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Bloomington Campus

Bloomington Main Campus Affiliated Learning Sites

Cook Institute for Entrepreneurship

EVENT Contact

Hayley Cranfill, Administrative Assistant
South Central Small Business Development Center & Cook Center for Entrepreneurship
765-318-8903 |

Previous Keynote Speakers

  • Steve Ferguson, Chairman of the Board, Cook Group and President, French Lick Resort

    As Chairman of the Board of Cook Group and President of French Lick Resort, Ferguson has been actively involved in redevelopment and historic preservation including rebirth of Downtown Bloomington. Ferguson led the renovation and operation of the historic French Lick Resort. He has also played a key role in the growth of Cook Medical, a global leader in the medical devices industry.


    Pete Yonkman, President, Cook Group and Cook Medical

    Pete Yonkman is president of Cook Group and Cook Medical in Bloomington, Indiana. He has been with the company for 20 years, starting in 2001 as in-house counsel. Pete has served in a variety of roles for Cook, including leading one of the local manufacturing sites and as executive vice president for 10 business units. Pete was named president of Cook Medical in 2014 and in 2015 added the role of president of Cook Group. VIDEO


  • Bill Oliver, winemaker and businessman, focuses on new product development and strategic planning at Oliver Winery, which grew to become one of the largest wineries in the eastern United States under he and his wife Kathleen's direction. In 2006, it became a 100% employee-owned company and in 2021, was purchased by NexPhase Capital, a New York-based private equity firm specializing in buying and scaling up small to medium sized businesses. Oliver holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana University Kelley School of Business, where he met his wife. VIDEO

  • Midwestern, mother-daughter duo Karen E Laine and Mina Starsiak rehabilitated their first house in Indianapolis, Ind. in the late 2000s as “Two Chicks and a Hammer” and eventually attracted the attention of HGTV. Laine and Starsiak are stars of HGTVs hit home-renovation show, “Good Bones.” In its fourth season, “Good Bones,” garnered 13 million viewers making it one of the network’s breakout hits. In “Good Bones,” the pair hunt down battered homes in downtown Indianapolis neighborhoods, transforming them with an average budget of $180,000. VIDEO

  • Huse is an entrepreneur whose first restaurant investment was as an operating partner in an Arby’s located in Bloomington, Ind. in 1967. He ventured into the pizza business in 1969, which became known as Noble Roman’s. It grew from a single unit to more than 120 restaurants in 10 states. He took the business public in 1986 and sold his shares in 1987. Before selling Noble Roman’s, Huse bought the historic St. Elmo Steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis, which currently seats about 500 guests. St. Elmo’s volume of nearly $20M puts it in the top 20 independent restaurants in the United States.

    His other ventures included becoming the “turn around” president of Steak ‘N Shake, where he succeeded in less than three years and in 1992, sold his interests at a substantial gain. In 2006, Huse and his son started the upscale restaurant Harry & Izzy’s. In 2016, St. Elmo went into the business of selling spices and sauces on and at other suppliers. By 2017, Huse and his associates owned 34 Arby’s outlets. He sold the shops and retired from Arby’s after 50 years. His company, Huse Culinary Inc., most recently opened the upscale Burger Study in downtown Indianapolis. Huse graduated from Indiana University’s School of Business in 1965 and began pursuit of his MBA in 1968. VIDEO

  • Tony Moravec is the president and chief executive officer of Blairex Laboratories, Inc. in Columbus, Ind.  He is also the president and co-founder of Applied Laboratories, Inc. In addition, Mr. Moravec is the owner of Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum, and a principal in the Upland Brewing Company of Bloomington, Ind.

    Mr. Moravec earned his Bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and received an honorary degree from Ivy Tech Community College in 2012. In 2009, he received the Company of the Year award from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for his renovation and restoration of Zaharakos. In 2011, Tony received the Indiana University Bloomington Provost’s Medal. In 2016, Tony was honored by receiving the Presidents Circle Laurel Pin and the Partners in Philanthropy Cornerstone Award from Indiana University. Tony has established scholarships at the Heritage Fund of Bartholomew County, Inc., Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College.  He is a board member of the National Advisory Board of the IU Eskenazi Art Museum and the Ivy Tech Foundation. VIDEO

  • Angie Hicks is the namesake and co-founder of Angie's List. She has served as the company's Chief Marketing Officer since 2000 and served as the company's President and as a director from 1995 until 1998, when she took a leave of absence to obtain a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. Angie's List has transformed from a small, private, newsletter-inspired enterprise into the leading e-commerce platform in the $400 billion home services marketplace. Ms. Hicks has received multiple accolades for her accomplishments, including being named Distinguished Alumni for Management and Entrepreneurship by DePauw University, where she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

  • Scott serves as Managing Partner of High Alpha, a venture studio. High Alpha conceives, launches, and scales enterprise cloud companies. Scott also co-founded ExactTarget and led the company from start up to global marketing software leader. ExactTarget went public on the New York Exchange in March of 2012 and sold to in July of 2013 for $2.7 Billion.

    Scott is an acclaimed business and civic leader who has earned numerous accolades for his business and civic leadership, including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, American Business Awards Executive of the Year, TechPoint Trailblazer in Technology, BtoB Magazine‘s Who’s Who List, MS Society Hope Award, two time recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash, Central Indiana Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, Indiana Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year, Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40, Junior Achievement’s Best and Brightest and Indiana University’s Distinguished Entrepreneur Award through the Kelley School of Business. Scott serves on a number of non profit boards including Chairman of the Indiana Sports Corp., Chairman of (former ExactTarget Foundation), Board and Executive Committee member of Techpoint, Dean’s Advisory Board at Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, Global Advisory Board at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Emeritus Board member at Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

  • Matt Ferguson

    Matt Ferguson is the CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. Ferguson took CareerBuilder to the No. 1 position in the online recruitment industry within five years. Working with the nation's top employers on a daily basis, Ferguson is often called upon to provide insights on emerging labor trends, the impact of the economy on the job outlook, and advice for job seekers. He has appeared on CNBC Squawk Box, ABC World News, CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV, the TODAY Show, and many others. He was named to Crain's Chicago Business "40 Under 40" and ranked in the top ten list of's "Highest Rated CEOs."

  • Jeff Smulyan Widely recognized as one of the most visionary leaders in the radio industry, Jeffrey H. Smulyan, serves as Founder and Chairman of the Board of Emmis Communications Corporation, an Indianapolis-based radio and magazine publishing company with operations in eight U.S. markets. In 1994, Smulyan was named by The White House to head the U.S. Delegation to the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union. Smulyan earned a Juris Doctor degree from USC School of Law, and resides in Indianapolis with his family.

  • PMillerIndiana entrepreneur Patricia R. Miller, co-founder of Vera Bradley served as the luncheon keynote speaker with her presentation "Be colorful:  unleashing your entrepreneurial spirit."  Patricia discussed Vera Bradley's history as well as some of her advice and lessons learned on business, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.

  • MMaurerMichael S. ("Mickey") Maurer's career as an attorney and entrepreneur has included cable television, film production, radio broadcasting, newspaper publishing, real estate and banking.