GREENVILLE, Pa.—Mike Zawoysky ’79 and Justin Pearce ’20 will be named Thiel College’s Entrepreneurs of the Year at the College’s annual Haller Enterprise Institute’s awards dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 30 in the Sawhill-Georgian Room of the Howard Miller Student Center.
Zawoysky—the retired chief executive officer for Shoe Sensation Inc., a growing 198-plus store, 19-state, family footwear chain based in Jeffersonville, Ind. (near Louisville, Ky.)—is the Haller Enterprise Institute’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Pearce ’20, who started Massive Gains Apparel as a sophomore in high school, is the Haller Enterprise Institute’s Student Entrepreneur of the Year.
“We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of these two individuals,” said Professor of Economics and Business Administration, Norman P. Mortensen Endowed Chair of Economics and Executive Director of the Haller Enterprise Institute David Miller ’61. “This pair exemplifies all that is possible when students are put in touch with the resources that can help them reach their full potential. This year’s awardees extend the tradition established by Henry H’97 and Grace Mary Haller and continued by Linda Haller H’13.”
Zawoysky had been with Shoe Sensation since 2009. He is an in-demand consultant based on his experience as a footwear retail executive. Throughout his 37-year career, Zawoysky has lived and worked in Taipei, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Amsterdam, Netherlands in addition to many cities throughout the United States. Zawoysky previously worked at the publicly-traded A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts as the Chief Financial Officer and before that with Foot Locker Inc. for 10 years. Zawoysky has been involved with many national and local charities including United Way, Toys for Tots, Vicki’s Angels, Clark County Youth and Family Services, Goldheart Golden Retriever Rescue and the Two-Ten Footwear Foundation. and led a successful business career, which included helping Footlocker, Inc. negotiate bankruptcy. He is a member of the Thiel College Board of Trustees and has been active at the College, speaking at student networking and alumni events. Zawoysky studied accounting and business administration at Thiel.
Zawoysky is in his second term as a member of the Board of Trustees at Thiel College and was recently approved for his third term.
He and his wife, Vicki, live in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Pearce began by drawing fitness-related graphic designs for t-shirts.
From the start, Pearce wanted to support dogs and pets in some fashion, so he began to contribute 15 percent of the profits from every order to Hope for Paws, a non-profit organization that rescues abused and unwanted pets. Thanks to the continued sales growth, he has raised a significant sum for Hope for Paws and increased the merchandise inventory he keeps in stock.
Pearce, of Leechburg, Pa., is a public relations, advertising, and integrated marketing major and philosophy minor and a 2016 graduate of The Kiski School.
About Thiel College
Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 25 varsity sports, and a 10:1 student-faculty ratio to more than 900 students. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.