February 12

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In the Atrium with Alec Starkie

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Alec Starkie, a first-year MAcc student from West Jordan, Utah, doesn’t spend his time in the Tanner simply to gain textbook knowledge about business principles or memorize terms for an exam — he’s there to better understand how to live and breathe classroom concepts into his own startup business.

A Cards2Life pop-up ferris wheel card.

“What you learn in school is actually applicable,” Starkie says. “I wish that more students had this opportunity because it makes your learning in class so much more real and relevant.”

With the entrepreneurial spirit passed down from his business-savvy father, Starkie and a group of friends created Cards2Life, a 3D pop-up card business they developed during the junior core. The cards feature kirigami designs—a variation of origami that involves cutting and folding paper—and are created custom made for businesses and organizations; in its niche market, Cards2Life has even created special cards for the School of Accountancy and various accounting firms. In addition, it has already received early investment from a pre-profit venture capitalist in Provo.

“It really takes a new spin on a greeting card,” Starkie says. “The whole purpose is to establish and strengthen human connection. It’s not just about giving a card; it’s about giving something that they’ll never forget.”

Within Cards2Life, Starkie’s responsibilities include managing finances and high-profile accounts, which he says has given him a taste of what it’s like to have a financial management role within a company. Besides priding himself on what he has accomplished with his business, Starkie identifies another element of personal triumph: his hair.

“I’m a redhead,” he says. “I define my personality through it, and it helps me to have more drive and determination.”

It’s actually how he prefers to identify himself; when asked to describe himself in three words, Starkie states simply: “I’ve been called a triple threat: Redhead. Accountant. Personality. You don’t see a lot of those things happening at once,” he says with a laugh.