Sean McComb's rise to thought leadership in the realm of education started decades ago. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, what began as a comfortable childhood was later torn apart by strife. Facing chaos and despair at home, he turned to school as his sanctuary and found inspiration in extraordinary teachers. His experiences compelled him to go into education, and pay forward the gifts that he received.
During his 10 years at Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts in Baltimore County, Maryland, Sean became an integral member of an outstanding school and community. Sean's English courses are deep dives into the exploration of humanity through literature and building communication skills. He regularly led his students in community service projects and led the construction of the AVID college-preparatory program in his school.
AVID targets students in the academic middle who have college dreams and provides them a pathway and a partner to achieve them. It's through this program that AVID students have what every child needs, a champion: an adult in their life who values them, believes in them and expects great things from them until the child can come to expect those things of themselves.
Sean’s Challenge; Practice gratitude and take ten to fifteen minutes every day to write notes affirming others.
Connect with Sean
Bobby is the CEO and cofounder of Thrill Mill, Pittsburgh's premier early-stage incubator/accelerator for entrepreneurs looking to turn that great idea into the next big thing. Thrill Mill, a non-profit organization, accepts applications annually, awarding a minimum of $5,000 per startup in exchange for 1% equity. Startups, which come from all industries and all growth models (including non-profits), are selected through the competitive application process gain access to first-class programming, mentorship, advisors, and broad networks to refine business models, reach target customer audiences and fund startups through their growth stages.
He is also a "reformed lawyer" and unapologetically Pittsburgh-proud. He is focused on the present and future of his city. He also created Thrival Festival, a music and innovation festival, to shine a national and international spotlight on the beautiful, creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial city that Pittsburgh has become.
Bobby’s Challenge; For a week, smile as much as possible and always say “please” and “thank you”. Focus on your people skills and let Bobby and Aaron know your results!
Urban Innovation Exchange
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Tim DeByl started the Madison Radicals franchise in the AUDL in 2012 and has coached the team to the championship game of the AUDL playoffs twice. He has leveraged his experience running a marketing and design company for over a decade to make the Radicals one of the marquee teams in professional ultimate.
In episode thirty-nine, Tim and Aaron discuss the expansion of the league, wearing multiple hats for the Radicals, and Tim’s hope for the future of the sport.
Tim’s Challenge; The next time you are in a heated conversation with someone, take the time to really listen to what they are saying and not just waiting for your turn to speak.
Connect with Tim
Dan McCoy was born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of vertebrae, and hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. He’s never let those conditions stop him from becoming an athlete, though, as he started playing sled hockey at age five and even served as goalie for his high school’s junior varsity lacrosse team for a season.
He helped Team USA earn a Gold Medal at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. As a member of the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, he has played in three International Paralympic Committee Ice Sled Hockey World Championships (gold – 2012, 2015; silver – 2013) and six World Sled Hockey Challenge tournaments.
Dan McCoy’s sled hockey career began with the Pittsburgh Penguins Sled Hockey Team in 1999 and continues to play with that same team today. He made his first U.S. National Developmental Sled Hockey Team in 2008. Following an outstanding 2010-11 debut with the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team in which he was tied for the lead among Team USA rookies with eight points (5-3) in 13 games, McCoy was named 2011 Rookie of the Year.
McCoy is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a degree in Communications and Sports Medicine.
Dan’s Challenge; Do something to jumpstart your heart rate every day.
Connect with Dan
Jennifer is the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Company. The speed-hiker set a new overall thru-hike record on the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail by completing it in 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. It was the quickest recorded completion of the iconic East Coast trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. Davis began her journey from Mount Katahdin in Maine, the trail’s northern terminus and ended at Springer Mountain, Georgia on July 31, 2011. To break the record, Davis hiked an average of almost 50 miles a day, camping along the trail
Founded in 2008, Blue Ridge Hiking Co. is committed to getting people outdoors on their own terms. By providing custom trips and individualized itineraries, they create trips for a backpacking novices or groups seeking a challenge.
Jen’s adventures have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post and on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. She has appeared on national television shows such as CNN Headline News, Fox and Friends, the CBS Early Show and the 700 Club. Jennifer has been named Blue Ridge Outdoors Person of the Year and a National Geographic Adventurer of the year. Her Appalachian Trail record was voted Ultrarunning Magazine’s Female Performance of 2011.
Jenn’s Challenge; Go outside and spend 20 minutes alone in nature.
Connect with Jen
Sophia is the CEO and co-founder of Trusst Lingerie, a company that has reengineered the bra for larger-busted women. She left her job as a product manager in August of 2014 to co-found her company and enter the AlphaLab Gear accelerator in Pittsburgh.
Sophia comes on the show and discusses launching her first product, running a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $80k with just a $25k goal, and building her team.
Trusst’s first product launched in October 2015 and will be delivered in the spring. Check it out!
Sophia’s Challenge; Track your fitness for 100 days. 100 day challenges will help you build new effective habits.
Connect with Sophia
Barry L. Ritholtz is the founder and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Launched in 2013, RWM is a financial planning and asset management firm, with over $175 million in assets. The firm offers a variety of services to the investing public, including LiftOff — a low cost online-only investment site.
In addition to running a wealth management and financial planning firm, Ritholtz is a frequent commentator on many financial topics. He was named one of the “15 Most Important Economic Journalists” in the United States, and has been called one of The 25 Most Dangerous People in Financial Media. He writes a daily column for Bloomberg View and a twice monthly column on Personal Finance and Investing for The Washington Post.
His book Bailout Nation became the best reviewed book on the bailouts, with NYT calling it “an important book about a complicated subject, and yet you could still read it at the beach.” It was named “Investment Book of the Year” by Stock Trader’s Almanac.
Ritholtz hosts a series on Bloomberg Radio, called Masters in Business. He also authors The Big Picture — a leading financial weblog, generating several million page views per month. The Big Picture covers investing, trading, macroeconomics, and much more. The blog has amassed over 130 million visitors. TED named TBP one of top 100 Websites You Should Know and Use and numerous traffic sites rank The Big Picture as one of the most trafficked Markets/Economics blogs on the web.
Barry’s Challenge; Constantly work to be aware of your personal cognitive biases and challenge yourself to improve them.
His Book = Bailout Nation
His podcast = Masters in Business
Connect with Barry
Want to learn about the photography business? What about a creative foundation aimed at empowering women and sharing impactful stories? Meet John Craig.
John has been a photographer for over 25 years and has photographed everything from weddings and portraits to landscape photography and corporate gigs. John likes to keep tons of side projects going to keep the machine oiled and as such has an incredible "Pittsburgh at Night" collection that has been on display in several gallery shows throughout the 'Burgh. Also pretty savvy with the film side of a camera, John has a pretty impressive portfolio of films for local events, small business commercials, special interest projects and random awesome people (like his wife).
John started The Beauty Within Foundation with his wife Elizabeth. The foundation’s mission is to inspire and empower women to not only recognize their outer beauty through photography but also their beauty within through storytelling. The project aims to reach women that have survived, achieved or triumphed over difficult circumstances that challenged their self-confidence, their sense of self or their power and are utilizing those experiences to inspire and empower other individuals or communities.
Their site is a collection of these stories and photos that can be viewed, shared and used as a resource of strength and inspiration with the hope that women from all around the world will read these stories, see these photos and realize, no matter what they are going through, they are not alone.
John’s Challenge; Go on a walk and take 5 pictures of things that go unnoticed
Connect with John
Scott Wolovich started New Sun Rising to help incubate social enterprises and artists in the greater Pittsburgh area. The organization’s mission is to empower creative projects in the Pittsburgh region through fiscal sponsorship, mentoring, and community building.
New Sun Rising ignites, launches, and grows impact throughout the social innovation ecosystem. Their programs operate at the intersection of people + place + innovation. They also help non-profits and for profits build, test, and implement plans that funders love.
We discussed non-profits v. for-profit organizations, courting investors and much more.
Scott’s Challenge; Carry a notebook to get ideas out of your head and into the world.
The Do Something Principle - Mark Manson
“Ah, so you run a lifestyle business?” - Happy Startup School
Social Enterprise: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - British Council
Connect with Scott
Alan shared an hour of his time to explain how he was able to retire at 35 and lays out the principles by which he lived.
Alan’s three core principles
Alan discusses the merits of going back to school to get a graduate degree. He also explains why living in a low-cost city like Pittsburgh was a boon and how he lost more than 100 lbs after he retired.
THIS EPISODE WAS RECORDED ON SEPTEMBER 30TH, INTERNATIONAL PODCASTING DAY, at the EPICAST NETWORK STUDIOS.
Alan’s Challenge; Keep a journal of all your expenses for one week and reflect on necessary vs. discretionary purchases. By investing savings in securities generating an average of 10%/year (i.e. total stock market funds), in 20 years, each dollar saved could turn into $7. If you’d rather have the $7, automate your savings.
Reading Suggestion; BogleHeads
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Mark is a partner at a public relations and advertising agency based in Pittsburgh. He helps clients achieve results in a multitude of difficult environments. In episode 30, he talks about running a boutique advertising and public affairs firm that specializes in political campaigns and issue advocacy.
His company was named to on of Inc.’s 1000 fastest growing companies in the country by helping candidates, causes, and corporations achieve their goals through television, radio, print, digital, grassroots, and earned media.
On Advertising by David Ogilvy
Confessions of an Ad Man by David Ogilvy
Mark’s Challenge; Take someone that you haven’t seen in awhile out to lunch.
Connect with Mark
Erik Kulick is the owner, founder and chief instructor of the True North Wilderness Survival School. He drew upon his passion for the outdoors and his almost thirty years of teaching experience to found True North in 2011. Growing up as a backpacker and paddler, Erik has taught for regional and national outdoor programs, including the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School. He has spent the last ten years focusing his training on wilderness survival in various programs and has studied under Byron Kerns, a former US Air Force SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) instructor.
Erik also works in emergency medicine as a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician, a Wilderness EMT, and a Pennsylvania certified EMS Instructor. He is also a Wilderness Emergency Care Instructor for American Safety & Health Institute, and a BLS Instructor for the American Heart Association. Erik teaches at the Center for Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He runs a series of programs which trains EMS providers, physicians, and law enforcement in wilderness medicine and survival skills. Erik is a member of the National Association of EMTs and the Wilderness Medical Society, where he is also a candidate for Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM). Erik also actively serves in the Allegheny County EMS system helping the residents of various communities.
With a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters in Business from Duquesne University, Erik draws upon his experience from the corporate world to help individuals and organizations maximize their potential. Erik is a registered Merit Badge Counselor with the Boy Scouts of America serving the Laurel Highlands and Westmoreland-Fayette Councils.
Erik’s Challenge; Push yourself beyond your boundaries and acquire a new skill, be it wilderness survival related or otherwise.
Connect with Erik
Kate and Emily founded Propelle in 2011, with the mission of bringing together the amazing female entrepreneurs in their community and to provide the tools and resources necessary to help women grow and evolve, both personally and professionally.
Their business has grown to include a robust newsletter, in-person networking events, a members-only Facebook community, and a monthly Mastermind group. They are passionate about building a strong and supportive community of women entrepreneurs that can support each other when the going gets rough.
In the show’s first trio podcast, we discuss successful partnerships, the composition of their Mastermind program and much more.
#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd
Kate and Emily’’s Challenge; Celebrate a win every day for 30 days. Take it a step further by using their challenge sheet.
Connect with Kate and Emily
Henry Thorne serves as a Mentor at AlphaLab Gear. He founded Aethon Inc. in 1997 and served as its President. He co-founded Thorley Industries LLC in 2005 and serves as its Chief Technology Officer. Henry is a mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, graphic user interface designer and computer scientist. He received BS degree in 1982 and MS degree in 1984 from Carnegie-Mellon University.
Upon graduation, Henry joined General Motors Corporation. During his five years there, among his many accomplishments were the invention of the first weld path adjustment system, the invention of the first fully automatic tool center point calibration system (eliminated the single largest cause of downtime in automated arc welding); the design and implementation of the world's largest automated arc welding system (still running today with the lowest downtime in the auto industry); and the development of a spot weld controller (software installed on thousands of robotic welding machines). Further, Henry invented and patented the world's leading system for calibrating robotic tools, still licensed to ABB.
In 1990, Henry left General Motors Corporation and founded Cycle Time Corporation to design and market "Tophat," a graphic user interface for robotic welding. Under contract to ALCOA, he also invented the first system for real time arc weld quality measurement, still the best available measurement of the quality of a weld as it is being produced. He served as Director of Aethon Inc. It was here that he invented and patented three technologies that solve the “navigation riddle,” without using elaborate and expensive laser and inertial guidance systems.
He is currently the CTO for 4moms, a company he co-founded with partner Rob Daley. He is also the longest sitting board member for USA Ultimate and has remained very active in the ultimate community. He also serves as a special advisor for Ultimate Peace, a non-profit committed to using ultimate to help teach conflict resolution in Israel.
Evan Lepler is the AUDL’s lead play-by-play announcer for ESPN3. He also calls games for USA Ultimate’s Triple Crown Tour and College Championships. His goal is to introduce more casual sports fans to ultimate, and getting league games broadcast on ESPN3 is a good first step.
Lepler stumbled into ultimate in his first year at Wake Forest University. In his first week on campus, he spotted a flyer for ultimate in his dorm and headed to the quad to check it. He played barefoot for hours and was hooked. The summer between freshman and sophomore year he threw for one or two hours a day, and eventually captained the men’s squad at Wake Forest for two years.
Evan wanted to be a sports broadcaster since he was 8 or 9 years old, so after graduation, he decided not to get involved in the ultimate club scene, which would require practices on nights and weekends, in favor of working his way up the broadcast ladder. For many years, he has covered men’s and women’s college basketball, minor league baseball, and college football.
Evan’s Challenge; Share ultimate media with folks who are not familiar with the sport to spread awareness and acceptance.
Evan’s Save the Planet Team
Connect with Evan
As Director of Research, Michael Batnick spends much of his time reading research publications and keeping abreast of the latest trends in the industry. He assists Barry Ritholtz and Joshua Brown with portfolio management and data analytics and works closely with Kris Venne on the implementation and maintenance of client investments.
Michael talks with prospective and current clients about the RWM portfolios, aiming to educate them about our how we are able to keep emotions out of our decision-making process. Michael passed the third and final CFA exam in June 2015.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and dog. He also writes a blog discussing financial markets called “The Irrelevant Investor”.
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Jesse Livermore
The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham
Mike’s Challenge; Read outside of your comfort zone/area of expertise to get a more well-rounded understanding of the world.
Connect with Michael
Nathan Chan is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Foundr, a digital magazine for entrepreneurs. He launched the magazine in 2013 on Apple Newsstand and the Google Play Store and quickly built it into a 6-figure business. He has interviewed top modern entrepreneurs and business leaders including Sir Richard Branson (Founder of Virgin Group), Barbara Corcoran (Shark Tank) and Tim Ferriss (Author, The 4 Hour Workweek).
Currently based in Melbourne, Australia, he previously worked as an IT professional in various industries such as publishing, travel, and accounting. Nathan and I discussed what it took to get his magazine off the ground and the lessons he has learned.
Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Life in Half a Second by Matthew Michalewicz
Connect with Nathan
Qxhna Titcomb was born the youngest sibling of a family that loves the sport of ultimate. In 2006, she and her siblings created the ultimate frisbee apparel company Five Ultimate. The company’s mission? To “serve the sport of ultimate”. Over the next decade, Qxhna learned about business, event planning and the culture of her sport while traveling around the world playing ultimate and working at tournaments. She and her siblings also own and operate the AUDL’s Seattle Cascades, which she credits with teaching her to put on great single game productions.
She also has enjoyed a decorated playing career that has included;
4 years at Tufts University
Representing Team USA at Beach Worlds 2015, U23 Championships 2015, and Jr Worlds 2012
Playing for Boston Brute Squad 2015 and Seattle Riot 2015
Named Spirit Captain for Team USA at Beach Worlds
She launched the All-Star Ultimate Tour in 2015 as a way to showcase women’s ultimate and improve media coverage for the women’s game. The tour raised over $45,000 through a crowdfunding campaign in less than 2 weeks. The tour visited 9 countries, with the all-stars going 6-3. Two plays from the tour made it onto SportCenter’s prestigious Top 10 plays.
Fun Facts: Qxhna hates oranges and brownies as well as onions and mushrooms. Her favorite foods include Pop-Tarts, cereal, and mayonnaise.
Qxhna’s Challenge; Say yes to opportunities, even if they will be challenging.
Revived by Hayley Wahlroos
Connect with Qxhna
All-Star Ultimate Twitter
All-Star Ultimate Facebook
All-Star Ultimate Youtube
All-Star Ultimate Website
Five Ultimate Facebook
Five Ultimate Website
Josh is the founder of Work Hard Pittsburgh formerly The Hardware Store. He is dedicated to making entrepreneurial opportunities available to underserved populations and demographics. Before starting the Work Hard Pittsburgh, Josh ran several startups including Crowdasaurus and AsOne. Josh also taught high school chemistry for over a decade.
Josh’s Challenge; Go to a neighborhood that you don’t usually visit, get dinner, and walk around.
Connect with Josh
Episode twenty recaps the launch of the show and the lessons I have learned along the way. Thank you so much for listening! Many more episodes to come.
What I’ve learned
Just Do It
One of the hardest parts was getting started, I waited weeks to release my first episode after I had completed it
Ask the person who your are afraid to contact, they will probably say yes, and if they don’t, you’ll get over it
When you play the waiting game, you overthink things and drive yourself crazy
Networking is SO important
Put yourself out there
People are excited to help people who have passion and are prepared
The best people will introduce you to more great people.
What I have done well
What I need to work on
Advertising and Marketing the show
What you can expect in the future
More badass guests from around the country
More challenges on the blog that you can follow along with
What can you do
Ken began playing Ultimate in the summer of 2007 and found leadership opportunity in organizing his high school ultimate club. Attending Kettering University in 2009, Ken quickly worked on establishing a team, pursuing varsity status and full funding granted 2.5 years later. Ken went on to serve as a college regional director, then developmental division director for USA Ultimate and director of operations for the Detroit Mechanix.
While working as a mechanical engineer, he started Aero Ultimate as a simple outlet of his ideas like the SkyLight. Ken set out to reform Aero in late 2013 to provide meaning to Ultimate's future. Ken's talents and passion can be found in almost everything Aero produces.
Ken’s Challenge; When defining what success looks like to you, consider what you will have to do to obtain it AND what you may have to give up. If you aren’t willing to give up those things, redefine what success looks like to you.
Connect with Ken
Melissa is an NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist who, through her online business The Ultimate Athlete Project, is on a mission to improve the training techniques of folks in the ultimate frisbee community. With a background degrees in Chemistry and Kinesiology, she is uniquely suited to sort through the sea of available research to find what’s most important, effective, and applicable for developing superior athletes and teams.
The Ultimate Athlete Project was designed to give players the tools they need to train like the serious athletes they are. In addition to writing The Ultimate Athlete Handbook and starting The Ultimate Athlete Project, Melissa gives ultimate fitness clinics nationally and internationally. She has enjoyed teaching players from Ireland, Colombia, and all over Europe. When not trotting the globe playing and coaching, she enjoy reading, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
Melissa’s Challenge; Give something and ask for something every day for 30 days
Connect with Melissa
Isaac is currently an editor at A Plus, a digital media company co-founded by Ashton Kutcher. The site features stories that make a difference and create positive change that, in less than a year, has reached an audience of approximately 50 million monthly visitors by highlighting social issues, sharing breaking news, and creating original, entertaining content.
Isaac and I were teammates on the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds in 2015 and on the University of Pittsburgh’s ultimate team from 2010-2013. We co-captained the team in the 2012-13 season where we won our second national championship.
Isaac is a lifelong ultimate player whose interests extend into music, writing, sports, politics and thoughtful conversation. He is also great at talking shit and giving speeches in team huddles.
Isaac’s Challenge; Don't hesitate to do something nice for someone else. Don't let excuses stop you.
What Richard Sherman Taught Us About America
The Financial Trap of PayDay Loans
Connect with Isaac
Zach is an Associate at Draper Triangle Ventures where he helps identify and conduct due diligence on potential investments. He spends his days meeting with entrepreneurs, attending tech-community events, and developing relationships in the innovation community.
Draper Triangle is a Venture Capital Firm that partners with the Midwest’s most extraordinary entrepreneurs who set out to change the world. Founded in 1999, Draper Triangle has invested in some of the Midwest’s most successful startups including TOA Technologies, Renal Solutions, BodyMedia, CardioInsight, and Carnegie Learning. DTVC partners with early stage companies to create iconic and disruptive businesses in emerging markets including software, digital media, robotics and medical devices. Draper Triangle is a proud member of the Draper Venture Network, a robust venture collective bringing together experienced investors and innovative entrepreneurs from around the globe to share strategies, source opportunities, and create greater value. Over the last 25 years the Draper Venture Network has grown into a self-governed organization of independent venture funds on four continents who cooperate on investment diligence, marketing intelligence, corporate relationships and co-investments. Through DVN, members can leverage the collective intelligence of 100+ invested more than $3B in over 500 ventures.
Zach’s Challenge; Meet an early stage entrepreneur and help introduce them to a new potential customer. This will stoke the local economy and solidify a valuable connection
Connect with Zach
Draper Venture Network
Victor is a recognized technical cycling expert and is co-host of the top-ranked podcast, Cycling 360. Which has a worldwide audience and downloaded by more than 40k listeners each month and over 2 million lifetime listeners. Victor also created several online video-based courses to help road cyclists and triathletes become better riders while consulting with select athletes one-on-one to help with the technical aspects of cycling.
Victor Jimenez has been a trusted advisor and enabler, helping people have fun and do what they love for nearly 30 years. A consummate entrepreneur Victor has founded many small businesses focused around his passions of fitness, cycling, business, marketing, and conversation. The one thing that has connected all of his ventures is helping people do what they love. Some have been wildly successful and some have been abysmal failures. One thing that has been common among all of his ventures, is they were based on interests and dreams. He knows what it feels like to start from scratch and also to salvage a good business that is not reaching its potential.
Victor’s Challenge; Write down your five immaterial values and post them somewhere you will see them every day so that they may guide your daily activities.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
Connect with Victor