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Entrepreneurial Success Stories

The Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs come from all walks of life as individuals determined to shape their own future and that of those around them by making money through risk and initiative. They are people that see the world not as it is, but as it should be; they take life by the horns and shape their own destiny. As an owner or manager of a business enterprise Entrepreneurs navigate the rough and rugged road with determination, talent, and the ability to recover from bad situations. Entrepreneurs form the foundation of capitalism, the intermediary between capital and labor and embody what we truly call the American Dream.

Successful Entrepreneurs from UNR

John Larsen: Port of Subs

Port of Subs Founding Entrepreneur John Larsen

In 1972, two brothers from New Jersey opened a modest submarine shop in Sparks, Nevada called the "Sub Shop". John Larsen, a Public Accountant and 1972 graduate of UNR who had been advising the Sub Shop owners, saw an opportunity and bought the business in 1975. After taking the helm, Larsen sponsored a community-wide contest to choose a name for the Sub Shop. In a review of more than 10,000 contest entries, Larsen chose the name "Port of Subs".

After years of ups and downs, John contacted the counselors at the Nevada Small Business Development Center in 1990. NSBDC put together a team including UNR students to help John identify his customer profile and where he was losing money. They did a market survey of customers inside the stores. And, most importantly, according to John, they made him think through his business plan. They helped him create a marketing and advertising plan to draw customers, and how to be ready to grow again when the time was right.

Today Port of Subs has over 350 employees in 150 stores, of which 30 are company owned and the rest, franchises. John says, "It's an interesting and trying time, but overall we've survived it pretty well. But we would have folded if we'd not gotten help to identify who customer is, how to select store sites, how to create a business plan and how to access SBA guaranteed funding. We came to understand how all the pieces fit together - and it's brought us success."


Colin Loretz: The Reno Collective

Founder of The Reno Collective, Colin Loretz

The Reno Collective, which was created in 2009 by Colin Lorentz, is a coworking space in Reno, Nevada that provides a collaborative workspace and community for entrepreneurs, freelancers, creatives and independent workers. Colin believes that the way we work has evolved greatly but traditional workplaces have not maintained pace. Freelancing, contract work, telecommuting and remote work have become a preferred method of working for individuals with creative and technical talent that could theoretically work from anywhere in the world. The Reno Collective community is built around collaboration and community but we know that you also have to get your work done too so we have a space for you to get those things done, hold meetings in conference rooms or host an event.


Eren Ozmen: Sierra Nevada Corporation

Eren Ozman Owner of Sierra Nevada Corporation

Eren Ozmen is the President, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Chairwoman of the Board of Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), a world-class prime systems integrator and electronic systems provider known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions.

Eren joined SNC in 1988, shortly after receiving her MBA from the University of Nevada, Reno. With a strong vision of the future, Eren Ozmen and her husband Fatih acquired SNC in 1994 and set their plans in motion to expand and grow. As a direct result of their strategic planning efforts, to include the successful acquisition of ten electronics firms, and their strong financial and technical management SNC has grown into the Top Woman-Owned Federal Contractor in the United States.

Through the Ozmens' vision and decisive leadership, SNC has expanded its seven business areas in 31 locations in 16 states. SNC employs over 2,100 people - most of whom are scientists, engineers, or technical personnel - and all of whom are dedicated to meeting and exceeding the needs to SNC's diverse customer base. Multidimensional and extremely dynamic, Eren Ozmen is actively involved in all key aspects of SNC's business management.

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