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Lycoming College has named Marshall D. Welch III the first person to hold the Stanley ’80 and Jolene Hall ’80 Sloter Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship. As the former CEO of Autotrakk LLC, a leading automobile leasing company based in Williamsport, Pa., Welch was chosen for the endowed chair based on his success as an entrepreneur and for advising businesses domestically and around the world. He has assumed a leave from his position as a Lycoming College trustee and secretary of the board for the duration of his employ by the College.
Stanley Sloter, chair of the board of trustees and president of Paradigm Companies, along with his wife, Joey, who chairs the board of directors for Rocketship Education’s Washington, D.C., based schools, designed this endowed chair as a way to help Lycoming develop a distinctive academic program in the burgeoning field of entrepreneurship. By exposing students to accelerated learning in entrepreneurship, the Sloters hope students will develop the skills needed to start a business and better understand it as a career option.
Welch joins Lycoming College’s department of business administration and its well-respected Institute for Management Studies (IMS). The addition of focused entrepreneurial education, coupled with Welch’s practical, real-world experience will notably enhance IMS offerings to Lycoming business and non-business majors.
“As the Sloter endowed chair, my number one objective is to create a world-class experience for students by joining the liberal arts with entrepreneurship,” said Welch. “I believe that the core knowledge of any entrepreneur is first their primary field of study, whether that is biology, archaeology, music or any of the other majors at Lycoming. Then we add the practical knowledge and skills necessary to help our students become successful entrepreneurs or even work for entrepreneurial companies.”
Welch has an accomplished record as an entrepreneur, with extensive experience advising and managing financially distressed organizations, as well as in turnaround management, merger integration and emerging growth companies, both domestic and international. He serves on boards of directors for organizations in the Williamsport community and around the world, where he practices a back-to-basics, straightforward approach to strategic planning, execution of tactical plans and financial management. Welch has been part of startup and emerging growth companies in the automotive, banking, energy, food manufacturing, software (supply chain management), medical device development and medical (cancer) research industries located in Europe, Asia and the United States. He holds two U.S. patents for medical devices, which were sold to a NYSE listed company. He holds a bachelor’s in economics and German from Gettysburg College, a master’s in business administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management, and a master’s in engineering in the management of technology from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and The Wharton School.
Welch will initially teach “Entrepreneurship & Society” along with “Organization Development,” but hopes to also quickly establish a May travel course and begin working with the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences to establish a variety of internships with emerging growth companies, both in the United States and abroad. Additionally, he will launch student and alumni group, Warrior Entrepreneurship. This campus-wide organization will bring together aspiring entrepreneurs with those who have already have established entrepreneurial endeavors across a wide range of interests, both for-profit and not-for-profit.
“Marshall Welch is an outstanding choice to lead the entrepreneurship education program at Lycoming College. His background as an entrepreneurial business leader with experience in a variety of industries and in businesses, both large and small, makes him uniquely qualified to help students understand how businesses actually work,” said Sloter. “Lycoming has always been attractive to first generation college students, many of whom have been exposed to, or have an interest in, entrepreneurial pursuits. The entrepreneurship initiative at Lycoming will help these students, whether business majors or otherwise, consider how to incorporate entrepreneurship into their ultimate careers.”
The Sloters themselves are both accomplished entrepreneurs. Stan established Paradigm Companies and developed the firm into one of the leading real estate developers in the DC Metro area. He has inspired many students and aspiring business leaders through his teaching at George Washington University, and also established the Paradigm internship program and provided financial support to launch the Williamsport Internship Summer Experience. Joey has committed much of her work to ensuring that children from low income families receive a quality education, and serves on the boards of Teach for America DC Region and Rocketship Education. Most recently, she was instrumental in establishing and launching the Rocketship charter schools in Washington, D.C.