Experienced business leaders and young rock-star entrepreneurs encouraged a vibrant mix of students to follow their dreams at the first Rose Startup! Conference. This event with more than 200 attendees was organized by Rose-Hulman's new Innovative Student Entrepreneurs Club (RISE).
   "I've been promoting the entrepreneurial spirit among engineers for more than 30 years now. It is really exciting to see a student-run event of this scope and magnitude," says Tom Mason, Professor Emeritus of Engineering Management.
   Alumnus Beau D'Arcy (ME, 2003), partner of Chicago-based B2 Entertainment Group, adds: "I haven't seen this type of synergy for entrepreneurship on a college campus since studying for my MBA at the Harvard Business School."
   Fourteen top entrepreneurs engaged in sessions covering idea creation, overcoming barriers, venture/seed funding,
and growth strategies. Nine of the speakers were Rose-Hulman alumni, including afternoon keynote speaker Jeff Ready (CS, 1996), a serial entrepreneur whose latest venture, Scale Computing, has twice been selected to Forbes' list of America's Most Promising Companies.
   Other speakers were Matt Hunckler, president and founder of the VERGE community of Midwest entrepreneurs and startup investors; Yvette Kendall, president of Las Vegas' Shevinci Innovations; Jon Speer, managing partner of Indiana's Creo Quality; and Bradley Schwer, partner for Taft Stettinius & Hollister.
   Alumni joining D'Arcy in passing along advice were Elizabeth Hagerman, Ph.D. (CHE, 2000), Vice President for Rose-Hulman Ventures (see profile on pages 18-19); Gerald Rea (ME/OE, 2004), CEO of Stray Light Optical Technologies (see profile on page 36); Elizabeth (Strohm) Kozman (ME, 2002) of BioStorage; and
Anthony Broadnax (CE, 1989), president of Broadnax Enterprises.
   Also exchanging great ideas were Nick Mahurin (ME, 1989), CEO of InfraWare; Jeremy Clarke (SE/CS, 2009), president of Vortex Web Solutions of Middlebury; Dustin DuBois (CHE, 1992), intellectual property specialist for the Ice Miller law firm; and Michael Shepard (ME, 2007), vice president for Bostech Corporation. James Coles (EE, 1969) also represented Taft Stettinius & Hollister. "Something exciting is bound to happen when all of these resources and creative ideas come together in one place," says senior Chad Conway, conference organizer and RISE's co-founder, with senior Wilson Kurian. Students also came from Indiana University, Purdue University, and Butler University.