The 2nd Annual Entrepreneurship Week to take place April 9 - 13

04-02-12 - Wells' Entrepreneurship Week will feature a keynote address by Welch Allyn CEO Julie Shimer.


The College’s 2nd Annual Entrepreneurship Week will take place April 9 – 13. Wells' Entrepreneurship Week is a week-long celebration of business and social entrepreneurship that includes a student business idea contest in the not-for-profit and for-profit divisions. This year, the Week will feature a keynote address by CEO of Welch Allyn and founder of Blue Highway, LLC, Julie Shimer at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13, in the Stratton Lecture Room, Stratton Hall.

Before joining Welch Allyn, a privately-held manufacturer of frontline medical equipment and diagnostic solutions headquartered in Skaneateles, N.Y., Shimer served as president and CEO of Vocera Communications where she secured more than $29 million in capital funding. She’s also held executive positions at 3Com Corporation, Motorola and AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bethlehem Steel Company. Since being appointed to president and CEO of Welch Allyn—becoming the first woman in its 95-year history—the company won “Best Places to Work™” in its Ireland and Mexico businesses and began a $30 million expansion project. Shimer also has been a key in creating Blue Highway, LLC, a Syracuse University and Welch Allyn incubator that focuses on delivering innovative health care technologies and concepts to customers.

Throughout the Week, leading up to Friday’s contest presentations, student teams of two to five members work with entrepreneurs and business professionals who help them further develop their business idea and improve their contest presentations. This year’s “coaches” are:

-        Director of Entrepreneurship, Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Jim Quest. Quest’s career began in marketing and advertising where he worked at companies such as Proctor & Gamble, Pfizer Consumer Products, American Home Products and The Marschalk Company. He then ventured into the business of entrepreneurship where he most notably created a premier internship program for college students that was selected as one of the country’s “Ten Best” by The Princeton Review.

-        CEO, Mezmeriz, Brad Treat. Treat is the co-founder of Mezmeriz, an innovative MEMS company making projectors to embed into mobile phones. Before founding Mezmeriz, in collaboration with Aron Rosenberg and Cornell University Professor Toby Berger, Treat created SightSpeed—an innovative video and voice communications company—which was acquired by Logitech for $30 million. His career began in automotive industry where he worked for eight years.

-        CEO, MiTeGen, Rob Newman. Before being appointed CEO of MiTeGen in 2011, Newman served as COO at AeroFarms LLC, a new company providing capital equipment for controlled environment agriculture; and he held executive positions at Mettler Toledo Hi-Speed and Moldflow Corp. Newman has lead MiTeGen to a greater than 50 percent year-over-year growth and to its first profitable year.

As a requirement of the contest, students have to create a presentation that addresses marketing questions such as what problem will their product or service solve, who are their customers, what makes their product or service unique, and how they plan to distribute and market the product or service, among others. At the conclusion of the Week, student teams present their “business idea plan” to a panel of judges and an audience who is given real money to invest in teams of their choosing. This year’s judges are the College's Provost and Dean Cindy Speaker, and David Binns, CEO of Aurora Shoe Company. Dr. Speaker came to Wells in 2006 to serve as associate dean of the College; in 2010, she became the associate provost for academic and student life, helping to lead a successful transition to the more deliberate integration of academic and student life; and in 2011, Dr. Speaker was named provost and dean of the college. Prior to purchasing the Aurora Shoe Co., Binns worked in operations management at the Georgia Pacific paper mill.

The student contest presentations are free and the community is invited to attend and invest real money in teams of their choosing. The contest winners are awarded $1,500 for first place and $500 for second place. Entrepreneurship Week has been made possible, in part, by a gift in memory of Louise Bingham Hatch, Wells College Class of ’38, from her family.



Robert Ellis, 315.364.3270,

Clare Scott, 315.364.3404,