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VCEDC Welcomes Craig Culver
Wednesday , Oct 04, 2023
Vilas County EDC Welcomes Craig Culver to Special Student Entrepreneur Event
The Vilas County Economic Development Corporation (VCEDC) welcomed Craig Culver, Co-Founder and Former CEO of Culvers to be the featured guest at a Special Entrepreneur Event on October 4th at Northland Pines High School (NPHS). Six hundred high school and middle school students had the opportunity to hear Culver’s journey to success as well as a diverse panel of four entrepreneurs from Vilas County who shared their remarkable stories.
“The event was simply fabulous,” said Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director. “It was all about educating and inspiring our young people to think about the opportunities that being an entrepreneur offers. And, the potential that they too could have successful careers being an entrepreneur, hopefully right here in Vilas County,” she said.
In addition, Schmitz extended her gratitude to NPHS Superintendent, Scott Foster, faculty, and staff for their tremendous partnership in support of the program. “We’re so fortunate to have such stellar education leaders in our community, who understand the value programs like this can give to future generations,” said Schmitz.
The two-hour event, moderated by Schmitz, offered Culver and the panelists from the building trades, real estate, high-tech, and private chef, time to each share their story and answer questions from the students. Culver, who donated his time for the VCEDC event, addressed the students for the first hour.
“Craig is a shining example of entrepreneurship,” said Schmitz. “He is an inspiration and a wonderful example of what’s possible. He started from very humble beginnings, with one restaurant in Sauk City, WI, growing the franchise into a nationwide sensation. His story fits perfectly with our mission to support entrepreneurs, growing a strong and diverse economy.”
In the second hour, the four panelists, including Chef Luke Olejniczak, Tech Entrepreneur/Remote Worker Jonathan Sharp, Clay Veldt, President of Bear Country Builders; and, Brooke Veldt, Director of Property Management for Bear Country Builders. Ellen Manthein, Dean of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nicolet College also spoke to highlight the entrepreneur courses at Nicolet College.
Closing out the program, the VCEDC presented a $500 check to the President of the DECA Student Organization at Northland Pines High School, to support the DECA mission to prepare emerging leaders for careers as entrepreneurs.
Top horizontal: VCEDC Leadership & Entrepreneur Panelists (l to r): VCEDC Board Chairman Jim Tuckwell, Remote Worker/Tech Entrepreneur Jonathan Sharp, Private Chef Luke Olejniczak, VCEDC Executive Director Kathy Schmitz, Craig Culver, Bear Country Builders Director of Property Management Brooke Veldt, and Bear Country Builders President Clay Veldt.
Bottom Horizonal: NPHS Superintendent Scott Foster (left) joins VCEDC's Kathy Schmitz and Jim Tuckwell on stage as the VCEDC presents a $500.00 check to the Northland Pines High School DECA Student Association President for students studying entrepreneurship.
Middle: Craig Culver answers questions from the NPHS students during the Q&A portion of Culver's presentation, moderated by Kathy Schmitz.
Right Vertical: Craig Culver, Kathy Schmitz, Jim Tuckwell
Bottom Left: Craig Culver