Inside Ivy Tech: Try, try again

Morgan Williams, second from left, is the College's 2015 New Venture champion. Acknowledging his victory are, from left, James Tolbert, assistant professor of business administration; Steve Piekarski, with ProFed Federal Credit Union; and Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. Photo by Zeke Bryant

Morgan Williams, second from left, is the College’s 2015 New Venture champion. Acknowledging his victory are, from left, James Tolbert, assistant professor of business administration; Steve Piekarski, with ProFed Federal Credit Union; and Jerrilee K. Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northeast. Photo by Zeke Bryant

Alumnus wins New Venture Competition the second time around

Look at Morgan Williams, and it’s hard to miss his ring. It’s huge, and it’s something he wears with pride—you can just tell.

In 2009, when Williams played wide receiver at Trine University, he and his team, which went undefeated, won the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference Championship. The ring commemorates that win, that dedication, that success.

As a high school football player, Williams says, the recruiting process was stressful.

“It was all put on my shoulders,” Williams says. “I had to get my own information to colleges. I figured if there was a company that could do that for an athlete that was in my situation, it would give parents and athletes piece of mind.”

Thus, Elite Performance Scouting was born. Last month, Williams presented his business to 50-plus community judges, who voted him the winner of the New Venture Competition at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast.

Williams’ prize: $35,000 in capital funds.

2015 marks the second time Williams entered the competition. He lost in 2013.

“That’s kind of what made me strive to dig deeper into what it takes to be a business owner and to make EPS what it is today,” he says.

How EPS works

Williams attended high school in Georgia and trained with Blast Training and its owner, Steve Putman, a college and NFL trainer.

Williams with his New Venture Competition trophy

Williams with his New Venture Competition trophy

However, the company did not market athletes to colleges.

“I spent 60 percent of my time playing and the other 40 percent trying to get myself a scholarship,” he says. “My senior year in high school was extremely stressful during recruiting, but I did end up getting offers. I figured if there was a company that could have done that for me, that would have made a world of difference.”

Elite Performance Scouting offers training, recruiting, marketing, and more. Camps and combines serve as evaluation days. High school and college coaches can attend and measure athletes based on timed drills. Elite Performance Scouting will record those times and compile them with highlights from the current season and an athlete’s grades to make a professional portfolio, which the company will send to schools across the country. Williams also manages a database of online player profiles, which college coaches can access for free, at epscouting.com.

One of the first things Williams plans to do with his winnings is purchase new camera equipment to better capture athletes in action. He also plans to reach out to Fort Wayne Community Schools Career Academy at Anthis, where he is on the advisory board of the IT department, to find a student who would like to intern with Elite Performance Scouting.

Eventually, Williams plans to expand Elite Performance Scouting beyond football: He wants to offer his company’s services to athletes in softball, baseball, basketball, and soccer. When the expansion starts, he will use his New Venture funds to help get the word out.

EPS’s success

Thus far, Williams’ greatest success with an athlete is Fort Wayne North Side High School graduate Randon Moore.

“He was the only athlete I had in the summer of 2012,” Williams says. “He had no offers leading into his senior year, and we put together some impressive tapes for him. At the end of his senior year, he had eight offers. He chose to sign with Nebraska–Kearney.”

Today, Williams works with 12 seniors, and he won’t know their futures until National Signing Day on Feb. 3, 2016, which is the last day a high school senior can sign a National Letter of Intent to play college football with an NCAA school. However, colleges have expressed interest in his players; The University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, Miami (Ohio) University, Trine University, and University of Saint Francis have all expressed interest in at least one of Williams’ athletes.

In Williams, athletes will find not just a trainer, but something of a mentor.

“I’m in college right now thanks to Morgan because he sent out film and helped me perfect my craft,” says Moore, who is studying sports management at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and plays cornerback. “He showed me how to better myself and be a better person on and off the field. I call him my big brother.”

Shalonda “Pinky” Saunders (left) with her company, Sew Pinky, and Guadalupe Callejas (right) with his company, The Metro Striping and Stenciling Company, were the other two New Venture Competition finalists.

For all those future New Venture champions

JB Tool, Die & Engineering Inc. and its owners, Dave and Mary Bear, have supported the New Venture Competition since its inception in 2011. This year, Dave Bear signed an agreement endowing the competition in perpetuity.

Made possible thanks to a grant from the Edward M. and Mary McCrea Wilson Foundation.

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