2011-11-24 / Scene

Breakfast of Champions

Students celebrate Entrepreneurship Day with morning meal
BY AMANDA BRANIECKI 810-452-2647  abraniecki@mihomepaper.com


Will McNeal, founder and owner of McNeal Automotive, LLC., addresses Scott Brumwell’s eighth-grade Business and Technology students on the challenges and rewards of owning his own business on Nov. 16 to mark the National Entrepreneurship Day. 
Photos by Amanda Braniecki Will McNeal, founder and owner of McNeal Automotive, LLC., addresses Scott Brumwell’s eighth-grade Business and Technology students on the challenges and rewards of owning his own business on Nov. 16 to mark the National Entrepreneurship Day. Photos by Amanda Braniecki GRAND BLANC — In honor of Entrepreneurship Day on Nov. 16, students in Scott Brumwell’s Business and Technology class at Grand Blanc East Middle School traded in their first-hour period for a breakfast meeting.

A teacher in the district for the past four years, Brumwell said he was looking for new ideas or activities to implement in his eighthgrade business class when he stumbled upon an Internet post on Google for the National Entrepreneurship Day.

"I had no idea that such a day existed," Brumwell said. "I knew I wanted to do something with it after that though and I thought having a breakfast meeting would be fun and break things up a bit."


Entrepreneur and Owner of Suski Web Design Mary Suski walks the student through how to give a proper “elevator speech” to sell to a client a specific service or idea. Entrepreneur and Owner of Suski Web Design Mary Suski walks the student through how to give a proper “elevator speech” to sell to a client a specific service or idea. To help in his educational endeavor, Brumwell called on two entrepreneurs, Mary Suski and Will McNeal, to share their firsthand experiences on the challenges involved in starting a business as well as the rewards.

“From a practical perspective, I like the idea of telling the kids about the real-world stuff from developing business plans to the operation,” Brumwell said, of asking Suski and McNeal to speak with his class. “For these students, the work force is more diverse than it was for their parents and I wanted to address that.”

Suski, the founder and owner of Suski Web Design, said she was pleased to have the opportunity to come and speak with the class and get the students thinking about possibly being an entrepreneur in the future.

“I would have loved to have something like this when I was younger,” Suski, whose daughter is in Brumwell’s class, said. “I think this is a great opportunity for the students and I love to advocate for small businesses and be involved in the schools in any way I can.”

Suski started her web design company back in 2000 after working for 17 years in sales and marketing.

Although stressing the importance of getting good grades in school, Suski said that is not the only component need to be an entrepreneur.

“You don’t need to be a genius to start a business,” said Suski.

Instead Suski said those wanting to be an entrepreneur need to be passionate, motivated and determined as well as thrive on the uncertainty that comes along with owning your own business.

Sharing a similar view, McNeal added that Brumwell’s students are at the perfect age to start pursuing their dreams and gaining all the experience they can to ensure they can do whatever they want to do in life.

McNeal, inspired by a man that came to speak to his school about cars, said he knew at a young age he wanted to have a career in the automotive industry.

“I started as a mechanic at 13 years of age,” McNeal said. “ My neighbor worked on a car and asked for some help and throughout that day I worked on the car. I didn’t feel like I was working, I felt like I was just helping someone out. At the end of the day, he turned around and handed me $50.”

McNeal pursued his dream graduating from Northwestern University and becoming a technician for a dealership. He moved on to become a technical consultant with General Motors and while he was there he started a mobile automotive company. He would work with GM during the day and his mobile company at night.

After three years of working two jobs, McNeal said his mobile business outgrew itself so he quit his job at GM, purchased a shop and began McNeal Automotive, LLC.

Two weeks after starting his company, McNeal said all of his tools were stolen. Determined not to quit, McNeal pushed forward and with the help of his old co-workers, who each had donated one tool to him out of their toolboxes, he got his business back up and running. Now 13 years later, McNeal said he is happy with his business, which has expanded over the years to include a number of automotive services, and hopes that he has inspired the students in Brumwell’s class to follow their hearts.

“Never stop trying, ever,” McNeal said. “Find something you want and never stop going after it. Sometimes the drive will push you more than anything.”

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