Nick Smith (Sangamon CEO, 2014) and Andrew Gochenour are the co-owners of Framework Photography in Springfield, Illinois. They started their business before Nick entered the CEO program, but it has changed radically since then. The business has grown exponentially, and they have rented an older building and are now completely renovating it.
They actually had an impromptu ribbon cutting on the last day of CEO class in the Spring.
That’s what makes CEO real, by the way. Students aren’t engaged in pretend activities and worksheets, they’re building real businesses! Framework Photography’s revenues in the first few months of 2014 exceeded their total revenues of 2013. In fact, they just booked a wedding that exceeded their total 2013 revenues.
Nick’s mentor, Sarah Petty, who is a very successful photographer and New York Times bestselling author of Worth Every Penny, played a huge role in helping this business. Jeff Stauffer, a local CEO board member, is creating all of the signage for the company and has worked closely with Nick and Andrew as they’ve built their business. That’s the real magic of CEO-building an ecosystem that supports young entrepreneurs as opposed to just feeding information about entrepreneurship to students. It transforms everyone, and that’s what I love about it.