Join us in celebrating the inaugural class of the American Academy of Entrepreneurs (AAE). As a group these second-stage business leaders embrace what Ed Lowe believed as a truism about running a business: “If we are to take advantage of opportunities, we must be ready to change.” Congratulations, inductees!

Join us in celebrating the inaugural class of the American Academy of Entrepreneurs (AAE). As a group these second-stage business leaders embrace what Ed Lowe believed as a truism about running a business: “If we are to take advantage of opportunities, we must be ready to change.” Congratulations, inductees!

The American Academy of Entrepreneurs

Robert AungstRocks Sticks and Hell LLCInducted Oct. 2021

Robert Aungst

Rocks Sticks and Hell LLC

Inducted Oct. 2021

Ron Ben-ZeevWorld Housing Solution Inc.Inducted Oct. 2021, Jan. 2022

Ron Ben-Zeev

World Housing Solution Inc.

Inducted Oct. 2021, Jan. 2022

Ted BillWire Experts Group IncInducted Mar. 2021

Ted Bill

Wire Experts Group Inc

Inducted Mar. 2021

Harold BoyettBlue Streak CouriersInducted Mar. 2021

Harold Boyett

Blue Streak Couriers

Inducted Mar. 2021

Rick CastilloCastillo Engineering ServicesInducted Mar. 2021

Rick Castillo

Castillo Engineering Services

Inducted Mar. 2021

Christopher CastilloCastillo Engineering ServicesInducted Oct. 2021

Christopher Castillo

Castillo Engineering Services

Inducted Oct. 2021

Prasad ChittaluruEPIC Engineering & Consulting Group LLCInducted Oct. 2021

Prasad Chittaluru

EPIC Engineering & Consulting Group LLC

Inducted Oct. 2021

Dr. Nancy CrewsCustom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc.Inducted Mar. 2021 and Jan. 2022

Dr. Nancy Crews

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc.

Inducted Mar. 2021 and Jan. 2022

Arthur BoisfontaineCrystal Clear Imaging LLCInducted Mar. 2021

Arthur Boisfontaine

Crystal Clear Imaging LLC

Inducted Mar. 2021

Peter J. Boylan IIIBallard Brands & Ideation HospitalityInducted Mar. 2022

Peter J. Boylan III

Ballard Brands & Ideation Hospitality

Inducted Mar. 2022

Amy Boyle CollinsGambel CommunicationsInducted Mar. 2022

Amy Boyle Collins

Gambel Communications

Inducted Mar. 2022

Thomas BrownE-Claim.com LLCInducted Mar. 2021

Thomas Brown

E-Claim.com LLC

Inducted Mar. 2021

Simone BruniThe Demo Diva LLCInducted Mar. 2022

Simone Bruni

The Demo Diva LLC

Inducted Mar. 2022

Christopher Cantrall EmCee Research LLCInducted Mar. 2022

Christopher Cantrall

EmCee Research LLC

Inducted Mar. 2022

Rodney Greenup Jr.Greenup IndustriesInducted Mar. 2021

Rodney Greenup Jr.

Greenup Industries

Inducted Mar. 2021

Vince GremillionRestech Information Services Inc.Inducted Mar. 2022

Vince Gremillion

Restech Information Services Inc.

Inducted Mar. 2022

Bonnie AlfonsoAlfieInducted Feb. 2021

Bonnie Alfonso

Alfie

Inducted Feb. 2021

Patti EisenbraunBrown Iron BrewhouseInducted Feb. 2021

Patti Eisenbraun

Brown Iron Brewhouse

Inducted Feb. 2021

David GalbenskiLiving Liver FoundationInducted Feb. 2021

David Galbenski

Living Liver Foundation

Inducted Feb. 2021

Cathy KochK-Tec SystemsInducted Feb. 2021

Cathy Koch

K-Tec Systems

Inducted Feb. 2021

Adam McFarlinKalamazoo Candle CompanyInducted Feb. 2021

Adam McFarlin

Kalamazoo Candle Company

Inducted Feb. 2021

Stacy PilleraOlympus FareInducted Feb. 2021

Stacy Pillera

Olympus Fare

Inducted Feb. 2021

Ryan RoffBold SocksInducted Feb. 2021

Ryan Roff

Bold Socks

Inducted Feb. 2021

Phil RoosGreat Lakes GrowthWorksInducted Feb. 2021

Phil Roos

Great Lakes GrowthWorks

Inducted Feb. 2021

The American Academy of Entrepreneurs (AAE) celebrates its inaugural class of 45 inductees. Hailing from Florida, Louisiana and Michigan, 23 pairs of mentors and mentees began their journey together at a kick-off retreat. What followed were six monthly calls between each mentor-mentee pair before being officially inducted into the Academy. The culmination of their AAE experience is an annual conference, held at Big Rock Valley on the Edward Lowe Foundation property.

At the heart of AAE is experience and a giving spirit. Mentors are selected for a willingness to share their vast lessons learned from running their own businesses into and through second stage. Mentees are second-stage entrepreneurs themselves who are actively working through the challenges of growing their businesses.

With guidance from their mentors, each mentee identifies their barriers to growth. During the seven-month program, mentors serve as a sounding board, connector to resources and referrals, commiserator and cheerleader. In addition to the mentor-mentee dynamic, there is mutual respect as peers, and mentors often learn as much from their mentees as the mentees do from them.

Similar to other Edward Lowe Foundation programs, strategic partnerships are a key to the American Academy. Louisiana Economic Development, GrowFL Inc. and Michigan Economic Development Corp. collaborated with the foundation to provide the infrastructure and support for these entrepreneurs in their home states.

Ed Lowe’s own journey through second stage is the backbone of the AAE program. He often wished for a mentor to help him address the tough challenges of growing his business — and he even coined the AAE name. “America is built on the backs of entrepreneurs,” Ed wrote. “If successful entrepreneurs band together to work collectively, they will make a powerful investment in the future of America.”