by Josh Stevens
Dr. Kirt Moritz is using his experience as well as his entrepreneurial and leadership skills to benefit both Cedarville University and the International Center for Creativity (ICC) in Columbus, Ohio.
As an entrepreneur, Moritz has found success with his customer-first mentality ranging from startup companies to multinational businesses. Now an adjunct professor at the ICC, he is helping students with a passion for industrial design and entrepreneurship.
A husband and father, Moritz is a family man, strategic leader, marketing guru, entrepreneur and teacher rolled into one. His combined skills and talents have led to a successful career, one anchored by Moritz’s faith.
Moritz has a B.A. from Otterbein University in finance and earned his M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Dayton. His professional career started out in banking. During that time, a run-in with a college roommate set Moritz on a different path.
“He brought me towards commerce company called Fourthchannel,” Moritz said.
Founded in 1997, Fourthchannel is a “rapidly growing internet commerce applications services provider.” It was here where Moritz’s career trajectory switched to entrepreneurship.
“That’s where I caught the entrepreneurship bug,” he said.
The bug stayed with Moritz as he eventually made his way to Columbus. He worked with an inventor, bringing exercise equipment to market. Through this partnership, Moritz then co-founded three other companies. He founded Nayked Apparel, an online e-Retailer that features men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. With no logo, Moritz says Nayked Apparel is “about the individual, not the brand.”
One of Moritz’s other projects is 3rd Street Brands, a partner with Amazon since 2004. Originally selling fitness equipment, 3rd Street Brands grew to selling things like toys, video games, pet supplies and apparel. The site also includes two branch sites, 3rd Street Wholesale and 3rd Street Promos. Moritz has overseen 3rd Street Brands for the past 18 years. Over the years, Moritz has also used his talents to oversee several marketing campaigns for companies like JPMorgan Chase and Max Rack, Inc.
For five years, Moritz has been teaching at the ICC. He is part of a staff that brings challenges and experience to the students at the ICC so they can be prepared to contribute wherever they are hired. He explained how the International Center for Creativity is part of the industrial design program at Cedarville. During their junior and senior years, students will move to Columbus to continue their education at the ICC.
“Over the past five years that program has been built up to be a top 10 program in the United States,” Moritz said. It has become a top-five major on campus, as well as achieving national recognition for academic excellence.
As for Moritz himself, he teaches several classes at the ICC, including Professional and Ethical Practices in Design. In that class, Moritz gives an overview of what it means to be a business person with an industrial design degree.
“We introduce them to some business concepts including marketing and evaluation,” said Moritz. “It’s basically general business knowledge for when students are looking for their first job.”
Moritz also teaches an online class about emerging trends and opportunities. The class is part of the MBA for entrepreneurship and innovation.
“In that one, we introduce them to design thinking,” Moritz said.
Over his five years at the ICC, Moritz has seen the number of students grow gradually, and he sees it as a great encouragement.
“This last senior class we had 20 students,” Moritz said. “We have more coming through this year, and the program is continuing to grow.”
Throughout his journey, Moritz has maintained a personal relationship with Christ, and is using his talents to not only teach, but to share the gospel. His goal at the ICC is to blend his faith and his passion for business.
“In business, we encounter decision points every day that are ethical, non-ethical or in the gray zone,” Moritz said. “As I help students identify those decisions in their own day-to-day work, I want to also apply Biblical principles and help raise and educate Christian leaders.”
Though he is a businessman, entrepreneur and teacher, Moritz’s true passion is providing a faith-based approach to the business world.
“I believe that is my calling,” he said. “Because we need more Christian leaders to make those decisions. It’s not always about profit. It’s about doing the right thing.”