The Entrepreneur Maker: Brent Mahieu
Brent Mahieu credits one of his high school teachers with getting him where he is today. “I was 17, my mom had died, and I was struggling,” says Mahieu, 48, who went to high school in Connecticut. While grieving his loss, Mahieu recalls his accounting teacher, Mr. Murphy, putting his arm around him and telling him he was really good at accounting: “[Mr. Murphy] is why I went into finance.” After working in New York for financial powerhouses like Salomon Smith Barney, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase, Mahieu moved to Palm City in 2002—and memories of his accounting teacher once again set his career path. He was browsing the Martin County School District website and saw that the district was looking for a teacher for the Entrepreneurship Academy at Jensen Beach High School. “I just wanted to have the opportunity to be that Mr. Murphy for somebody else,” he says of his decision to apply for the job. In 2011, he was hired. The academy consists of a three-year program designed to teach high school students how to build a business from the ground up. Students who complete the program can earn an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification attesting to their knowledge of entrepreneurship and small business principles and making them highly marketable in the business world after graduation. Many of Mahieu’s past students are now running their own businesses; some started doing so while still in high school. The program has been so successful, student enrollment has doubled since Mahieu took over. And he has big plans for the future: In the next two years, he is hoping to generate seed money for his students’ startups through local residents, businesses, and community leaders. Mahieu, who now lives in Port St. Lucie, also coaches boys’ lacrosse at Jensen Beach High School and was named Career Technical Education Teacher of the Year in 2022.
Shot on location at Jensen Beach High School