Business major hits the ground running

 

David Zhou, Photo by Emily Munger

Arriving to his photoshoot with camera in hand, playing a catchy pop song on his phone and slicking back his hair, David Zhou is ready to make a new portfolio for his website.

Zhou, 20, helped co-found a premium fitness apparel company named Alpha Pack Fitness and does photography and videography for paying clients. He is also senior majoring in business at the University of South Florida.

Zhou’s eyes beamed when he remembered the reason why he wanted to help start Alpha Pack Fitness.

“We wanted to create a brand that had real meaning behind it,” Zhou said. “Something a community could come together for but also create clothing that was technologically superior but affordable.”

The Alpha Pack Fitness community is one Zhou said he has never seen before in other businesses.  Alpha Pack Fitness sells clothing, but they are also a social media tool for motivating people, according to the website.

“The Alpha Pack Fitness community is a group of friends turned family who encourage me to stay healthy and positive,” Annette Rumas, an Alpha Pack Fitness customer said.

Co-founding a business at 18 years old was not the only task Zhou was completing. He said he also had an interest in YouTube, and would watch video bloggers share their lives with communities they had never met. So, Zhou began to bring his camera on every car ride, family gathering and even his prom.

“I will never forget shooting my first video for a client,” Zhou said. “Seeing how their lips just curled all the way up into a huge smile from my video was priceless.”

Zhou learned his craft by watching tutorials on YouTube. He began to make his own photography business after realizing it was a service people needed. He decided it would be a way to gain experience while bringing people quality products.

“I ended up compensating myself,” Zhou said. “I invested most of the profits back into better equipment, so I can keep producing higher quality photos.”

Today, Zhou is a contact for many USF organizations. He said that he records events such as sorority bid day, formal and recruitment videos. With a large student body looking for his services, Zhou said he is kept busy.

At the end of the academic year, Zhou said he was shooting graduation photos for more than 10 clients a day.

Zhou said that he is helping the world become slightly better, one business deal at a time.  He is also thankful to his parents, who have put faith in him.

“I believe that I have made any sacrifice my parents had to make worth it,” said Zhou. “Everything I have done is in thanks to them.”

Minority women’s golfing group looks to bridge gap in professional world.

After leaving the corporate office one woman made the decision to build Women of Color Golf, an organization centered on golf and networking.

The organization’s founder and director, Clemmie Perry, made it her duty to increase the awareness of golf within the minority women community.

Women of Color Golf (WOCG) is a non-profit organization that sets out to promote and encourage minorities and women of color to learn the benefits of golf. Ms. Perry not only wants women to fundamentally understand the game of golf, but she also wants Women of Color Golf to be a gateway to networking and partnerships.

“We serve on various boards, such as the World Golf Foundation and other organizations that will help leverage our mission,” said Perry.

Many women within this organization have benefited from the outlets that Women of Color Golf provides. Robyn Thompson, the Millennial Leader for WOCG, says that this organization is the needed push to bridge the gap between male and female golfers.

“I think we have to educate women, and that’s one of the great things about Women of Color Golf. In the beginner session they basically educate you on what golf is, how you play the game before you even go out on the golf course,” said Thompson.

Perry has built an organization that is more than just “learning how to play golf.” Women of Color Golf has been national recognized by President Barack Obama for the diligence that it provides to the Tampa Bay area. There is hope for further expansion and an excitement for future endeavors.

Couple Starts Healthy Farm Business

Katy Sierra and Rosalyne Follman are the happy owners of a healthy, new business called Dirty Girl Farming. They grow microgreens and raise chickens on a farm in Wimauma, Florida.

“We both grew up in agriculture-based families—always outside—farm life, always doing something like that,” Sierra said. “So we that we wanted to head in that direction, so we came up with the idea for microgreens.”

The women have many tasks on the farm that range from finding the right balance of pH levels to sanitizing every individual seed before it’s planted.

“We only use pH balanced water so I have to find the right balance,” Sierra said. “Constantly moving things around during the day to get different parts of the sun, different times of the day where the sun hits it differently.”

They have dreams of expanding their business into a nationwide franchise.

“We definitely have plans of expanding,” Sierra said. “Not only here on this property, building more and more structures but we have plans to purchase neighboring properties as well but even beyond that I would love to see us in other states.”

Before they expand outside of Florida, they want to expand their own line of products and start offering home baked goods.

“I’m really excited about products that we have to come,” Sierra said. “We’re going to do baked goods and maybe skin care products and things like that.”

Their investor, Jessica Bellman, is fully supportive of their endeavors and points out the passion they have for the business.

“I think Dirty Girl Farming has not only a passion,” said Bellman. “But an interest in the education and putting healthy food on family tables.”

For more information or to purchase their products, you can visit their website at www.dirtygirlfarming.com.

Up-And-Coming Production Company Growing In Tampa

Diamond View Studios is a local production company devoted to creating excellent content. With a crew of 15 team members, creative juices are always flowing in their new state of the art studio located right off Bearss Avenue.

“Every single person who works there is truly passionate about video and about creating terrific content,” said operations manager Jonathan Hickson. “You come in and we’re having fun and it looks like we’re just playing around but really, we’re working really hard and we’re creating content that we’re proud of.”

Diamond View’s clientele is quite diverse, ranging from the University of South Florida to companies like Red Bull and Allstate.

“We’re constantly looking for new creative concepts — new hardware we can use, new software we can use. We’re always just striving to take it to one more level above what we already are right now,” said Shane Sackett, a recent intern turned associate producer.

Founded in 2007, the company outgrew office space after office space before setting their eyes on an available brick building. The open space and modern design of the studio are hard to miss, and Tampa Bay Business Journal recognized them as the 2016 Coolest Office Space.

“I didn’t think I’d like working anywhere as much as I do working at Diamond View,” Hickson said.

Production inquiries can be sent through their website, diamondviewstudios.com, or their telephone number, 800-613-9693.

Suit-A-Bull offers free suit rentals to students

When you scan USF’s campus, you do not see students dressed in suits. Mostly, you see students dressed casually in jeans and a T-shirt. You might even see students in pajamas.

With a low budget and a full schedule of academics and extracurricular activities, personal appearance may not be the first priority on college student’s minds. It is, however, the first thing an employer notices.

“In 2008 USF was rated as worst dressed by employment recruiters,” said USF advisor Kristofer Stubbs.

Suit-a-Bull at USF provides students with free suits, dress shirts, ties and skirts for interviews or any other occasion where dress attire is required. Suit-A-Bull is looking to add shoe rental as well in the near future.

“A lot of the career fairs they don’t allow you inside if you don’t have a suit. A lot of the students who come here have been turned down by those careers fairs,” said Kenni Lynch, USF ENACTUS President.

This service started in 2008 and is stocked through donations from faculty and staff.

The only qualification for renting dress attire is to bring your student ID and return the rented items within 48 hours. Suit-a-Bull is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.