Business Plan Competition — Stellar 23

Posted: July 6, 2015 by Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) in About PEP

“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the winner of the 2015 Business Plan Competition….the gentlemen of Class 23 Stellar!”

With these words, Bert Smith, Chief Empowerment Officer of PEP, recognized the fact that every man who is a member of this great class is a winner and has overcome great odds to finish the Business Plan Competition.
However, every competition does need to have some finalists, and this year the four finalists presented their ideas on Friday morning to an excited group of participants and executive volunteers. Each of the four had a unique and interesting idea for a business that they could build, and all were well prepared and very strong in the final round of presentations. Barry with Applied Receptacle Management (“We’re your frontline defense against trash backlash!”), and Gary as CEO and Founder of The Ink Eraser (“Where tattoo mistakes are erased with a laser”) shared some very different ideas. Barry’s plan was for a system that would clean trash and waste receptacles for both commercial and residential customers, using biodegradable and eco-friendly chemicals that could be recycled. Gary’s plan was for a tattoo removal business that could assist all those people that had tattoo regret, or simply wanted to reduce their visible tattoos before pursuing employment in the free world. Barry’s presentation and plan ultimately won the overall competition.

Bert Bucks

Barry’s previous career as an oil and gas land man and well operator gave him plenty of business experience, although the waste cleaning business was developed during his time in PEP. He had a lot of conversations with his classmates and the PEP staff, as well as those executives that assisted him during the 6 month business plan process. He describes that process as very helpful, and critical to the development of a winning plan. When asked how quickly Applied Receptacle Management will be built, Barry said “As quickly as possible, as at 42 years old, I have no time to waste.” He is planning to launch the business in the Dallas area first, and then hopefully it will grow quickly to meet his projection of $1,800,000 in revenue within the first year or two. He is looking forward to being reunited with a teenage daughter in Oklahoma, as well as a 7 year old and 9 year old in the Dallas area.

Gary has served 18 years in prison, and at 52, had not seen his sons in 14 years. His twin sons are now 23, and both were able to attend Gary’s graduation along with their wives. Gary is also a grandfather twice over, as one grandson was born in January and the other was born in March. His daughter-in-law also acknowledged Gary as the winner of the Integrity award, and said, “That’s exactly the value that you embody.” Gary has also recently been given responsibility for conducting a specific Baptist service at the Cleveland unit, after TDC allowed this service to be established.


Gary’s tattoo removal service is also a way for him to provide a free world embodiment of the Fresh Start value, so the men do not have to have tattoos. He had a lot of valuable support for his business plan from his business plan advisor, Nancy White, who also serves on the Houston Advisory Board. “Nancy’s input was very helpful,” said Gary, “as was that of her husband Tim, and her brother David Bowman.” Gary is passionate about giving back to PEP and all the men that it serves, and he shared just how important it is to help all the men he can. “PEP is helping men to see how to turn on the light in their lives, and when you turn on the light switch, all the darkness disappears.”

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