Local universities continue to be one of our startup community’s greatest assets—not only do they educate and produce talent that feeds into the startup community but they train students to become entrepreneurs and they employ professors and researchers who develop and commercialize groundbreaking innovation. 

There’s a team of people on every campus that help to connect faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members with various programs and opportunities, all to promote innovation and economic development in the state of North Carolina. 

In the fourth of a series of Q&As with university leaders across the state, meet some of the folks making it happen at UNC-Charlotte, Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University and Johnson & Wales University. 

Fred Tiess 

Associate Professor, College of Culinary Arts, School of Business—Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship 
Johnson & Wales University

Briefly describe your job/role with the university. 

I’m a classically-trained award-winning chef as well as a third-generation entrepreneur. I teach Classical Cuisine in the College of Culinary Arts as well as Entrepreneurship in the School of Business at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte. 


How does your background contribute to your role in entrepreneurship programming?

I own Le Guild Culinaire, a publication venture, residential property rentals in Virginia and F&B Resources, an entrepreneurial consulting service in Matthews, NC. I’m a board member for Mercy Chefs, a 501(c)3, a disaster relief social entrepreneurship non-profit that provides free hot meals to victims and first responders. I hold a master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University, as well as business, management and culinary degrees from Johnson & Wales, the Culinary Institute of America and the State University of New York at Dutchess Community College. 

What’s an extra proud moment from your time in your role?

One of the great outcomes of teaching are great stories of success about our students. My most recent proud moment is when a team of my students won second place in the Queen City Forward Innovation Challenge and were later selected to take part in the accelerator program at QCF this summer. 

Who is the impressive entrepreneur you’ve come into contact with through your work, and why?

I am very fortunate to have the privilege of partnering with Louis Foreman of Enventys to teach our students at JWU. Louis provides real life examples of successful endeavors he has lead. Over the past 20 years, this includes over 600 patents, nine ventures and an Emmy Award Winning show on PBS entitled Everyday Edisons. 

What’s a fun fact about yourself?

Mercy Chefs – Since our founding 10 years ago after Hurricane Katrina, Mercy Chefs has served over 1.1 million meals, 100,000 of which have been over the past 90 days with the flooding in West Virginia and Baton Rouge. 

Sarah Headley

Charlotte Contributor
Sarah Headley is a former ExitEvent intern. The 2015 UNC-Chapel Hill grad moved back to Charlotte after graduation where she is a freelance writer and works in digital marketing. Sarah loves to talk about UNC basketball, GIFs and country music.