Ray Colaiacovo, Missouri Valley College alum, said a broadcast instructor at MVC named Karl Bean made a big impression on him. His first assignment was to take a camera and film a short commercial.Colaiacovo is now an entrepreneur and was one of the first three speakers for the Seventh Annual Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship, starting Monday, April 8.
“I never realized what a school like this would do for me,” Colaiacovo said in his Maastricht presentation. In 1990, Colaiacovo was a student from New Jersey and said it was the best experience of his life to come here to college.
Colaiacovo graduated as a Mass Communication student, concentrating on Broadcast, at Missouri Valley College, in 1994. During his college years, Colaiacovo served as a yearbook editor, played on the Viking football team, and was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. His Mass Communication internship took him to an ABC affiliate TV station in New Jersey. He said when he was at MVC, there were no cell phones, no Internet connection, and just a few computers at the library.
MVC helped to light the “fire” of a passionate interest in the broadcast field that Colaiacovo would carry forward, as he worked
for CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, and other networks. He started a company called Digital Wave Productions 10 years ago and recently co-founded Mobile Content Providers, a video live-streaming high-digital production company with all the necessary broadcasting equipment contained within a mobile broadband truck.
During his Maastricht presentation, Colaiacovo showed video clips of the commercials he made as a student at MVC. Then he showed the video work from his company and professional career. He said that his Mobile Content Providers company has produced videos of more than “100 games this year and put them on ESPN 3 and other networks.” With the company and mobile unit, “we can do three events in three days at three different locations.”
As for being an entrepreneur, Colaiacovo said, “It’s got to be in your blood.” He said the qualities of an entrepreneur are to be a “go-getter,” to be passionate and confident about the business, to market yourself, to take business risks, and to be a “social butterfly,” interacting with people all the time. He said an entrepreneur has to do something out of the norm constantly. He said it also means having a thick-skin, working well with others, and never saying “no” within your means. “Think outside the box,” he said, adding that a person has to be willing to never shut it off, always thinking about the next show or about the job.
“I get hired and fired every day,” Colaiacovo said, adding that some doors will shut “but the next door opens.” He stressed social networking. Through technology, students have the opportunity to make positive impressions. “Big corporations want impressions.”
Colaiacovo said the rewards of being an entrepreneur are that it is fun in creating your own schedule, it can provide a feeling of accomplishment, and it can cut out the middleman in the business model.
He praised the learning environment of a small college like MVC, saying that, for him, MVC provided a personalized education, through hands-on work experience and guidance from caring professors.
Earlier in the morning, speakers for the Maastricht event were Britt Hunt, CEO/Founder of Britt Hunt Company of Nashville, a pizza wholesaler; and Tim Rutten, co-owner of BlackLabel, a company in the Netherlands whose services range from branding, advertising, and photography to online marketing and web development.
Rutten, who is 24, started his presentation by having all the members of audience introduce themselves to the person next to them as “a genius.” He said, “Every ambition you have, you have to call it up and make it real for yourself. You all have it in your power.”
Rutten, who became interested in computers and built his first website when he was 12, said all innovation and economic growth comes from technology. In 2011, he was awarded a Kauffman Global Scholarship that gives entrepreneurial development opportunities to recent university graduates. The program allowed Rutten to study entrepreneurship at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT.
“One thing that changed my life was getting connected,” Rutten said, adding that he started talking to the right people ad introducing himself as an entrepreneur. “Your networks can make all the difference.”
For the entrepreneurial lifestyle, “you really need to be passionate about what you do,” he said.
Rutten said the core values for the BlackLabel company relate to entrepreneurship, intelligence, control, freedom/independence, and elegance. “Keep going,” he said, encouraging the students who have the entrepreneurial spirit.
This year’s Maastricht program began with welcomes to students, speakers, and others from MVC President Bonnie Humphrey and Dr. Benoit Wesly, president and CEO of Xelat Group in Maastricht, the Netherlands, who was instrumental in starting the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship.
Speakers for Tuesday, April 9, are Roy Broersma, a doctoral student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands; Joshua Ruble, an MVC graduate of 2004 in human service agency management and recreation administration and currently a partner of Resolution Reuse of Kansas City; and Matthias Hemmerle, founder of Lightlock of Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Speakers for Wednesday, April 10, are Vaughn Prost, CEO of Missouri Solar Applications of Jefferson City; Roger Heijsters, adviser/CEO of Fray.it/Smart Check of Maastricht, the Netherlands; and Dr. Randall Lewis, an MVC graduate of 1987 in chemistry and math and currently the director of operations of Walsh & Associates of St. Louis.