EMU entrepreneurship conference on Feb. 14 focuses on turning dreams into reality

Technology and telecommunications industry leader Steve Futrell and moving company CEO Melanie Bergeron are featured speakers in annual event

by Paul Nucci, Published February 03, 2014

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YPSILANTI – Turning dreams into reality will be the theme of discussion as the Eastern Michigan University Center For Entrepreneurship presents the Sesi Midwest Entrepreneurship Conference on February 14, 2014 at the EMU Student Center.

"The Sesi Conference is where the passion for entrepreneurship is instilled in us,” says Joshua Conroy, president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at EMU, which organizes the conference. “Each speaker and session is designed to offer a different take on being an entrepreneur, at different stages.”

The conference features speakers that are entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their dreams into reality, be it with a business or non-profit venture.

Networking along with refreshments starts at 8:30 a.m. followed by opening remarks. Break-out sessions precede a sit-down lunch, and the conference will conclude with the keynote speaker.The event is free, but registration is required. Call Josh Conroy at (313) 580-5658 for details and register online at  www.emich.edu/cob. The Student Center is located at 900 Oakwood Street in Ypsilanti.

The luncheon keynote speaker will be Steve Futrell, a leading entrepreneur in both technology and telecommunications, and CEO of Technology Solutions. Over the years, Steve has built Technology Solutions into one of the region's most respected and well-managed organizations. Presidents and owners of 100 companies representing more than $385 million in products and services have listened to Futrell's views and insights.

A graduate of EMU with a degree in Business Management, Futrell is very active in the community, frequently offering his time and talents to charitable organizations.

Melanie Bergeron, who runs the successful area moving company, Two Men and a Truck, will be the breakfast speaker. One of the great success stories in the state of Michigan, Two Men and a Truck, is based in Lansing. At the request of her mother, founder Mary Ellen Sheets, Bergeron came to work for Two Men and a Truck in the 1990s. In 1994, Bergeron was named president; in 2002, she became chief operating officer and in 2007, she took over as CEO. She became chair of the board in 2009.

Break-out sessions during the morning will include the following speakers:

  • Blake Knoblock founded and ran the content platform FelixExi.com and speaks nationally at colleges about motivation and digital entrepreneurship. He is an EMU graduate and lives in Detroit.
  • Kathy King is the founder of the Michigan Dance Project (and Brighton Dance Festival).  She founded Michigan Dance Project in 2006 while attending Wayne State University studying dance and public relations.  Currently, you can find her teaching the students in the Department of Music and Dance at EMU, and working with students of all ages as the assistant director at Michelle's Academy of Dance & Performing Arts Center in Brighton.
  • Jerry Grady is a Managing Director of UHY Advisors MI, Inc. and serves as a national leader of the Firm's Technology Assurance and Advisory Services Group. Jerry is an EMU graduate and also a licensed Certified Information Technology Professional.
  • Amanda Edmonds is the executive director for Growing Hope, an Ypsilanti-based non-profit organization that fosters learning, improves nutrition, encourages self-reliance, and promotes positive community futures. She speaks and trains nationally in the areas of community change through gardens, farmers markets, food access, and many other topics. 

As part of the conference, finalists for the Skandalaris Business Plan Competition will present their plans for cash awards. University and high school students, competing in separate categories, will compete for $5,000 in prize money.  Business plans from Troy, Hartland Ypsilanti Community, Saline and Ann Arbor Huron and Ann Arbor Skyline high schools were received, along with those from EMU entrants.

All EMU students, faculty and staff are invited to attend this free event, as well as other university, community college and high school students and faculty that have curriculum centered on entrepreneurship or business.

Networking along with refreshments starts at 8:30 a.m. followed by opening remarks. Break-out sessions precede a sit-down lunch, and the conference will conclude with the keynote speaker.The event is free, but registration is required. Call Josh Conroy at (313) 580-5658 for details. The Student Center is located at 900 Oakwood Street in Ypsilanti. 

Students in Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at EMU gain real world experience by working on club projects involving real products for sale. The club also provides students with the opportunity to run a current chapter business.

The Center For Entrepreneurship at Eastern Michigan University, located within the College of Business, strives to create, encourage and sustain the entrepreneurial spirit through its various activities throughout campus.  It also assists emerging companies in the southeastern Michigan region with seminars, business plan reviews and and  structured mentoring and networking.

Follow the Center For Entrepreneurship on Facebook www.facebook.com/EMU.CFE

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Geoff Larcom

glarcom@emich.edu

734.487.4400

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