Local entrepreneurs inspire students with speaker series


Paul Capoccia, Community Editor

Students with a good idea and an entrepreneurial spirit can learn from some of the most successful entrepreneurs thanks to the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, which is continuing again this year.

The recently formed School of Business and Global Innovation began this year’s Entrepreneurship Speaker Series on Sept. 10 with their lecture on home cooking and environmental entrepreneurs.

Mario Bevilacqua, owner of What the Fork Food Truck, and Ed Shoener, head of Shoener Environmental, Inc. of Dickson City, both spoke to students in the hour long lecture.

“The idea of having all these speakers come in and talk to our students is to try to spark ideas on the part of the students, for the students to see that they too can be entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Chris Speicher, associate professor of business, who helps organize the lecture series.

Shoener discussed with students the importance of maintaining a positive business reputation and the prospect of owning a franchise. Bevilacqua spoke about his experiences cooking, owning the food truck, and building a business from scratch.

Frank Winger, junior business management major, said he enjoyed the lecture and learned from Bevilacqua’s endeavors.

“[My] favorite part was definitely the energy Mario had,” said Winger. “I learned that even when you’re out of luck with not even $250 to your name … you can still start an explosive business creating your own market and [living] comfortably.”

Matt Weiler, junior business management major, said he is thankful he had the opportunity to listen to both entrepreneurs.

“It was great that Dr. Speicher brought in two successful entrepreneurs to our class, and I really liked how they elaborated on the way that they ended up building their companies,” said Weiler.

Speicher said he hopes his students continue to learn from the various entrepreneurs.

“My goal is to have students exposed to as many entrepreneurs as they can be exposed to, number one, and number two, to develop a network of companies that they can call,” said Speicher. “So when they start their company, they’ll have mentors and networks of people that they can deal with.”

It seems to be working.

“It really inspires me to want to start a small business of my own in the near future,” said Weiler.

The Entrepreneurship Speaker Series continues every Wednesday through Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m. in the McGowan Center, Room 1059. Reservations are required. To RSVP, contact Marie Griffin at 570-348-6274 or [email protected].