March 26, 2012. Officials from Appalachian State University and Transportation Insight
“broke ground” Friday, March 23, on space inside Raley Hall that will become the
new home for the Walker College of Business’s Transportation Insight Center for
Entrepreneurship and take it to the next level.
Made possible with a private $1 million gift, the 1,700-square-foot,
contemporarily designed space will include four offices, student lounge, meeting
area and incubator office space to support students trying to launch their own
businesses. The facility will open in fall 2012.
Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock thanked Paul Thompson, CEO of Hickory-based
Transportation Insight, for his support of the renovation, saying the expanded
center “is a dream come true” that can further enhance collaboration between
entrepreneurs and Appalachian.
A successful businessman, Thompson said he envisions Appalachian becoming North
Carolina’s “flagship institution” for academic involvement in entrepreneurship.
“The spirit is here,” he said. “You start with the end in mind and my plan is to
have Appalachian be among the nation’s top 10 entrepreneurial schools.”
He said he wanted to get involved with Appalachian’s entrepreneurship
initiatives because the world has changed on two fronts. “First, I never dreamed
of being an entrepreneur when I graduated from college. Today, if you have an
unbelievable idea and the Internet you can start a business,” he said. “Second,
we have business instability and today students see each job as a short-term
opportunity, so they’re thinking about entrepreneurship.”
Walker College of Business Dean Randy Edwards said the new space will greatly
expand the physical area of the center, and because of its location next to the
building’s main lobby, make it more visible to students and local business people.
“This new space will create great opportunities for our students to interact
with entrepreneurs and members of the community,” Edwards said. He added that
the college’s entrepreneurship concentration in the Department of Management has
the fifth-highest enrollment of any program in the college.
The center’s director, Heather Dixon-Fowler, said “The goal is to provide more
resources and opportunities for students.”
The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship supports students from
all academic disciplines with programs, resources and other support to help them
become successful entrepreneurs.
Transportation Insight has been nationally recognized by Inc. Magazine for its
entrepreneurial excellence. Referring to the logistics industry as one of the
country’s main economic engines, Inc. Magazine has ranked the Hickory-based
third-party logistics provider as one of the fastest-growing privately held
companies in the United States for the last four years in a row. Founded in
1999, Transportation Insight is among an elite group of Inc. 5000 companies
experiencing significant and continuous expansion in years 10 and beyond of
doing business. That positive trend reflects the company’s entrepreneurial
commitment to quality continuous improvement, the creation of long-term business
value and the development of sustained competitive advantage for its clients.
Press Release from ASU