Increasing Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment with Doug Leech



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Increasing Access to Substance Use Disorder Treatment with Doug Leech
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Doug Leech is the Founder and CEO of Ascension Recovery Services. Through his own struggles with addiction and subsequent recovery, Doug developed a passion for helping those suffering from the disease of addiction and set out to increase access to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment across the country. The mission of Ascension RS is to expand access to care by opening fully integrated, comprehensive and person-centered SUD and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment centers across the country providing for all who need treatment, regardless of insurance type or ability to pay, advancing Behavioral Health Equity. Ascension RS has been recognized as one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in the country and is a leader in developing and managing behavioral health treatment centers. Doug graduated from Penn State with a degree in accounting.




Pioneering Predictive Manufacturing Maintenance with Jeremy Frank



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Pioneering Predictive Manufacturing Maintenance with Jeremy Frank
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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. Today, the company is a global leader in predictive maintenance, monitoring over 80,000 machines across numerous industries, driven by Jeremy’s vision of eradicating unplanned downtime and enhancing industrial safety. 

In this episode, Jeremy shares the evolution of KCF Technologies, from an imports/exports company to a consultancy to the thriving solutions software company it is today. He shares his background growing up in Pittsburgh helping with his father’s forensic engineering business. He also talks about the devastating realities of failure in business, juxtaposed with the allure of all the freedom entrepreneurship provides.

Episode Chapters

0:00 – 2:54 Intro/Jeremy’s background information

2:54 – 3:32 Formative years growing up in Pittsburgh, Pitt fan 

3:32 – 5:36 Decision to come to Penn State, studying mechanical engineering, unclear career path

5:36 – 6:11  Working at father’s forensic engineering business 

6:11 – 7:14 Never applied for a full-time job, but good at making money 

7:14 – 10:18 Crashing cars for science, acoustics and vibrations studies  

10:18 – 11:51 From Tokyo to business launch

11:51 – 14:35 First go-to-market business idea

14:35 – 19:04 Dad’s advice on failure  

19:04 – 21:17 What it means to be wired for entrepreneurship

21:17 – 24:32  The KCF business model today

24:32 – 31:21 Scaling and growing the business from 1 employee to 250 

31:21 – 35:03 The entrepreneurial environment in State College, then and now

35:03 – 36:28 Penn State Athletics, measuring vibrations at Beaver Stadium 

36:28 – 37:09 Intro for student guest Ankur Verma

37:09 – 38:20 Targeting mid-market companies  

38:20 – 41:59 – AI and industry 




Building the Content Marketing Community with Joe Pulizzi



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Building the Content Marketing Community with Joe Pulizzi
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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. He is the bestselling author of seven books including Content Inc. and Epic Content Marketing, which was named a “Must-Read Business Book” by Fortune Magazine. Joe is a professional public speaker, having spoken over 400 times in 20 plus countries on content marketing, the creator economy, and entrepreneurship. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s in communications in 1995, and from Penn State with a master’s in communications in 1997.  

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 association with the color orange. He also talks about jumping into writing a thriller novel to challenge himself creatively. Joe also shares his insights around the difference between content creators and content entrepreneurs, and why he believes it’s an important distinction.

At the end of the episode, current Penn State student Riley Auer joins the conversation. Riley is the founder of Bootleg Boomerangs, which sells high-quality hand-made wooden boomerangs. Bootleg Boomerangs has a large focus on content creation, with over 31,000 subscribers on YouTube. Riley talks through some challenges he faces in growing his business with Joe, who gives advice regarding ad placement in video content, finding the true super fans through exclusive giveaways and experiences, and striking the balance between being a business and being a place for fun content.

Episode Chapters

0:00 – 3:49 Intro and journey summary  

3:49 – 4:43 Growing up next to Cedar Point Amusement Park 

4:43 – 6:42 Undergrad at Bowling Green – Do I have to declare a major?

6:42 – 9:32 Graduate student at Penn State, teaching speech class 

9:32 – 12:12 Struggling on the job search 

12:12 – 15:16 The evolving business model of content marketing 

15:16– 19:30 The inception of Content Marketing Institute 

19:30 – 22:11 The moment he realized he had made it 

22:11 – 24:34 What’s the deal with Joe’s orange self-branding? 

24:34 – 28:36  Setting goals and exiting CMI 

28:36 – 30:41 Taking a sabbatical 

30:41 – 31:59 Becoming a thriller author 

31:59 – 33:45 Launching the Tilt and Content Entrepreneur Expo 

33:45 –  35:54 The difference between Content Creator vs. Content Entrepreneur 

35:54 – 37:50 Defining the Tilt’s audience 

37:50 – 38:32 How to get connected to Joe 

38:32 – 40:01 The Orange Effect Foundation, providing access to speech and play therapy for autistic children 

40:01 – 55:51 Student Questions – Joe gives actionable advice to Riley Auer, Bootleg Boomerangs founder 




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



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Exploring Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) with Former NFL Player Omar X. Easy
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Omar X. Easy, Ph.D., is the recently appointed director of the all-new Penn State Brand Academy. The Brand Academy, a project recently launched by Invent Penn State in partnership with Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and funded through the Wally Triplett Brand Academy Endowment, is designed to support student-athletes to manage and leverage their personal brand, name, image and likeness (NIL), and support their entrepreneurial interests more successfully.

In this episode, Omar shares his experience growing up in Jamaica and moving to the United States as a teenager. He shares lessons learned from his time as a student-athlete at Penn State as well as his time in the NFL, where he played as a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. He then discusses his vision for The Brand Academy and how it will serve student-athletes in building and leveraging their personal brand.

At the end of the episode, current Penn State student Miranda Heffelfinger joins the conversation. She is the captain and president of the Penn State women’s rugby team. She talks to Omar about how The Brand Academy will eventually serve all student-athletes, as well as how The Brand Academy will set student-athletes up for success to continue to benefit from NIL post-graduation.




LIVE from State College: honeygrow Founder Justin Rosenberg



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LIVE from State College: honeygrow Founder Justin Rosenberg
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Justin Rosenberg is Founder and CEO of honeygrow, a fast-casual stir-fry and salad concept founded in Philadelphia in 2012. With a mission to create a unique, spirited brand focused on simple, wholesome foods, Rosenberg has led the company’s creation and growth, which currently has 41 locations.

In this special LIVE episode recording, which took place during Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC on Wednesday, March 20, Justin shares his story of perseverance and success with honeygrow.

Justin first pitched honeygrow 93 times to investors before finally landing a deal and opening the first location in the Rittenhouse neighborhood of Philadelphia. Since then, the company has raised over $80 million in equity financing and has grown into the Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington DC and the New York City metro areas.

Towards the middle of the episode, in-person audience members got the opportunity to ask Justin a few questions of their own.

Watch the livestream on YouTube: https://youtube.com/live/xzn1YlRV_0A?feature=share




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



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Windows of Opportunity: Navigating Growth with MITER Brands CEO Matt DeSoto
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Be sure to come to our upcoming LIVE podcast episode recording with honeygrow CEO & founder, Justin Rosenberg!

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. Under Matt’s leadership, MITER Brands has become one of North America’s largest fabricators of vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass windows and patio doors. 

In this episode, Matt talks about his experience working for Student Painters as a student at Penn State, enduring the Great Recession of 2008, how he and his team maintain top-quality products and service, as well as how he prioritizes giving back to the communities they work in through the MITER Foundation.

At the end of the episode, current Penn State student Ryn Rizer joins the conversation. Ryn is a junior studying mechanical engineering. He works as a technician at OriginLabs, Invent Penn State’s newest prototyping and fabrication space in downtown State College. Ryn talks to Matt about how MITER has implemented robotics and AI to make jobs safer and production and sales more efficient.




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



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Scaling a Stress-free Home Remodeling Business with West Shore Home Founder B.J. Werzyn
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B.J. Werzyn is the founder and CEO of West Shore Home, one of the largest direct to consumer home remodelers in the nation. Through a combination of acquisitions and new office openings, West Shore Home has over 38 locations in 18 states with over $750 million in revenue.

In this episode, B.J. talks about how he is revolutionizing a traditionally fragmented and tech averse industry. He talks through how West Shore Home mapped out the 67 processes of home remodeling, removed inefficiencies, and implemented streamlined processes empowered by technology to ultimately make the easiest, quickest, most stress-free customer experience.

At the end of the episode, current Penn State student Jennifer Natale joins the conversation. Jennifer is a senior at Penn State majoring in finance with a minor in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is the president of the Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society at Penn State. She talks to B.J. about overcoming initial entrepreneurial obstacles. B.J. graduated from Penn State in 1999.




Winter Break Message II and January Episode Preview – West Shore Home



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Dare to Disrupt
Winter Break Message II and January Episode Preview - West Shore Home
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We are taking a break this December, but we’ll be back in late January with an episode featuring B.J. Werzyn, the founder and CEO of West Shore Home, one of the largest direct-to-consumer home remodelers in the nation. Listen to this episode for a quick preview of the interview. Happy holidays!




Putting the ‘Care’ in Home Care with Norm Potter



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Putting the 'Care' in Home Care with Norm Potter
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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. Allegiance Transportation is a non-emergency medical transportation provider, specializing in wheelchair and ambulatory transport services. Griswold Home Care provides non-medical home care to elderly adults by referring professional caregivers for personal care, homemaking, and companionship services.

In this episode, Norm talks about why he decided to make a career switch from banking to higher education to now running two businesses in the non-medical home care and transportation industries. He also shares his journey battling cancer and how it has changed his outlook on life.

At the end of the episode, biomedical engineering doctoral candidate Josh Reynolds joins the conversation. His startup, Atlas Biotech, is striving to overcome drug resistance and accelerate drug discovery efforts in the fight against cancer. He recently participated in the Penn State NSF I-Corps short course program and the Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank FastTrack Accelerator. 

Norm graduated from Penn State with a degree in finance and economics.