When Pierceton, Ind., native Wesley Gensch began his applied learning experience as front desk manager at the Gordon Recreation Center, he never dreamed entrepreneurial success was just around the corner in his young life.
Gensch was a freshman at Grace College, working to complete the required 12 hours of applied learning (APL) credits necessary for all bachelor’s degrees at Grace. That experience led to an internship as assistant director of stadium operations at the South Bend Cubs. During his internship, Gensch sustained a serious elbow injury as varsity pitcher for the Grace College Lancers. It was that injury that led to an invention and now a successful entrepreneurial business.
“My applied learning experience and internship made me realize that I wanted to use my God-given abilities to create a business to help people,” Gensch said. “But I didn’t know what type of business it would be until my injury.”
When Gensch injured his elbow in 2015, rehabilitation included daily icing. Frustrated by the messy and inconvenient process of traditional icing, Gensch developed a prototype of a new product: a gel-filled sleeve designed to fit around any limb or joint that uses air compression to provide full-surface coverage of quality cryotherapy. After using his prototype, Gensch’s recovery significantly improved and quickened.
“I realized I might be onto something. When my teammates and other athletes began to use it and had similar results, I knew this was my business to pursue,” Gensch said.
CoolCorp was born in 2015. Since that time, Gensch has worked tirelessly to build his cryotherapy product business while completing his education at Grace. Gensch earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in four yearsthrough Grace’s blended degree program. He graduated in May with a bachelor of science in business administration and in sport management, and in August with a master’s in business administration.
Gensch’s entrepreneurial journey has brought him full circle back to the applied learning program at Grace College. Today, nine Grace students work at CoolCorp for applied learning credit or internship experience.
“My positive experiences in applied learning and internship led me to want to give back to Grace students with similar aspirations and goals,” Gensch said. “It’s very rewarding to provide students an opportunity to be in the middle of launching a company with applications in accounting, marketing, corporate law and more.” APL positions at CoolCorp include website building and maintenance, logo design and promotion, financial investing, product design engineering and social media management.
“As of April, 2016, my cryotherapy business is a S-Corporation. My products and intellectual property are currently patent-pending,” he added. Gensch will soon begin work with Integrity Custom Concepts in South Bend to prototype and beta test his products. He plans to launch the CoolCorp product line in January, 2017.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Wesley,” said Randy Polston, director of applied learning at Grace College. “He is a great example of why we instituted the applied learning program at Grace. When students apply what they’re learning in the classroom to real-world experiences, they discover so much more about who they are and what they want to become.”