New Director Named for Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship
Released on 08/19/2004, at 12:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
"The depth and breadth of Friendt's business experience greatly complements the academic excellence of the program," said CBA Dean Cynthia Milligan. "The center is a valuable asset to the region, and we expect it to be the leader in encouraging and developing new venture creation."
Terry Sebora, the former director of the center, will concentrate his efforts on curriculum development and research in entrepreneurship. "I am a champion for entrepreneurial education; traditional and experiential. I want new venture creation to be part of the normal, ongoing expectations at the university," Sebora said.
Friendt's career began with a Fortune 500 company in marketing and communications. In 1975, he launched his entrepreneurial career as one of the founding partners in Miller Friendt Ludemann, which became the largest Nebraska-based marketing agency at the time. After selling his majority share in the firm, he was recruited to be director of marketing and sales for an early-stage healthcare software company. That firm was eventually acquired by WebMD.
In 1966, he took over an early-stage dental software business and in three years Unident became the third-largest dental software company in the United States. After Unident was acquired in 1999, Friendt was on the senior management team that grew PracticeWorks into a world leader in dental practice management. As international vice president, he was responsible for an "internal start-up" of the company's international division. Eastman Kodak acquired the company in 2003. Since that time, Friendt has provided consulting and advisory services to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ventures.
Friendt served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is completing a four-year term on the Lincoln City Council. A strong believer in community service, Friendt has been active in the United Way, Rotary, Lion's Club, Junior Achievement and his church. Professional affiliations include the Advertising Federation of America and the American Marketing Association.
"I want the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship to be so strong that it is the first place anyone interested in enterprise development thinks of coming. I take seriously that we are the Nebraska center and I intend to engage our capabilities to make Nebraska a stronger economic region," Friendt said.
The Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship was designated a model program by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USABE). Entrepreneur magazine ranked the program in the top 25 of regionally important programs. The success for the region can be quantified in dollars and cents. Companies that have been launched from the center in the past 10 years have added more than $50 million in annual revenues to the regional economy and more than 400 jobs. Some notable companies include, Archrival, Home Instead Senior Care, Sell2All Image Marketing, Home Buyers Inc., and Artisan Creed.