COO, The Barthwell Group, Detroit
Employees: 15 Revenue: NA Education: Stanford University
Walter K. Evans recalls his first brush with business, when his grandfather would ask him to count the change from that day’s drugstore receipts. “I would roll up the quarters so we could deposit them in the bank,” says Evans, whose grandfather, the late Sidney Barthwell, built up a chain of 13 drugstores and three ice cream stores, mostly in Detroit. During high school, Evans helped a small newspaper digitize its supplier base and tap technology to better manage the operations. In 2001, during his junior year at Stanford University, he took a part-time position at an investment firm in the Bay area where, over the course of five years he rose to the position of lead analyst for venture capital and private equity fund to fund products. “That was a very interesting time. I think most people had heard of Google, but companies like Facebook and Netflix were still in their infancy, so to watch them grow to what they are today was pretty amazing,” Evans says. In 2006, he returned to Detroit and, with his mother, Akosua Barthwell, the pair launched The Barthwell Group, a strategic management-consulting firm that today works with Lockheed Martin, Wayne State University, and McKesson. “We work on management issues, strategic planning, brand enhancement, and workforce development,” Evans says. The company’s three client groups are higher education and not-for-profit organizations, corporations, and the military.