Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What if Kokomo Intentionally Raised Up Young Entrepreneurs?
What if instead of teaching a class about business, we immersed students in a business culture? What if that "class" never even met in a school, but always met in local businesses? What if the teacher didn't lecture about business principles but instead, facilitated an on-going relationship between the students and local business people?

What if the class had a weekly diet of business people coming to talk to the class? What if the class weekly toured local businesses led by the men and women who ran them? What if each student had their own personal mentor from the local business community? And what if each student had to start his/her own business?

What if this is actually coming to Kokomo for the 2014-15 school year?

It is. Kokomo CEO is for juniors and seniors of the nine area high schools.  It will meet the first two periods of each school day. It operates under the Kokomo Area Career Center, but doesn't meet there; CEO meets in businesses.

In recent months I've seen students in other states that have been through this class. They rave about it. They site it as integral to their growth, maturation and outlook on life. And they admit that they are different for having gone through the CEO experience. 

I've been chosen as the facilitator (teacher) and I am excited, honored, humbled and appropriately nervous. When I was 15 I started on my first entrepreneurial adventure: I convinced Gerald Moser that I was responsible enough and talented enough to run my own drum studio in his downtown building. I've been working in Kokomo ever since and in 2012 Sandra and I started the award-winning Main Street Cafe.

As part of the business community I have high aspirations for Kokomo and for young people. I love what our city is becoming and I love the potential inside this next generation. Connecting these potential packed students with great local business people should prove to be quite a ride!

My 16 years as a pastor at Oakbrook Church is not to be cast aside or marginalized. My position with Kokomo CEO is a part time contract, so I plan to continue to be integral at Oakbrook, just with fewer hours per week.

(The 2014-15 Kokomo CEO class is now full. For juniors and seniors in the 1015-16 school year, look for opportunities to apply this upcoming school year.)

Ways business people can be involved:

1. Guide a tour. Invite us in to tour your facility and we can see what it's like to take risks, manage opportunities and learn from outcomes.

2. Speak to our class. Share your story, successes, failures, learnings, best practices etc.

3. Mentor a student. Offer to make time available to one student as he/she may need throughout the school year.

4. Support Kokomo CEO financially. Kokomo CEO is funded by local businesses.

Email me if you're interested in partnering with us or have questions:



1. I don't have any hand in which students get into CEO. It's a blind process conducted by our board.

2. I won't hit you up for money. I'm the facilitator: I'll share with you, cast vision, update you on CEO activities and needs. But the board handles the fund raising.