Entrepreneurs take risks. Thats so obvious that it nearly goes without saying.
Whats not so apparent at times is the risk taken by people who jump into a new venture with an entrepreneur. Take Shawn McGorry, Stargate Industries Inc.s chief operating officer.
McGorry, who holds an MBA from the Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, had worked for 16 years for Tele-Communications Inc., a large company where he made a steady climb up the corporate ladder to become general manager of TCI of Western Pennsylvania.
He could have stayed at TCI and enjoyed a reasonable degree of security and more responsibility. Or, if he wanted a change, he could have sought a position at a similarly solid company in the burgeoning communications industry. Young, experienced executives come at a premium in a business that is starved for talent. In short, he could have made it easy on himself.
But something told McGorry that the easy, expected path was not the one he needed to take. He craved a meatier challenge, and says a job change his wife made just before he decided to move on made an impression on him. She seemed energized and more enthusiastic about her work, something he both admired and envied.
McGorry says he was feeling the entrepreneurial bug, and decided that a start-up venture, one offering excitement and perhaps a little danger, would be the thing to fire his enthusiasm.
Marcus Ruscitto, Stargates chief executive, was looking for a solid operations person who could organize the company into a hard-working machine. So when the opportunity to join Stargate arose, McGorry knew in his gut that it was what he wanted to tackle.
But convincing his family, especially his wife, that he should make the jump from a communications giant to a fledgling Internet company with about 15 employees at the time was no easy task. Friends and family questioned his judgment, but McGorry leapt anyway, leaving TCI and joining Stargate in February 1997.
It didnt take long for things look like they were turning sour. The mission to acquire USA OnRamp, a deal he had worked on almost from day one at Stargate, nearly crashed, but McGorry says he never looked back. No matter what happened, McGorry says, he would have landed on his feet.
I really had enjoyed my first six months with the company, says McGorry.
And the increased degree of control he had made him happy he made the switch.
I like being able to push buttons and make things happen, McGorry says.
And Stargate looks like a place where hell have a lot more opportunities to do just that.