A Conversation With: Loren KrohFounder and managing member, Corvus LLC
Loren Kroh, 72, is the founder and managing member of Corvus LLC, a startup that developed a system to help improve retention and success rates of post-secondary students.
He recently joined the board of Steam into History and has served on a number of community boards, including a stint as interim president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.
Kroh earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bucknell University in Lewisburg and an MBA with a focus in health care management/administration from the University of Chicago.
He and his wife live in York Township and have five children and several grandchildren.
Q: Post-secondary education is, of course, important to getting a good job. Why did you decide to focus your startup on this?
A: It was an evolution. I first became involved in the sector at York Technical Institute at a time when for-profit career education was just beginning to be understood. For the company to be successful, we had to be serving a need, and that was not universally the case. I saw my classmates and my kids graduating with degrees that didn’t prepare them for anything. Many of our students came to us on the rebound. At their parents’ insistence, they started in traditional higher ed. When that didn’t work out, they came to us to follow their passion. Getting a job in their chosen field meant we were meeting the needs of the business community and providing value for the investment they made in their education.
From your own experience in working with chambers of commerce, what have you learned about making a small business succeed?
The entrepreneur that’s driving it has to understand their strengths and weaknesses. They have to have a passion and a focus on what will make the company successful, but at the same time allow other voices to be heard and be aware of course adjustments that have to be made on a daily basis. It’s not enough to have a great idea, you have to balance that with what the outside world wants and is willing to pay for.
You just joined the board of Steam into History. How will you translate your business experience into helping a nonprofit entity grow?
I think the common denominator is to bring a sensibility to decision making. It’s not enough to have a passion to make the railroad run; you have to figure out how to do that and get others to get behind it and support it.
There are very few problems in business – whether you’re for-profit or not-for-profit – that a few extra sales won’t help solve. Steam into History has a challenge with seasonality and being able to keep people interested. There are only so many times people will come and ride that stretch of rail without something that makes it different than the last time.
Just before the board meeting I had a conversation with someone who is very engaged in the community and asked, what do you know about Steam into History? His response was, I know there’s a train. That was eye-opening. It’s incumbent on us to change that and get everybody to be an apostle.
What is your favorite of Steam into History’s excursion trains?
I’m part of the Glen Rock Carolers. Every other year the singers are on board one of the trains and stop at a couple places between New Freedom and Glen Rock and sing for the folks. It combines an old tradition with something new and it’s a fun night.