It was May 2014 and Chris Voynik was walking in his black cap and gown out of the field house. Next to the tent, he spotted a line of his professors. One of them, Jamie Campbell, was waving one of Voynik’s dog toys, made out of old t-shirts, in the air with a huge smile on his face.
Almost two years later, Voynik is still feeling the love and support from his Thomas College family.
At 24-years-old, Chris Voynik is already a thriving businessman with a successful dog-toy business and a recently launched app he created with a team from India.
From Readfield, ME, Voynik’s resume is definitely unique for most recent graduates – and he says he has Thomas College to thank for his success.
Voynik transferred to Thomas College from USM in the middle of his sophomore year; it was about the same time that he began his business, Wag Rags. The business management major said while he was taking classes at Thomas, he was applying the material of the classes to his business.
“When I took Accounting I with Kay Grindall, she put her cell phone number on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. I probably called that number about two dozen times just asking her questions – not about the homework, but about Wag Rags,” said Voynik.
“And I did that through my entire time at Thomas – everything from Accounting to Marketing.”
Voynik said he learned about QuickBooks in Jamie Campbell’s Computer Information Systems class – and all he uses is QuickBooks now.
“Everything I learned in that class, I use on a day-to-day basis now,” he said.
“It was really nice taking stuff from all of these classes at Thomas and actually using it – instead of just doing the homework and passing it in and never thinking about it again.”
Voynik said it wasn’t just the classes that helped him grow his business, but the connections he gained while at Thomas.
He distinctly remembers President Laurie Lachance asking him to meet her in her office to talk about Wag Rags. She connected him with businesses such as Planet Dog in Portland.
Later, while still at Thomas, Voynik made it to the second round of Shark Tank and relied on business administration professor Jim Libby to help him go through the legal packet that was sent to him. Voynik said Libby has supported him since.
“It just shows the high level of professor involvement with students at Thomas. At USM I couldn’t tell you anything about my professors.”
Voynik is also getting support for his newly-launched app, Ice-Berg. The app allows you to connect across six different social media platforms – and you are able to choose which platforms you want to share with certain people.
He said friends and staff at Thomas are helping to spread the word about his app and giving him feedback.
Voynik started his business, Wag Rags, with $15. It snowballed to saving enough money to create his new app. He hopes it continues to snowball.
Voynik says he is thankful for his time at Thomas and for its community support mentality.
“I like that people like Lachance and Libby are willing to go out of their way to help people like me succeed.”
You can also see more coverage of his successful launch in the Kennebec Journal.