Hobart High School

Instructor sparks entrepreneurial mindset for high school students

Engineering and entrepreneurship instructor Daniel Schultz has been inspiring students and igniting innovative ideas during his five years of teaching at Hobart High School.

Beyond leading his classes, he has served as a mentor for teens seeking to compete in the statewide business pitch competition for students: Innovate WithIN.

“I got started with the competition 5 years ago in its early stages. In our first year, 9 out of the 10 teams invited to the regional level were from Hobart,” he said. “I have the unique opportunity to be that steppingstone for them as a mentor. I can give them my full attention, time, energy and experience to help them navigate and explore the realm of entrepreneurship.”

Many of the teams that Daniel has coached have gone onto to the state level of competition, and in 2021, Patchables walked away with the state title. Freshman students at the time, the Patchables team of Isis Fleming and Kayla Davis create dog toys from recycled materials. Other teams have had inventions that help with bicycle safety, hand-based arthritis and menstrual cramp relief.

“In the last five years, we have launched seven companies, hold six provisional patents, filed for one utility patent, and won close to $300,000 in cash and scholarships,” he said. “I was speaking with a colleague of mine over the summer about the competition. He had a student sell his company for 6 figures and is now employed by the company that acquired him.

“Even if their company or idea is not a success, we are creating a more rounded employee who will have the knowledge and skills to succeed and grow within any system.”

Daniel’s experience and expertise that he passes along to his students is rooted in his own career path. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Business and Math. He worked for Dynasty Group, an engineering and surveying firm before launching his own business in 2016. He served up healthy meals to non-traditional shift workers with his Shift Meal Prep business. He began teaching part-time at Hobart before taking the position that he holds today.

“Kids are very skilled. With the right motivation, they are capable of so much more than they get credit for,” he said. “I spend so much of my time trying to convince them that their ideas are worthy and that there are people out there who will listen to them. They don’t believe that when they first come to me, I have to change their minds.

“If nothing else, I hope my students are never sitting at a job they hate wondering ‘what if?’”