High school gym classes contribute to a student’s life in more ways than you might imagine.
By Lauren Dempsey
High school gym classes contribute to a student’s life in more ways than you might imagine. Take the case of Dan Mangum, a Rye High senior at the time, who was casually conversing with his physical education teacher when the teacher kiddingly suggested he work on “ManGum,” a play on his last name, for his senior internship project. Dan, a captain of the basketball team as well as a member of the track and football teams, put on his thinking cap and began developing a vitamin-based energy chew. Working with fellow student Courtney Colwell, Dan not only fulfilled his graduation credits but also started up a line of energy supplements.
Dan first contacted “Shark Tank,” the popular entrepreneurship television show, for help. His project blew the producers away, and they wanted to feature him on the show, but Dan decided to hold off and see what connections he could make on his own. He turned to Rob Platek, another Rye resident, for help in making contact with top professionals in the nutraceutical field. After researching, patenting, and trademarking ManGum, he got Nutravail in Chantilly, Virginia, to produce his all-natural blueberry-flavored energy chew containing vitamin B12 and green tea.
During the internship, both Colwell and Mangum locked up major endorsements including a rap group, ShaqNLivin, which is considered the next big thing out of New York. They took trips to P. Diddy’s studio in Manhattan and watched them record in the same place as Biggie Smalls. Together, the two Rye 18-year-olds joined forces with ShaqNLivin, two 19-year-olds breaking into the rap game, to pave their way in their respective industries. Listeners are now able to tune in to 97.1, America’s No. 1 rap station, to listen to both ShaqNLivin and hear publicity about ManGum all across the country.
While networking, Dan has attended VIP events hosted by P. Diddy, as well as other rappers, and athletes such as Andrew Wiggins. He has been able to distribute his product and ideas to top people, including Def Jam Recordings.
ManGum is available at Longford’s, Smoothie King, and Rye Ridge Deli, and soon will be for sale online. Currently, ManGum only comes in one flavor, but Dan is looking to expand into other flavors and products.
This fall, Dan’s headed to Chaminade University of Honolulu, where he plans to study business and entrepreneurship (Courtney will attend Johns Hopkins). Knowing Dan, it won’t be long before his products are known and sold worldwide.