WKSU News Feature >> NEW WORK NEW FAMILIES: America's Juggling Act
"TREPS: The Young Titans of the New Economy" -- Transcript
Some look at the future of the economy and see question marks. Tim Cartwright sees dollar signs.
Cartwright: We see our revenue really growing in percentages that shock most people. But within the next four years, we expect to be at 120 million dollars in sales.
Tim is 34. He's part of a new breed of entrepreneurs cashing in on the new economy. A Marquette University study finds that 70% of all new businesses are created by entrepreneurs even younger than Tim. Most of these new businesses are high-tech. Tim's is a business-to-business Internet exchange.
Cartwright: We are concentrating on seven different bi-product market places. We are allowing them to come together on the web site to buy and to sell these different commodities that are produced in this bi-product marketplace.
His company is based in Chicago, although his home, wife, and baby daughter are in Avon Lake. He spends a lot of time on airplanes and never goes anywhere without his cell phone. His philosophy is "you snooze, you lose."
Cartwright: You put pressure on yourself to move as fast as the market is moving or as fast as you perceive this market to be moving.
Sometimes it's his wife calling to let him know what 21-month-old Macy is doing.
Cartwright: The first tooth coming in, the first word, the first step is difficult, with my schedule, to experience that.
A Department of Education study says Generation X-ers like Tim are concerned about having balance in their lives. But having grown-up in an era of divorce, layoffs, recession, and technological revolution, they are also risk-takers accustomed to and comfortable with change. And they are starting companies at a faster rate than any previous generation.
Cartwright: Starting a company can be a very selfish thing to do. I've often thought of, "What about everybody else?" I'm pursuing my dream and accomplishing my goals of what I want to do and I'm shaping the direction of my life through being an entrepreneur. What about the people around me that I care about?
His wife supported his decision to quit a lucrative job when he started his first job at the age of 23.
Cartwright: I needed to take the risk. I also thought how expansion the technology boom had been, so if I did stumble with my own entrepreneurship--I could always go to a high-tech consulting company. So I thought the risks were low. And I didn't want to look back on my life and go, "Boy, I wonder if..."
Jeff Zapp wants his own business, too.
Jeff: Within the next 2-3 years, I think I found my niche. I don't really want to divulge any more information than that. It will, obviously, be dealing with computers. That's the wave of the future.
Jeff is a recent graduate of the Kent State University School of Technology. He works in Seattle now in virtual manufacturing software.
Jeff: The software tools that I currently assist with actual help build airlines--such as the 747, the 737--so I'm the computer northwest computer geek, I guess you would say.
At thirty, Jeff's future looks bright. But it hasn't been easy up to now. He was one semester shy of his Bachelor degree when he dropped out and joined the Airforce.
Jeff: My father was very upset with me and my mom was probably wondering what her son was doing. I had a master plan, but I wanted to venture. I wanted to figure out exactly what I wanted to do in life.
It was Raj Chowdhury, Dean of the Kent State School of Technology, who steered Jeff to come back to Kent and finish his masters in only 3 semesters. Dean Chowdhury often gives that kind of advice.
Chowdhury: I have been getting calls from students who have graduated were very anxious to get into the world of work, got a nice paid-salary job and within 1 or 2 years come back and say, "Hey Chowdhury, I can't move any further because my skills are obsolete." The rate of technological change is so pervasive that sooner or later, when they enter into the world--right away they see that they need to come back and retrain themselves.
He's seen many of these students go on to create their own businesses.
Chowdhury: And what motivates and excites them is the art of creativity, the sense of thinking and the power of innovation.
Jeff Zapp is motivated enough to start his workday at five and sometimes, keep working until 2 a.m. He's single, unlike most of his friends.
Jeff: I think even some of them are thinking, "Well, gosh, Jeff's out traveling and he's got these long hours and so forth..." I think sometimes when the job is hectic I would like to say, "I would like to be like my friend--go home at 4 o'clock and kiss the wife--and spend some time with the kids..." That time, I'm sure, will come for me. But I'm not ready to do that quite yet. I'm going to start my own company. I'm willing to work hard and put the time in it. It's going to take some time and some effort, persistence. Put some patience in it, as well. And I'm willing to do that.
As he shows us around some of his construction sites, Lou Perry, Jr. seems proud of what he's done with the business that he's started at age 26.
Perry: We've just grown the company--4-to-8-to-12 million dollars last year. We've continued to grow the company. We're excited about the future.
He says construction has been booming for seven years and he doesn't see a slow-down. But now that he's 30, he's more of a realist.
Perry: If you are not scared, you aren't worried about the competition, about how the job is going--you gotta be worried about all of those things.

Viv: But were you worried, at all, about yourself?

Perry: I was worried about myself because of the experience and the age factor. I felt confident in my abilities and I felt confident in the industry because I know it's going to grow. We are always going to be building something.

Construction, high-tech, young entrepreneurs expect to make big money. But take Christian Fletcher.
Fletcher: I deal in spiritual and cultural artifacts from Southeast Asia.
At twenty-five, this entrepreneur says that what turns him on isn't collecting money.
Fletcher: It's collecting treasures. It's standing there and looking at jewelry in your hands that has been put on a child when they were two years old to lock this child into the land. And question if you are worthy of having this piece--am I worthy of something that is so embedded in someone else's culture.
Just before he opened up his shop in Chagrin Falls, Christian's mom and dad hosted a sale for him at their condo.
Mom: It's so exciting to see him so happy. When he brought these things back from Thailand, he was opening the containers--his eyes were lighting up like it was Christmas morning.
Christian is confident that he'll be able to grow his business. But he worries sometimes.
Christian: I do and it's scary sometimes. I just wonder if I should throw it all in. Take the corporate job. But I want to be my own boss. I want to fully develop my own ideas, fully develop my own concepts. Working for someone else will stifle me.
Christian Fletcher: a new kind of entrepreneur. I'm Vivian Goodman, WKSU News.
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