Bill Zahner Opens First Wednesdays Featuring Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Inductees

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“To be successful in business, you need to have passion in what you do.” On Wednesday, September 3, Bill Zahner gave this advice to over 200 UMKC students, alumni and supporters as part of the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s First Wednesday series. Zahner embodies this advice, as his passion led him to head one of the foremost metal work companies in the world.

In his presentation “How One Entrepreneur Turned Metal Into Art,” Zahner explained how the organization has stayed relevant and innovative with changing faces of architecture and technology. Further, he described how A. Zahner Company is always working to exceed customer expectations, turning buildings into pieces of art.

Some of A. Zahner Company’s most notable projects include The Art Gallery of Alberta in Alberta, Canada, the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina and the September 11 Museum in New York City, New York.

“We always keep pushing to exceed customer expectations,” Zahner said at Wednesday’s presentation. “Our people want to be proud of what they do. That’s exactly what you want to instill in a company.”

This is the third year of the Regnier Institute’s First Wednesdays programming, where in addition to student updates, a local entrepreneur discusses their entrepreneurial path to give Bloch students a fresh perspective of what it’s like to grow a business from the beginning. With the recent launch of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, the Regnier Institute saw a natural cohesion and a chance to connect students with high caliber business professionals.

“Allowing students to not only hear from a successful entrepreneur, but to actually interact with them, is an amazing opportunity,” said Ben Williams, Assistant Director of the Regnier Institute.

Zahner’s presentation of the first of three that will come from inaugural members of the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame opened to the public in December 2014, and is designed to inspire students and community by giving them an inside look at the journeys of some of Kansas most well-known entrepreneurs.

Hall of Fame inductees Terry Van Der Tuuk of Graphic Technology, Inc. and Dan Lowe of RED Legacy will helm the events on October 7 and November 4, respectively. Williams foresees growing excitement as these presentations draw nearer.

“So often, students look at successful entrepreneurs as celebrities that are out of their reach,” Williams said.  “When we have people like Bill Zahner, Terry Van Der Tuuk and Dan Lowe show how they became successful through a process that can be followed, that’s when you see students really get excited.”

To register for upcoming First Wednesdays events, visit umkc.edu/firstwednesdays.

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