Dale Tweedy Mentorship Program

Why Mentorship?

Every successful person can look back and point to a few key decisions and influential people that made all the difference in their life. Hindsight is 20/20, but the real key is recognizing those decisions and those people as they come along.

Mentors are successful people with insight gathered from many years of experience who are excited to share their wisdom with you. You have plenty of life to live and discover on your own. A little help steering the ship is a good thing.

I'm a success today because I had a friend who believed in me, and I didn't have the heart to let him down. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Mentorship is a powerful thing.  Abe knows, and so does the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship. Get involved with our mentorship program. You will be glad you did. 

What to Expect?

Each month, the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) team invites a group of students to present their venture ideas to our CFE mentors in a Student Showcase videoconference. Students outline their opportunity and challenges, and our mentors provide advice and sign up to help in any way they can. It’s that simple.

2019-20 Mentors



Education: Bachelor of Banking & Finance, University of Florida

Work History: Business coach for entrepreneurs for the past 25 years. 

My Industry Expertise: Entrepreneurial companies

Why I am a Mentor: My passion is coaching entrepreneurs and those who desire to be. 

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Determine your purpose and live it.

Rachel Clifton


Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Appalachian State University

Work History: Professional Selling in the pharmaceutical industry and founder of international skincare company.  

My Industry Expertise: Entrepreneurial mindset and heart for sales  

Why I am a Mentor: To serve our students in the same capacity that my mentors served me.  

Life Lesson I want to Share: Time is a precious resource. Use it wisely.


Madelyn Hjertmann


Education: Bachelor of Arts in Dance, Columbia College; Master of Business Administration, Duke

Work History: Local entrepreneur and entrepreneurship instructor at App State. Startup coach with concentration on financials.  

My Industry Expertise: Startup Phase, social enterprise, unconventional business models

Why I am a Mentor: I love demystifying financial tools for young people with potential.

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Keep it simple. Small is beautiful.



Education: Bachelor of Science in Business

Work History: CEO of Lane Furniture for 30 years.

My Industry Expertise: Marketing, branding and general management

Why I am a Mentor: This is a chance to pay back. I am inspired by the entrepreneurial students I have met at App State.

Life Lesson I Want to Share: The most important element of success is passion.




Education: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, Appalachian State University

Work History: Serial entrepreneur. Founded and sold three technology companies. Founder and current partner in commercial real estate development company. Founder online sports equipment retailer.  

My Industry Expertise: General operations and driving growth; logistics expertise in sourcing goods and services from oversees; ecommerce and online marketing; real estate development and investments

Why I am a Mentor: I believe in the entrepreneur mindset and believe that students must have access to real world experience to fully understand how the business world works post college.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: The road to success seldom comes quickly. Work hard, persevere and be self-motivated.

. . .

Zak Ammar


Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Texas State University; Master of Business Administration, Appalachian State University

Work History: Founder and CEO of Vixster, a trash and recycling collection service for rural America.  

My Industry Expertise:  Bootstrapping for startups; building and leading teams; leadership; operational management; supply chain logistics and efficiencies

Why I am a Mentor: Fires me up to help others.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: The entrepreneurial startup life is fast-paced and filled with tough decisions. It’s important to strive for a balance between personal and business and to be patient and persistent in your journey.

John Cornett


Education: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science; Master of Business Administration, marketing concentration

Work History: 20 years of custom software development, primarily in the web industry.  

My Industry Expertise: Internet, software, cloud, DevOps  

Why I am a Mentor: To transfer my knowledge to students so they can immediately begin to deliver value.

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Failure is a good thing. Fail often and you will succeed more quickly.


Erich  Meier


Education: Bachelor Degree, Appalachian State University

Work History: Co-founder and owner of Oxco, Inc., international nonwoven materials supplier.  

My Industry Expertise: Management, product development, sales, sourcing, and manufacturing operations  

Why I am a Mentor: Give back to App State and help prepare students for their career.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: If you never fail you are not trying hard enough.


Bob Webb


Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Accounting concentration, Appalachian State University

Work History: CEO of Myers & Chapman, a full service construction company in the Southeast with additional roles as CIO, VP of Finance, Controller, and Human Resources.

My Industry Expertise: Leadership, finance, communication, strategy, getting results, environmental and sustainable expertise, energy and passion  

Why I am a Mentor: I enjoy the thrill of helping and seeing young people achieve their dreams.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: The value of lasting relationships.




. . .

Phillip Artus


Education: Bachelor of Business Studies, Thames Valley University

Work History: Built various businesses and brands with a focus in the consumer healthcare /natural products sectors.  

My Industry Expertise: Managing start-ups, distribution and sales functions, marketing and branding  

Why I am a Mentor: Help students get closer to realizing their entrepreneurial goals.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Never, ever give up chasing your dreams.

Chris Grasinger


Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting; Master of Business Administration, Appalachian State University

Work History: Start up and small business finance and fundraising. Co-founder of Center 45 climbing gym in Boone.  

My Industry Expertise: Small business startup - finance, operations, marketing  

Why I am a Mentor: Enjoyment and interest in working with young entrepreneurs.  

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Don't have expectations. Have intention and truly listen. 


Jim Rodkey


Education: Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, concentration in Industrial relations, Kent State University; Juris Doctor, University of Akron

Work History: Corporate experience with Ford, Mead Paper, Nortel, and IBM. Founder of Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters.

My Industry Expertise: Corporate attorney, human resources, and general business operations

Why I am a Mentor:  Small business is the future of our economy. I want to help our future entrepreneurs be successful.

Life Lesson I Want to Share:  Share and teach your passions with others.

2019_200x300_Bob Wulf


Education:  Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Finance, Colorado State University,

Work History: Merchandiser and Salesperson; District Manager, Manager, Reorganization and Culture Change Executive; CEO; and Company Owner

My Industry Expertise: Changing company structures and culture to impact company growth and personnel development in the Wine and Spirits Industry; the New and emerging Medical Technology Industry; and the FDA and EPA manufacturing Industry by innovating and creating products that fill a gap in the marketplace that is currently not being served.

Why I am a Mentor: Assisting students as they navigate the steps to understanding what it takes and what to expect when starting their entrepreneurial venture; expand the understanding of the process with the hope of eliminating the repeating of mistakes many entrepreneurs make.

Life Lesson I Want to Share: Walk before you run. Be consistent, persistent and focus on the validity of the idea or concept. Don't fall in love with your idea, brand or concept or your decision making will be clouded when needing to make important decisions in different stages of the development. Be open to suggestions from others and learn from them, but don't let outside influences discourage development if you believe your idea, concept or brand has value. It all takes work. Dreams become reality by working on them one step at a time, one day at a time, and by evaluating progress doing what is needed that day or that week. 

History of the Dale Tweedy Mentorship Program

After graduating in 1989 from Appalachian with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology, Dale successfully built and sold numerous businesses – from business re-engineering and system integration firms to technology staffing and multinational importing firms. He is currently a partner with Stonegate Developers, a national real estate development firm that develops and invests in real estate projects nationwide.

Dale started the Mentorship program for 3 distinct reasons:

  • He strongly believes in the power of the entrepreneurial mindset no matter what path you choose after college.
  • Students today must have access to real-world experience and fully understand how the business world works.
  • Building a strong personal network is a key ingredient to professional success. 

Thank you, Dale! 

Interested in becoming a Mentor?

If you have wisdom to share, please consider joining our mentor network. We ask that you complete our mentor interest form, and we will contact you to get the process started.