Success stories validate work of the Cook Center

The Herald-Times
It’s your business

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 2:00 am

By Steven Bryant A Bloomington voice

There is nothing more satisfying for an entrepreneur than to take an idea and make it reality. It takes planning, execution and some luck, but when it happens, it is magical.

Our team at the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech-Bloomington has been conducting client follow ups for the past few weeks and exciting progress is being made.

We have many clients who are students at Ivy Tech working on their business idea and trying to move it from the drawing board to the real world. They are also doing this while working on a degree or certificate and many are also working, raising a family and planning for the future. One such student is about to launch his retail business after reworking his business plan through many versions, securing his startup financing, crafting a real budget forecast and performing market research by visiting likeminded businesses in other communities.

The business has been in the planning stage for over a year and now it is time to “launch the ship,” so to speak. We congratulate him on his perseverance and drive to make it happen!

We also have students who come to us with existing businesses that want to learn more about how to grow the business further. A recent student with a business in the service sector has six employees and is dealing with issues of growth: how to better manage his employees, improve his financial operations and focus on the bigger picture of where he wants the business to be in five years. We are so pleased to see him soak in the advice of our adjunct faculty and subject matter experts in our classes this past semester. He really has learned some simple and practical tips to add value to his business. Great job!

We recently hosted one of our CEO Roundtables and one of our rising stars has grown her business leaps and bounds by expanding into a new property to increase her retail and service operations, growing her customer base greatly and using social media and other low cost marketing techniques to reach her audience “where they communicate.” There were some major capital investments that caused significant stress, but it seems to be working out as expected. Sometimes you just gotta take the “leap of faith” guided by some real numbers and expectations. We know she will prevail. We all have things to learn from her.

These are just a few examples of why we are so excited that people still want to work for themselves. Often, they just don’t know what questions to ask and where to find information.

We are fortunate that we have many organizations in our region to help guide them and we are working collaboratively with many local agencies to create a better way for people to access information to start their business.

A big thanks to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and the Duke Energy Foundation for generous grants to enable us to do so. We will update you on the details in the near future. In the meantime, please visit our website at for more information about our programs or to become a client of the Cook Center.

Steve Bryant is executive director of the Gayle & Bill Cook Center for Entrepreneurship at Ivy Tech Community College. Next week’s column will be from Danise Alano-Martin.


O’Bannon Institute fundraising dinner sold out, Friday event to feature discussions with experts on the topics of food culture, and leadership

Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus is hosting its 11th annual O’Bannon Institute for Community Service on April 23 through April 25. The fundraising dinner on Thursday, April 24 with General Colin Powell, USA (ret.) is sold out, but seats are still available for Institute events on Friday, April 25.

On Friday, April 25, a full day of panel discussions, workshops, and closing conversation will focus on this year’s theme, Cultivating Leadership: Food for Thought. Panels will address becoming locally involved and the politics surrounding food supply.

*Educational workshops are new this year to the Institute and will cover topics such as informed consumers, canning, gardening 101, and backyard beekeeping. Workshops will take place during lunch, which is being served as a “sack lunch” at this year’s Institute.

The day will close with a final conversation with Chancellor Emeritus and Deputy Mayor of Bloomington, John R. Whikehart, and Bob Zaltsberg, Editor, The Herald-Times. Zaltsberg will talk with Whikehart about his own philosophy and modeling of leadership and civic involvement.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and light refreshments will be available. Opening remarks and the Institute kick-off by Former Indiana First Lady, Judy O’Bannon, begin at 9 a.m.

Each year as part of the Institute, Ivy Tech students, faculty, and staff participate in a Day of Service in the communities we serve. The Day of Service is Thursday, April 24, preceding the fundraising dinner with General Colin Powell, USA (ret.).

To kick off the signature event, Ivy Tech will host its annual Excellence in Civic Engagement awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 23 to recognize faculty, staff and community partners for excellence in volunteerism.

Friday event schedule (panel members and moderators TBA):

Registration: 8:30 a.m. (Light refreshments)

Welcome Remarks: 9 a.m.

Institute Kick-Off (Former Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon): 9:30 a.m.

Panel One: Do Something Personally, Do Something Locally: 10:15 a.m.

Workshops and Lunch: 11:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Panel Two: The Politics of Food: 1:15 p.m.

Closing Conversation (Chancellor Emeritus John R. Whikehart and The Herald-Times Editor Bob Zaltsberg): 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

The Institute takes place on Ivy Tech-Bloomington’s main campus at the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building in the Hoosier Times Student Commons. Ivy Tech-Bloomington is located at 200 Daniels Way on the west side.

Admission for panel discussions, educational workshops, and closing conversation is with two canned goods or a free-will monetary donation at the door for Hoosier Hills Food Bank. Morning refreshments and a sack lunch are included in the day, but reservations are required to attend. To make a reservation, log onto, contact Tina Phelps at (812) 330-6001, or

*Workshop topics subject to change.

About the O’Bannon Institute for Community Service

The O’Bannon Institute for Community Service ( was launched 11 years ago by Ivy Tech’s Bloomington campus as an annual opportunity for the community to come together to discuss topics related to nonprofits, education and political and civic service. Previous speakers at the Institute have included former U.S. Senators, Pulitzer prize-winning authors, Governors, political advisers and columnists, and Laura W. Bush, former First Lady of the United States.


Ivy Tech student, Jessica Troxel, named Coca-Cola New Century Scholar

Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington human services student, Jessica Troxel, has been named a 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. The program is sponsored by Coca-Cola Foundation and Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, administered by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Troxel was selected based upon the score she earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition, where more than 1,700 applications were received.

“I’d like to personally congratulate Jessica on her outstanding academic achievements and leadership accomplishments,” said Interim Chancellor Bradley Thurmond, Ph.D. “Jessica has certainly earned this scholarship and recognition trip, and Ivy Tech-Bloomington couldn’t be more proud.”

Troxel will be presented with a $2,000 scholarship and will be recognized at Phi Theta Kappa’s annual President’s Breakfast during the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges on Tuesday, April 8 in Washington, D.C.

Troxel, the single mother of two boys, has overcome obstacles to achieving her educational goals, including losing her Martinsville home in the 2008 flood and then losing an arm in a tragic car acccident.

“It really is all about believing in yourself, working hard, finding hope, learning to allow others to help you, being humble, giving back to the community, and discovering your own silver lining,” said Troxel.

Troxel plans to use the scholarship funds she has earned as a 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar to help fund her International Scholar Laureate trip to Australia and New Zealand. The trip takes place in May, after she graduates Magna Cum Laude with her associate degree in human services.

In the future, Troxel plans to work with community members seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and their families.

She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and is a past volunteer of the Recovery Engagement Center, as a junior and teen coordinator. She now volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and was sworn in with the Monroe county court on November 14,2013. She has received numerous awards and recognition during her time as a student at Ivy Tech-Bloomington, including: Council for Community Accessibility “Self-Advocacy Award;” Court Appointed Special Advocate; Phi Theta Kappa Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar; O’Bannon Institute Student Volunteer Award and scholarship recipient; Chancellor’s Civic Engagement scholarship recipient; Phi Theta Kappa Vice President of Communications; and Student Leadership Academy.

Troxel has set up a Go Fund Me account to raise funds and defray expenses for her International Scholar Laureate trip at By accomplishing her fundraising goal, she’ll be afforded the opportunity to participate.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for students of two-year colleges. With more than 1.3 million members, Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education. Students must complete at least 12 hours of course work toward an associate degree and have at least a 3.5 grade point average to be considered.