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Andy Albright Supports Vision of NC State Entrepreneurship Initiative Program

BURLINGTON, N.C. – When Andy Albright started thinking of ways to help support NC State University, he was ecstatic to find out about the University’s Entrepreneur Initiative and the lecture series it wanted to start to showcase out­standing innovation and entrepreneurship among NC State alumni and partners.

Outside of supporting Wolfpack athletics, Albright (B.S. 1986) said it was the perfect blend of business and innovation – two areas he’s no stranger to.

Albright, the Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at National Agents Alliance, and his wife, Jane met with Nevin Kessler, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, to discuss making a gift to the program and the series.

The Albrights made a five-year commitment to fund the Entrepreneur Lecture Series, a semi-annual program at NC State that attracts 100-300 students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents to learn more about how to successfully start and build companies in North Carolina.

The EI program held its annual Prometheus Group eGames Awards Ceremony and ELS event in April at the McKimmon Center, thanks to the generous support of the Albrights, the Huang Family Foundation and Lenovo. More than $30,000 in prizes was awarded to students for outstanding achievement in several venture-based categories.

A total of 24 teams presented ventures and potential ventures to a panel of judges, who were faced with the daunting task of awarding prize money to multiple teams in four categories.

The event’s top prizes went to Critical Reload Device and Greensleeves.

CRD won first place in the design and prototype category for Trent Huffines’ project, which enables a handgun operator to instinctively reload his/her firearm with a single hand, should both hands be unavailable.

Greensleeves captured first place in the new venture challenge for its efforts in targeting some of society’s tough problems and looking for ways to make the world a better place.

Josh Whiton, founder and CEO of TransLoc, was the featured ELS speaker and helped award medals to the winning teams. Whiton, an N.C. State alumnus, is an entrepreneur with a bent for social and ecological reform. His company TransLoc helps makes mass transit easier to use. Already used by N.C. State and many others across the country, the company was awarded a contract to unify the Triangle region’s mass transit systems under its technology. The new system, an industry first, will provide information to the riders of these five transit systems via a single real-time interface.

A parallel entrepreneur, Whiton is involved in several other projects such as Raleigh City Farm, an urban farm in downtown Raleigh working to demonstrate that cities can compost their waste and grow their own food, thereby improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of urbanites. He believes the human mind is omnivorous and benefits from a broad intellectual diet.

During Whiton’s address, he encouraged students to see opportunities in the world that others might not, and to take advantage of the opportunities provided through the EI program.

“Back in 2009 I started thinking about how I had met a lot of basic needs in my life and it started to occur to me that I should start giving back in a bigger manner,” Albright said. “I’ve always given money to churches, schools and other organizations, but I never really gave back like I wanted to. Nevin and I talked about and I decided that NC State was a great fit. I knew I wanted to support the athletics program, but I didn’t know what I was going to do on the academic side. We looked at all the different areas and what I could do, and the one that seemed obvious to me, with my background in business, was the EI program.”

The goal of the Entrepreneurship Initiative is to build a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for NC State students through programs and opportunities that help prepare them to be North Carolina’s job creators and leaders of tomorrow.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said having people like the Albrights supporting the University is important to the success its students, alumni and partners too.

“NC State is proud of Andy Albright’s accomplishments in building National Agents Alliance into a thriving company that creates jobs and wealth for his employees, while providing a valuable service to those looking to insure their homes,” Woodson said. “In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Andy puts his time and financial resources to work to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs through his service to NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative Board of Advisors.

Kessler echoed Woodson’s thoughts and said the University would enjoy even more success if more people like Albright gave back so generously.

“Andy Albright represents the very best in NC State graduates,” Kessler said. “He focuses on setting and achieving big and important goals, and aspires for NC State to do the same.  He shares his excitement and pride in NC State wherever he goes.  He provides opportunities for University leaders to get in front of his NAA Conventions, where we are able to promote the benefits of attending and/or partnering with NC State.  If every graduate embraced NC State with the same passion and love as Andy Albright, there would be nothing the Wolfpack couldn’t accomplish.  With Andy and Jane’s financial support, the University is able to provide students, faculty, staff and students the opportunity to be exposed to big thinkers, through the Entrepreneur Lecture Series.  That willingness to enable others through his gifts of time and talent, is what makes Andy Albright so special to NC State.”

Woodson hosted the fall 2010 NCSU Entrepreneurs Lecture Series on Oct. 25, where Peter Lehrer, co-founder of Lehrer McGovern spoke about “Dream Builders,” which documents his career in the construction industry.

“This series and the EI program fit a number of areas that I’m all about,” Albright said. “It’s tied to academics, which is important and I really think we are making a difference on the academic side of the University. It’s a big investment by us, but it’s an important one.”

ABOUT NATIONAL AGENTS ALLIANCE

National Agents Alliance is an innovative lead generation and marketing organization that sells life insurance, annuities, and other financial services products through more than 7,000 active independent sales representatives in 50 states. Focused on serving middle-income families, National Agents Alliance is the No. 1 United States provider of mortgage protection insurance and offers a broad array of other affordable products from highly regarded companies such as Mutual of Omaha, Foresters, and ING. Since its inception in 2002, National Agents Alliance has helped more than 670,000 families successfully apply for more than $78 billion in life insurance coverage.

For more information about National Agents Alliance, visit http://www.nationalagentsalliance.com/ or call 1-866-752-1163.

For additional information on this topic, please call Mac Heffner at 336.227.3319 x1189 or email Mac at mheffner@naaleads.com.





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