Eitel, the former owner of Eitel's Flowers & Gifts in Greencastle, will assumes his duties effective today. A July 20 ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened the center.
Eitel's great-grandfather John began the family's fourth-generation floral business in Greencastle in 1908. Ken worked for 16 years in retail sales, sales management and advertising for Horace Link home furnishings business in Greencastle before he and his wife Jackie bought the family business in 1980. Eitel's Flowers & Gifts was operated by Ken and Jackie for 31 years before they sold the business in 2011.
Eitel's rich family history of entrepreneurship is one he is proud to share. In 2009 the Eitel family established an Ivy Tech scholarship honoring Ken's great-grandfather, John Eitel. The scholarship, which is administered by the Putnam County Community Foundation, is given to students at Ivy Tech-Greencastle. Its purpose is to encourage students to pursue careers in business innovation, entrepreneurship and civic leadership and it is named the Eitel Family Scholarship for Entrepreneurship and Civic Leadership.
"The offer for me to launch and develop the BES Center from concept to reality is an exceptional opportunity," Eitel said. "The commitment of Ivy Tech to entrepreneurship and business services comes at a time when development, support and retention of small business are critical to the future of our communities."
Dr. Ann Valentine, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley, praised Eitel's appointment.
"We are delighted that Ken was both interested in this position and willing to serve as the inaugural director of our Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center. He brings everything to the table that we were looking for: An entrepreneurial background, community connections and a passion for helping launch and sustain new business leaders."
Eitel has a long-standing relationship with Ivy Tech Community College. He has taught business classes as an adjunct faculty member at the Greencastle site, served as a volunteer on the Resource Development and Advisory Council (RDAC) and served on the Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center implementation committee.
The Business & Entrepreneurial Services Center (BES Center) of West Central Indiana has as its mission to create a culture of innovation and success by strengthening new and existing businesses and individuals through professional development and educational opportunities.
The Center has announced several initiatives, which include educational programming like Ivy Tech's new "Learn and Earn" workshops offered through Corporate College, a new speaker series, and resources matched to entrepreneurial-related services already offered in the community.
The BES Center will also provide initial incubator space for business start-ups and provide a progressive benchmarking structure to keep start-ups moving toward self-sufficiency.
Greencastle is offering more than 100 different courses in its fall semester schedule. Fall semester classes begin Monday, Aug. 20, and end Saturday, Dec. 15. Classes will be held at the Greencastle campus, 915 S. Zinc Mill Rd., Greencastle. Individuals are encouraged to register soon because classes fill early.
Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana.