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We recently held our first Entrepreneur Boot Camp Reunion.

It was primarily a networking event where sixty campers and mentors shared their experiences with entrepreneurship. We had representatives from some of the earliest camps going back to 2002. Based upon the feedback from this event, we decided that we should hold an annual reunion as the participants value the opportunity to continue to network
with other campers and mentors.

One of your suggestions was to profile a successful company. For our initial profile, we choose Polytorx and Luke Pinkerton. Polytorx is a maker of helix fibers that replace rebar in concrete.

Luke was “Best of Boot Camp” in 2003 (although we didn’t formally announce the Award back then). One of his mentors from Boot Camp, Bill Orabone became his co-founder and seed stage investor and guided Luke through the process of licensing UM Technology, establishing a start-up company, raising SBIR Grants and 21st Century Jobs Funds to create a successful business. During their transition from research technology to a company,

Polytorx was one of the first Business Accelerator tenants. Polytorx continues to grow the applications and customers for its novel twister steel fibers. Today, they are shipping all the helix fiber that it can manufacture to 20 countries around the world.

As we continue to offer entrepreneurial education to companies in the Ann Arbor Region, we hope you continue to stay in touch via SPARK events like the Annual Boot Camp Reunion.

If you are not currently on the weekly SPARK Calendar and Ignition email lists, please contact Lori Emerson.

By Chuck Salley

Chuck Salley is an experienced entrepreneur who has founded two technology based companies and previously led information technology sales teams. He is past President of the Ann Arbor IT Zone and founding Executive Director of the Ann Arbor SmartZone Business Accelerator.He co-founded with Kurt Riegger, Entrepreneur Boot Camp and he continues to facilitate and teach this seminar semi-annually for Ann Arbor SPARK. 

He advises early stage technology companies and is a member of several Advisory Boards including the Frankel Fund at UM Ross Business School.