Pirate EntrepreneursECU's Entrepreneurial Initiative

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Ms. Marty E. Hackney

Marty is Director of ECU’s Entrepreneurial Initiative (EI) since 2005. She is the co-founder and administrator of the Eastern NC – Investor Network, and has assisted two other communities start angel networks. These groups have invested millions in eastern NC technology companies. She along with ECU graduate students employed at the EI, have assisted many entrepreneurs in the commercialization process and preparation of funding. Products include medical devices, drugs, health care systems, energy efficient systems and services. She has over 20 years of combined business experience in manufacturing, FDA clean room regulations, retail, real estate, and consultation/counseling. She has owned several companies and started the first video retail store in eastern NC that operated profitably for over seven years. She assisted in the startup of the first manufacturer of tinted soft contact lenses in Raleigh, NC that grew to $9.5 million annual revenue. Marty serves on the Advisory Committee for Biotechnology in eastern NC and on other civic and business boards. She has a MBA from ECU, BS in Health & Human Performance from UNC-G, and is a Certified Master Practitioner and Modeler in NLP from NLP University, UC-SC, Santa Cruz, CA.

Shan Newton

Shan is an East Carolinian scholar, having acquired his Bachelor's degree in Classics with a focus on the ancient art of rhetoric, ancient music, Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, and the works of Plato. After acquiring a Certificate in Accounting from Pitt Community College, he enrolled in ECU's dual-degree graduate program for a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Science in Sustainable Tourism (MS-ST). He has held various research assistantships over a wide range of topics including financial analysis of alternative energy projects, primary data collection for supply chain research, and evidence-based management for the tourism and hospitality industry. Shan's tourism studies now explore the topic of 3D printing for the hospitality and tourism industry. Shan was nominated in 2012 for the Student Engagement and Outreach Scholar Academy (SEOSA), and currently works on technology transfer and commercialization of medical innovations at the Entrepreneurial Initiative. His team collaborates with ECU's Center for Applied Psychophysiology and conducts market research and focus group preparations for a medical device innovation. Shan graduates in May, 2014."

A.J. Hamel

A.J. Hamel joins us as our only undergraduate intern at the EI as he is a sophomore double majoring in Finance & Accounting at the East Carolina University College of Business. Originally from Vermont, AJ brings a unique background as he spent some years away from academia pursuing an athletic endeavor playing Junior Hockey in Boston for the now Middlesex Islanders Hockey Club from 2010-2012. Over this past summer AJ moved up to Cambridge, Massachusetts and completed an internship with the New England Venture Capital Association working in the renowned Cambridge Innovation Center. An aspiring Private Equity fund manager, AJ brings a unique skill set to the EI that we are fortunate to have compliment our Graduate Assistants.

Outside of the EI, AJ can be found frequenting the North Carolina golf courses and is also the current captain of the ECU Ice Hockey team here in Greenville.

Jonathan Rorech

Jonathan is currently a full-time MBA student, a facilitator for the Leadership and Team Development Program, the founder and president of a student motorcycle safety club, and a free lance video production and marketing consultant. Jonathan’s extensive background in advertising and multimedia productions has enabled him to work with such organizations as the NFL, the DoD, Vanderbilt University, the PGA, and various other international companies. As a founder a 3 different multimedia companies, Jonathan bring a diverse entrepreneurial background to EI.

Upon graduation, Jonathan plans on working for a major international motion picture company, opening a sustainable bed and breakfast somewhere in the coastal regions of Central America with his beautiful and loving wife Jessica, and continuing to traverse the globe; preferably on his motorcycle.

Taylor Kern

Taylor graduated from ECU with a B.A. in English and began her MBA in the Fall of 2013. She joined us here at the Entrepreneurship Initiative to assist in the managing of our second annual Eastern NC Entrepreneurial Summit conference and is currently planning an innovation and business plan competition (encbusinessplan.com). She has studied abroad in Italy, where she developed a sense of culture and a passion for travel and international relations, and upon graduating in December 2014, Taylor plans to work abroad in marketing and event management for a multinational company.

When she is not at the Entrepreneurial Initiative, Taylor is at her barn horseback riding.

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