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Xavier Magazine

Comic Story-teller

Adam Minnick likes to tell stories. Funny stories. Usually he tells them while doing stand-up comedy routines at nightclubs and comedy clubs. But Minnick, who graduated with a degree in organizational communication in 2002, also likes to tell stories to children.His nieces and nephews have often heard his stories about animals, especially the one about the dinosaur that lives with him. Finally he decided to put his creativity to use while his youngest niece, Sophia, was still young enough to appreciate his fantasy world.

“I’d always wanted to write a kids book and so I started writing it about a year and a half ago. It’s through the eyes of my niece about her uncle who went to a water park with a tiger shark. It rhymes. ‘My dinosaur and I go to Mars and drive cars.’ It’s wacky lines about me and animals,” he says.

The book, Adventures of my Crazy Uncle Adam, illustrated by Xavier alumnae Elizabeth A. Guilford, sells for $10 on Minnick’s website, adamminnick.com. Minnick’s schedule of comedy performances at venues in Midwestern states is also accessible on the site.

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Xavier Magazine

Ahead of the Curve

Scoliosis. It’s a disease characterized by abnormal curvatures in the spine. Nearly three out of every 100 people have some form of it. Worldwide, it affects more than 12 million.

Most who have the condition live relatively normal lives, minus the occasional extra doctor’s appointment. But for some, the curvature of the spine is so severe that it requires a fusion, which is an extensive and often risky surgery that few surgeons in America specialize in.

In the future, though, there may be another option. MBA graduate Joe Reynolds built a company, SpineForm, around a new medical device that corrects spinal curvatures without the risks that a fusion poses. Fusion requires connecting metal rods to both sides of the spinal column. Reynold’s device, called HemiBridge, is a series of implants that correct severe cases of scoliosis by putting pressure on the outward side of the curve.

“Fusion creates a whole segment of the spine that doesn’t move or bend,” Reynolds says. “Our device allows the growth of the spine to correct itself, without disc removal, bone grafts or a lengthy hospital stay.”

The device underwent its first clinical trials last year, yielding positive results. The company’s now planning to introduce the device in Europe and eventually worldwide.

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Xavier Magazine

A Game Plan That’s the Ticket

MBA student Alex Burkhart was on a sports binge with his friends—two college football games and one professional football game in just two days—when an idea hit him like a blitzing linebacker.

“I work in loyalty marketing for Macy’s, so I have a good knowledge of how reward systems work,” he says. “I sort of combined my love for sports with my work at Macy’s and thought, What if there was a site that let ticket holders post their unused tickets for reward points that they can, in turn, use on other tickets?”

About 20 percent of purchased sports tickets go unused each year, Burkhart says. That means, out of about 200 million tickets sold last year, 32 million of them went unused. Ticket holders don’t have many options when they can’t make a game, he adds. They can sell the tickets at a discounted price, give them to a friend or let them go to waste.

So one week after hashing out the initial concept in his head, he enlisted the help of a few friends and entered his business idea, which he named Tixers, into the Startup Weekend Cincinnati contest, a business competition sponsored by Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Out of the 75 submissions, Tixers won first place and secured Burkhart free legal advice, $1,000 worth of web-design, six months of free office space and the attention of potential investors and users alike.

“All of this happened within the first few weeks of the Tixers idea occurring to me, so I’ve been busy getting the right people on board,” says Burkhart, who is currently working on building the site. “But I’m up for the challenge of starting this business. I’m a firm believer in execution, but sometimes the idea is just as exciting.”

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