Denison Launches Program Featuring Entreprenuers
Date of Event: March 20, 2003
Posted: March 10, 2003
Denison University is launching a new entrepreneurial program this semester to help inform students about the concepts of entrepreneurial activities. Bill Thomas '85, owner and creator of Bill's Khakis, will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday (March 20) on the 3rd floor of Slayter Hall. The CEO of Siemens Business Services Canada Inc., Michael Rockert, also will give a presentation at Denison under the sponsorship of the Career Services office and Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics honorary) at 3 p.m., Friday (March 21) in Slayter Auditorium. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program is coordinated by the University Resources and Public Affairs division, and its purpose "is to expose the undergraduate liberal arts student to the idea, the notion and the concepts of entrepreneurial activities." The first visitor to campus under the program was Phil Collyer '68 of DC Cares who served as a Psi Chi Career Panelist and met with several student groups during his three-day residence in February. Thomas and Rockert's visits also are being hosted by Stibitz Computing Club, Denison International Students' Association, and Alumni Affairs.
Thomas has an interesting story to tell about his jump into the business world. An economics major at Denison, Thomas fell in love with a pair of khakis that he bought at an Army Surplus store during his college days. When he was unable to replace them, he decided to leave his job at the Chicago advertising firm at Leo Burnett to launch a new business. "These khakis were the manifestation of everything I felt was virtuous about business, entrepreneurship, and just about everything else. This was my chance to start the quintessential American company," said Thomas.
Headquartered in Thomas' hometown of Reading, Penn., Bill's Khakis has grown from a small business in 1990 to grossing sales of about $4.7 million last year. The pants retail for $90 and $95 at about 400 men's specialty shops nationwide. In April 2001, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City andInc.magazine placed Bill's Khakis 14th on the Inner City 100 list of urban business successes.
Rockert climbed the corporate ladder to a top leadership position within the highly innovative and diverse Siemens Business operation. As CEO, Rockert is responsible for establishing and implementing the overall business and marketing strategies for the company. He also is responsible for directing the sales force in the development and introduction of new service offerings.
Prior to joining Siemens in 2001, Rockert had more than 20 years of industry experience in sales, marketing and operations. He most recently held senior management positions within Xerox, focusing both on the Canadian and U.S. marketplaces.
Siemens is one of the largest and most diversified companies in the world, providing innovations in areas such as health care, information and communication, energy and power, industry and automation, transportation and lighting.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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