New leader named at Eleven Fifty Academy after acquisition by Indiana Wesleyan University
A new leader has been tapped to steer the once-troubled Eleven Fifty Academy as it embarks on a new chapter without founder Scott Jones.
Marion-based Indiana Wesleyan University ― which acquired the coding and cybersecurity boot camp in December ― and its National & Global Program have named John Qualls as executive director. Qualls was the president of Eleven Fifty before stepping down in 2019. In his new role, he will lead the academy as the university positions it within a newly-formed nonprofit that will operate as a separate legal entity under IWU.
Eleven Fifty Academy Indiana Wesleyan University takes over Scott Jones' troubled Eleven Fifty Academy
In a news release, Eileen Hulme, chancellor of IWU-National & Global program and Eleven Fifty Academy board member, said Qualls is the right person to lead the academy through its transition.
“He brings expertise and industry relationships with the tech community, which continue to help us reshape the program while providing students an affordable pathway to rapidly gain critical skills needed in today’s tech workforce," Hulme said.
In December, IWU board of directors voted to acquired the academy's curriculum, contract faculty, and current and prospective student lists from Jones. At the time, the boot camp was unable to make payroll, mired in debt and facing complaints from students, staff and service providers.
The university did not acquire the academy's debt, leaving that in the lap of Jones, its prominent founder and entrepreneur best known for developing technology that revolutionized voicemail. He also was behind ChaCha.com, a human-powered question-and-answer service that failed in 2016.
More:6 things to know about Indiana entrepreneur Scott Jones
The academy camp faced lawsuits from vendors who accused it of becoming delinquent and missing payments. The state of Indiana ordered it to turn over unpaid wages to employees who filed complaints. One vendor claimed in a lawsuit filed in Indiana that Eleven Fifty owed it more than $200,000. Meanwhile, another sued in a California Superior Court for defaulting on its loan agreement after it missed payments.
InvestigationsScott Jones called his tech boot camp a 'Ferrari.' Now it's mired in debt and doubts
Qualls left Eleven Fifty Academy in early 2019 and launched Purpose HQ, a consulting firm. He became involved with the boot camp again as its financial issues compounded and began surfacing to the public. He helped with the boot camp in the interim of the acquisition.
As he steps up to lead Eleven Fifty again, IWU said Qualls' immediate focus will be re-engaging current students to ensure they complete the program. He'll also work on marketing, recruitment and ensuring the academy offers a flexible education model that includes both hybrid and virtual learning options.
Long-term goals include ensuring that students develop relevant skills for the existing job market and updating the boot camp program.
“I am extremely grateful for IWU’s trust in me to lead the academy’s effort to rapidly prepare our students for opportunities in the tech workforce, while also transforming their lives for their benefit as well as the communities where they work and live,” Qualls said in a statement.
Contact IndyStar reporter Alexandria Burris at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @allyburris.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana Wesleyan University taps John Qualls to lead Eleven Fifty Academy