On November 13th, GT Entrepreneurs brought in Jamie Van Buren as a guest speaker. Jamie, the Managing Director of GT Entrepreneurs, took a roundabout route that eventually brought him to investing in businesses through a search fund accelerator. He learned a lot along the way and shared with us all of his lessons in entrepreneurship.
After studying marine biology at Juniata College, Jamie gravitated towards business. He earned his MBA then went on to work in real estate appraisal. As a hyper productive worker in the residential side of real estate appraisal, he moved on to commercial real estate, even purchasing properties of his own.
Jamie’s career path soon brought him to business and operations. Staying in Hollidaysburg, he began working with a major construction materials supplier and a general contractor in the public and private sectors e. The family company he worked for focused on manufactured products and highway construction projects across the Mid-Atlantic region. With his accumulated knowledge in this industry and finance, Jamie eventually decided that he wanted to acquire and run his own company.
His research brought him to the realization that his best bet was in purchasing an already established company. Jamie implemented his search strategy, finding PennStress and closing on the deal in only 3 weeks. The company is a manufacturer of bridges, stadiums, parking garages, and even prisons, with their specialty being in the concrete erection of buildings. Before he came in and turned the business around, PennStress was a failing branch of New Enterprise.
As the current president of PennStress, Jamie started GT Entrepreneurs to help other prospective entrepreneurs find businesses and get financial backing. The company was born out of the philosophy of eliminating the risks that usually come with search, which are the limited time frame and the difficulty of finding capital. GT Entrepreneurs has most recently successfully brought together Brenden Van Buren, Jamie’s son, and his new company, Pro Max Fence Systems.