Dare to Disrupt
Come see us LIVE in State College on March 20 during Penn State Startup Week!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?