Matthew Clervi '96
Matt was born and raised in the Columbia, Missouri area. The son of two education professionals, Matt was raised to think critically and out-of-the-box.
Upon high school graduation and at the start of his college education, Matt quickly found work in a Columbia restaurant kitchen but knowing very little about food or the food industry. Fast forward several years and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from Columbia College, he knew that food and everything about it was to be his destiny, his future in some way. Over the course of several years, Matt had learned to prepare the finest of cuisines and graciously been given the opportunity to learn from four-star chefs along the way.
Matt discovered the contracted food service path and was quickly established as an assistant director of dining services at Kemper Military Academy in Boonville, Missouri and then promoted to director of dining services at Wentworth Academy in Lexington, Missouri. It was there he became good friends with future Fresh Ideas business partner John Orscheln. Matt accepted the director of dining services position at Fontbonne University in Saint Louis, where he met his future wife, Kathy. It was at this time in Matt’s life that he and John began to plan for what was to become Fresh Ideas Management.
Matt became co-owner of Fresh Ideas shortly following its inception in 1999. Now with over 700 employees in 25 locations throughout the Midwest, Fresh Ideas is a dynamic, growing food service management company with the corporate office located in Columbia. Matt’s love of innovative, beautiful and delicious food fuels his drive to push Fresh Ideas to the next level and dispelling the pre-conceived notions of what students expect to choose from on their campus. Being young, savvy and expecting the best, today’s students are an exciting client base and keep Fresh Ideas on the cutting edge of food trends.
Realizing the need for economies of scale as a business owner, Matt began NCT, LLC in 2008. NCT is a group purchasing organization, or GPO. With over 40,000 clients nationwide today, NCT offers businesses the buying power not attainable on their own. NCT is able to provide and promote a vast array of food and non-food products to both large and small organizations, resulting in winning group savings and lasting partnerships that will soon span the globe.
As a civic-minded businessman, Matt also has a passion to give back to communities, especially his own community, for it is where he grew up and has given wings to his dreams. It is important to Matt that Fresh Ideas dedicates resources to better manage waste while reducing carbon footprints through “green” initiatives and sustainability programs across the mid-West. Additionally, Matt is a strong supporter of community programs and businesses, partnering with local farmers and growers to cultivate awareness while promoting natural, organic food sources. Committed to growing and developing our youth through encouragement and support, Matt acts as a volunteer coach for Upward Bound, a Christian youth sports league. It is this same vision for instilling in others the responsibility of leadership and teamwork, coupled with love of life, that propels Matt to effectively lead his companies and the young sports enthusiasts with purpose and direction, positively impacting and influencing every person’s life in some way.
Matt is blessed to have wonderful people in his life – his wife, family, friends, and colleagues. Each of these individuals not only draw out the best in Matt but also challenge him to push on to bigger and better achievements both personally and professionally. Everyone in Matt’s circles continue to keep him focused on what’s really important in life.
Sara L. Cochran
Sara L. Cochran is the Entrepreneurial Programs Manager for the University of Missouri System where she oversees the department’s entrepreneurial programs and outreach efforts to the internal and external entrepreneurial community to enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem system-wide.
She is responsible for, among other things, collaborating with the four UM campuses to provide entrepreneurial educational opportunities for faculty, postdocs, and students and managing the student Entrepreneurial Scholars and Interns Program (ESIP). Additionally, Sara is a PhD candidate in the higher education emphasis of the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) program at the University of Missouri focusing her research on entrepreneurship education with a dissertation related to the role of gender in entrepreneurship education.
Sara previously worked as the Assistant Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship at Drury University. In the broader Columbia community, she is a member of Leadership Columbia’s 2015 Class and the Women’s Network through the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Fishman Center for Entrepreneurship at Columbia College. Sara holds a BA in accounting and a MA in integrated marketing communications from Drury University and is the founder of an online boutique called Treehouse Treasures.
Charles W. Haubiel II
Charles W. Haubiel II (“Chuck”) is the founder of Haubiel Law and a general partner of LeLe Consulting Group.
Mr. Haubiel’s legal practice focuses on providing legal services to privately held businesses, including assisting with formation, capitalization, governance, compliance, compensation, acquisitions and divestitures. LeLe Consulting Group is a management consulting firm utilizing a facilitative approach to help organizations increase revenue, reduce expense and clarify strategic direction.
Prior to starting his own law firm and forming LeLe Consulting Group, Haubiel served in various management positions with Big Lots, Inc., a Fortune 500 retail corporation with annual revenues exceeding $5 billion. He joined Big Lots in 1997 and became vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary in 2000. Mr. Haubiel was subsequently promoted to additional senior executive positions culminating in his appointment as Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer. As CAO, he was responsible for Big Lots' legal, real estate, human resources, loss prevention and corporate travel departments and served as the company's general counsel and corporate secretary. Mr. Haubiel also served as a member of the company's executive committee and assisted in charting the company's strategic direction.
Prior to joining Big Lots, he practiced with the law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP in the firm's Corporate and Securities group. Haubiel earned a J.D. from the Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law and a bachelor's degree from Purdue University.
Greg N. Johnston '91
Greg N. Johnston is an entrepreneur and governmental consultant with more than 25 years of experience in governmental and political relations.
Prior to forming Johnston & Associates, Inc. in 1999, Johnston directed legislative affairs for then-Governor Mel Carnahan and before that he directed governmental affairs for the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
Apart from his consulting business, Johnston is a founding member and board member of BlueBird Network, a leading Missouri and Illinois telecommunications company that provides 6,000 miles of high-speed broadband and fiber optic connections to Midwest communities. He is also an investor and board member of LyfeBank, which offers a groundbreaking innovation in healthcare financing that allows employer healthcare contributions from multiple employers.
Johnston is a 1991 graduate of Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in history.
Joseph Nicchetta '79
Joseph Nicchetta is a Senior Director of Leasing for Starwood Retail Properties based in Chicago, Illinois.
With over 35 years of experience in shopping center industry management, operation, and leasing, Nicchetta has previously worked with The Rouse Company and General Growth Properties. Throughout his career, Nicchetta has worked on a wide variety of retail projects that range from downtown urban developments to rural shopping centers.
Nicchetta, a 1979 graduate of Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in business, is married with two grown sons who reside in the Twin Cities area. He is an active participant in charitable organizations, having devoted time to the ALS Foundation, the Special Olympics, and Juvenile Diabetes research.
Anne Churchill '08
Anne is a Columbia native and a Rock Bridge Senior High School graduate, Anne started her educational journey at Columbia College in both the evening and online programs.
Corbin Umstattd '11
Corbin Umstattd is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pebble software company and is a partner at U4. Corbin’s expertise lie in identifying strategic investment opportunities and developing internal marketing strategies for start-ups. Corbin graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Science in business.