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For Immediate Release


"Shark Tank '12" Winners Named

Catawba Valley Community College recently named the winners of its second annual “Shark Tank” competition.

A take-off on the popular ABC reality show, CVCC’s “Shark Tank” is sponsored by the CVCC Emerging Entrepreneurs Club and Peoples Bank which underwrites scholarship prizes through the CVCC Foundation, Inc. The contest gives students an opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of business leaders and potential investors.

The number of applicants more than doubled from last year. Fifty students submitted their business idea, and the field was narrowed to 15 semi-finalists by college business faculty.  Nine finalists were chose to present to a panel of judges.  

This year’s judges included Tony Wolfe, Peoples Bank president and CEO; Danny Hearn, president of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce; Teresa Biggs, executive director of the CVCC Foundation; David Sain, retired Lowe’s Companies executive and chairman of the CVCC Foundation and Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, CVCC president.

First place winner of a $1,000 scholarship was Paul Fuselier who proposed a computer application for truck drivers. Meredith Isenhour won a $700 second place scholarship for her archery target proposal. Andrew Harren won a $300 third place scholarship for his flip frame media advertising proposal. Peoples Bank president and CEO Tony Wolfe presented the scholarships.

Because there were so many good proposals in the final round, the judges also awarded fourth and fifth place winners. James Ballbach won fourth place for his digital photography proposal. Peter Kong won fifth place for his egg roll food business proposal.

Adel Wilks was awarded CVCC Faculty Champion for her pet bird accessory proposal.

For more details, visit, or contact Gary Muller,, 828-327-7000, ext. 4672.

Pictured above from left are Meredith Isenhour, second place; Adel Wilks, Faculty Champion; Tony Wolfe, Peoples Bank president and CEO; Andrew Harren, third place; Paul Fuselier, first place; Peter Kong, fifth place; and James Ballbach, fourth place.

Where are the Shark Tank ‘11 finalists now?
First place winner Kimberly Kelly, owner of Edible Landscaping, graduated with her business administration degree from CVCC and became employed full time as a financial aid technician last November. She serves on the executive board of CVCC’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Club and is working toward her bachelor’s degree.

Second place winner Kristen Bearfield, owner of KB Photography, graduated from CVCC last May. She pursues her photography business and is working toward a bachelor’s degree at East Tennessee State University.

Third place winner Karen Cooper, who pitched a floral business called Monumental Floral, graduated from CVCC last year and works as an accounting assistant for The Cove Church in Newton.

Finalist Lisa Suber, owner of Stomping Grounds, graduated from CVCC last May and opened her “dream business” Stomping Grounds wine bar this spring.

Finalist Steve Bradshaw, owner of The Independent Step, graduated from CVCC last May. He and his wife and business partner Mary, were finalists in the Catawba County Chamber’s Edison Project last year.


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Updated 10.30.2008: Administrator