Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series

The Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series brings experienced entrepreneurs and educators to campus each semester to share professional insights and wisdom with students and community members. This endowed program is supported by Kent State College of Business Administration alumnus Michael D. Solomon. The series held its first lecture in May 2008.

The Michael D. Solomon Speaker Series is presented by the College of Business Administration's Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation (CEBI).

Learn more about CEBI


JENS MOLBAK, Founder and CEO, NewImpact

Listen to Molbak's talk, “Tri-Sector Innovation: A Transformative Strategy for Collaborative Entrepreneurship,” here

Molbak is CEO and Founder of NewImpact. In 1990, he founded Coinstar, a company that specializes in kiosk-based coin-to-cash exchanges, and served as its CEO for 11 years. Coinstar has since gone public and expanded internationally, celebrating its one-billionth transaction in 2014. After his time with Coinstar, Molbak went on to create NewImpact (formerly titled WinWin), a company that uses tri-sector innovation to harness untapped opportunities and create solutions to a wide range of societal problems in a systematic way.

Molbak possesses more than 31 years of combined experience serving on the Board of Directors for firms including Space Needle, KeyMe and Chihuly Garden and Glass. Additionally, he assisted in advising cell phone recycling start-up ecoATM from its inception in 2009 to its $350 million sale four years later. He has also owned Molbak’s, a small Pacific Northwestern garden and home accent firm, for over 18 years.

 Molbak earned an MBA from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Psycho-Biology from Yale University.


Mr. Peters leads Healthcare Trust of America (NYSE: HTA), a publicly traded real estate investment trust and the largest dedicated owner of medical of buildings in the country. Healthcare Trust of America was founded in 2006 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012. Mr. Peters has taken three real estate companies public, including Healthcare Trust of America, which combined controlled more than $18 billion in commercial real estate assets. Previously, Mr. Peters served as CEO and director of Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), taking that role following its acquisition through reverse merger by Triple Net Properties Inc., where Mr. Peters served as CEO; and chief financial officer and director of Golf Trust of America Inc. (AMEX: GTA), which listed on the AMEX in 1999. In addition, Mr. Peters was an executive with Pacific Holdings Properties and Castle & Cooke Properties. Mr. Peters has appeared in numerous video and television programs in addition to being featured in a wide array of publications including ForbesModern Healthcare and REIT Magazine.


Robert Archer

Kent State University alumnus Robert M. Archer, CEO and owner of Kent Watersports and its branded companies, is the Commencement speaker for the morning ceremony at his alma mater.

Robert M. Archer is the CEO and owner of Kent Watersports and its branded companies O'Brien International, Connelly Skis, HO Sports Company, Liquid Force, Absolute Outdoor, Barefoot International, Nash Hydroslide, Arbor Snowboards and Aqua Sports (Houjie, China).

Kent was purchased from Brown Group of St. Louis in 1981 as a highly leveraged buyout by a group of six entrepreneurs led by Archer. Since 1981, Kent has acquired thirty-five companies and divested only three. The Kent companies make and sell more life jackets than anyone else in the world. The companies also sell water skis, wakeboards, wake surfers, recreational water inflated water tubes, ropes, stand up paddle boards, kneeboards, snowboards, ballast bags and branded apparel. Archer enjoys watersports, golf, gardening and daily walks.

Robert serves on the Ashland YMCA Board of Trustees, the Huntington Bank Regional Advisory Board and the Ashland University Board of Trustees. He is involved in scholar-athlete and scholar musician scholarships in New London and Ashland, Ohio.

Archer and his wife Janet, of sixty years, have three children: Pamela, David and John, and seven grandchildren.


Tim Clegg

Tim C

Tim Clegg, Founder and CEO, created Clegg Industries Inc, in 1987 and Americhip, Inc. in 2001. Tim developed his love for entrepreneurship while serving as the VP of Franchise Development for Smith & Associates, the largest independent U.S. distributor of integrated circuits. After developing and marketing various LED and Sound Chip products, Tim realized that integrating microelectronics into print advertising offered enormous marketing possibilities. With a few thousand dollars in the bank, he started Clegg Industries in 1987. After producing various orders for Hollywood Studios, Tim moved to Los Angeles in 1989 and continued to build the business from a one person shop to over 150 employees throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In 2001, with the goal of integrating the best in paper and packaging engineering with microelectronics, Tim and his brothers started Americhip, Inc. With a strong business model, and talented designers and engineers, Americhip has grown into one of the nation’s leading developers and producers of multisensory, digital, and mobile marketing, advertising and in-store display products and technologies.

Tim spends most of his time sharing the Americhip vision with leading Fortune 500 brands across key vertical industries: automotive; pharmaceutical; retail; entertainment; tech; packaged goods; and with leading advertising agencies. Today, the four Clegg brothers, Tim, Kevin, John, and Jim, along with their niece Cait Clegg run Clegg Promo, Clegg POP Retail Display Technologies, and Americhip. After 25 years living and working in Los Angeles, Tim and his wife Sharise and their two children currently reside in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Tim holds a B.A. in Economics & Management from Albion College, Albion, Michigan.


Rangaswami Profile

As a renowned software business expert, Rangaswami participated in the rapid expansion of Silicon Valley tech-industry during his tenure as an executive at both large and small software companies. in 1977, he co-founded Sand Hill Group, one of the earliest "angel" investment firms. He has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as well as listed on the Forbes "Midas" list of investors and named as one of the 100 Influential Leaders by AACSB.


Keith Levy

Keith Levy, president of Royal Canin USA based in St. Charles, Missouri, a leading global manufacture of premium dog and cat nutrition. Royal Canin is a division of Mars, Inc., one of the world's largest private companies. The business manufactures, markets, and distributes more than 200 different specialty diets and 450 skus to approximately 30,000 clients nationwide.  Mr. Levy’s team operates a network of 4 factories in North America and leads nearly 1,000 associates across the country. Since being appointed President of the company in 2012, he has led several key initiatives including the creation of an eCommerce strategy and organization, the installation of brand management and marketing discipline, broad based consolidation in logistics and distribution producing significant cost savings and other margin enhancing results driving productivity, efficiency and cost containment.

MATT Likens

Photo of Matthew Likens

Matthew E. Linkes, president and chief executive officer of Ulthera Inc. Likens is an alumnus of Kent State’s College of Business Administration, graduating with a degree in business administration and a major in marketing. He began his professional career with Johnson & Johnson Corp. before Baxter International, spending more than 20 years in domestic and international sales, marketing and general management. Key positions included vice president, marketing for Baxter Biotech Europe based in Munich, Germany, from 1993-1995, president of Baxter Biotech North America from 1996-1998 and president of Baxter Renal U.S. upon his departure from the company in early 2001.



Since Solomon graduated in 1974 with a business administration degree, he has been involved in early stage technology companies and emerging growth companies as an entrepreneur, investor, senior manager and board member. Early in his career, he was the youngest of Apple Computer's independent representative firms when Apple grew from $100 million to $1.4 billion in annual sales. In 1985, he became the vice president of sales and marketing with Aldus Corporation in Seattle, launching the desktop publishing industry through its PageMaker software. Solomon moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1990, providing leadership to numerous ventures including Telocity, Flycast and eShop. In 2005, he served as CEO of Audyssey Laboratories of Los Angeles, a spin-off company of the University of South California, taking the business from inception to a successful audio licensing company whose customers include some of the worlds largest consumer electronics companies and automotive manufacturers. Solomon also conceived the company's first consumer audio product, The Audyssey Dock. In 2010, Solomon started his latest company, XYZ Color Science, Inc., which seeks to revolutionize the way color is displayed on all types of display devices. Solomon was named Kent State University’s first National Trustee in December 2011.

Through his involvement with the university, Solomon hopes to help students learn the best ways to approach business opportunities and the best ways to make a difference in the business world.