Brent Comstock owns and operates a profitable information technology business, oversees 15 employees and contractors in multiple states, and serves clients across the country.
Comstock’s LinkedIn profile and number of connections rival that of business professionals twice his age. The 19-year-old sophomore from a two-stoplight town in Nebraska already has been the subject of a number of news articles.
Comstock manages his IT services and consulting company while taking a full course load at UNC-Chapel Hill and volunteering in a variety of tech, entrepreneurial and community roles. Comstock engages fully as he pursues his education and diploma and builds his contacts and experiences.
Value of college is about more than a job
Most people go to school so they can get a job. “I realize that school’s much more than that,” said Comstock, who as a Robertson Scholar is enrolled at both UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.
Here at Carolina, one of Comstock’s key endeavors is to improve the information technology and Web experience for students on campus. He does that as head of the Student Government’s technology and Web committee and as an adviser to the student body president on IT, tech, social media and all things digital.
Also working with faculty now
Comstock also serves on the Faculty Information Technology Advisory Committee to work with the faculty on how to optimize the technology experience for faculty and learning and how that is conveyed to students.
In other digital activities, Comstock volunteers as director of social media content and digital experience for the UNC-Chapel Hill Wesley Campus Ministry. In addition, as a member of the March of Dimes National Youth Council, he is developing the group’s social strategy and then will market and manage that social media strategy.
“Beyond just being a student entrepreneur, I love applying what I know and how I can be effective in almost every student organization I’m a part of,” he said.
Comstock has immersed himself in tech since age 12 when he started fixing computers, which grew into his BCom Solutions, a digital marketing and managed technology-services company.
“When I started fixing computers just on the side, I started to understand how important a role technology plays in the world,” he said.
Innovation and entrepreneurship are his favs
While Comstock is involved in all these tech-related efforts, technology itself isn’t his greatest passion.
Neither is music, even though he’s an accompanist in two youth choirs at Chapel Hill First United Church, previously taught private music lessons, played the pipe organ for church as a kid, and still turns to music as a stress reliever.
“People say, ‘What’s your passion?’ One of the things I love doing more than technology or more than music is watching people grow businesses, specifically seeing and working on developing an entrepreneurial community,” he said. “My passion is for innovation and entrepreneurship.”
“I don’t consider what I do a job,” he added. “In the end, whether it’s tech-related or not, what we’re doing is … helping people build success.”
Latest effort: student entrepreneur in residence
In high school, Comstock, who is double majoring in religious studies and business, traveled around the country participating in Future Business Leader of America competitions and serving as a national officer. He’s given a TedxYouth talk in New York City. Now he is Launch Chapel Hill’s first student entrepreneur in residence. As such, he’ll serve as the ambassador for Launch Chapel Hill on campus and will develop the Student Entrepreneur in Residence program.
Comstock doesn’t know if his future lies in the technology industry, but given the pervasiveness of technology, technology will be a part of whatever he does.
Comstock’s must-have tech devices
1. Apple iPhone 5, 32 gigabytes, black (but he’s considering the new iPhone 6)
2. Apple MacBook laptop, 15-inch retina display with OS X Mavericks, which also runs Windows and Microsoft through UNC Virtual Labs
3. Apple iPad, retina display, black, 32 gigabytes