Best Friends, Entrepreneurs, Business Partners
Kendall Farrell and Dimitri Thompson, fifth-year seniors at Marywood University, began their friendship during lunch at a recruiting basketball visit to campus. The friendship was almost immediate, as both Kendall and Dimitri were from New York (Queens and Brooklyn), had basketball as their common athletic interest, and each excelled in business.
Knowing that the success to any business venture is identifying a need and working out a plan to fill that need, Kendall and Dimitri used their own experience as resident students to fill a void experienced by many others like them without access to vehicles on campus—a reasonable means of transportation. They began by bringing their idea for a student shuttle service to their faculty advisor. Following that meeting, the duo understood that to realize their idea, they needed to get their proposal in the hands of decision makers.
“Sister Mary always says that she will make time to meet with anyone, so that’s what we did. We made an appointment to meet with her and presented our idea,” Dimitri and Kendall said.
Sister Mary Persico, IHM, President of Marywood University, brought Kendall and Dimitri’s proposal to her cabinet. She asked each member to keep an open mind and to help support the students’ idea for a Shuttle Service. From that point on, the wheels have been in motion.
Kendall and Dimitri developed a pro-forma and worked with Tammy McHale, Vice President of Business Affairs. Once fiscal options were approved, the plans continued to move forward, including securing sponsorships, branding the vehicle, and mapping out a route that would give students, faculty, and staff the best options for travel in and around the community.
The Shuttle Service, powered by a sponsorship from NET Credit Union, will have its soft launch on October 1, 2018. The Marywood Shuttle Service will be offered free of charge for the first two weeks, and will be fully branded and officially “in service” by mid-October. Each ride, following the two-week soft launch, will be available to Marywood community members for $2 a ride, which includes travel to and from bowling, shopping, movies, and more. Additionally, there will be late-night Friday and Saturday pick-ups available. The Marywood Shuttle will run Tuesday–Sunday while school is in session.
Both Kendall and Dimitri are true entrepreneurs, as they are always searching for the next product to fill a need. As finalists in the techBridge competition (also known as The Business Planning Competition), a regional competition designed to stimulate innovative thinking to leverage a technology-driven economy while retaining our regions’ talent, the students are familiar with the process of developing an idea from prototype to the market with the support of marketing plans, research, testing, and packaging.
“We both wanted to do work that we loved. We have developed a product together that we are proud of, Uni-Glide, an undercarriage cleaning system for vehicles. With the assistance of applying learned skills from classes, we know that we are ready to continue to move forward with our product and business partnership post-graduation,” Dimitri and Kendall said.
Following graduation, Kendall and Dimitri will continue to grow their business, T&F Enterprises, a marketing firm for small businesses. “We know that we can arm small business with the assets necessary to help them have an edge over other start-ups,” Kendall said.
For additional information about Marywood’s Shuttle Service, please visit www.marywood/shuttle. For additional information about Kendall Farrell and Dimitri Thompson’s product or enterprise, please visit www.facebook.com/ThompsonFarrellProducts/.