BY RONALD HANAKI
SC Staff Writer
Jonathan Weber, a dual-computer science and computer security major at ESU, is also an entrepreneur and app developer that started his own business venture called Marathon Studios.
Weber taught himself computer programming, and began doing freelance programming and web development work when he was in high school.
He got his big break when he landed the job of developing a website for actor Antonio Sabato, Jr. of the hit television show, General Hospital.
Weber continued to expand his profile by doing more web design and development work for restaurants and jewelry stores based in New York City.
He would soon build up enough of a clientele to end his freelance work and found his own startup company called Marathon Studios.
Concomitantly, Weber entered and beat over 250 entrepreneurs to win PASSHE’s inaugural State Business Plan Competition.
The prize was $10,000 and one year of free office space at ESU’s Innovation Center.
According to Weber, the most important thing that he received was the networking opportunity that winning the business competition afforded him.
Weber now had access to a network of business people and venture capitalists that were interested in backing his entrepreneurial ventures.
Having an actual office space in the Innovation Center helped him with hiring personnel to staff his new company.
Weber credits ESU’s Research and Economic Development office located inside ESU’s Innovation Center for getting his business startup off the ground.
Specifically, he credits the Innovation Center’s Carter McClure and Mary Frances Postupack for helping to support and mentor him as a young entrepreneur.
Weber said, “There is a big leap from being a student to starting a new business.”
For students interested in starting their own businesses, Weber recommends they find a mentor who can help them.
Alternatively, Weber suggests to come to a school like ESU with a Business Accelerator program that is integrated with the university and can put them in touch with people who can help make their entrepreneurial aspirations a success.
“College is the best time to start a business. College is where you have the most free time in life. You have weekends, summers, and winters free, and you can dedicate time to really learning something,” said Weber.
Weber added, “Computer science is the right field for entrepreneurs. Computer science is one of the only majors where you can create something that generates significant amounts of revenue.”
Now an entrepreneur in his own right, Weber has found a way to pay it forward by founding ESU’s Entrepreneurial Club. Their meetings are also held at the Innovation Center.
Weber said that he has enjoyed many good experiences in college. Some of those experiences have led to pioneering research projects.
Tax-Rates.org was one such project.
As a young taxpayer, Weber couldn’t sort through the byzantine morass of federal and state tax information, so like a young Alexander the Great cutting through the Gordian Knot, he created his own website that made such tax information much more accessible and open to the public.
Today, Tax-Rates.org remains one of the most popular websites that Marathon Studios has produced. Tax-Rate.org was presented during ESU President Marcia Welsh’s Inaugural Student Research and Scholarly Activity Symposium held at ESU last April.
Another project is his research into ARP poisoning. One day, Weber found himself poking around the network stack and found some research on ARP (Address Resolution Protocol.)
Intrigued by that research, he discovered the ARP protocol was particularly vulnerable to certain network attacks.
Together with 2013 ESU graduate and AllESU.com creator Alan Reed, their findings were presented at the 2012 High Tech Crime Investigator’s Association Conference held at Hershey, Pennsylvania, where it was named the Most Outstanding Student Presentation.
The results of their research can be found on www.arppoisoning.com.
Weber’s latest venture is called TickChek, LLC. Weber used to run cross-country in college and continues to be an avid runner. Weber would run in the woods and be bitten by ticks.
Out of those experiences was born TickChek, which aims to help prevent disease by providing a more affordable and informative way to check and test tick bites. The actual tick testing services will be provided by the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory at ESU.
More information about this venture will become available to the public later in April.
Although much of Weber’s time is spent growing and developing his business ventures, he is still interested in doing contract work for the government.
He has been courted and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.
From time to time, the DoD sends him to conferences and seminars. Weber serves as an instructor in government agency-sponsored “Capture the Flag” computer security events.
Weber is looking forward to graduating this spring so that he can devote more time to his businesses.
He also loves to travel and will take his newfound time after graduation to do more traveling around the world. He plans to incorporate travel-related themes into his future business ventures.
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