Denise M. Easterling, CPA, has been an entrepreneur for 20 years and is currently entrepreneurship faculty at Kent State University. Denise, who grew up in the Canton, Ohio area, graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Accounting from The University of Akron and earned her M.B.A. from Ashland University. Denise has been the co-founder of five start-up companies.
Denise worked for seven years as a CPA, first for the Akron office of Ernst & Young, then for the Akron-based accounting firm Spector & Saulino. During her years as a public accountant, Denise specialized in audit, corporate taxation and business valuation. It was while working as a CPA that Denise discovered an opportunity to start selling medical capital equipment such as hospital stretchers and surgical tables; hence, the birth of her first company, North Coast Medical Products, Inc. (NCMP) in 1993.
NCMP first functioned as a manufacturer’s representative company. The company sold various products and received a commission for doing so directly from the manufacturer. Later, NCMP became a dealer which sold medical capital equipment purchased at a discount from a variety of manufacturers. At NCMP’s peak, it sold product in the five state region including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and West Virginia.
American Table Manufacturing, Inc. (ATM), Denise’s second company, was also in the medical space. Started in 1998, ATM designed, developed and manufactured high-tech surgical tables, of which certain components and accessories were eventually patented. ATM was sold to Steris Corporation in 2001.
Denise’s next two companies, EastCoy Technologies, Inc. and Imperial Luxury Home Builders were in the construction industry space. EastCoy Technologies successfully developed a new variation on an old style of construction equipment, but failed to get the new equipment to market. Imperial Luxury Home Builders (ILHB) built $1M+ custom luxury homes in the Northeast Ohio area. Denise sold her interest in ILHB to a private buyer in early 2007.
Denise’s most recent company, LaunchInADay.com, is an internet-based guide that walks nascent entrepreneurs step-by-step through the practical and necessary steps to start a new business venture. Topics addressed include Protecting Your Idea, Pitching Your Business, Registering Your Business, Operating and Partnership Agreements, Business Planning, Business Insurance, Building and Marketing Your Business' Website, Accounting and Tax Issues and a variety of other topics. Access to LaunchInADay.com and its related “Get Up and Get Going” blog is free.
Denise brings “real world” experience and practical application to the entrepreneurship classes she teaches at Kent State. Such classes include Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Experience, Entrepreneurial Tools and Entrepreneurial Marketing. Denise is also co-faculty advisor for the Kent State University Chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a member of the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium and the National Association of Women Business Owners, and recently won Kent State University's 2011 College of Business Administration Teaching Excellence Award.
Denise has two teenage sons and is an avid runner who completed her first half marathon in July 2008.