Troy J. Norris
Troy J. Norris is a serial entrepreneur and developer
Master of Business Administration, 2011 | Henry W. Bloch School of Management
Title: Entrepreneur, startup consultant, designer and software developer
Hometown: Shawnee, KS
How did you choose your field of study?
I was interested in starting my own business since I was young, though I didn’t really know what I was looking for or what to call it or that it was something you could study academically. I knew my grandfather had his own business and I was involved with economic development in the military. But the closest I was able to get during undergrad was studying finance and reading everything I could about starting a business. I didn’t have any idea what I was missing. The answer was a mentor, and UMKC really delivered in that regard.
Why did you choose UMKC?
The creativity of the classes. I had the freedom to take lots of electives and classes with teachers who had direct experience and real projects with real clients. UMKC also had direct connections and resources for entrepreneurs. School hadn’t done much for me until I got here.
What was your favorite thing about UMKC?
I liked the learning opportunities outside of class and there was always a competition. Also, getting to serve as a mentor for Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-Scholars) and teams, and judge competitions.
Don’t just sit in class. Go meet people. Telling people you’re a student at UMKC can open a lot of doors.
How did UMKC help you reach your current position?
In a couple of ways. It really helped me find a community of other people who were wired the same way I was and were trying to do similar things. Through networking events, I discovered a community of people I didn’t know existed who have become like a family. We all try and help each other do something crazy and find others out in the wild to bring into the group. That network is centered around UMKC and the E-Scholars program there. Through that network, I know someone who’s amazingly talented and experienced in just about every skill I could possibly need. Especially early-on, there’s a power in seeing someone do something you’re trying to do and succeeding. You can see what’s important and what’s not worth worrying about.
What advice do you have for students entering UMKC?
Engage. Don’t just sit in class. Go meet people. Telling people you’re a student at UMKC can open a lot of doors.
What did you learn about yourself at UMKC?
First was probably how to operate effectively on very little sleep, but mostly that I was trying to approach entrepreneurship like someone trying to learn how to ride a bike without falling down. You have to learn how to fall without breaking your bike or yourself in a safe environment, and UMKC really provided that for me.
What are your lifelong goals?
Starting my own business was a goal and UMKC helped me figure it all out.
Do you have a motto you live by?
“Not all those who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Having so many projects and areas of interest over the years, I’ve found a niche for myself with small companies where I’m able to jump in and fill a bunch of roles, know a lot of people and understand a lot of industries.
What makes you unique?
I have lots of experiences with a lot of different companies in different industries: construction, manufacturing, gaming/retail, medical and health/fitness.
What is your favorite place in Kansas City?
City Market on a Saturday morning or a game shop (Level One Game Shop) I own and code.