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My Excellent Summer Adventure

July  2016

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By Andy Thunnell

Andy Thunnell

Last month I packed up my suitcase, kissed my wife and two little boy’s goodbye, and hit the road on an epic road trip traveling with Dr. Mike Glauser, the Executive Director of the Jon M. Huntsman School’s Clark Center for Entrepreneurship. We spent two weeks driving over 4,000 miles, visiting seven different states and witnessing the important role that small businesses play in our economy and in the lives of everyday Americans.

I joined Mike and his son Jay on a tour they had planned to promote Mike’s recently published book titled Main Street Entrepreneur. His book features 100 entrepreneurs in 100 cities who he met while biking across the United States two summers ago. He and his team wanted to see what every day Americans are doing to create livelihoods for themselves and gain insight into their struggles and successes by hearing their stories firsthand. They biked from town to town across Main Street America meeting incredible people that have found a way to follow their passions and create jobs doing it.

Mike Glauser Filming

The 14-day adventure I joined Mike on this summer took us through Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Besides holding a handful of events for Mike’s book promotion, we spent the majority of our time interviewing successful small business owners and speaking with experts about the future of our economy. We also met with USU alumni and Dr. Glauser shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with those former Aggies focusing on the past 25 years of his career. He has dedicated over two decades to starting and growing his own successful companies, studying entrepreneurship and mentoring other business owners. Those two weeks by his side gave me a once in a lifetime experience and the best part about it is that we get to do it all over again. We are back on the road heading eastbound, anticipating 6,000 more miles of driving during the next two and a half weeks, visiting another 12 states, and meeting with more small business owners, economists, and Aggie alumni.

As a former Huntsman student, I was taught the importance of having an entrepreneurial spirit, one of the four pillars of the Huntsman School. My days as a student gave me an incredible start in business by opening my eyes to the world of entrepreneurship and the countless opportunities that exist for all of us. I gained the needed confidence and knowledge to pursue my own business endeavors and I graduated with a passion for entrepreneurship which has continued to grow over the years. Being part of this trip has given me an even deeper appreciation for entrepreneurship, further fueling my drive and desire to help Huntsman students in my current position with the Clark Center by motivating them to pursue the things that they are interested in and helping them figure out how they can take those interests and package them into something that other individuals would find value in.

Each one of us possesses different skill sets and has different interests. This tour has confirmed to me that it is possible to create a livelihood for ourselves and for our families by following our passions and that creating a job doing what we love is absolutely attainable. I’ve met individuals on every stop of this journey who are living proof of it. People like Joe Brandl, who found success in Dubois, Wyoming, making a living tanning hides and teaching people outdoor survival skills. Or Tonya Montalvo in Oakland, California, who is a huge proponent of creating safer communities and has helped achieve this by providing private security in the Bay Area. These are only two examples of an army of 28 million small business owners that stretches to all corners of this great country and the call to join them extends to us all. I’m convinced that anyone with a strong work ethic coupled with perseverance and tenacity can join the ranks of the incredible men and women who have found a way to live their dreams.

If you want to catch us during our eastern tour, please go here to get details regarding a few of our stops. If you are in a state that is not listed feel free to reach out to see if we are stopping by a city near you.

Contact: andy.thunell@usu.edu