Entrepreneur in Action

Ashton Nichols / For The Post

Entrepreneur in Action

Ashton Nichols / For The Post

Paul Mass is not the usual professor. He does not have a doctoral degree, nor does he have much experience teaching. He is, however, a lawyer and an entrepreneur.

Mass, director of Ohio University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” of OU’s College of Business, teaches Introduction to Entrepreneurship, which is part of the entrepreneurship certificate program and the entrepreneurial consulting class. Mass first got his start in entrepreneurship after being a practicing lawyer for 11 years.

“I went to Duke University undergrad and Emory University law school,” Mass said. “I then started my first company, which was a cable television company. We diversified into radio and data and was fortunate enough to pretty successful in those businesses, which I sold by the year 2000.”

He came to OU in August 2016 from San Diego, where he ran two companies: GovX and ClosingCorp.

“I spent the last 10 years in San Diego building GovX, which is an online retail website that services the military and policemen and firemen,” Mass said. “It’s like Amazon — a wide range of goods at a big discount. And then another database company called Closing Corp, which serves in the real estate industry.”

“It’s fun for me because it’s what I do. It’s what I’ve spent the last 30 years doing."– Paul Mass

Last year, Mass and Paul Benedict, associate director for the Center for Entrepreneurship, shared an office. Both are named Paul, left-handed, teach entrepreneurship in the College of Business, and have invested in and operated startup companies. Benedict said in the year and a half they have worked together, Mass has brought his experience to both students and Benedict.

“He’s got a lot of good stories of things that were successful and lessons that were learned along the way from losses,” Benedict said. “All of that stuff is really cool.”

Mass said he came to OU to help build the Center for Entrepreneurship, which he said is a resource for the entire university.

“We try to help students who aspire of starting their own business and working for themselves,” he said. “It’s fun for me because it’s what I do. It’s what I’ve spent the last 30 years doing. I’m hoping to build the center so that all students here at OU that might think about doing something on their own or for themselves will have a support system.”

Kurt Kissinger, a junior studying marketing and management information systems, said he believes Mass is the coolest college director because of his personality and his thorough experience in entrepreneurship.

“He comes to work every day with a bright personality, and it shines through in the job that he does and the way that he treats everyone,” Kissinger said in an email. “Paul has helped me learn not only about what it means to be a great entrepreneur, but how to be the most well rounded business professional.”

Mass often shares his experiences with his students and gives them insight on traits and the kind of people he would hire, which greatly helps students, Kissinger said.

“Paul has not directly helped me with my college path, but indirectly, he has shared with me his experience … this insight has helped me in interviews and has also helped me position myself more effectively to employers,” Kissinger said in an email. “Once again, this is not something that can be taught in a classroom but it (is) priceless to know.”

Photo by: Matt Starkey / Photo Editor

Development by: Taylor Johnston / Digital Production Editor

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