2016 Seton Hall Entrepreneur Hall of Fame: Inductees, Jerry Walker '03 and Gary Wolfe '71, Emerging Entrepreneur, Ryan Skolnick
On November 10, 2016 Jerry Walker '03, president and CEO of Team Walker and Gary Wolfe '71, founder and CEO of Wolfe Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. were inducted into the Seton Hall Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. The 11th annual Entrepreneur Hall of Fame induction dinner was held at the Maplewood Country Club in Maplewood, NJ and attended by Seton Hall alumni and entrepreneurs from across the state. Ray Hoffman, host and producer of CEO Radio (WCBS Radio AM 880), was the special guest master of ceremonies.
"This year's Hall of Fame inductees have traveled very different entrepreneurial paths but they share an impressive record of success and a strong love of alma mater," said Joyce Strawser, Ph.D, dean of the Stillman School of Business.
The night also included student honorees. Ryan Skolnick, from Morristown, NJ, a junior triple majoring in management, marketing and information technology management with a certificate in entrepreneurial studies, was presented with the Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Entrepreneurial scholarship recipients were Corey Jones, an MBA student with a concentration in supply chain management and Shaaliyah Lyons, a senior majoring in sports management with a minor in Africana Studies and a certificate in entrepreneurial studies.
Founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Susan Scherreik, noted, "We're proud of the strides we've made toward fostering an entrepreneurial culture at Seton Hall University. Our alumni have been with us every step of the way and are incredible role models for our students."
Jerry Walker, legendary Seton Hall BIG EAST Conference Tournament Champion (1992-1993), has spent the past 20 years as a social entrepreneur in his hometown of Jersey City, NJ. Walker is the president and CEO of Team Walker, the non-profit he co-founded in 1996, with his brother Jasper, to provide inner-city youth with innovative after-school and summer programs. Team Walker's programs provide a structured academic and recreational environment where children are given the opportunity to significantly improve their quality of life through interactions with positive role models. On a daily basis, up to 400 children participate in Team Walker's program, ranging in age from eight to eighteen.
In 2011, New Jersey First Lady Pat Christie honored Walker by naming him a "New Jersey Hero." "Through his leadership, he is teaching these children the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, responsibility and unity."
"I am truly humbled and honored to receive this prestigious award. I have received a lot of social services awards in the past but this one is really meaningful because it shows me in a different light as an entrepreneur. And congratulations to Gary Wolfe, the other honoree, I could not have been inducted into the hall of fame with a better person," said Walker.
Gary Wolfe is the founder, CEO and former owner of Wolfe Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. in Reading, PA. After graduating from the Seton Hall, Wolfe embarked on a lifelong career as an entrepreneur. In 1973, at just 23 years old, Wolfe opened his first roofing company. In 2015, he sold his company to Tecta America, the leading national commercial roofing company in the U.S.
"I am elated to be inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and thankful to the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies for choosing to include me. It is a great honor to be among the distinguished past honorees," said Wolfe.
Wolfe is actively involved with industry professional organizations, community groups and his alma mater. He has served as the president of the NRCA Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, the Roofers Mart of Central Pennsylvania and the Building Industries Exchange of Reading and Berks County. His other appointments include: member of the Firestone National Contractor Advisory Committee, director of the Maidencreek Fish & Game Club, director of the South Mountain YMCA, where he was a board member for 25 years, and serving on the Seton Hall University President's Advisory Group.
Ryan Skolnick is a past president of Seton Hall's Entrepreneurship Club, and a brother in ENT, the Entrepreneurship Academic Fraternity on campus. During his freshman year, Skolnick was able to win first place in Pirates Pitch, Seton Hall's version of ABC's Shark Tank. Since then he has gone on to do well in other competitions, including second place in New Jersey's UPitchNJ competition during its inaugural year and a semi-finalist finish for Student Startup Madness, a national collegiate tournament focused on helping student entrepreneurs succeed.
Skolnick's current business endeavor is a fully immersive, photorealistic, language learning video game, Aveho. He is currently pursuing seed funding with Aveho in order to produce a full working demo to showcase at the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages' national conference. After college, Skolnick plans on continuing with his company and revolutionizing the world through language learning.
"I feel so honored to accept this award. It has been a long journey to get to this point in my company's lifetime, and Seton Hall and the Entrepreneurship Department have been onboard every step of the way; I am extremely grateful for all of their help," said Skolnick.