How do businesses go from tiny startups to industry titans? What does it take to be an entrepreneur? And what does this look like amid a global pandemic? Join us for the 42nd annual Business Day to discover the answers to these questions and more!
Hosted by the Dean's Student Leadership Council (DSLC), Business Day 2021 features keynote addresses from prominent entrepreneurs, a panel hosted by Defy Ventures and a pitch competition for student entrepreneurs.
Learn from Entrepreneurship Experts
Keynote speakers Traci Lounsbury, CEO and majority owner of Workplace ELEMENTS, and Josh Moser and Blake Craig, founders of Laborjack, will share perspectives on entrepreneurship gained through exceptional careers starting successful for- and non-profit ventures. Lounsbury will share her company’s story and advice on how to thrive as a young entrepreneur, and Moser and Craig will discuss their experience of being a successful entrepreneur.
Panelists from Defy Ventures, which works with incarcerated individuals in Colorado to develop entrepreneurial and professional skills, will discuss how entrepreneurship increases post-release employment opportunities and lowers recidivism rates.
Following the keynote speakers and panel, DSLC and the College's Institute for Entrepreneurship are hosting a networking session and the Spring Business Showcase, a student pitch competition. During the showcase, teams of students will present business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win cash prizes. Students interested in participating in the competition should apply online by March 17.
Please join us on April 1 to learn more about entrepreneurship in our community and our world! All CSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members are invited to attend this free event.
Schedule of Events
Noon - 1 pm - Keynote speakers | Josh Moser and Blake Craig, Founders of Laborjack
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm - Panel discussion | Hosted by Defy Ventures
3 pm - 4 pm - Keynote speaker | Traci Lounsbury, CEO and Majority Owner of Workspace ELEMENTS
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Venture RAMS Spring Business Showcase | Hosted by the Institute for Entrepreneurship
View the event program at csu.bz/business-day for a full overview of events.
All sessions will take place online. CSU Community members may join the interactive session using their EID, while access to a livestream is open to everyone.
Traci Lounsbury - CEO and Majority Owner, Workplace ELEMENTS
Traci Lounsbury has spent more than two decades at the helm of four successful commercial interiors businesses. She has grown Workplace ELEMENTS into one of the largest woman-owned businesses in Colorado, with 178 employees and forecasted 2020 revenues of $106 million.
With foresight surrounding the changing work environment, Traci structured ELEMENTS’ business model to provide completely integrated solutions to address every aspect of the work environment. From walls and flooring to technology, environmental graphic design, art and furnishings, ELEMENTS brings together everything businesses need to create customized and flexible work environments at every scale. ELEMENTS is a place maker.
As a result of Traci’s forward-thinking approach, ELEMENTS has become a recognized leader in next-generation commercial interiors, completing major projects for clients including Charles Schwab, Optiv, Johns Manville, Google, Home Advisor and Pop Sockets.
Traci is a board member of the Downtown Denver Partnership and the council chair of The Commons on Champa’s Women on the Rise program, which supports Denver’s continued economic vitality by providing mentorship, counsel and support to the next generation of female entrepreneurs. She is also an Employer’s Council board member and is on the Leadership Council for Positive Coaching Alliance.
She is the recipient of the 2017 Denver Business Journal’s Outstanding Women in Business award, the 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Mountain Desert Region and the national Enterprising Woman of the Year award. She has an MBA in finance from the University of Colorado Denver and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Colorado State University.
Josh Moser - Founder of Laborjack
Josh is a Fort Collins native, avid soccer player, skier, pilot, CSU College of Business finance graduate and most importantly founder of Laborjack. Josh is the Head of Product at Laborjack but points out that as an entrepreneur you wear many hats. Laborjack is on a mission to take their gig economy platform to every city across the nation.
Blake Craig - Founder of Laborjack
Blake moved to Fort Collins to pursue a business degree from CSU. After graduating, Blake planted his roots in Fort Collins and began a career in commercial real estate. While working full time he found that pursuing his entrepreneurial passions was a great remedy for his inability to sit still. Blake founded Laborjack as a side business which quickly blossomed into his passion and full-time commitment.
Stacey Putka - Executive Director, Defy Colorado
Stacey believes fiercely in challenging perceptions and in the power of transformation. Growing up in an entrepreneurial household with a father who took full advantage of his second chance in life after recovering from addiction, Stacey has always been inspired to facilitate transformation in the lives of others. Stacey received a bachelor of science in psychology from Colorado State University and a master’s in social work from the University of Denver. Prior to joining Defy Colorado, Stacey provided mental health and substance abuse treatment to men on parole and probation.
Ismerai McCarragher - Program Director, Defy Colorado
Izzy believes people are not meant to experience life alone and that laughter is healing. Her belief stems from personal experience. After she immigrated from Mexico with her mother, the community they found helped them get back on their feet. When Izzy was adopted by her father the acceptance extended to her by his family helped strengthen her drive for connection and humor. The professional mentoring Izzy
received allowed her to practice her skills while learning from the lives of others. These experiences led Izzy to gain her bachelor of science in psychology and her master of arts in youth and family development. Today she uses her expertise to build community and educational programs.
Nick Scofield — Senior Operations Associate
Nick has been with Defy Ventures Colorado from the very beginning, starting with DVC’s first cohort at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. He has a background in IT and web development, having spent nearly eight years leading a website that generated $10-16M in revenue for the state of Colorado annually. Having a bachelor of science in marketing from Metropolitan State University of Denver, he looks forward to matching his technical skills with his deep understanding of the struggles Defy’s graduates face upon release.