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Our Alumni

Lior Barhai ’15, Co-Founder and CEO

Lior practices the values he learned at Scheck Hillel in his daily life and as leader of Envonics, an agricultural tech startup.

What warms your heart when you think of your time at Scheck Hillel?
The life-long relationship we’ve built with both peers and teachers.

Share a funny/interesting/unique story from your time at Scheck Hillel.
Lights on, crowd cheering and scoreboard ticking, the opening game at Scheck Hillel's football field. My life at Hillel revolved around football and being able to play on, finally, our own field was one of the most enjoyable times at Hillel. Unfortunately, we didn't win the game but that didn't seem to matter too much. I remember the pure bliss that I experienced during that game. Everyone in the crowd was having an amazing time and cheering for the entire team. Even the next day, after a loss, everyone in the school would congratulate the football team and talk about the game. That right there is the definition of community, where we all come together to support a common cause and cheer each other one. This is one of my most memorable moments at Hillel.

Was there a teacher who had a positive impact and made you feel special like you could do it all?
Dana Ponsky, I'll never forget my first college meeting with her. To sum it up in one sentence, she made sure to instill in me that there is no "I don't know" what I want to do. We all know what we want, we just need the courage to say it out loud and the courage to go after our biggest dreams. This is how I went to play football at Carnegie Mellon University while studying Mechanical Engineering. 

Do you feel like your time at Scheck Hillel had an impact on your adult life and your choices? How so?
Yes, Scheck Hillel has shaped the way I view community and the way I treat people. I believe that the Jewish values that are ingrained within the entire school and staff has made that impact. Our people are only as strong as our community relationship is - I carry this with all the business deals and relationships I'm developing within my career. Simply, treat others how you would like to be treated and go above and beyond for your peers. 

What educational path did you follow?  
Carnegie Mellon University, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

What is your current profession and where do you work? How did you come to work in this field?
I am currently the Co-Founder and CEO of Envonics, an agricultural technology startup. We founded the company after graduating from CMU, where we developed the beginning stages of the company during our last semester. 

What is most rewarding about the work you do? What are you passionate about?
We are building technology that will impact the way the entire world looks and buys their fresh produce. Knowing that we are working on a solution to something this massive is extremely rewarding. I'm passionate about health and personal development - as an agricultural technology startup we are helping improve access to healthy food, and as a startup every day is about personal growth as individuals and as a company. 

Looking back, what advice would you give your 18 year old self?  
It's only considered a failure when you quit, otherwise it is simply a learning lesson and the building block to what is coming ahead of you. I would also recommend trying everything, keep trying until you find something that excites you directly or indirectly, then go after it whole-heartedly.