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'7 Under 30' event will introduce students to successful entrepreneurs

Nov 12, 2015


Space Still Available for Nov. 17 Event That Will Inspire, Challenge Budding Entrepreneurs

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Seven entrepreneurs who launched successful businesses before turning 30 will participate in Florida State University’s fourth annual 7 Under 30 Speaker Series Nov. 17.

The entrepreneurs will share their startup stories and tips on pitching business ideas to potential investors. The event, which runs from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the August B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center, is sponsored by The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the FSU College of Business and is open to the public. There is no charge to attend, but advanced registration is required.

The event is one of several activities planned during Entrepreneurship Month (eMonth) to provide students opportunities to showcase their startup businesses and network with successful entrepreneurs.

“This event was the result of student input and was one of the original cornerstone events for eMonth,” said Randy Blass, executive director of The Jim Moran Institute.

The eMonth concept reflects the university’s ongoing efforts to create a culture across campus and different disciplines that embraces entrepreneurship and creativity.

“We know that although virtually every profession demands a certain level of entrepreneurial thinking, very few students actually gain entrepreneurial training and experience before they graduate. Florida State is changing that,” said Michael D. Hartline, interim dean of the College of Business and Charles A. Bruning Professor of Business Administration. “Our goal is to give all students the opportunity to learn fundamental business practices that will enhance their career potential. We believe students benefit greatly from hearing from young entrepreneurs like those who will be on campus for the 7 Under 30 event.”

Though past speakers have been graduates of universities across the country, this year’s group are all FSU alumni who are making a name for themselves in fields as varied as accounting, technical theater design, facility maintenance, meteorology and using crowdfunding to build homes in developing countries.   

They include:

  • Kash Fallahzadeh, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in finance and management, is co-founder, managing partner and CFO of ProFi Facility Maintenance LLC, which specializes in professional commercial cleaning, grounds keeping, day porter services and waste disposal. In the past two years, the company, which was founded in 2012, has grown more than 400 percent, occupies two offices, services more than 100 properties in four Florida counties and employs 70 people. During his junior year, his startup, College Cleaners LLC, placed second in the InNOLEvation Challenge business plan competition, and after graduation, he sold the company to a local competitor.
  • Brett Hagler, a 2012 finance graduate, is co-founder and CEO of New Story, which crowdfunds houses and builds new communities in developing countries. Established in 2014 and backed by the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator business incubator, New Story, surpassed $1 million in revenues in its first year. Hagler is author of “The (not so) Popular Way: Realizing Your True Potential for an Extraordinary Future.”
  • Caite Hevner Kemp earned a bachelor’s in design and technical theater in 2006 from FSU, a master’s in fine arts from New York University and a certificate in stage properties and design from Yale University. She is founder of Caite Hevner Kemp Design, based in New York City. She has worked as an associate/assistant designer for new musicals and plays on and off Broadway, internationally and at many of the top regional theaters in the country. Her work most recently was seen on Broadway in “On the Town.”
  • Dustin McQuillan earned his degree in 2006 in accounting and management information systems. He is president of McQuillan and Company P.A., a CPA firm he founded in 2009 offering accounting, tax and consulting services to entrepreneurs. He also is founder and president of Think Big Ideas Inc., which helps entrepreneurs to identify opportunities, create value in new solutions and collaborate to achieve their professional and personal objectives.
  • Justin Milano, who graduated in 2004 with a degree in marketing and communications, is a serial entrepreneur and certified leadership coach. His most recent enterprise is the San Francisco-based Good Startups, which he founded in 2013. The company provides e-learning services and helps entrepreneurs grow self-awareness, expand leadership skills and build thriving companies. He also is founder of such companies as Daily Relationship, GoPure and TripAlertz, which was acquired by HotelReservations.com.
  • Edward Mansouri, who earned his Master of Science in meteorology in 1999, is founder and CEO of Ucompass, which helps companies and schools find ways to innovate education through technology. In 2014, he founded WeatherSTEM, which develops interactive K-12 STEM curricula with a heavy focus on the atmospheric sciences and agriculture/gardening. He is the author of the learning management system Educator, which is a primary learning system for Florida Virtual School and the American Public University System. He also is the architect of Octane, a platform for enriching content.
  • Danielle Skeen earned a bachelor’s in communication in 2009. Based in Harlem, N.Y., she is an account manager on Microsoft’s online advertising team. She also is founder and executive director of The Star Boutique Inc., a charity “pop-up shop” that provides clothing, shoes, makeovers and mentorship to homeless teenage girls living in New York City. Her resume includes positions at MTV Networks and Bad Boy Entertainment Worldwide. She also started and hosted her own award-winning online radio show and has been a consultant to budding entrepreneurs.  

“We are proud to present this group of innovators to our students and particularly delighted that they all are FSU grads who are really proving the power of entrepreneurship on a professional and personal level,” said Wendy Plant, director of Student Engagement and Alumni Relations in The Jim Moran Institute and one of the College of Business’ entrepreneurs-in-residence. “We believe students will be challenged and inspired by these successful young entrepreneurs.”


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