Auburn University's 2018 Annual Entrepreneurship Summit
Hall of Fame inductee, Entrepreneurs of the Year, Top Tigers and Tiger Cage startups
ABOVE FROM LEFT: Former Accenture CEO Joe Forehand Jr. was inducted into Auburn University’s Hall of Fame; Bob Broadway and Tara Wilson received Entrepreneur of the Year awards; Michael Johnson received the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Photos by Thomas Boutwell, courtesy of Auburn
Joe Forehand Jr., longtime CEO of Accenture and a 1971 graduate of Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame in early April, during the kickoff to Auburn’s annual Entrepreneurship Summit.
Auburn’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business sponsors the two-day summit, which honors graduates from all the university’s colleges.
Forehand spent 34 years with Accenture before retiring in 2006. During his tenure as CEO, Accenture grew from $6.9 billion in revenue and 66,000 employees to $13.7 billion in revenue and an international workforce of 103,000.
Receiving one of two Entrepreneur of the Year awards was Bob Broadway, who began his career in commercial banking with Barnett Bank, after receiving his undergraduate degree in accounting in 1991 and his MBA in 1993. In 2001 he founded The Broadway Group, which specializes in retail development of national tenants that combined his construction and commercial real estate expertise. In addition to The Broadway Group, he owns Broadway Construction Co., a general contracting firm, and Broadway Capital Investments, an investment property firm.
Also receiving the Entrepreneur of the Year award was Tara Wilson, a 1997 Harbert College graduate. Her Fort Worth, Texas-based experiential marketing firm, The Tara Wilson Agency, ranked No. 901 on Inc.’s 2017 list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Her agency provides strategy, insight, ideation, event production and management services for companies seeking to improve brand engagement. Clients have included major companies such as Samsung, Nike and Ann Taylor.
Honored as the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year was Michael Johnson, founder and CEO of Elite Transit Solutions and a 2008 Harbert College graduate. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Elite Transit provides third-party shipping and logistics management services for clients nationwide. The firm ranked No. 697 on Inc.’s 2017 list of the nation’s 5,000 fastest-growing companies.
Top Tigers awards recognize rapidly growing companies founded or run by alumni. The event is presented in partnership with Business Alabama magazine and the accounting firm Warren Averett. Winners are chosen for both their revenue growth and their ability to follow the Auburn Creed.
Tara Wilson earned Top Tiger recognition, along with Cameron Doody, founder and CEO of Bellhops, and Jimmy Stubbs, president and CEO of River Bank & Trust.
Featured speaker at the Top Tiger event was Jeff Stillwell, a 1988 Auburn University business graduate and president of the lifestyle company Salt Life LLC.
ABOVE In the Tiger Cage competition, Escape Therapy took home the top honor. Team members accepting the award were (from left) Dawn Michaelson, Matt Hanks and Sarah Gascon.
One of the Summit’s most popular events is the Tiger Cage competition, where aspiring entrepreneurs compete for funding after the fashion of ABC’s Emmy-winning show “Shark Tank.” Winners share in a $50,000 prize pool.
In the 2018 competition, Escape Therapy took top honors, winning $25,000 of prize money plus $15,000 in services from Allegiance Merchant Services plus $10,000 in legal services from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. Team members — kinesiology doctoral students Sarah Gascon and Matt Hanks and consumer and design sciences doctoral candidate Dawn Michaelson — have developed a personalized rehabilitation garment.
Second place honors went to Snippety Snap, a public phone stand and integrated mobile app. The Snippety Snap team includes public administration and public policy doctoral candidates Olivia Cook and Courtney Haun. They took home a prize of $10,000 plus $10,000 in services from Allegiance Merchant Services. Snippity Snap also earned Peoples Choice honors worth $1,000.
Enki Engineering, a startup that has developed a spiral engineering calculation notebook, won $6,000 in startup funding. The team includes junior supply chain management major Terran Ray, junior software engineering major Garrett Raab and sophomore marketing major Jackie Litschewski.
Savor, a mobile app concept focusing on the reduction of food waste, developed by junior business major Evan Walker, senior software and aerospace engineering major Rain Li and computer science graduate student Abhishek Jariwala, earned $4,000 in startup funding.
Winners in the Tiger Cage Jr. for high school students are:
Wildfire Alert System: Jacqui Barnes, Gracen Mitchell and Tae Todd
Pop Up Protectors: Eli Sacks, Sam Renfroe and Jackson Lee
Breath-A-Case: Josh Norris, Raven Atkinson and Sean Wilcher
Jessica Armstrong is a freelance contributor to Business Alabama.