Paul got his start by helping his dad in the bar and grill he owned. “I started with Facebook, and helped Dad adapt to this,” he says. “His restaurant was known for burgers. I added a visual element by putting photos on the site and found a way to communicate to customers, potential customers, and the community.”
This was the first time Paul broke new ground in helping a small business market to its customers, but it’s a trend he continued while still a college student. “At York College, I had a start-up helping a professional photographer,” he says. “I was well supported by the professors at the Graham School of Business. Because of the small classes, you build relationships with the faculty, and they knew I could balance the workload of school and business.”
In particular, he cites professors David Greisler and Gerald Patnode, both of whom have significant experience in the areas they teach, which Paul believes is a real plus. “They have business operations and run marketing firms. This makes what they’re teaching more than a theory to students,” he says. He notes Greisler helped shape WellSpan and York Hospital as an operational force, and Paul applies much of what he learned in Greisler’s Total Quality Management class to his current business.
MORE THAN THEORY
Paul has heard some entrepreneurs say they don’t need college, but he thinks what York College offers is worth it for people going into the business world. “York College doesn’t just educate on theory,” he says. “As you go through the Business program or other majors, they require practical experience and externships.”
Paul believes this, combined with the personal relationships forged with professors who are still active in the business world, launched him on his career to use new marketing techniques to “disrupt” the business community in York County.
“With my startup, we analyzed how to differentiate this photographer from others with similar skill sets,” he says. “We appealed to individuals from an emotional standpoint, which is important in photography.”
As he works with York County small businesses, Paul not only looks at local competitors, but “at what competitors in New York, LA, and Philly are doing.” He applies this bigger-city strategy to this market and says, “I want to make this business owner ‘disruptive’ in this marketplace, so competitors are chasing this business.”
Originally featured in York College of Pennsylvania Spotlight