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NACCE Honors Three Community College Alumni for Their Entrepreneurial Achievements

Tuesday, October 14, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeanne Yocum
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PHOENIX, AZ – October 14, 2014 -- The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges, is honoring community college alumni from Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin for outstanding entrepreneurial achievements at its 12th Annual Conference, powered by Intuit, now underway in Phoenix.

Winning the NACCE2014 Alumni Entrepreneur Awards are Gary Krause of Racine, Wisconsin; Pam Butler of Tallahassee, Florida; and Marilyn Harris of Houston, Texas. Each award winner received a $750 travel stipend to attend NACCE2014 and certificates for five Ed2Go Short Courses. These awards were funded through the generous donation from Cengage Learning, a leading educational content, technology and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide.

“These alumni entrepreneurs each traveled a very different path to entrepreneurial success,” said NACCE President and CEO Heather Van Sickle. “We honor them as outstanding role models for others in their communities who have entrepreneurial dreams. We also are proud to highlight the role community colleges played in inspiring and supporting such outstanding business owners and job creators.”

Here are the winner’s stories:

Gary Krause is president and CEO of EKG Concepts, LLC. He decided to return to school 28 years ago after an industrial accident that nearly killed him and left him partially paralyzed for a time meant he needed to find a new career. He studied nursing at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and became a cardiac nurse, gaining over 20 years of experience in the medical field with an emphasis on emergency medicine and cardiac education.

In 2010 Krause founded EKG Concepts Company in Racine with a vision to develop and market innovative and unique tools to significantly improve the overall process of reading/interpreting EKG output. During his nursing career he had become aware that many high-risk EKG abnormalities are often misread, creating potentially life-threatening situations. His goal was to develop and market products providing improved accuracy, as well as superior ease and speed of use.

The six products Krause has developed during the past three years have been well received by the market with sales growing thanks to a partnership initiated with a distributor in 2013. Two of Krause’s products were awarded “Top Products” at the Journal of Emergency Services Conference in 2012 and 2014. Translation of EKG Concepts’ products into multiple languages for introduction into Europe and Latin America is in progress.

In addition to managing his company, Krause continues to work 20 hours a week in at a local hospital. He also continues teaching and provides counsel for other entrepreneurs and students.

Pam Butler is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and a graduate of Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Florida. She is also a graduate of Florida State University, where she became one of the first FSU graduates to earn a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems. After nearly two decades working for the State of Florida in an information systems leadership role. In 1997 she, along with business partner Brad Mitchell, founded Aegis Business Technology, a managed-services provider dedicated to offering technical support to small businesses.

In the past 17 years, Aegis Business Technologies has grown from a two-person business to one that employs 16 people and serves more than 300 local businesses. Aegis was nominated for the Small Business of the Year; named a Jim Moran Institute’s Entrepreneurial Excellence winner; and in 2004, 2006, and 2009, was named the Technology Small Business of the Year. In 2007 and 2008, Aegis received the Tally Award for Computer Services. Aegis was named Best of Tallahassee – Computer Services in 2006 and 2011. In 2006, Butler was named a Women of Distinction by Tallahassee Community College and in 2007 was named as one the 25 Women to Know in Tallahassee. 

In the past five years, Butler has donated her time and leadership skills to Tallahassee Community College, the school she credits with starting her on the path to entrepreneurial success. Butler became a member of the TCC Foundation Board of Directors in 2009. She has since served in several key positions, including as board secretary, 2012–2013; board vice president, 2013–2014; and board president-elect 2014–2015. Additionally, she is a President’s Circle member and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association.

Marylyn Harris is executive director of the Women Veterans Business Center (WVBC) and president of Harrland Healthcare Consulting; she is a U.S. Army veteran and a graduate of Houston Community College Northwest in Houston, Texas. Harris launched the Women’s Veterans Business Center in 2010 to meet the unmet needs of Houston’s 30,000-plus women veterans. The WVBC was the first and only center of its kind in the U.S. specifically created to educate and empower women veterans (and military families) to start and grow "wealth-generating" veteran-owned businesses. The WVBC’s services include outreach/business networking events, business training via Women Veterans Business Bootcamps, and business coaching. WVBC products include the Veterans Resource Guide Series, "25 FREE Resources Every Texas Veteran Needs to Know." To date, Harris estimates that WVBC outreach efforts have touched over 7,200 women veterans and military families.
Harris has been recognized at the White House by the President and Mrs. Obama as a White House Champion of Change. She is a 2014 Women Veteran of the Year (Finalist - National Association of Veteran Owned Businesses) and the 2014 Distinguished Alumni from her alma mater, the University of Texas - School of Nursing (Houston Health Science Center). Harris is the national ambassador for the Veteran-Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) Conferences and has crossed the U.S. numerous times promoting Entrepreneurship in the veteran community.  

Harris is also an HCC graduate who gives back by teaching entrepreneurship at HCC and through collaborating with HCC to reach veterans and fuel HCC programs. In 2013, she returned to teach Entrepreneurship at HCC while also continuing to take HCC courses. WVBC has been an Advocate for the HCC Center of Entrepreneurship Courses and HCC Newspring Business Plan Competition since 2010. With a broad reach in the veterans community in Texas and nationally, Harris channels students to HCC entrepreneurial offerings after assessing their level of need. 


The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is an organization of educators, administrators, presidents and entrepreneurs, focused on inciting entrepreneurship in their community and on their campus. NACCE has two main goals: 1. Empower the college to approach the business of running a community college with an entrepreneurial mindset, and 2. Grow the community college’s role in supporting job creation and entrepreneurs in their local ecosystem.

Founded in 2002, NACCE is at the heart of the "entrepreneurship movement.” Through membership, an annual conference and exhibition, regional summits, a quarterly journal, monthly webinars, a dynamic list-serv, and training resources, NACCE serves as the hub for the dissemination and integration of knowledge and successful practices regarding entrepreneurial leadership, entrepreneurship education and student business incubation. These initiatives and resulting actions advance economic prosperity in the communities served by its member colleges. NACCE is a founding member of the White House-led Startup America Partnership. For more information, visit 

Follow us at @NACCE, like us on, and join our LinkedIn group.


NACCE has over 300 member colleges, representing nearly 2,000 members and approximately 465,000 students.


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