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Northwood announces new director of NU Idea Center

February 8, 2023

Northwood University is pleased to announce Patrick McElgunn is the new director of NU Idea Center in downtown Midland.

“As a business development specialist, entrepreneur, restaurant owner, and coach with over 20 years in combined experience, Patrick is ideal for this strategic role,” stated Dr. Kristin Stehouwer, academic vice president and provost at Northwood University. McElgunn, will lead entrepreneurial programming on campus and at the downtown location to complement what students learn in their classes. “We are thrilled that Patrick will coach and mentor Northwood students to take their entrepreneurial dreams from ideas to reality.”

McElgunn co-founded Grove Tea Lounge, a popular spot for coffee and tea drinkers. McElgunn and his co-founders formed Grove because they saw a need for a community space to celebrate quality tea, an excellent cup of coffee, and some nutritious (and occasionally indulgent) eats.

As managing partner of Grove Tea Lounge, McElgunn has trained and mentored nearly 70 team members — both individually and in group settings. In this role, McElgunn constantly evaluated and reworked the organization’s curriculum program to best meet the evolving needs of Grove’s new hires, current staff, and customers.

“I’ve been able to step away from the day-to-day operations of Grove so the timing is perfect to pursue my passion of helping budding entrepreneurs,” McElgunn stated.

As a former business consultant for the Small Business Development Center, McElgunn helped 300 entrepreneurs plan, start, run and grow their businesses. He directly helped start 50 businesses, in addition to securing over $3.6 million in investments; increasing annual sales by $4 million; and creating 140 jobs.

As a certified health coach with MI Health Coach Inc., McElgunn has had ample experience in executing training programs, being comfortable pivoting and flexing a game plan on the fly, as well as adapting training sessions to shore up the weaknesses of individuals/teams while reinforcing their strengths.

“Patrick is an innovator with a proven track record of successfully identifying new business opportunities, creating strategic plans, and implementing them to maximize results,” Stehouwer stated. “We look forward to seeing him advance entrepreneurship; foster creativity and innovation; further enhance experiential learning opportunities for our students; and mentor students and community members through business competitions, business incubation, and innovation.”

McElgunn earned his bachelor’s degree in management from Hope College in 2010, and his master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Saginaw Valley State University in 2015.

His professional accolades include being named the 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Midland Business Alliance; Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Midland Young Professionals; and Business Counselor of the Year by the Michigan Small Business Development Center.

McElgunn was named last week as a 2023 recipient of the RUBY Award, an honor recognizing our area’s brightest professionals under the age of 40 who have made their mark in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

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