Innovative Firebirds find their niche
Meet just a few of Carthage’s entrepreneurial alumni.
This feature story first appeared in the Winter 2023 issue of The Carthaginian magazine.
Isa Fritz ’10
Finding a true fit in the startup realm, Isa Fritz co-founded Seattle company GeoJump in 2021 and will become CEO of its still-to-benamed successor. With a fleet of tugboat-like spacecraft and related services, it delivers customer satellites and payloads into geosynchronous orbit and beyond with sights on exploring the inner solar system.
After earning a master’s degree, Ms. Fritz worked at aerospace giant SSL for six years — long enough for the inquisitive professional to crave a more panoramic view of the industry. Startups provided that window, as she helped multiple fledgling space firms get off the ground before creating her own. Her current company’s first client is a big one: the U.S. Space Force.
CARTHAGE TAUGHT HER…
How to apply the scientific principles that physics majors at other schools only read about. Conducting practical aerospace research with the first Carthage Microgravity Team, she learned how to divide an intimidatingly large project into smaller pieces. Looking back, the alumna recognizes that “building from scratch and learning along the way absolutely launched my career.”
Ty Dawkins ’05 and Quincy Dawkins ’12
CEO (Ty) and CFO (Quincy) of Get Lost VIP Travel
Burned out from 20+ years in the corporate world, Tyisha “Ty” (Winston) Dawkins and her husband, Quincy, found themselves taking trips just to “get lost.” That inspired the name for the boutique travel agency they launched in 2016 as a side hustle. Last spring, the high school sweethearts ditched the grind for good and made Get Lost VIP Travel their full-time focus.
Specializing in luxury accommodations, the firm’s first niche was wellness retreats. Get Lost later expanded to corporate and entertainment travel, with clientele including the cast and crew on several BET movies. The couple recently settled in Panama and incorporated there.
CARTHAGE TAUGHT THEM…
To appreciate other cultures and religions, a cosmopolitan outlook that paid off in their respective business fields and opened a gateway to a passion for travel. Ty, who already had a foot in the door at SC Johnson while taking evening classes at Carthage, went on to a successful IT career with that company and BP. Quincy returned to school after making his mark in finance.
Mike Michie ’88
President/CEO of Pacific Sands Inc.
After working as a field sales representative for DuPont, Mike Michie saw untapped potential in a small California company. He and a business partner bought it in 2004 and moved it to Wisconsin (ultimately Kenosha). After losing money for many years, Pacific Sands’ biodegradable, eco-friendly cleaning products now bring in millions each year.
Narrowly focused on hot tub chemicals at first, Pacific Sands now produces a range of cleaning products under its own brands (Eco-One and Natural Choices) and retailers’ private lines. Learning that customers often equate “green” with “doesn’t work,” the company instead played up the products’ effectiveness.
CARTHAGE TAUGHT HIM…
How to do “pretty much anything” he wanted in life, supplementing his speech communication and theatre major with universal skills like critical thinking and written communication. Fifty-three times and counting, the theatre buff has joined faculty and students on Carthage’s annual trip to the Stratford Festival in Ontario — a tradition his dad, the late English professor Don Michie, helped start.