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FSU’s Trident Initiative Announces Annual Entrepreneur Awards for 2008

Two regional businesses were honored recently by Frostburg State University for their entrepreneurial efforts. Mike Dreisbach and Jan Russell of Frostburg were awarded the 2008 ‘Model Entrepreneur of the Year’ award and Allie and Nathan Buchman of Hagerstown won the 2008 ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. The awards were presented at the FSU’s Trident Initiative’s Annual Conference, “Regional Renaissance … Transforming Communities through Entrepreneurial Activity” held at the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown in September.

Three FSU students were also honored for their entrepreneurial ideas as part of their class, New Business Ventures.

Dreisbach and Russell are completing 10 years as owners of the Savage River Lodge in Frostburg, a premier getaway destination in Western Maryland. Both find a lot of time to give back to the community and are actively engaged in support of an array of community events and fundraisers. Additionally, they continue to enhance the greening of their business and have shown great willingness in sharing their experiences on “going green” as a positive business model.

The criteria for the Model Entrepreneur of the Year award includes: a successful entrepreneur in the region who: (1) has been in operation for at least 10 years; (2) has made significant contribution to the region’s economy through job creation; (3) has a record of mentoring newer entrepreneurs within the region; and (4) has an acknowledged record of social and philanthropic giving to the community.

The Buchmans are owners of the Potomac Bead Company in downtown Hagerstown. In just three short years, this young couple has taken a passion and converted a hobby into a business, by combining Allie’s knowledge of the art with Nathan’s business skills. Their franchised locations include Fort Myers, Fla.; Hanover, Pa.; Winchester and Alexandria, Va.; and just recently in Glasgow, Scotland. As with most entrepreneurs, their dream is ambitious and their overall vision is to continue to grow the Potomac Bead Company brand by expanding several hundred stores across the United States and Europe and becoming the largest retailer of beads and supplies worldwide.

The criteria for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award includes: a successful young entrepreneur in the region who: (1) is under the age of 35; (2) has been in operation for at least three years; (3) has contributed to the region’s economy through job creation; and (4) has shown willingness to mentor younger entrepreneurs and contribute to the community.

This year a total of 17 businesses throughout the region of Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties and neighboring counties in West Virginia and Pennsylvania were nominated.

Additionally, Eskatnaf Asfaw of Rockville, Md., Christopher Loew of Salisbury, Md., and Dyami Pipkin of Randallstown, Md., all students in the New Business Ventures course at FSU, were awarded the first, second, and third prize respectively, for their entrepreneurial ideas in an “Elevator Pitch Competition” held as a part of the conference this year. The students earned cash awards of $150, $100, and $50.

“Both sets of recipients represent the finest traditions of regional entrepreneurship. Their contributions to the region’s economy and their diligent and conscientious business practices make them eminently worthy of emulation and inspiration to all,” said Sudhir Singh, director of the Trident Initiative at FSU. Each year, the Trident Initiative recognizes entrepreneurs throughout the region that exemplify the region’s best business practices and ideas at its Annual Conference. More than 100 people from the region attended the Conference.

The Trident Initiative is a comprehensive entrepreneurship-based education program at Frostburg State University supported in part through grant from the Chicago-based Coleman Foundation, which supports entrepreneur education programs throughout the United States. For more information about the Trident Initiative, contact Singh at 301-687-4093 or e-mail -end-

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589