INSIDE THE GATE
Published for alumni and friends of Berry College and its historic schools Editor Rick Woodall (93C) Contributing Writer and Editor Karilon L. Rogers
Below from left, alumni judges Robert Swarthout, Tricia Steele, Jeff Jahn and Roy Miller.
Staff Writers Debbie Rasure Jennifer Wright Design and Production Ellie Borromeo (14c)
News From You and Gifts Listings Justin Karch (01C, 10G), Jeff Palmer (09C, 11G) and student Kendall Aronson Contact Information News From You: submit online at berry.edu/classnotes or email firstname.lastname@example.org Change of address: 706-236-2256; 800-782-0130; email@example.com; or Berry Alumni Office, P.O. Box 495018, Mount Berry, GA 30149. Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org; 706-378-2870; or Berry magazine, P.O. Box 490069, Mount Berry, GA 30149. BERRY ALUMNI ASSOCIATION President: Jonathan Purser (85C) Immediate Past President: Frances Richey (83A, 87C) Vice Presidents: Alumni Engagement, Chris Hayes (04C); Berry Culture and Heritage, Dr. Jennifer Dickey (77A, 80C); Financial Support, Aaron Chastain (15C); Alumni Awards, Patricia Tutterow Jackson (82C) Chaplain: Emmett Long (98C) Parliamentarian: Tim Howard (82C) Secretary: Chad Nash (13C) Director of Alumni Engagement and Philanthropic Marketing Jennifer Schaknowski Vice President of Marketing and Communications Nancy Rewis Vice President of Advancement Cyndi Court President Stephen R. Briggs
BERRY MAGAZINE • SUMMER 2019
Making their pitch
Student entrepreneurs compete for $27,000 in prizes by JENNIFER WRIGHT IMAGINE THE KRANNERT CENTER BALLROOM TRANSFORMED INTO THE SET OF SHARK TANK
– only the judges are alumni and the budding entrepreneurs students. That was the high-stakes feel of Berry’s first student-pitch competition, complete with in-person and virtual audiences, live voting, and $27,000 in prizes. Thirteen students representing seven different majors took part in the new, donor-funded initiative of Berry’s entrepreneurship program, with five competing before the judges in the February finale. “Pitch competitions are great experiences,” said Dr. Paula Englis, professor of management and director of entrepreneurship. “They force student entrepreneurs to move from the business-planning stage to the real world.” Judges Jeff Jahn (07C), Roy Miller (58C), Robert Swarthout (04C) and Tricia Steele (09C) knew the subject well, each having started a business as a student, won Berry’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award or both. They sought passion and practicality in the competitors: “Someone who’s identified a real problem or a new way to solve a problem where there would be real customers,” according to Steele.
The students delivered. With ideas ranging from a cupcake bakery operation always testing new flavors to a handmade soap social enterprise aimed at providing employment and guidance for young women in difficult circumstances, they competed for a variety of named funds including the Chairman’s Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Bettyann O’Neill Innovation Fund, and the Entrepreneurial Seed Fund. Ben Umberger won the $10,000 top prize from the Henry and Clara Ford Fund for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and an additional $1,000 audience-choice award for Umberger Farms Cattle Company, which he founded at the age of 11. Today, the enterprising senior rents a nearby farm for his operation of crossing Hereford and Angus cattle to produce better beef calves. Umberger credits lessons learned in classes such as accounting and management with improving the efficiency of his business, which has earned $18,000 in annual revenue over the last five years. He also pointed out that he isn’t in it for the money. “I just love raising the cows,” he explained, exhibiting the kind of passion the judges hoped to see.
Chief Photographer Brant Sanderlin