Affluent Student

Paul_MCGuire_CroppedMeet Paul
Paul is a Technical Manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and the founder of Affluent Student, a site dedicated to enriching student's lives through proactive parenting. He has over 15 years of progressive IT experience and since enrolling in IEM has assumed management of the Mainframe and Storage Engineering team, and he is 2012 graduate of the UAB IEM program. He is now involved in departmental and division-wide initiatives at Blue Cross and is involved in the company's cloud computing initiative.
Paul is also a Dave Ramsey Certified Coach. He helps individuals and families create a clear-cut action plan for getting out of debt and building wealth. His motivation for enrolling in IEM was simple - to learn about the principles of how business and technology work together and broaden his perspective on leadership. "I am a person who's always on the lookout for what is next," Paul says. "I came to IEM expecting a fresh outlook on my career and how I can improve my own personal brand, and I got much more than expected. IEM is the perfect incubator for the company of one - you get all sorts of exposure to business, technology, and leadership principles and you'll come away with a new appreciation for intentional management of your career."

Paul started his website in 2011 after about a year in the IEM program. His original goal was to blend his love for education with his desire to teach others about financial freedom. What started as a blog to teach others about college and scholarship opportunities has evolved into a full-fledged parenting site with practical applications for parents of all ages.

Through his 20 years of parenting and observations on what just seems to work, Paul has assembled a terrific site full of articles and content designed to impact parents. "Just like anything else in life, you are the most successful at parenting when you are intentional about it. Too many parents have given up, content to let the schools raise their children. I want to teach parents how to effectively do what is arguably the most difficult job they will ever have." Paul is working on publishing his first book, due out in 2012, and offers coaching and speaking services to parent and teacher audiences alike,

"Without IEM, I would have never taken the steps to make this happen. I learned about managing your brand, becoming an expert in your field, putting in the work necessary to make something like this come together, and about the financial aspects of running a business." Like many others, Paul credits IEM with giving him the desire and the tools to strategically own his career.

A married father of three, Paul also runs recreationally and provides social media content for small businesses. He is a native of Birmingham and a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. His desire is to build Affluent Student to a national brand and transition into full-time speaking, coaching, and writing.

Learn more about Affluent Student at their homepage. Click Here.

"Through what I learned in the IEM program, I am on the constant lookout for ways to manage my brand. I work with people and projects much differently now. Thanks to IEM, I'll never leave my career to chance anymore."
~ Paul McGuire



Meet Suman

Suman is a Systems Analyst at Blue Cross Blue Shield Alabama and the founder of a popular video blog on marathon running, He is an experienced web application developer and since enrolling in IEM has taken on new roles leading development projects at BCBS.

Suman is a life-long learner which lead him to enroll in the IEM program in 2008.  He joined IEM to continue his passion for learning and personal development.    He has said of IEM, “The classes were great. Some of items we talked in class was actually going on in real world for me. I enjoyed working on projects with groups that had different mindsets and groups of classmates from different organizations in town. I enjoyed challenges it provided me.”  Along with learning he has a strong passion for teaching and coaching others.  He has taught many online courses on computer programming, is a running coach, and also serves as a life coach to those close to him.

mruns photo alabaster 5KAbout

Suman is an accomplished marathon runner.   He recently completed his 12th marathon in Georgia and will run his 13th marathon on May 1st in Cincinnati.  He has run marathons in cities all over the world including Tokyo in 2011, Chicago in 2010, and Toronto and New York in 2009.  He began running in 2008 around the time that he started the IEM program, and has logged close to 4,000 miles in the past 3 years.

He has turned his passion into a business venture with his video blog,  Suman blogs about his own running experiences and also interviews other runners, many times interviewing them during the race.  Suman attributes his IEM experience with helping him turn his life’s passions into entrepreneurial opportunities, his senior project in IEM focused on building the website.  “If you ever want to go to school where your school projects become a real-life projects, IEM is the program to consider.”

When he is not working or running, Suman enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, ages 3 and 8.  His older daughter has picked up on his passion for running and they now run together.  He has a love of traveling and one day would like to be working and running all over the world.

 “IEM is a life changing experience, the program doesn’t stop when you walk out the door, it continues for life.”

~Suman Silwal

NXTDimension Solutions


About the Company:
NxtDimension Solutions was founded in 2001 by Todd Miranda in Birmingham, Alabama. Todd has been a software professional since 1989. He has been recognized as a technology leader in the community and has been asked to present at many user groups and technical conferences. Todd has been awarded the Microsoft MVP award multiple years.

"The IEM program definitely provided entrepreneurial and business knowledge I didn’t have. Through the IEM program I got the benefit of real world experience from business owners and entrepreneurs.  More importantly than just knowledge, the program gave me the drive and courage to start my own company." ~ Todd Miranda, 2012

Want to know more? Head over to the NXTDimension Solutions homepage for more information.






Start Up Companies

IEM has helped many people find their passion and follow it.  Here are some of the entrepreneurs that IEM has helped launch. What are you waiting for? Follow your dream today.

Affluent_Student_logoAffluent Student

Started as a blog to help parents and students get a grip on college planning, Affluent Student has grown into a full-fledged parenting site. IEM client Paul McGuire shares his no-nonsense approach to parenting through feature-rich articles on Affluent Student. He is working on his first book, aptly named Affluent Student, which will be released in 2012 (Update: book has been published. Learn more here ). Paul also offers coaching and speaking as part of his repertoire. His goal - to reach parents as a parent who's been there and done that, to encourage them to be proactive parents and in turn raise empowered, equipped, and enthusiastic kids in the areas of relationships, career, money, lifelong learning, values, morals, and ethics.


Alabama Tailgate

Shane Hill started Alabama Tailgate as a blog to help catalog and document his tailgates for the Alabama home games. Today the website includes recipes AND a cookbook authored by Shane. The cookbook can be purchased on Amazon

Follow them at

Appsolute Genius

Brian Cauble and Andria Jensen started Appsolute Genius to enhance the mobile devices people use each day, and make the lives of those who use them easier by doing so. When people leave their house, they grab three things: their keys, wallet/purse, and their phone. In a world where this phone is fast becoming a smartphone, Appsolute Genius creates mobile Apps for smartphones (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc) for companies and the advertising industry. For them, the mobile App is simply a tool to better connect with customers no matter where they go.

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The Braintrust Consulting Group

Brian Rabon started The Braintrust to provide complete project management solutions for a wide range of software-related projects. Their vast experience combined with innovative project management model allows them to create customized solutions for each client. They blend People, Processes, Tools, and Training into one seamless formula to help clients break through obstacles, improve processes, meet deadlines, and exceed goals.
Follow them at

Screen_shot_2012-04-30_at_1.40.32_PMSuman Silwal MRunsMRuns
Created by Suman Silwal, an IEM Alumni, this website is a site by runners for runners. Catering to the established marathon runner, the website also encourages individuals new to the sport. With articles ranging on advice about fitness to connecting would-be runners with resources to get started, this website is all about running.


Trent Richardson's PlanServe was selected as one of 2010’s 14 most promising startups. They provide real solutions to financial, healthcare, and retirement businesses and have transformed how record keepers and insurance companies use the web to service their participants, employers, and advisers.

Richardson says, "The UAB IEM program really helped set the foundation with energy and connections. The program helped us see beyond the immediate challenges and stay focused on the bigger picture."
Follow them at


Raposos Gourmet

Ruben Martinez-Raposo, is an online retailer that specializes in Authentic Spanish Gourmet imported from Spain. We also distribute locally as well as provide our products at wholesale to restaurants and gourmet shops. At the same time. we provide catering and tasting services for medium/large parties and gatherings. Our main mission is to provide the Best Spanish Gourmet at the most affordable and competitive prices.

Follow them at



In May 2011, I sat down with one of IEM newest graduates about the company
he founded called SportsTech. The company creates mobile application software
for --just what the name says, Sport Tech people. As one example, a baseball coach
can download an app from SportsTech that allows that coach to create drills, track scores,
even has a built in radar gun that allows you to display the speed of a pitch from
any distance in both baseball and softball.

Screen_shot_2012-04-30_at_10.57.20_AM NXTDimension Solutions
NxtDimension Solutions was founded in 2001 by Todd Miranda in Birmingham, Alabama. Their mission is to provide simple, efficient, reliable custom web solutions at an affordable price

Screen shot 2013-09-05 at 4.33.08 PM Helen2O
Helen2o: Fluid Communications is a communications consulting firm that also provides a little team building and whitewater kayak instruction. Helen Todd, APR, MEng, created the company while in the IEM program out of her burning desire to do more kayak instruction and share her knowledge of public relations, social media, and customer outreach with small business. She has written a book and video series that explains her communications philosophy called, "8 Things You Can Do For Free To Promote Your Business." Visit her website at for more information and whitewater videos.

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 12.55.20 PM
G.A.Robinson Consulting Group, Inc. (www.garobinsonconsulting.comOur primary scope of services include IT Project Management, business solutions and process improvement. Our main emphasis have been software development, health care, digital strategy and enterprise development of our company. As a PM contractor some of my clients have included: InfoNet, Miramar Florida (Royal Caribbean website development project); sub-contractor with the Alabama Medicaid Agency Project Management Office. Also, we are partnering with other companies that include: Your True Poet, GoPedi, Claim DX, and Nacre Systems (Bangalore, India).GA Robinson, IEM Alum.

Screen shot 2013-11-05 at 1.03.00 Timothy Pruitt, IEM Alum.

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Christopher Robinson, President & CEO of Your True Poet Enterprises

"Personalized Poetry and Greeting Cards"