Foreword – Spring 2011

I’ve always thought entrepreneurs had guts.

Lots of guts.

I’m what you would call a “risk-averse” person.  Just listening to Kevin Kimle recount how he left behind a successful career at a well-established company to strike out on his own with a brand new company made me sweat. No health insurance? Just the thought makes me feel ill.

I imagined that entrepreneurs were risk-takers welcoming “opportunities” that would make many of us squirm. Sleepless nights, dwindling bank accounts and neglected home lives? I figured they were all part of the game.

Then I talked with a few of our most successful entrepreneurial alumni (see Q&A on page 18). They helped me realize that to entrepreneurs, it is about not taking a risk. They believe so strongly in their idea that, to them, leaving it idle is the real risk.

This issue of STORIES will offer insight into the lives of selected alumni, students, faculty and staff who embody the entrepreneurial spirit that is prevalent in agriculture and life sciences.

This issue highlights the educational efforts of our Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative and other student programs that are giving our students the tools to strike out on their own, or be entrepreneurial within the organization of their choice.

Kevin Kimle, the director of the initiative (profiled on page 6), makes entrepreneurship contagious. Through his classes and programs, entrepreneurial principles sound exciting, rewarding and achievable. Even the most risk-averse of us may just be inspired to take a risk and live out our passion.

Kind regards,

Melea Reicks Licht