May 24, 2024

Entrepreneur Kenneth J. Lopez Addresses Master’s Candidates

CEO Kenneth J. Lopez ’92 urged graduates to consider entrepreneurial careers during his address at the University of Mary Washington graduate commencement Friday, May 9. “With this degree you’ve earned, entrepreneurship is in your grasp, and whether you see this germ within you, in that person you ride to work with, in a member of your family, with your lover or in your students all that has to be done is to grab this opportunity,” said Lopez, who is founder of the Alexandria-based A2L Consulting. In addition, he is a member of the UMW Board of Visitors. Ken Lopez encourages master's degree graduates to consider entrepreneurships. Lopez addressed more than 1,000 graduates, family members, friends and faculty, gathered in the William M. Anderson Center. A total of 213 graduate degrees were awarded, including 99 Master of Education degrees, 62 Master of Business Administration degrees, 40 Master of Science in Elementary Education degrees and 12 Master of Science in Management Information Systems degrees. Five graduates received both the MBA and the MSMIS in a dual-degree program. After receiving a law degree from the Widener University School of Law, Lopez discovered that he had an unfulfilled creative passion for computer graphics. In 1995, he decided to combine his passion with his education after realizing that computer animation was just starting to be used in litigation. During his entrepreneurial adventure, he discovered some important lessons that he shared. A graduate celebrates with a hug. “Your network is bigger than you think it is, and you are going to need it more than ever in this economic climate. All you have to do is not be afraid to talk to people and ask for help,” he said. “It really is that simple.” Today, Lopez’s company is a leading provider of jury consulting, litigation graphics and courtroom support to all of the nation’s largest law firms. A2L Consulting was recently voted Best Demonstrative Evidence Firm in D.C. by the readers of Legal Times and, on a national level, a Best Demonstrative Evidence Firm by the National Law Journal. Graduate Graduation 4 (1) The father of triplets, Lopez serves on the advisory board of UMW’s College of Business and on the Dean’s National Advisory Council at Widener. He was UMW’s Junior Executive-in-Residence in 2008 and is a frequent guest speaker for classes and student organizations. “We, all of us here today, we are now your network. It already is bigger than you thought it was,” said Lopez. “Grab a hold of it, start something new – the table is set for you and the plates are just begging to be filled.” Rebecca Rubin, founder, president and CEO of environmental consulting firm Marstel-Day, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. on Ball Circle.

Better Business

Matt Ernst '94 seizes business dreams and finds success.

UMW Graduate Wins First Place at Area Entrepreneurship Event

Andy Leonard, a 2013 University of Mary Washington graduate, is one step closer to making his mobile application idea a reality after winning first place at Startup Weekend Fredericksburg. During the weekend-long event, Leonard led a team to present CampusIDeas, an app that enables users to store and access their college IDs on their smart phones or other devices. The win is the second one for the app formerly called Campus Connect, which also took first place at the UMW Eagle Start-Up Challenge. “We want to bring our app to the local college campuses. That is the first step of many,” said Leonard who is already talking with businesses about partnerships around Germanna Community College where the event took place. The idea, which he hopes will someday spread nationwide, is that students will use the app for instant ID access and businesses can then use the app to advertise their services. The CampusIDeas team is now automatically accepted into the FredXchange Startup Accelerator and the Made in FredVA “Shark Tank”-style business plan competition Oct. 24 and can enroll in a free eCornell University online course. Leonard plans to begin a Master of Business program in the fall, but, in the meantime, he is happy to be pursuing a startup business as an entrepreneur.