Sam Chester: Recipient of The 2021 -2022 Entrepreneurship and Family Business Scholarship

Sam Chester is the inaugural recipient of the Entrepreneurship and Family Business Scholarship. Sam is a senior Business Management major, with a concentration in Entrepreneurship, from Memphis, Tennessee. Sam is the president of Knights Social Club, Vice President of the Harding Chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society, and on the Waldron Center Student Advisory Board as well as the COBA Student Advisory Board.

 Sam Chester plans to return to his family business, Property Solutions Group, in Memphis. Sam exemplifies the Christian business ideals that the Waldron Center espouses and that I aspire to teach. I am confident that Sam will bless others through his business and most importantly he will glorify God and show God to others through his family business.

The scholarship is funded by the Bennett and Margie Wood endowed scholarship and will be given every year to a student that exemplifies the entrepreneurial and/or family business characteristics of blessing others through business. The scholarship award is $2000. For more information or to donate to the scholarship please contact Emily Gentry at

If you are interested in applying for the scholarship, click the link to fill out the application.

Adria Abella: Founder of hDrop

Adria Abella graduated with his Mechanical Engineering Degree from Harding University in May of 2019. Adria’s passion for tennis sparked the idea for the hDrop device. He has been a tennis player for more than 14 years. Tennis can be a high endurance sport because sometimes the matches are three to four hours long. Adria wanted to develop a wearable device that can track hydration status in real-time. He knew this could be helpful for many athletes and individuals. 

While Adria was in his senior year, he started developing the hDrop device. The hDrop is a wearable device that tracks hydration status electrolytes and core temperature in real-time. This stands out from other products because it offers real-time feedback. Unlike some water logging apps, it does not require you to log your water intake. Listed below are some commonly asked questions about the product: 

Q: Why do I need a device to track my hydration, if I already have my thirst sense? 

A: Whenever you feel thirsty you are already 10% dehydrated. Thirstiness is an alert that your body sends to your brain so that you can survive. Drinking when you are thirsty is enough to survive, but not enough to perform at your best.

Q: How do you use it? 

A: The user turns on the device, places hDrop on the upper arm, and turns on the App. After that, the hydration status, body temperature, and hDrop battery are recorded and shown on your phone or watch App. 

Q: I do not like to carry my phone with me, what are the options? 

A: hDrop App is going to be available for Android smartphones, Apple smartphones, Apple watches, Android watches, and other smartwatches. If you don’t want to carry your phone, you can use your daily workout smartwatch to connect it. 

Q: How long does the battery last? 

A: hDrop is a low consumption device. The battery lasts up to 30 days when left turned on. Turning it on and off during your workouts will extend the battery life. It works with a coin cell battery that is easy to replace. 

You can Pre-Order hDrop right now and have it delivered in November 2021 on the website below:

Tony Slate: ASL Teacher and Creator of The Clear Mask

Jon Wood interviews Tony Slate, a 1996 graduate of Harding University. Tony is an ASL teacher and world language department chair at Fort Bend Christian Academy in Houston, Texas. Recognizing the limitations cloth masks have on the deaf and hard of hearing who rely on the facial expressions used in ASL, Tony began a campaign to make clear masks available. You can purchase your clear mask at

Inaugural Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase

Fall 2020 held a lot of challenges for Harding University. One of those challenges was how to engage students in a time where gathering in small groups was considered a no-no, and students had to adopt a more distant lifestyle at school. A normally bustling Waldron Center was empty and quiet.

Rochelle Waddill, new to the Waldron Center, and director Jon Wood, were determined to get students involved and began concentrating on awareness and name recognition. Regan Campbell, student worker at the Waldron Center, partnered with Rochelle to head up the social media this semester. The two decided to focus on student entrepreneurs here on campus, and began a weekly highlight of a student business that was featured on instagram (check out @huwaldroncenter). More and more businesses began to roll in, and it was quickly evident that there was a large amount of talent and initiative in this group of students. Waddill had the idea to form an event at the end of the semester to bring them together and give them a chance to truly showcase their work on campus. Given the COVID guidelines, that was easier said than done. Working with the Provost office and Dean Frazier, they were able to get a plan that worked, and the Student Entrepreneur Holiday Showcase was born!

The Holiday Showcase, themed “Hu-Ville” (pronounced hoo-ville), was met with eager excitement and rave reviews. Each student entrepreneur that participated (18 of them!) was able to set up a table, showcase their work, sell their wares, and support one another.

Below are some of our entrepreneurs and their contact information. Check out what these students have accomplished and consider supporting them on this Cyber Monday! Christmas shopping awaits!

Alaina Abbott Photography

Alaina Abbott

insta: @alainaabbottphotography

AMT Fitness

Toni Montez

insta: @toni.montez

Bloom Clay Co.

Rachel Williams

insta:  @bloom.clayco

FB: Bloom Clay Co.

Byrd Jewelry

Maddy Byrd

insta: @shopbyrd

Candace Grace Arts

Candace Crawford

insta: @candacegrace.arts

HaMi Boutique

Hallie Smith

insta: Shophamiboutique

Kendra Neill Design

Kendra Neill

insta: @kendra.neill

On Me Clothing

Colt Williams


Ramen Doodles

John David Stewart

insta: @ramen.doodles_

Spooning with Carol

Caroline Palmer

insta: @spooningwithcarol

Start Her Running Co.

Layne Pace

insta: @startherrunningco

Suitcase Studio

Megan Benz

insta: @suitcase__studio

Wicker & Wood Vintage

Megan Sides

insta: @wickerandwoodvintage

Wir’d By Sal

Sally Roach

insta: @ponygalsal

From Venue to Menu

How one man took his years of small business experience to turn his home into a profitable post-retirement job and mission.

Jim Rose carried his love for business throughout his life and now channels this love and his many skills into The River House, a bed-and-breakfast in Searcy, Arkansas.

When he was around 10 years old, Rose had his first experience with small business, hanging around a produce stand near his home in Dayton, Ohio. He befriended the owner of the stand and volunteered his time to help in whatever way possible, even going to Cincinnati with the owner to learn about supply chain and wholesale. Not long after, he began working as a paperboy.

“My first desire for business started when I was about 11 years old,” Rose said. “I wanted to be a paper boy. I wanted my own money.”

From this young age, Rose had a desire to be financially independent. This pushed him to make his own money, whether it was at a grocery store, delivering papers, or at the local carwash. 

Though his parents never pressured him to do so, he wanted to be able to pay his own way through college. As a college student, he worked at Kroger and was able to pay for over half his college expenses with that job. Rose paid for his final year of undergrad in full by working full time in addition to completing his school work. 

After moving to Delaware with his wife Eva, Rose began working part time for her family’s business, Three Little Baker’s Dinner Theater and Bakery. He became a full-time employee of the business in 1975, when the family acquired a country club.

In the mid 1980s, the family’s dinner theater business took off, and Rose became the general manager, overseeing staffing and the bakery. He liked working in the small family business because he enjoyed having a part in every aspect of the business. He said he wasn’t just an employee. He was a part of the process and the business and had vested interest in its success.  

In 2007, the Roses left the family business. Shortly after, it closed for good. After about seven years working in school food services in Franklin, Tennessee, Rose retired, and he and Eva moved to Searcy, Arkansas, to be near their daughter and her family. 

The couple bought property on the Little Red River, just down the street from their daughter. After tearing down the previous house on the property, the Roses realized they had an opportunity as they rebuilt. They wanted more than anything for their passions and talents for entertaining and hosting to be used by God in some way. From this dream, the vision of the River House Bed and Breakfast was born. 

River House

Their original vision was to reach out to families visiting town for Harding’s various events like Homecoming, Spring Sing, and graduation, but their connection to Dr. David Kee, assistant professor of business administration, his entrepreneurship students and the Waldron Center brought them a bigger and better idea. The students encouraged them to develop their brand and get it listed on Airbnb, which grew their business even more. After having guests from all over the country, the Roses said they have loved the opportunity to do something they feel is a calling and ministry as much as a business.  

Entrepreneur spotlight: Nick Kennedy and Surf Air


Nick Kennedy knows time is money, and air travel is stressful. And he’s a problem solver. If you consistently spend unproductive time in airport traffic and waiting to check in at busy terminals for the same short commercial hops, might an all-you-can-fly subscription membership interest you? What if it provided a private terminal where you could check in as little as 15 minutes before your flight on well-appointed, custom-designed executive aircraft? What if employees knew you by name, and concierge services were available? And what if all this were available at a fraction of the cost of flying private? Pure fantasy? Not anymore.

California disruptor Surf Air, sometimes called the “Netflix of private airlines,” provides unlimited flights between a menu of U.S. destinations for one monthly price, and Harding alumnus and Surf Air president Nick Kennedy was on campus this week to discuss life, his journey in business, and how their business model is helping customers reclaim hundreds of hours of wasted time.

Surf Air was founded in 2012.  Its genesis was in MuckerLab, a Los Angeles-based business incubator. Surf Air announced the sale of its 3,000th membership in June 2016. In June, Surf Air acquired RISE airlines, a Texas subscription service founded by serial entrepreneur Kennedy, increasing Surf Air’s subscriptions by about 25 percent and adding flights to and from six Texas destinations. This summer, the company expanded operations to Europe.

The energetic Kennedy (‘99) spoke at a lunch-and-learn info-session for a packed crowd of COBA students. He recalled his journey from San Diego to Searcy, “a foreign place,” on a last-minute baseball scholarship. His early time at Harding was not smooth sailing. There was a period of adjustment, “students here had gun racks in the backs of their trucks and I looked like a surfer,” during which he considered not returning. He met his future wife during his second semester, however, and stayed for the long haul. “My wife was a Zeta Rho president and Sprint Sing hostess for two years. I worked at Regions Bank in Walmart. She worked at the Dixie Cafe. Weekends were a 99 cent movie from Hastings and a $5.99 pizza special.”

Kennedy competed on the COBA business team. Accounting professor Dr. Phil Brown recalls those years, “Often students want to discuss their entrepreneurial ideas about how business processes could be done better. I tell them if they are serious enough to put their thoughts in writing, I’ll devote the time to help evaluate them. Nick was one of only a handful who would actually do that.”  

His career began at EDS, after which he helped found Galvanon, a startup that developed software for kiosks to expedite patient check in at hospitals–an early approach to what patient portals now accomplish. The venture later sold to NCR. A later innovation in healthcare informatics was startup eviti, an evidence-based, web-based oncology platform, recently named #1 Clinical Decision Support solution for 2016 by Black Book Market Research. eviti was later acquired by NantHealth.

Kennedy explained that being a little naive can actually benefit an entrepreneur with a novel idea, because “you don’t know what you can’t do.” He counseled future entrepreneurs to focus on ways to solve problems for people, and to always start with ‘why?’  His next venture was in another area in which he had no business familiarity, but much end-user experience. Kennedy was traveling thousands of miles per year, burning time in airports away from his family. “I was an American Airlines Platinum member with all the upgrades.” The “why” for his idea was to create a less frustrating, more efficient venue for frequent flyers.

IMG_9694 (1)

He did the research, and set out to solve the problem. The average private plane flies 300 hours per year. Buyers purchase planes for personal convenience, and often assume they will be able to recover part of the cost through charter fees. They rarely do. So Kennedy and some colleagues founded RISE, which employed unused capacity from private planes to create a subscription air travel service. RISE later sold to Surf Air.

Regarding integrating faith and business, Kennedy advised students not to attempt to hide their spirituality. Business is about solving problems, and “meeting the needs of people is an inherently spiritual process,” he told students, and works best when you love people and have their interests at heart.