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White House to feature student entrepreneur, business instructor

Sidnee Peck
August 16, 2011

The White House will honor an innovative student who started his own business and an instructor from the W. P. Carey School of Business on Aug. 18. The two will be recognized at a Washington event designed to highlight young entrepreneurs and their importance to America’s future.

“Arizona State University has placed a major emphasis on encouraging student entrepreneurship, and the W. P. Carey School of Business continues to expand its strengths in this area,” says the school’s dean, Robert Mittelstaedt. “We understand the importance of entrepreneurial skills to all future business leaders, and we’re proud to have our students and faculty applauded for their achievements.”

Sidnee Peck, director of entrepreneurial initiatives at the W. P. Carey School of Business, is expected to speak at the White House about the benefits of teaching entrepreneurship to college students. Peck heads up a popular introductory entrepreneurship class that shows students how to turn their passion – anything from music to law to sports – into a business enterprise. Beginning this spring, Peck will also teach new classes called Semester to Launch and The Venture Capital Experience, which go deeper into launching and raising capital for businesses.

“These classes are open to all students, regardless of whether they are business majors,” explains Peck, a lecturer at the W. P. Carey School. “We want to give young people a firsthand understanding of what it really takes to make a business work, so they’ll have an advantage in the real world. Already, we’ve had some excellent students who are receiving a lot of attention.”

Among those high-achieving W. P. Carey School of Business students are Zach Hamilton and Jeremy Ellens. Ellens, a management major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, was recently named a finalist for Entrepreneur magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2011” award. He helped create a differential-diagnosis iPhone app that lets veterinarians evaluate animals’ symptoms and narrow down what illnesses they may have.

Zach Hamilton, another management major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, will be recognized at the White House this week for creating and owning Devil Wash. The successful, environmentally friendly pressure-washing business recently got him named an “All Star Student Entrepreneur” by Forbes magazine.

“I’m really excited to meet the other student entrepreneurs coming to the White House this week, to see what they’ve done and how they did it,” says Hamilton. “I’ve never been to Washington before, so I’m planning to see the sights and enjoy this.”

The event is part of the “Champions of Change” series in which the White House highlights ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things in their communities. It is likely both Peck and Hamilton will meet Vice President Joe Biden while there.

In addition to Peck’s popular entrepreneurship classes for undergraduates, the W. P. Carey School of Business also offers a certificate in small business and entrepreneurship. At the graduate level, the school recently announced expanded offerings in the area of leadership and a required class for all full-time and executive MBA students in entrepreneurship.

Also in the area of entrepreneurship, the school is doing groundbreaking research on how existing organizations can learn to be more entrepreneurial, especially with regard to continuous improvement. Plus, more entrepreneurship faculty members have been hired, and the Spirit of Enterprise Center continues to be a resource for small businesses in the Phoenix area. The center helps hundreds of businesses each year, offering companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience.

For more information about the W. P. Carey School of Business, go to