Entrepreneurial Spirit: Norm Schumaker '63• April 9, 2008
WM asked 18 Wabash entrepreneurs:
What’s the most important thing you know about being an entrepreneur?
What should Wabash be doing to instill this "entrepreneurial spirit?"
An Almost Messianic Faith
Norm Schumaker knows something about starting up high-tech businesses.
Before helping to found Molecular Imprints, a developer and manufacturer of nano-lithography systems that allow for cheaper and faster production of semiconductor and optical-electronic parts, he established nLine Corporation, an inspection tool company. Schumaker also founded EMCORE Corporation, a leading supplier of compound semiconductor fabrication equipment and manufacturing services and led that company as chairman, CEO, and president from its founding in 1984 until December 1996.
Prior to founding EMCORE, Schumaker managed the New Materials and Technology Group at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has patented seven inventions and served on advisory panels for the National Academy of Science.
What is the most important thing you know about being an entrepreneur?
In all the successful entrepreneurs I have met, as well as all successful scientists, the will to succeed was an apparent and strong motivating factor in their character. An almost messianic faith in their vision and product led them to the success they desired. This something intensely personal and probably not
What should Wabash be doing to instill this entrepreneurial spirit in our students?
Courses focused on business-related topics would have been helpful: basic accounting procedures, planning, and basic management skills, project management, etc. I am not suggesting a mini MBA program, but a business survey course that would provide a basis for independent development.
Since each entrepreneur’s experience is unique, perhaps the College could sponsor a monthly seminar where alumni could return to Wabash and provide their life experiences as examples for the interested students. This would provide an avenue of communication and connection which students could draw upon as needed.