From glassblower to founder of Square, Jim McKelvey took a roundabout way to entrepreneurial success, and he wants everyone from engineers to musicians to know they can do the same.
McKelvey will present “Cramming for Employment: The Millennial Career Path” at 4 p.m. Monday, May 5, at Spahr Classroom in Eaton Hall. The event is free to all University of Kansas students, and food and beverages will be provided.
McKelvey is an entrepreneur who has co-founded four businesses, including Square, a card reader that accepts payment through mobile devices. He co-founded the company with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. McKelvey’s most recent business venture is LaunchCode, an app that helps students learn to computer program and find jobs at more than 100 affiliated companies.
As a talented artist, author, computer scientist and entrepreneur, McKelvey has had a rich and varied career. In 1984, as a freshman economics major at Washington University, he wrote and published a replacement for the computer programming textbook used in one of his classes. The success of the book led McKelvey to write a second book at the age of 19. He graduated from Washington University with degrees in economics and computer science.
McKelvey began blowing glass as a teenager at Washington University and in 2000 co-founded Third Degree Glass Factory in St. Louis. He also wrote one of the first instructional textbooks for glassblowing, which has been translated into Norwegian. He designed and produced a line of all-glass faucets and, although they were not originally intended for sale, the demand for the faucets led him to form another company to sell them.
The event is sponsored by the KU schools of Business, Engineering and Journalism.