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Zach Davis

When Zach Davis was creating his Capstone business plan before graduating from Dominican’s GreenMBA program in 2009, it did not include a YouTube video, a telephone call from Vice President Joseph Biden and an invitation to the White House.

Zach Davis - AP

It just all worked out that way.

Davis is co-owner and manager of The Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz that opened two weeks before Labor Day in September 2010. However, by Thanksgiving, the organic ice cream shop was a hot spot after Davis used his iPhone in November to film a video thanking President Barack Obama and key politicians for enacting the federal stimulus plan, explaining how it positively impacted the local economy. It resulted in a thank you call and invite from VP Joseph Biden.

Though it may not be until the spring of 2011 before Davis and his Penny partner, Kendra Davis, accept Biden’s formal invitation to come to Washington D.C. and the White House, the offer and all the media attention it brought has been great for business.

The business plan for the ice cream shop started at Dominican. Davis already had attended the University of Washington and had worked at UW and UC Santa Cruz.

“I feel I have a good sense of what a good university looks like and what a good university can provide in terms of resources to students,” Davis said. “When I found out that they (New College of California) were going to move to Dominican, I just felt that was going to be a perfect fit. A great university with a really strong tradition of education and support … It seemed ideal.”

“That’s a big part of the program there—constant improvement and measuring what you’re doing. I presented what was the bones of the plan and there were some adjustments."

When it came time to write a business presentation for graduation at Dominican, Davis relied on the help of John Stayton and Jane Lorand and GreenMBA instructors to create an impressive 75-page business plan to propose to a bank.

“That’s a big part of the program there—constant improvement and measuring what you’re doing. I presented what was the bones of the plan and there were some adjustments. 

All the instructors over the course of the last year had a look at it.  I received a lot of good feedback. I received  some critical feedback that was really valuable in making improvements. All in all it was a huge part of getting us where we are now.”

In the news.

Davis’ You Tube video was originally going to be a hand-written letter mailed to President Obama, United States Congressman Sam Carr and U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. But a friend convinced Davis to put his feel-good story and federal stimulus plan thank you on tape and then on Facebook where, Davis said, “it got bigger and bigger and snowballed.”

This dream-come-true story, Davis notes, began at Dominican.

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