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Meet Norman Allgood of Synergis Education in Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Norman Allgood.

After serving in the U.S. Army as an active duty noncommissioned officer, Norm earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in his 30s. It was through his own personal journey that Norm became an advocate for improving higher education and creating a repeatable framework for colleges and universities that expands access to education in high-demand fields.

In 2011, Norm founded Synergis Education, a mission-driven company that partners with colleges and universities to design, launch and grow innovative classrooms, both online and blended programs of distinction. Norm has led Synergis to become an innovator in overall degree program delivery. This innovation began with a thesis: no longer is an institution or student limited by the imperfect strategy that confines students to a face-to-face classroom environment or the digital barriers of being completely online. Instead, an institution can meet the student in the right setting, offering degree programs fully online, when appropriate, or shift gears to launch the degree program in a blended format.

Prior to starting Synergis Education, Norm served as Chief Operating Officer at Orbis Education, a leader in nursing education, and as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at the Institute for Professional Development (IPD), a subsidiary of Apollo Group, where he served for nine years. In his career, Norm has worked and consulted with numerous state and private colleges and universities around the country, becoming well known for cultivating a strong commitment to maximizing retention, student outcomes and advancing new techniques in educational delivery, as well as his powerful track record of turnaround management and leadership development.

Norm earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and a Master of Business Administration with an international focus from Cornerstone University.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a business is never easy and that is why over 90% fail. When you begin, you don’t know what you don’t know. Sure, I had a tremendous amount of industry knowledge related to secondary education specifically designed for non-traditional students, but outside of my MBA, I had very little practical experience related to fundraising, board relations, legal matters, and mitigating overall risk. In contrast, my financial backers were equipped with years of experience and an educational background of Yale, Columbia, and Stanford to name a few.

What I realized through the years is that support from my wife and other great entrepreneurs like Sherry and Mike O’Neill of O’Neill Mechanical, coupled with my passion and drive, allowed me to succeed. Today, Synergis Education is a leader in many aspects of conducting business the right way. We believe in being good stewards of our capital; breaking even in 2016, but more importantly, creating great relationships with our wonderful university partners.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Synergis Education story. Tell us more about the business.
Established in 2011, Synergis set out to build a passionate culture dedicated to creating quality, higher education programs that are valuable, delivered efficiently and are accessible to an ever-evolving student base. Not simply an online program manager (OPM), Synergis is a premier service provider (PSP) that assists colleges and universities to design and deliver relevant, flexible, and student-centered academic programs.

Since September of 2012, several entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities came together to leverage the service offerings of Synergis Education. The reason was simple; unlike traditional OPM’s, Synergis Education was established to work with Colleges and Universities to co-design and launch niche degree programs in face-to-face, online and or blended program formats. In so doing, these institutions have been able to extend their reach by creating rich and unique learning environments that complement faculty-developed courses, which then in turn create an environment that attracts prospective students into the right degree program versus placing them in an online only option.

Synergis clients have included non-profit colleges and universities of varying size and type – from larger private universities, specialty healthcare institutions like Samuel Merritt University to small and mid-sized faith-based institutions such as Gwynedd Mercy University. Since inception, Synergis has built and supported 61-degree programs on behalf of its institutional partners and has enrolled more than 12,000 students.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I know that I was extremely lucky to find a wife that understood our life together would never be dull. I was also fortunate enough to have a strong foundation that was grounded through my Catholic Faith and St. Tim’s in Mesa. Finally, I had the support from the start of Synergis of great Board members, Ryan Craig, Amit Avnet and Daniel Pianko that have taken the time with me to teach and share their wisdom.

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