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The annual Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit, named for 1981 Walker College alumna Carole Moore McLeod in recognition of her gift that provides ongoing support of the program, is an opportunity for students and community members to meet, network and learn from successful entrepreneurs.


On Friday, November 11, 2016, business owners from across the region will present and discuss entrepreneurial issues in 3 concurrent sessions at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the Plemmons Student Union on the Appalachian State campus. Breakfast will begin at 8:15am and lunch will be at 12:30pm with a luncheon speaker. Topics discussed range from specific advice on certain subjects, to the success stories of a company, to general startup advice. Planned presentations are listed below.


Chris Heivly

Chris is co-founder of Mapquest, which he sold to AOL in December of 1999 for $1.2B. Since then he has been the Managing Director of a $25M Venture Fund and the CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. Currently, Chris invests and supports startups through counseling and seed investments. Come hear Chris share his journey and his insights on starting your own business and making it big.

Focus Sessions

Steve Norwood – Co-Founder, Consolidated Asset Recovery Systems (CARS)
Steve founded CARS in 2005 and has enjoyed a decade of growth and industry awards. Steve sold 80% of CARS to a private equity firm in January 2016 and used a slice of the proceeds to establish the CFE Student Venture Fund to help student entrepreneurs at Appalachian get their ventures off the ground. Come hear ASU Mountaineer Steve Norwood talk about his experience and how you can follow in his path!

Bobby Martin – Author, The Hockey Stick Principles
After a successful sale of his first company, First Research, and well into his second company Vertical IQ, ASU Mountaineer Bobby Martin decided to share his insights on entrepreneurship in The Hockey Stick Principles, which was published in April 2016. Come hear Bobby share the lessons learned from successful entrepreneurs like himself, and use those principles to get your own ideas off the ground!

Sarah (Green) Freed – Founder, Obliquity; Former Owner, Empact
Sarah is an international economic development leader dedicated to addressing systemic global sustainability challenges. Sarah was recognized twice by President Obama for her work as a young leader in entrepreneurship in America, and her work has been featured in prominent media outlets including Forbes, MSNBC, ABC, and Fox Business. ASU Mountaineer Sarah Freed is returning to her alma mater to share the story behind her decision to follow her passion to make a difference in the world.

Luncheon Speaker

Warren Bare – Founder, Headhunter.net (Careerbuilder.com); Founder, InJesus

Warren Bare is a serial entrepreneur that made his impact on the world by changing the rules.
Warren’s first notable success came in the mid 1990’s, when he launched Headhunter.net. At the
time there were already dozens of well established competitors including Monster.com, but he
broke into the space by introducing a disruptive pay­for­position business model, which has since
become very popular with search engines. Headhunter grew quickly and was purchased after the
tech bubble for $200 million. Headhunter is now known as CareerBuilder, the largest US revenue
producer in the online recruitment advertising space.

After Headhunter, Warren launched InJesus, an Internet company focused on helping Christian
missionaries and ministries communicate. The landscape in this space was similar. There were
already several large, well funded companies including Christianity.com which raised and burned
$50 million and Crosswalk raised and burned $30 million. While these companies focused on high
dollar transactions from large ministries, InJesus focused on micro transactions and building a
social network of 3 million Christian communicators in over 200 countries spanning the globe.
Since that time, Warren has started several more companies, but his focus now is primarily on
helping other younger entrepreneurs to make their own dent in the universe.

Breakout Sessions

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Sean Spiegelman - Founder, Appalachian Mountain Brewery. "Building a Business for Good"

Sean is motivated not only by his love for the game of business, but also by what AMB can do to make Boone the best community in America to start a business and raise a family. Sean will share his insights on running a business sustainably, equitably, profitably, and still make it a fun place to work.

Boomer Sassman - Big Boom Design. "Leveraging Digital Technologies in Website Design"

Boomer is an Appalachian grad, website designer and digital technology guru. With so many new tools and techniques to maximize the impact of your website content, Boomer will share his expertise to help take some of the mystery out of website development and optimization.

Bradley Buckley - Distribution Direct. "Designing Efficient Fulfillment Strategies

Serial entrepreneur Brady Buckley built his latest business helping other businesses build happy and loyal customers through fast and accurate shipping strategies. By handling the warehousing, packing, shipping, and returns, Brady enables business owners to concentrate on what they do well.

Carole M. McLeod - Advantage Waste. "Women in Entrepreneurship

Carole McLeod is the owner of Advantage Waste and has been a leader in the waste and recycling industry for 30 years. Carole is a winner of the Women of Achievement award from the Charlotte Business Journal, and a winner of the Rising Star award from the National Women Business Owners Corporation. Carole will share insights on her success in a traditionally male dominated industry.

Chris Grasinger - Mountain BizWorks. "Micro Loan Options for Startups"

For 25 years, Mountain BizWorks has been providing small business loans to help businesses in Western North Carolina launch and expand. Chris will explain how local entrepreneurs can borrow $1,000 to $150,000 to get their own ventures off the ground.

Shannon Koontz - Bourbon and Grits. "Growing an Online Business from Scratch"

Fast friends and roommates at Appalachian, Shannon and Missy Durkin shared a taste in fashion and a desire to own their own online boutique. Shannon will share their decision to get started and the unique ways that Bourbon & Grits has grown customers, revenue and their brand.

Jonathan & Bonnie Burton - Burton Photography. "Turning your Passion into Profits"

Jonathan and Bonnie Burton share a passion for using photography to “reflect the energy and emotion of everyday living and the significance of relationships.” They choose to live in the high country and have grown their business into an award-winning, custom studio that serves the Southeastern U.S.

VIDEO from last year Luncheon speaker, Donald thompson!