Profile: Parker Stewart
Parker Stewart's personality will not allow him to accept the status quo when he can instead visualize improvement.
The drive to innovate and improve is something Stewart has noticed numerous times during his college years, even when he thought it might be better to lay low in certain situations. "I can't be the person flying under the radar. For me, it's all or nothing," Stewart said.
That characteristic may well be the reason Stewart finds himself now leading a special and unique group on campus — people who likewise are outside-the-box thinkers looking to innovate, improve, invent, and offer things in a new way. It's the Entrepreneurship Club, which Stewart has served as a key driver in reinvigorating over the last year. Stewart said the "eClub" brings together like-minded entrepreneurial students who help each other grow their businesses.
Now, with more than 35 active members representing about 20 start-up companies, along with 15 faculty advisors, the eClub is just one component of a burgeoning entrepreneurial climate at MSU. This week, the eClub will help kick off Entrepreneurship & Innovation Week 2013, which includes student business plan competitions that will award more than $50,000 for start-up companies, and culminate with the Investing in Innovation conference April 5. The eClub's "Co-Lab" will celebrate a grand opening with a 5 p.m. ribbon cutting April 1. The room, located at 210 McCool, features special paint that allows students to use dry erase markers to write on the walls and brainstorm business ideas.
As president of the eClub, Stewart has become immersed in the entrepreneurial activities within the College of Business and specifically in the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, where he is working as an entrepreneurial liaison. But the senior management major didn't come to MSU planning to pursue a career in business. While he did enjoy the opportunity to take an entrepreneurship class in high school, actually becoming an entrepreneur had not yet crossed his mind.
When his initial major wasn't the right fit, he decided to take some time off from school to work full-time instead. He also decided to join the Air Force Air National Guard, which would help him pay for college and avoid debt. The military environment only accentuated his urge to lead when he saw opportunities for implementing improvements, particularly in logistics and operations. Stewart said through the Air Force Air National Guard, he has gained substantial leadership experience.
When Stewart returned to MSU, he connected with the College of Business. He also spent months writing a business plan for what he later launched as Night and Day Vending. The company owns the IntoxBox, which offers breathalyzer technology. Stewart said the business has been a successful learning experience. Now, he's launching a new venture, which will produce gourmet food products.
Stewart said faculty and staff within the College of Business and Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer have been enormously helpful along the way. "Without them, I don't know what I'd be doing right now," he said.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Beth Wynn
Next week … Charles Freeman !