FHSU graduates speak at Entrepreneur Direct speaker series about successful startups

FHSU University Relations and Marketing

HAYS, Kan. — Three graduates from Fort Hays State University will speak about innovation and startup businesses at the Entrepreneur Direct speaker series from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at the Robbins Center Eagle Communication Hall.

“Entrepreneur Direct is a speaker series that features successful entrepreneurs in an informal setting accessible to students, faculty and the public. The program is intended to connect students with successful entrepreneurs who have stories and advice to share. A panel asks questions about entrepreneurship and encourages questions and interaction with the audience,” said Mark Bannister dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Tonja Vallin, a 2000 graduate, is the co-owner of Working Girls Design, a national firm that creates and sells cards, books and gifts. Annual sales exceed $8 million. Products are found in boutique shops and larger retail stores like SteinMart and Walmart. Previously, Vallin worked in Las Vegas real estate and also was FHSU’s first director of academic marking.

Jeremy Horn, a 2004 graduate, is the co-founder of Wichita Brewing Co. & Pizzeria, the vice president of investments at American Underwriters Life Insurance Co., managing partner of WEB Investment Group LLC, and a managing member of Horn and Herris Holdings LLC.

Paul Kraus, a 1996 graduate, is a managing partner and founder of Saltbox Studio in Boulder, Colo. Saltbox designs software applications that optimize client technological experience with platforms like SalesForce.com and Oracle Cloud. Kraus has experience working with other startups including Datu Health, Appirio and Wall Street on Demand. After graduating from FHSU, Kraus worked for a Leo Burnett Company, Giant Step.

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