(BSEd, Physical Education, '00)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
I enjoyed many of my classes and all my professors during my time at Hofstra. Many of my classmates have created memories that I still talk about today. My favorite professor was not in the classroom, but rather on the football field. Coach Joe Gardi was a great leader and mentor with a great sense of humor. It was the day-to-day interaction with my teammates and coaches that took my Hofstra experience from excellent to extraordinary.
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
Following graduation, I started my career as a substitute teacher and coach in the Bellmore-Merrick and Wantagh School Districts. I learned that you need to be a person that goes above and beyond what is expected to be successful in any career path you choose.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am currently a health & physical education teacher in the Colonial School District at Whitemarsh Elementary (near my hometown of Souderton, PA). I was always active in sports and liked the character traits it taught me through my growing years. For example, I learned about teamwork, cooperation, perseverance, time management, and the ability to understand that failure can make you better.
As a teacher, I have the benefit of having my summers to rejuvenate. Instead of relaxing, my new summer gig is to help other people relax on their vacation at the beach. I am the co-owner of Beach Caddy LLC. We are the world's first app-based business that removes the stress from any beachgoer. The business and app is designed to get a caddy to your vacation house, load up all your beach equipment, walk it to the beach, and set it up for you. We can also do the same for your trip back from the beach. This takes the stress out of your vacation. We are currently operating in Ocean City, New Jersey, but hoping and looking to expand to as many shore points as we can.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Always try new ideas and adventures; you never know where it can take you.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How did the idea of Beach Caddy come about?
Our story began, a year ago, like so many other great concepts - over a meal. We were brainstorming ways we could change the world in a positive way. Then it happened. One perfectly inspired mother of three suggested, "What if we created an app where a local caddy would carry and set up all your beach gear ... taking you to and from any beach wherever you are in the world!" That was it. And so it began: within 30 days we acquired our business license. We received endorsements from established businesses, green lights from local politicians, and nearly 99 percent of people hearing our concept reacted in sequence with "that's genius", "brilliant", and "why didn't I think of that!"
Fast forward a few months and our free app was coded, tested and released! By Memorial Day 2015, we hired and trained a dozen caddies. During our inaugural season, they serviced over 300 successful trips from 175 different families. Beach Caddy received coverage from 6 ABC's Action News. They too called it "genius!" The week following, downloads skyrocketed and business spiked to unprecedented levels. Beach Caddy is evolving the way the world vacations. By seamlessly connecting beachgoers to caddies through our app, we make the trip to the beach more enjoyable. Technology has a role to play in meeting our demanding goals for logistics and scalability; therefore, we tasked our programmers to find a way to interface, via smartphone, the scheduling, tracking, communication, and payment aspects of our business. We created a cross-platform mobile app that provides dynamic GPS location capabilities to fulfill our need to reach everyone, everywhere. You see, we set out with the idea of changing the way people experience the beach. We hoped to eliminate the stress from the entire beach-going experience. Now we hope to do a lot more.
- How has your Hofstra degree helped you in your career?
I was able to land my job as a health & physical education teacher 13 years ago. In the education world, I was able to meet my wife, who is a kindergarten teacher, and have three beautiful girls. My degree and the education I have received at Hofstra have also allowed me to launch the Beach Caddy business.
- What advice do you have for students looking into becoming entrepreneurs themselves?
Although I am a new entrepreneur, some things I have learned are stay focused and positive. Believe in yourself and that your product or service can change people's lives. Be ready to handle the challenges of running the business most hours of the day. Also, be prepared to fail, but don't give up. Every time you start a new business, you gain experience, extend your skill set, and learn valuable lessons for the next time, or in my case, the next season.
Jeffrey Yeakel is a health and physical education teacher in the Colonial School District in Pennsylvania. Jeff spent many years playing football, baseball and basketball. Jeff's love for sports and athletics is what inspired him to earn a Bachelor of Science in physical education. Sports also lead Jeff to Hofstra, where he earned a scholarship to play football under renowned head coach Joe Gardi.
In the summer months, Jeff enjoys spending most of his time in Ocean City, New Jersey. It was his passion and love for the beach that inspired Jeff to build a business with family and friends called Beach Caddy, which is fully operating in Ocean City, NJ. Beach Caddy was built to change the way the world vacations. Beach Caddy helps beachgoers get to and from the beach hassle free while a caddy takes their beach gear down to the beach and sets it up, all by a simple click on a mobile app. In the near future, Jeff is hoping and planning to be in your desired beach town.
Although Jeff spends most of his summer helping others relax, he does find time to spend with his wife and co-owner, Laura Yeakel, and his three beautiful daughters.