Sun Devil 100 (formerly known as Sun Devil Select) celebrates the achievements of Sun Devil-owned and Sun Devil-led businesses across the globe. Continuing an incredible legacy of entrepreneurship and leadership, the majority of alums recognized this year are W. P. Carey graduates.
Carson Holmquist (BS Management ’08) received top honors, ranking No. 1 overall among ASU alums selected to the Sun Devil 100 for 2017. We caught up with him to talk about his entrepreneurial path, and get his thoughts on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s business landscape.
How did you know entrepreneurship was the right path for you?
I don’t recall making a conscious decision to be an entrepreneur. It seemed to be ingrained in me. Even as early as high school, I told my friends I was going to own a business someday. Though I didn’t have an answer to their questions about what type of business it would be, I knew my goal was to be an entrepreneur and actively participate in the American Dream.
How would you describe your entrepreneurial upbringing? Are there any experiences or influences that stand out as game changers?
Throughout my childhood, my parents owned a land surveying business. When I joined competitive sports, my parents had the freedom to attend every one of my soccer games and swim meets. Although their business demanded long hours, they had the ability to prioritize time off for important events. The flexibility they enjoyed made a strong impression on me.
How has the W. P. Carey School of Business influenced your journey?
The education I received at the W. P. Carey School of Business laid the foundation of business concepts I use every day. The course requirements exposed me to the key fundamentals of running a business: accounting, finance, economics, management, human resources, and entrepreneurship.
Just sitting through the classes would never have been enough, though. I was fortunate to be raised by parents with high expectations that kept me heavily engaged during college. I appreciated the opportunity to learn from experienced professors, such as Gary Naumann, and I developed a passion for personal growth.
Anything you wish you had known prior to and while launching your business?
I wish I had started Stream Logistics earlier. I waited for the timing to be right and to feel fully prepared before jumping in. As prepared as I thought I was to start a company, the entrepreneurial journey exposed me to new challenges and new opportunities to learn. The reality is that most of the knowledge needed to be an entrepreneur can only be learned through experience. The sooner you get started, the sooner that education can begin.
How do you balance passion and profits?
In an ideal world, passion and profits don’t require a balance equation. My passion is problem solving, which is at the heart of entrepreneurship. I can follow my passion while aligning those efforts with profits. For me, there’s never been a conflict between passion and profits.
What does an aspiring entrepreneur need today in order to achieve and sustain success tomorrow?
If you don’t have an internal drive to continuously improve yourself and your business, competition will pass you by. The barriers to entry in entrepreneurship are lower than ever. Access to information is easier and options for financing are greater than any other time in history. These factors combine to produce a marketplace where many businesses start, but not many can gain real traction. To achieve sustained success tomorrow, you must have an insatiable appetite for growth.
Join us in congratulating Carson and the rest of the W. P. Carey alumni selected to the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2017 — we can’t wait to see what you do next!