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Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) is a combination of Unit 10 and 20 students learning the basics of business. The students are largely autonomous as they go through making their own businesses, gaining valuable skills they will be able to apply later in life, as well as benefiting our community now.
(Left to Right): Nathaniel Weger, Karissa McIntire, Seth Hatfield, Makeilah Chansler, Madison Hobbs, Hunter Stallings,
Meghan Tennis, Clayton Smith, Sarah Stovall, Erin Gartner, Mrs. Barbara Large, Madison Bobe, and Trevor Jackman

See the Lawrence County CEO Facebook page for more information.

April 1 - 7            
    This week was the busiest week of the school year for me. On Monday we went to Growing Green Lawn Care to start filming our commercial for the tradeshow. Initially, we thought that we were just going to be there for a half hour or 45 minutes. We ended up going to 5 investors throughout the county to film segments. We went to Tracy Electric, Havoline Hall, Peoples State Bank, and Aperion Care after finishing at Growing Green. This was organized by Rachel Hipsher and Jamie Tussey and they also wrote the commercial. Aside from our individual lines, they took some small group shots at each business. The business owner or employee acted like they were explaining something or having a discussion with 2 or 3 of us. It was really fun and the couple from WTWO were really nice. 
    On Thursday we went to the hub. Our class time was mostly spent in discussion. We talked about everything and a lot of it had to do with school. The main thing that Barb wanted to tell us was that we need to be serious about ordering our banners and having our finished product ready to show the class after spring break. We also talked about booth setup and a few of us (including me) gave ideas on what that setup will be like. 
    On Friday we went to COCO’s for breakfast. The food was great and I really enjoy the atmosphere that the restaurant portrays. The layout and the environment just makes you feel at home. Jan Loeb definitely knew what she was doing and it makes you want to go back.

March 27 - 31              

    On Wednesday we went to LHS to be a part of the audience for the first part of a career day. In the first session there were seven former graduates who spoke. They all gave us their background and what they are doing now. Each one also told about their experiences in high school and in college and what they would have differently. Many of them stressed that taking dual credit classes (CEO) in high school make college so much easier so I am going to take at least one dual credit class next year. It was over just as class time would have got over so that worked out really well because we didn’t have to leave early. 
On Thursday we went to Ewing printing in Vincennes. This was definitely in my top three of favorite tours this year. Ewings was founded in 1918 and the printing business has changed tremendously since then. Carla, who is one of the three customer service ladies, started us on the tour. She and her coworkers answer the phone and figure out exactly what the customer wants. They have to ask the right questions because it is critical in knowing what the customers wants and creating and being precise with orders. Jim Ziegler is the owner and was a super nice man. Jim is the third owner and he came to work there in 1973. He bought half of the business in ‘77 and he acquired full ownership in 1982. One interesting thing about the location was that it was an old Montgomery Awards Store before Ewing’s was there. Jim told us that the biggest thing in business is change. He and his team have watched the printing business change over the years and have learned to adapt to it. There are three printers that take the smaller orders but they themselves are not small by no means. One of the reasons for three is having a backup plan in case one breaks down. These printers cost around $65,000 a piece and have only been put in within the last five years as printing is now going to digital. Elizabeth who works in graphic design told us about what she did and went on the rest of the tour with us. We also went back into a large room where there were many of the old presses from back in the 1960’s in action. These presses were in great condition and they still use them today. Jim noted that they may not be used every day but can be profitable because they will do those jobs that come along less often and no other machine will do it like they will. This one in particular can go through 30,000 envelopes per hour. The major investment for Jim came back in 2009 when the company installed a huge 5 stage printing press. This does anything you can imagine and it is currently printing some books. This cost them $1.5 million and it will eat paper fast. Jim noted that the Internet are their biggest competitors but printing will never go away. Another reason for the business’s success is that people will go to him because they know that he can make it happen. As we were going through the tour I actually pictured myself working there someday for a side job. I loved the atmosphere there and some will never know the worth of what is in there and what goes on behind the scenes. 
    On Friday we met at LHS at 7:30 to practice a script for a commercial that we are filming at Growing Green Lawn Care on Monday. Each of us has one line and we ran through it a few times. At 8:00 we went to Weger Heating and Air on the south side of Lawrenceville. Nate’s parents started the business in 2003. They cover a large area and have no advertising. The word of mouth has done all the advertising that they need. They have one employee, Mike, who is a great help and provides many assets to the business. They also have a tanning bed service. This doesn’t generate a ton of money but it helps them bring new people through the doors. They contribute God and hard work to their success as a business. Expansion on the building is hopefully in the very bright future!

March 20 - 24               
  This week in CEO was filled with lots of things. On Monday we had guest speaker, Rachel Hipshire come into talk to us about our boothing and bios for the trade show which is coming May the 2nd after we talked about that we signed thank you cards to send out to businesses. On Tuesday we had a tour of Kemper CPA where we were able to ask questions about taxes for our businesses and if we would need to worry about them at this moment of our businesses, some did and some didn't. On Wednesday we had a CEO parent meeting in which we talked to parents and their kids about the program and what we did. On Thursday we had a tour of Bobe’s Pizza. This was a good tour filled with lots of great advice given by Cody Bobe, we took the tour and then got to eat some breakfast pizza! On Friday we had breakfast at the shack for our class. It was kind of like team bonding where we got to talk to each other about lots of things. This week was great and fulfilled, now just getting things all set and ready for the trade show!

March 13 - 17                 
    This week was a very short week but it seemed like a very long week. On Monday we went to the USDA office in the edge of Lawrenceville. They are here for a number of reasons and they have to comply with the Farm Bill. The office can give you knowledge about how you can receive payment on land if you meet certain requirements. For example, a landowner could turn a piece of ground into a habitat for preserving wildlife and then receive a monthly payments from the government. They can also give you information about what to do before clearing a piece of land. Wetlands can’t be cleared at all and if you do, you will have to put 3 times that acreage of land back into a program. This is also the place where farmers come to record and confirm their yields for each piece of ground. They also showed us the mapping system they use and how they can click on a piece of land and it will bring up the information or a database for that ground. 

    After that part, we went over to the NRCS which handles and helps farmers and only private landowners practice conservation. There are many ways to conserve our land and its resources. Tile, terraces, waterways, and buffer strips are just a few of the ways that farmers can use conservation to profit their land. The NRCS is responsible for going out and surveying fields and developing a plan to fit the design of the field. These plans are then sent over to the USDA office to be entered into the system. It was a great tour and I learned more about a big part of agriculture.

    On Wednesday, we went to Cuttin’ Up Salon and Spa. Becky has been in the business for 10 years but has been at this location for 5 years. She has 5 ladies and they each pick out what products they want to use at their stations. They rent their stations for $80 a week and Becky has worked with them to keep the prices the same for each lady. She also mentioned many of the pros and cons of being self employed. This has been a real success as she bought the building for $25000 and has only put $10000 into it. It was great to meet someone I had never met before and to learn about her business. 

    On Thursday, we went to LHS to watch some informational and practical videos. These videos are sent out by Midland Institute for each CEO class to watch and learn from. They used cartoon characters to relate many profound business ethics and the good character that CEO students should have. Afterwards, Barb had us individually write down 3 themes that have been stressed throughout the year. It was an easy day, but we were still doing something that benefited each of us. It was a great week and I’m looking forward to what next week has in store!

                                                                                                     March 6 - 10

This week was really busy for our CEO class. Monday we went to Crawford Farms north of Lawrenceville. The father, Ed, and his two boys (Andy and Ryan) run the farm. The farm consist of over 5,000 acres which is considered a large farm. One of the things that has helped them become more efficient is GreenStar technology. This system can be used in a variety of applications and farm machinery. These innovations allow the operator to sit back and watch the machine drive itself in a straight line. Keep in mind that the driver must first go around the field before the machine is capable of doing this and turn at the ends of the field while in autosteer mode. This takes out a lot of stress and now he only has to control how fast he wants to go and a few other things depending on what job he is doing. This is especially efficient in planting or spraying. Another investment has been a seed treatment machine. The Crawfords just started selling Stine beans this past year. They put in a system where they can treat the seed right on site. Doyle Steffey and Chuck Daugherty pulled up towards the end of the tour and then Doyle led us down the road to the FS plant. We met with the personnel there and they showed us a video that described who they are and all that the services that WVSC (Wabash Valley Service Company) provides. FS specializes in dry/liquid fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, and chemical application as well. These are all important factors that help grow healthy crop and produce a good yield when harvest time comes. They have found their niche in the Wabash Valley and they are giving their customers reliable service and products. Auto Steer technology has also helped out this business as they can apply their product efficiently on their part and the farmer gets nothing less than what he payed for. This is prime example of a local and successful business that is satisfying their customers but yet never stops growing. 

On Thursday we were given a tour of WTWO in Terre Haute. First off, Jeremy Moore, WTWO Promotions Manager, welcomed us in and showed us each department of the station and how they all work together to make a successful business. We went back into the room where the producers and directors make sure everything is done smoothly and on time (to the second). We also went into the newsroom and got to see where the anchors go on set. We also met Tim Sturgess who is the General Manager of the station. Their company has 171 stations and is the third largest in the world. He mentioned that they have 65 employees with most working full time. When asked, he said that they do interns there and a new person that comes into the business will most likely become a reporter and they offer them a 2 year contract. Tim also gave us quotes from many successful business owners and explained the meaning behind those quotes. He also talked about a couple of books and encouraged us to read them. Jeremy even picked apart our businesses and gave us each ideas and things to think about as we strive to become successful.

On Friday, we went to Steffey Funeral Home in Lawrenceville. Shannon has been in the business for 31 years. Her funeral home is all about helping people recover from a death loss and bringing them back to a happy spirit. Her job is to read her clients and provide them with the care they need. She encouraged us to surround ourselves with intelligent people as that has been a large part of her success. She stressed that every business is behind the scenes and a funeral home is very much that way.


                                                                                                      February 27 - March 3

This week students have worked hard to complete their business plans in preparation for Bankers Day which was held February 28 and March 1. We want to thank Eric Seitzinger, of Peoples State Bank of Newton and Kevin Strange of Casey State Bank for serving as our bankers. They gave the students a true experience of presenting a business plan in hopes of acquiring a loan to start a business. After the students presented their plans, Eric and Kevin took the time to give them some advice about how to make their businesses more profitable. Bankers Day took place at Casey State Bank and the students were given the opportunity to tour the facility as well.

CEO also held its annual Investor Appreciation Reception this week. It was held at Havoline Hall from 5:00 to 6:00. We are proud of this program and appreciate the support that our investors, mentors, board members and overall supporters from the community. We could not provide this opportunity for students to become entrepreneurs if it weren’t for all of these people. Please keep following us on Facebook for upcoming information on our annual Trade Show in May.

On Friday, we were given a tour of Aperion Care Bridgeport by Patti Ash who is in charge of Human Resources there. Patti talked about the business end of nursing care and said that while their goal is to be solvent, they cannot let the business success of the facility override the importance of the care of each patient. Their main emphasis has to be providing the best care possible at all times.



February 20-24:

"This week we spent most of our time working on our business plans getting ready for Bankers Day which will be Tuesday, February 28 and March 1. On Bankers Day students present their business plans outlining everything about their newly created business from product or service description to marketing strategies and cost analysis. The final goal is to acquire a loan to finance the startup costs for these businesses. The focus of our CEO program is to give students a realistic business experience. We want to thank Mark Bowler and Kevin Strange for stopping by again this week to help students fine tune their businesses! 

Thanks also to Emma Heath and Paige Harvey, two CEO alumni, for helping this week!"

February 6-10: 

"This week we were fortunate to have two great guest speakers. Jamie Tussey came to give us some insight into marketing our businesses and our trade show. Mark Bowler, owner of Bowler Performance Transmission and CEO investor and mentor, came to give us a hand at fine-tuning our businesses.

Jamie Tussey has a background in marketing and has worked in that area at various companies including Aperion Care, Haven Solutions, Maurices, and Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Jamie played a major role in promoting our CEO trade show last year and making it a huge success. We are happy that she has agreed to help us again this year. Jamie has already set up a tour of WTWO for our class and is hoping that we can contract with them to film a commercial for our individual businesses prior to the trade show. 

Mark Bowler has been very involved in CEO this year, taking on the role of mentor to not only one student, but has offered to help any student needing help with his or her student business. Mark took the time this week to visit us and give individual attention to each student. His insight into business is very beneficial and we really appreciate the time he has devoted to this class."

January 30-February 4:

"On Monday, CEO was invited to tour Alfonso’s Pizza Palace with Lia Wirth, owner. After serving her famous biscuits and gravy, Lia sat down and told us a little bit about herself and how she got into the Pizza business. She said she was nineteen years old when she opened the restaurant and she was scared! Lia said her father, who also owns a pizza restaurant, set her up in business here when DiMaggio’s closed its doors. She said he saw a need because there were many people from Lawrenceville driving to Robinson to eat at his restaurant. While she might have been scared, she knew she had the experience to make the place a success. She had worked in her father’s restaurant, along with her four siblings, the whole time she was growing up. Lia said that to be successful in any business, you have to have a good work ethic and learn how to deal with people. For more information about Alfonso’s Pizza Palace visit them on facebook. This writer can attest to the great food and friendly atmosphere!

On Thursday, representatives from Western & Southern Life Insurance Company came in. Their presentation included budgets, financial independence, and how to manage your paychecks. This was a very interesting look at how to gain financial independence if we act wisely and act now! We want to thank Bob Tracey for setting up these guest speakers and filling in as facilitator for the day. For more information on Western & Southern please visit their website at www.westernsouthernlife.com

On Friday, Kevin Strange stopped by the hub to answer questions that we have about beginning our business plans. We are really grateful that we have his guidance as we start developing our new businesses."