Megan Lanasa

Megan Lanasa '09 (front row, second from left) and her BricknFire Pizza Co. staff welcomed customers into the company's first brick-and-mortar restaurant in July 2016.

Thinking Outside the Diploma

From a young age, Megan Lanasa ’09 admired the entrepreneurial spirit of her parents, who own The Breadery in Catonsville, Md., and it sparked her interest in owning a business. She attended Stevenson University to pursue a degree in business communication. Thanks to the tough love and constant consideration of Stevenson faculty, she says her college experience became one to remember.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree and familiarity with the restaurant industry, Lanasa wanted to start something of her own. “Why work so hard and not reap the benefits?”

At 27, she embarked on her first business venture to launch BricknFire Pizza Co., a mobile brick oven food truck. For months, she made appearances at farmers’ markets and special events, delivering wood-fire pizza and growing the BricknFire brand.

Lanasa has never shied away from opportunities to promote her company. “It’s amazing that we willingly put ourselves in the position to do things that scare us,” she says.

In June 2015, BricknFire entered the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor’s Canvas competition, a contest for entrepreneurs to submit business proposals to be evaluated by a committee of local restaurant and hotel owners, industry experts, and foodies. Upon her selection as a finalist, she participated in day-long competition that included rapid-fire questioning in true “Shark Tank” fashion.

Lanasa won the competition, giving her the opportunity to work with a panel of mentors as she designed the company’s first brick-and-mortar space in the hotel’s location near Camden Yards. Turning the food truck reins over to her Mobile Operations Manager gave Lanasa time to focus on generating interest in the restaurant and leading her growing staff of 15.

She also finds time to return to campus, sharing her story with Stevenson students interested in starting their own businesses. Lanasa recently served as a panel member during Adulting 101: Thinking Outside the Diploma, an event sponsored by the Senior Class Council.

“Without my decision to attend Stevenson University, and the skills I developed while I was there, I might not be where I am today,” Lanasa notes.