Walker Evans - Columbus State Community College 50th Anniversary

Columbus entrepreneur Walker Evans has been a part of the local community for over fifteen years. He's also a 2003 Columbus State grad in the field of Interactive Media Technology.

He founded ColumbusUnderground.com in 2001, after realizing the community lacked an online hub for news, entertainment and discussion.

"ColumbusUnderground.com was started as a way to find restaurant reviews, event listings, and discussions about things happening around the city, in a way that wasn't yet available online," says Evans. "Allowing people to have a voice on the website also gave it the ability to become the cultural hub it is today."

Even with the popularity of social media websites, ColumbusUnderground.com has continued to consistently gain readers, reaching 1.6 million unique visitors and 10.4 million pageviews in the past year.

"Taking an active role in shaping the future of Columbus through various organizations is incredibly important to what we do."

The company has also grown. Since incorporating the business in 2005, Evans, with his wife Anne, has built the company into a new-media enterprise that also employs six others.

In August of 2010, spinoff site TheMetropreneur.com was launched to advocate for small business development and entrepreneurship. Its aim is to tell the stories of Central Ohio's business community, foster regional economic development and assist entrepreneurs with its resource-heavy focus.

"Entrepreneurship and small businesses are critical to Columbus' success and profile as a place for young professionals to live and work," says Evans. "Being able to facilitate and help others grow their business makes this project very exciting and rewarding."

Evans was invited back to Columbus State to deliver the Spring 2011 commencement address to more than 700 students. His inspiring speech centered on entrepreneurism, civic engagement and community involvement.

In addition to attending his business and family, Evans serves on the board for the North Market Development Authority, is a member of the Columbus Chamber Small Business Council, serves as a founding officer of the Gay Street Collaborative neighborhood association, and is often invited to moderate discussions for the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

"Taking an active role in shaping the future of Columbus through various organizations is incredibly important to what we do," adds Evans. "And Columbus is a city where getting involved is easy for anyone to do. Nonprofits, commissions and organizations are always looking for volunteers and leaders."

People often ask, 'Is there an equivalent to ColumbusUnderground.com in [blank] city?'

"The answer is almost always no," says Evans. "ColumbusUnderground.com is a resource quite unique to Columbus that makes our city a better place to live, and makes my job very rewarding."

Images: A Year in the Life of Columbus State