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Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture The Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute

Speaker and Mentor Program

The Frank Institute’s┬áspeaker and mentor program brings industry experts, leaders of topical interest and influencers of note to WSU engineering students to present their ideas, experiences, background and suggestions.

Make a Difference

For information on how to become a mentor or speaker, contact:

Ray Combs
Director, The Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute


Emerging WSU entrepreneurs face an increasingly fast-moving and competitive business environment. The speed of technological changes, accelerated product cycles, global competition and sophisticated financing strategies often demand resources and experience beyond the reach of the typical start-up.

Mentors can provide guidance, direction, insight, and experience that could help WSU entrepreneurs develop and introduce breakthrough products/services, build enterprises and create millions of jobs.

We are also interested in building a directory of mentors and coaches. Mentors will be recognized business leaders and role models who voluntarily act as a friend, adviser and coach to WSU students. They will consciously encourage, support, teach, and counsel students.

Studies have shown that many mentors become involved in a program like this because they wanted support early in their careers. This opportunity gives a mentor a chance to help students avoid the bruises that the mentors have encountered.

By freely sharing their knowledge and insights, mentors make an important contribution to individual student success while potentially helping start-up business ventures build a pathway to success.

Mentors must have the ability to:

  • Communicate clearly, provide positive encouragement and deftly point out paths that through their experience, the mentor believes may fail encouraging the mentee to self-discover alternatives;
  • Maintain an objective view of the process avoiding judgmental directives;
  • Be prepared for a mentoring session by reviewing material provided by the students and if of interest, reviewing material provided by the instructors as background;
  • Provide consistent follow up support and guidance to the mentee;
  • Listen closely, giving the mentee an opportunity to discover unique paths, techniques, methodologies, and processes always making sure that it is the mentee guiding the discovery, not the mentor dictating the result;
  • Be a friend, a good listener and communicator; and
  • Be an advocate and actively solicit new mentors.


Speakers are invited to present on topics that are of critical import for new entrepreneurs. The most successful sessions should combine life lessons about entrepreneurship, leadership and management taken from engaging anecdotes from the speaker’s career to highlight their insight.

Speakers might also want to talk about a current venture or organization that they think brings relevant examples.

The audience will be Frank Scholars, students taking a senior level capstone course (ENTRP 496 and BE 410), and a freshmen class of engineers (ENGR 120). If there is sufficient interest, we will make the program available to all WSU students and potentially through the WSU Global Campus. We expect the audience to be around 100, but it could be several hundred.

Speakers willing and able will come to a location on the Pullman campus for their presentation. Others will present via video teleconference. The format will be much like a TED talk followed by 20-30 minutes of dialog with the audience. If there is interest, we will arrange a social session for speakers to meet the Frank Scholars and a small number of students recommended by instructors from the sessions.