By Benjamin Bosler, Alumni Communications Intern
He knew he didn’t want to take the typical career path.
While a junior at the U of A, Aaron Stahl noticed his friends gearing up to live a corporate life, ready to climb the ladder.
“That’s just not me,” Stahl said. “That was terrifying.”
Stahl said he owes his time at the university for showing him what he wished to achieve professionally.
Growing up in Mountain Home, Stahl said he was surrounded by hard-working people, both of his parents in the medical field. He thanks his father, who invested in small businesses outside of his surgical practices, for his first exposure to business.
“I got to get exposed a little bit to the business side of things that way,” Stahl said.
The Mountain Home native said what really elevated his interest in an entrepreneurial career was his time as a student at the U of A.
Attending the university on a chancellor’s scholarship, Stahl pursued his education in business. In his extracurriculars, he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and served as the risk management chair during his time in the fraternity. He also attended Semester at Sea, a study abroad program on a ship that offers global experiences.
Throughout these times, Stahl said he witnessed his friends applying for corporate jobs, gearing up to work nine-to-fives. He came to the realization that he didn’t want to climb the ladder, but instead create it.
Sticking to his word, Stahl said he took his first career venture during his junior year. Taking time off from school, his new journey was in the construction business building homes.
Though perfect for the moment, Stahl said not even a year into the homebuilding industry, he knew it wasn’t something he would pursue forever.
“This was just to take advantage of the market situation and try to make some money,” Stahl said.
Not even five years later would the United States find itself in a recession. Stahl said it was a dark period, and he found himself feeling sorry.
“It was very hit-or-miss,” Stahl said. “You were either going to sell this $700,000 house or you’re not.”
Thankfully, Stahl said it was during his pursuit of building homes that the idea for his now successful franchise came to mind.
Searching for new business opportunities, Stahl said he stumbled upon a Florida company that was training people to become waste consultants, a title not common in Midwestern America at the time. A waste consultant is someone who finds ways to reduce businesses’ expenditures in specific areas, ultimately saving them money.
After training in Florida, Stahl said he returned to NWA, finished his degree, and opened up shop of what is now P3 Cost Analysts, a cost reduction company that Stahl has recently begun franchising.
Starting out, Stahl said he was wrongfully ambitious, thinking big corporations, such as McDonald’s, were going to trust a one-man show.
“I changed the mentality and started small,” Stahl said.
The years following the recession, Stahl said he set his focus, slowly built clientele, and saw a rise in business activity.
Colby Ezell, U of A alum and chief financial officer at P3, said Stahl has always been passionate and driven toward any project he pursues.
“He likes to get down in the trenches and understand every aspect of the business,” Ezell said, “instead of just coming in with ideas and having other people do it.”
Outside of his entrepreneurial endeavors, Stahl said he enjoys taking time off to travel and gain new experiences. He said his eagerness to see the world was greatly encouraged during his experience with Semester at Sea.
“The world is a big place and there’s just so much to see,” Stahl said. “I just love going to unknown places and the adventure of it.”
Since graduating from the U of A and becoming CEO of P3 Cost Analysts, Stahl said he has been a member of the Arkansas Alumni Association. He believes staying in touch with those who helped him reach this success is important.
Stahl said many benefits come along with being a member of the alumni association. He said staying up to date with the university and connecting with those who have shared interests are some of the greater perks.
“If you’re young and out of college, then there’s really no better place to start than your alumni network,” Stahl said.