Mark Olchefske is the director of the Center for Excellence in Entrepreneurship and International Business at Northern State University. His role is to stimulate business creation on and off campus. He also is principal investigator on research to determine the effects of introducing elementary students to entrepreneurship principles.
For a quarter century, Mark pursued his corporate and entrepreneurial passions in the private sector with leadership positions in product development, operations, import, export, sales and marketing, and general management. He oversaw marketing for a $350 million product line at a Fortune 500 company, was an international technical liaison and president of a multi-million-dollar multinational. He has started, bought, sold, and turned around businesses and divisions. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering for the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Mark left the private sector in 2006 for North Iowa Area Community College’s nationally recognized John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, winning awards from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship, and MetLife. At the center, he provided growth assistance to North Iowa entrepreneurs through the Iowa Business Accelerator program and the Iowa Targeted Small Business program
He also oversaw the North Iowa Regional Business Incubator System, helped create a nano loan program to support startup microenterprises and co-developed the Ultimate Sales Academy, a professional business-to-business selling skills program. He is a co-author of the Virtual Incubation Network Toolkit, a project of the Obama Administration’s Startup America initiative and funded by the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation. Mark has taught university courses in entrepreneurship, leadership, business-to-business marketing and management science.
Contact him at 605-626-7721 or at email@example.com.
Liz Hannum is the part-time coordinator for the Center of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and International business. She also is part-time coordinator for the Office of International Programs' Study Abroad Program.
Liz helps the CEIB director expand entrepreneurship opportunities across the NSU campus and northeast South Dakota.
Liz grew up in Boston and holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She moved all over the country to work for small businesses and startups in the tourist industry and educational services.
She eventually returned to Boston, where she combined interests to start a nonprofit organization supporting refugees from Burma. Liz first started working with the Burmese when conducting research for a master's degree in international development on the Thai-Burma border in western Thailand.
Liz has lived in Wyoming, Colorado, Alaska, Thailand, Denmark, Ireland, and Peru. She has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, South and Central America, and Europe. She recently returned from western Kenya, where she created and taught entrepreneurship classes for rural women.
Contact Liz at 605-626-3163 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.