepreneurship. Jacob has started his own outdoor company “Xandr Outdoors” featuring his 2019 Hatch idea, “DecoyL” which is designed to make waterfowl hunting faster and easier for hunters. When Jacob isn’t working on his company, he is busy as a specialist in the Ohio Army National Guard. His unit is the 148th Infantry Regiment based out of Bowling Green, where he was deployed to the Middle East in 2017 for Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield.

Jacob’s business idea is a newly designed shotgun shell box that protects a hunter’s ammunition from the elements, making it a safer and cleaner shell to shoot.

Hatch Fact: Jacob was a 2019 Hatching. He also specializes in waterfowl hunting and enjoys traveling around the world.

T.J. Daunch, 2020 graduate

Schmidthorst College of Business
Major: Marketing, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Product: Cordination

T.J. Daunch, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is a recent graduate  of the Schmidthorst College of Business, majoring in marketing with a minor in entrepreneurship. T.J. worked with the Office of Resident Life as a resident adviser in Falcon Heights. He spent his last three years in Falcon Heights building a strong community, as well as helping students achieve their goals and overcome setbacks. T.J. enjoys playing piano, cooking, and playing board games. He is also passionate about esports and enjoys both playing and watching competitive video games. T.J. recently moved to the Pacific Northwest to continue his career in business.

T.J.’s business idea is a cord and wire organizer that neatly coils cords and stacks together to create a tangle-free, clean and organized experience. The device has dozens of applications for tech-enthusiasts, weekend warriors, or an employee’s desk or workspace. The product would come in various sizes to match the needs of any cord length, weight or thickness. T.J. is an avid video game player and tech-user, so he understands the value placed on cord organization and management.        

Hatch Fact: T.J. played percussion as a member of the Cleveland Youth Orchestra and performed a concert with Ben Folds at Severance Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. He has also completed a triathlon.

Daunch TJ Hatch
Hannah Rachel Hatch

Rachel Hannah, 2020 graduate

Schmidthorst College of Business
Major: Business Analytics and Intelligence
Product: Fisherman’s Ice Pick

Rachel Hannah, of Grand Blanc, Michigan, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in May 2020. Following graduation, she moved to Columbus, Ohio, to work for Abercrombie & Fitch as a business analyst and now works for Cardinal Health. She describes herself as daring, ambitious and diligent.

Rachel's business idea is to enhance ice safety picks to incorporate a mechanism to make the product not only useful for climbing out of the ice, but also creating an exit if trapped underneath. Her product is designed for ice fisherman, snowmobilers, and anyone who may find themselves on a frozen body of water. Often times, ice may look safe, but due to weather patterns and other factors, it is not thick enough to support a person's weight. Her product will keep safety in mind while its users are enjoying their time on the ice.

Hatch Fact: Rachel is a proud cancer survivor, celebrating 21 years in remission on March 17.

Ashton Johnson, senior

College of Education and Human Development
Major: Inclusive Early Childhood Education
Product: Zip-A-Dee-Shoe-Dah

Ashton Johnson, of Marion, Ohio, is a senior in the College of Education and Human Development, majoring in inclusive early childhood education. Along with being a part of The Hatch, Ashton is the vice president of BGSU Club Swim. She has been a part of this team for the past three years and held the position of vice president for two years. Ashton is also the treasurer of the National Honor Society Fraternity, Kappa Delta Pi. She has been with this organization since her sophomore year and has taken on the leadership role this past year. When Ashton isn’t in class, placement, or with her organization and team, she is working at Beez Howse Daycare. Ashton has been employed there since her freshman year.

Classes in this program have contributed to helping Ashton develop her product, The Zip-A-Dee-Shoe-Dah. Her product targets individuals with hyperactivity, paralysis or stiffness in the feet who may wear braces. It is a shoe that has a zipper that drops down to the base of the shoe and wraps around to the other side for easy adjusting and placing of the foot with more of an opening to the shoe. Her current goal is to help children with this need, as she has seen this problem in her placement classroom and job over the last three years.

Hatch Fact: Ashton has maintained being on the Dean’s List every semester since starting at BGSU. 

Johnson Ashton Hatch
Linger Katie Hatch

Katie Linger, junior

College of Education and Human Development
Major: World Language Education
Product: CircleU

Katie Linger, of Wadsworth, Ohio is a second-year Honors student studying world language education, pursuing her goal of becoming a Spanish teacher. On campus, Katie works with the Office of Residence Life as a resident adviser in Founders. Through her abundance of involvement on campus and community organizations related to service, professional and personal development, she came to recognize the power of networking in the potential for lives to be enhanced by a willingness to meet new people.

Katie’s business idea is a networking app, CircleU, that is aimed at helping college students expand their social connections, so that they, too, can benefit from the realization that infinite meaningful connections lie just beyond our own social circles.

Hatch Fact: When the weather allows, you can often spot Katie on old campus reading under a tree.

Zach Miller, 2020 graduate

College of Education and Human Development
Major: Sport Management, Minor: Marketing
Product: VividStick

Zach Miller, of Franklin, Ohio, is a recent graduate of the College of Education and Human Development. On campus, Zach was involved with Sport Management Alliance as director of events, where he put together promotional and educational events for the program and school. Zach plans on working his way to be a part of the New York Jets football team in operations. He currently is a “product genius” for Lexus of Dayton.

Zach’s business idea, the VividStick, is a customizable LED sticker that can be applied to anything from cars to backpacks, laptops and more. The sticker connects to an app on your phone, where you can use preloaded images or create your own design to light the individual diodes on the LED panel and create the image you desire. This is ideal for adults who want to feature their favorite sport team on their car, along with children who love to show off their individuality to the world. No more buying hundreds of stickers, just to take them off later. This is a product that changes as you do.

Hatch fact: Zach enjoys going to car shows, no matter how big or small. He has been to the Detroit, Columbus, and Cincinnati International auto shows, and he hopes to attend all major shows throughout the world.

Miller Zach Hatch
o donnell sean hatch

Sean O’Donnell, sophomore

Schmidthorst College of Business
Major: Marketing and Management, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Product: Trident Filters

Sean O’Donnell from Bowling Green, Ohio, is a second-year student in the Schmidthorst College of Business, specializing in marketing and management while also pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship. Sean is also a student ambassador in the Schmidthorst College of Business.

Sean is working in a team with his friend Jake Stucker as his partner. Their idea is an agricultural filter that attaches to ditch drainages and field tile outlets. This device will filter pollutants from runoff before they enter bodies of water and cause complications, such as the 2014 Toledo water crisis. The filter will help farmers increase their yields, protect local environments and enhance the business of waterside communities.

Hatch Fact: Sean enjoys traveling domestic and abroad with friends and family. He also enjoys playing soccer and football.

Jake Stucker, sophomore

Schmidthorst College of Business
Major: Individualized Business, Minor: Entrepreneurship
Product: Trident Filters

Jake Stucker from Bowling Green, Ohio, is a second-year student in the Schmidthorst College of Business, majoring in individualized business while pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship. Jake is also a member of the Honors College.  

Jake is working in a team with his friend Sean O’Donnell as his partner. Their idea is an agricultural filter that attaches to ditch drainages and field tile outlets. This device will filter pollutants from runoff before they enter bodies of water and cause complications, such as the 2014 Toledo water crisis. The filter will help farmers increase their yields, protect local environments, and enhance the business of waterside communities.

Hatch Fact: Jake’s favorite music is 70s rock, and his retirement plans include buying and living in a European castle.

Jake Stucker Hatch







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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