About the Authors
Thom Ruhe is Vice President of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. In this capacity, he directs the Foundation's programs addressing entrepreneurial education, mentoring, access to capital and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems. He oversees collaborative projects with innovative groups such as the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, FastTrac, Startup Weekend, the Angel Resource Institute, and Invent Now; parent organization of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition. Thom also curates the online curriculum, resources and communities for Kauffman's flagship resource for entrepreneurs: www.entrepreneurship.org.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Thom was the founding chief marketing officer for JumpStart, a nonprofit economic development organization and seed stage investment fund created to invest in and accelerate the growth of high-potential, early stage companies. Before JumpStart, Ruhe served as president of Optiem LLC, where he led the growth of a nascent marketing practice to a nationally recognized interactive marketing, communications and public relations agency. Earlier in his career, he held positions in technology integration, marketing, finance, sales, and management. His experience spans founding several entrepreneurial endeavors as well as working with Fortune 500 companies.
Thom is a 1988 U.S. Air Force ROTC graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in management information systems, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Plant A Fish Foundation.
Cameron Cushman is a Manager in Entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation where he focuses his efforts on strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Kansas City region. He leads the Foundation's efforts on the Big 5 initiative to make Kansas City America's Most Entrepreneurial City.
Cushman previously directed the Foundation's efforts to educate policymakers about the importance of entrepreneurs as job creators and was involved in several efforts in Washington to improve the policy environment for entrepreneurs including the Startup Act of 2011, the Startup Act 2.0, and the JOBS Act. He is also an occasional contributor to the Policy Forum section of entrepreneurship.org.
Prior to joining Kauffman, Cushman served in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Market Access and Compliance division of the International Trade Administration. At Commerce, Cushman worked to expedite trade along the U.S.-Mexico border, quantify the cost of non-tariff barriers on American exports and led the effort that launched the website www.entrepreneurship.gov. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Cushman served in the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Presidential Correspondence at The White House.
Cushman earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science with minors in history and journalism from Texas A&M University. He also holds a Certificate of Advanced International Affairs from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Amanda Schnieders is a Program Assistant in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she focuses on the storytelling of the entrepreneurial community through the production and editing of multimedia content, especially video. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Schnieders was a web editor for KOMU-TV8 in Columbia, Mo., and a multimedia editor for VOX Magazine. She also worked as a graphics designer for the Columbia Missourian, and a multimedia producer for the U.S.-European Media Hub at the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. Schnieders earned a Bachelor of Journalism in convergence journalism with a minor in theater from the University of Missouri.