Dare to Disrupt

Discover Penn State alumni who are innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders, and the stories behind their success, on the Dare to Disrupt podcast.


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Episode 28: Pioneering Predictive Manufacturing Maintenance with Jeremy Frank

Jeremy is co-founder and CEO of KCF Technologies, a technology company based out of State College, PA. KCF Technologies provides proprietary machine health optimization hardware, software, and services to industry and military clients. Under Jeremy’s leadership, KCF has pioneered advancements in wireless vibration sensing and machine health monitoring.

Episode 27: Building the Content Marketing Community with Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of multiple startups, including content creator education site, The Tilt, Content Entrepreneur Expo, and the Content Marketing Institute, which he successfully exited in 2016. In this episode, Joe shares his experience building the Content Marketing Institute, the failures he endured along the way, his strong commitment to goal-setting, and his insights around the difference between content creators and content entrepreneurs.

Episode 26: Exploring Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) with Former NFL Player Omar X. Easy

Omar X. Easy, Ph.D., is the recently appointed director of the all-new Penn State Brand Academy, which is designed to support student-athletes to manage and leverage their name, image and likeness (NIL). Omar shares lessons learned from his time as a student-athlete at Penn State as well as his time in the NFL. He then discusses his vision for The Brand Academy and how it will serve student-athletes in building and leveraging their personal brand.

Episode 25: LIVE from State College: honeygrow Founder Justin Rosenberg

Justin Rosenberg is Founder and CEO of honeygrow, a fast-casual stir-fry and salad concept founded in Philadelphia in 2012. In this special LIVE episode recording, Justin shares his story of perseverance and success with honeygrow, which currently has 41 locations.

Episode 24: Windows of Opportunity: Navigating Growth with MITER Brands CEO Matt DeSoto

Matt DeSoto is the President and CEO of Harrisburg-based MITER Brands, a family of leading window and door brands designed for residential projects in the new construction and remodeling markets. He talks about how he and his team maintain top-quality products and service, how MITER utilizes robotics and AI tools, as well as how he prioritizes giving back to the communities they work in through the MITER Foundation.

Episode 23: Scaling a Stress-free Home Remodeling Business with West Shore Home Founder B.J. Werzyn

B.J. Werzyn is the founder and CEO of West Shore Home, one of the largest direct to consumer home remodelers in the nation. He talks about how he is revolutionizing a traditionally fragmented and tech averse industry.

Episode 22: Putting the ‘Care’ in Home Care with Norm Potter

Norm Potter is the co-founder and co-owner of Allegiance Transportation, as well as the owner and Executive Director of the Winston Salem branch of Griswold Home Care. He talks about why he decided to make a career switch from banking to higher education to now running two business in the non-medical home care and transportation industries.

Episode 21: Anticipating the Waves of Change with Google’s Global Director of Solution Sales Ash Ashutosh

Ash Ashutosh is a serial entrepreneur and the Global Director of Solution Sales at Google. His data management startup, Actifio, achieved a valuation of over $1B and was acquired by Google in 2020. He details his journey advancing alongside what he calls the waves of change, in reference to the surges in innovation and technology that occur over time.

Special Commemorative Episode – Daring to Disrupt with Ryan Newman and James Delattre

This is a special crossover episode of Dare to Disrupt and Following the Gong, a podcast by the Penn State Schreyer Honors College. Following The Gong host Sean Goheen interviews Goldman Sachs Managing Director and Dare to Disrupt host Ryan Newman and Penn State Associate Vice President for Research James Delattre, both Scholar Alumni, about the entrepreneurial scene at Penn State.

Episode 20: Making a Deal on Shark Tank with FlexScreen Inventor Joe Altieri

Joe Altieri is the president, CEO, and inventor of FlexScreen, the world’s first and only flexible window screen, as seen on season 11 episode 10 of ABC’s Shark Tank. He shares how he started his career as an independent sales representative in the window industry and quickly became frustrated with the flimsy aluminum frames found in traditional screens, and how that led to him pitching FlexScreen on Shark Tank.

Episode 19: Diving into Fintech with Denim Social CEO Doug Wilber

Doug Wilber is the CEO of Denim Social, a leading provider of social media management software that empowers marketers in regulated industries to manage organic social media content and paid social media advertising on one platform. He shares how to be intrapreneurial within a large company, and innovative projects he has led to date in fintech.

Episode 18: Rapidly Failing, Scaling, and Succeeding with Serial Entrepreneur Bill Seibel

Bill Seibel is a serial entrepreneur, and has played a role in 14 startups, five as founder and CEO, five as CEO, and another four as an operating executive. He shares his experience turning a failing forecasting software company around into the top restart company of the year, as well as how he built an extremely impactful but financially failed professional services company – and why he sees it as his greatest success.

Episode 17: Cheering On Women Warriors with Haley McClain Hill

Haley McClain Hill is the CEO and Founder of TORCH Warriorwear, a subscription, direct to consumer military apparel and lifestyle brand that celebrates, empowers, and serves current and future women warriors. She shares her experiences leading a 300-person Air Force squadron during the pandemic, cheering in the NFL, and launching her apparel company.

Episode 16: From Wall Street Trader to Facial Authentication Innovator with Ryan Owen

Ryan shares his experiences as a Wall Street trader, the unique internship opportunities Penn State connected him to as a student, as well as his experience being in the World Trade Center on 9/11. He then shares the twists and turns that led him to founding his two current startups: Wicket, a software company that specializes in facial authentication solutions for venue operators and facility managers, and Cast Iron Media, a premier sports and entertainment streaming solutions company. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in Information Systems.

Episode 15: Increasing Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment with Doug Leech

Doug Leech is the Founder and CEO of Ascension Recovery Services. Doug talks about his own struggles with addiction and subsequent recovery, and how that led to the development of a passion for helping those suffering from the disease of addiction, and how he set out to increase access to SUD treatment across the country. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in accounting.

Episode 14: Empowering Underserved Communities with Former NFL Player Garry Gilliam

Garry Gilliam is the Founder and CEO of The Bridge Eco-Village, a sustainable, mixed-use community ecosystem in Harrisburg, PA. The Bridge Eco-Village will feature solutions to many of the problems facing underserved communities. Prior to launching the Bridge, Garry played in the NFL for five seasons for the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. He graduated from Penn State in 2013 with degrees in business development, psychology, and advertising.

Episode 13: Making Sustainability Convenient with Zander Isaacson

Zander Isaacson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Xeal, a technology-first electric vehicle (EV) charging company operating at the intersection of real estate, mobility, clean energy, and IoT. The company secured $40M in Series B funding in November 2022 after closing an $11M Series A in 2021 by leading proptech and climate tech VC funds. Zander was the founder & president of Happy Valley VC. He graduated from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.  

Episode 12: Empowering Patients with Ro Founder Rob Schutz

Rob Schutz is the Chief Growth Officer and Co-founder of Ro, a direct-to-patient healthcare company providing high-quality, affordable healthcare without the need for insurance. Rob guides Ro’s growth, marketing and communications functions to tell Ro’s story of putting patients in control of their health. Rob earned his B.S. in Management Information Systems from Penn State.

Episode 11: Rejecting the Label of Disabled with Susan Robinson

Susan Robinson is a speaker, consultant and leader making an impact on the world in a truly unique way. She masterfully blends over 25 years of multi-sector leadership with her experiences being legally blind to shift thinking, elevate potential and inspire action. Susan graduated from Penn State in 1994 with a degree in health policy and administration, and received her masters of public administration in health policy and management from New York University. 

Episode 10: Innovating the Environmental Insurance Business with David Rosenberg

David Rosenberg is the former Executive Vice President and Principal at Environmental Compliance Services (ECS). David and his two partners grew ECS from a small 12 person, $5 million agency to a 500 person, $200 million agency and a leader in the environmental insurance business. He received his bachelor’s degree in individual and family studies from Penn State. 

Episode 9: On the Forefront of Digital Advertising with Infolinks Media CEO Robert Regular 

Robert is a serial technology and media entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in digital media and marketing. Robert’s current company, Infolinks Media, is an exclusive ad marketplace helping emerging publishers grow and succeed. Robert received his bachelor’s degree in communications and business from Penn State.

Episode 8: Gaming your Health with Litesprite Founder Swatee Surve

Swatee Surve is the founder of Litesprite, a health tech startup developing award-winning digital therapeutic purpose-driven games for chronic conditions. She received her MSME in Control Systems and Biomechanics from Penn State. 

Episode 7: Revolutionizing the Real Estate Industry with Sean Black

Sean Black is the Co-founder & CEO of Knock.com, and he was part of the founding team for the online real estate marketplace site Trulia. He graduated from Penn State in 1996 with a degree in international business management. 

Episode 6: Disrupting the Mattress Industry with JT Marino

JT Marino is the Chief Disruption Officer at Serta Simmons Bedding and the co-founder of Tuft & Needle, which merged with Serta Simmons in 2018. He studied math and computer science at Penn State. 

Episode 5: Building Weebly with Founder David Rusenko

David is the Head of eCommerce at Square and founder of Weebly. He talks about how we went from writing code for 16 hours straight at a time to having his website building platform acquired by Square in 2018 for $365M. He graduated from Penn State in 2007 with a degree in Information Sciences & Technology.

Episode 4: Connecting Consumers and Local Businesses with Bruce Aronow

Bruce Aronow graduated from Penn State in 1987 with a degree in accounting. He talks about how he built eLocal, a performance-based advertising company whose mission is to connect consumers with local businesses, specializing in the home services, legal, medical, financial, and insurance verticals.

Episode 3: Shaping Cultural Change with Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner graduated from Penn State in 1995 with degrees in theater, women’s studies and classics. She talks about how she built her brand consultancy Talk to Jess, through which she has been a strategic partner in culture-changing moments such as Dove’s campaign for “Real Beauty” and the evolution of Barbie.

Episode 2: A Pioneer in Tech: Building the Interviewing Cloud with Mo Bhende

Mo Bhende graduated from Penn State with honors in 2001 with degrees in math and economics. He talks about how he built Karat, which conducts highly predictive technical interviews for clients.

Episode 1: Riding the Founder’s Wave With Matt Brezina

Matt Brezina, a 2003 Schreyer and College of Engineering grad, shares the stories behind starting software company Xobni and greeting card company Sincerely.

Season 1 Teaser

Catch the season 1 teaser for the brand new Dare to Disrupt podcast.

You don’t want to make a wave, you want to ride one. That’s a founder’s job.

Matt Brezina, ’03
Founder, Xobni and Sincerely

Do you know a current Penn State student who’d be an awesome guest?