Eric Gaber, Lecturer of Business at Westminster, is excited about what's happening in the Entrepreneurship Center.
His 35+ years of experience as an executive recruiter, as well as starting or assisting with starting several companies in recruiting, real estate, distribution, construction, e-commerce and bio-tech, provides Westminster College students with countless resources to spur them into a robust and knowledgable future.
Read through the Q&A below to learn more about what students are experiencing through the Center.
The infamous question…Tell us about yourself!
I'm married with two daughters and people would be surprised to know that I have participated in sprint triathlons, racquetball, taekwondo, coaching girls’ basketball and serving on several boards.
My private sector career includes 35+ years as an executive recruiter and started or assisted with starting several companies in the following industries: Executive recruiting, real estate, distribution, construction, e-commerce and bio-tech.
What do you do at Westminster and what’s been your journey leading you to your current role at WC?
A mid-life crisis motivated me to join higher education which has led me to Westminster College as Entrepreneur-in-Residence/Lecturer/Director of the Westminster Entrepreneurship Center (WEC). My main focus at Westminster is WEC and teaching numerous courses in the School of Business.
My Westminster College student-centric focus is to bring energy in a pracademic (practical & academic) manner. As a passionate (most would say hyper) individual, I always strive to finish what I have started and to take great pride in the creation and completion of projects.
If an alumnus were to walk into the Westminster Entrepreneurship Center (WEC), what would they see?
At WEC, one senses the opportunity to do and become whatever one wants. As Willy Wonka said:
Come with me and you'll be
In a world of pure imagination
Take a look and you'll see
Into your imagination
WEC’s "Why Not?" mantra offers an environment focusing on dreaming and reaching goals. The actual space includes:
- A cloud ceiling, word wall and sky accent symbolizing the dream philosophy.
- A formal conference room including an awe-inspiring river table.
- An embroidering machine, t-shirt press, vinyl cutter and more.
- A student work space & classroom.
If an alumnus were to observe the conversations and energy happening in the space, what would they hear/feel?
The energy represented in the WEC space is fast moving and goal oriented. It is designed to mirror real world experiences and expectations. Our goal is to bring a high level energy to inspire and motivate students to do more than they thought was possible.
What does the WEC do to strengthen students’ understanding of Business/Entrepreneurship that you feel they can’t get anywhere else?
WEC’s student-centric approach to the entrepreneurial center is unique from any other college/university; we are NOT just a ‘big-idea center’.
WEC has the ability to meet each student’s goals and needs that larger research institutions cannot possible mirror. Each student has their own mentor, external project group(s), VC exposures and personal coaching. This student-centric approach makes for an impactful long-lasting understanding of the entrepreneurial world.
How have alumni helped strengthen student learning by their contributions to the WEC?
The Alumni has greatly contributed to the development of WEC not only through generous donations (more is always welcome ?), but through active participation in the annual symposium, entrepreneur of the year, mentoring, internships and jobs for WEC students. Alumni have also offered students project opportunities within their own companies for students to create working deliverables and practical experiences.
What transformations have you seen in students because of their experiential learning aspects of this program?
WEC has received humbling positive reaffirmations from students, employers and other stakeholders involved with WEC over the years. Some experiential results include:
- Students successfully starting their own companies or being fast-tracked into corporate positions.
- A dramatic improvement in skills associated with formal presentations due to the direct involvement with venture capital firms, corporations, not-for-profits, communities and start-up entities.
- Improvements in student’s understanding of real-world functions confirmed through employer and project team feedback of deliverables.
What’s coming up in the space – any exciting projects to wrap up the end of the year?
Upcoming initiatives for WEC include:
- International partnerships offering a global perspective.
- Attempting to create accelerator programs to develop next level solutions while offering sponsors their next generation of leaders.
- An entrepreneurial certification program for students and working professionals.
- A WEC team delivering a Covid paper for TX-GHS alongside-University of TX and Baylor University.
- A WEC team creating deliverables for a confidential Pittsburgh based bio-pharmaceutical company.
- WEC participating in a bio-tech entrepreneurship certification program in Cambridge Massachusetts.
For more information, visit the Center for Entrepreneurship webpage.