When I graduated from college in 1981, I never wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to be president of IBM.

I saw myself a big corporate guy. Fast forward nine years to 1990 and I quit to become an entrepreneur and never looked back to corporate America.

I get excited about business people that know early in their career that they want to be entrepreneurs. Here are 9 entrepreneurs that I have met in person that are doing exciting things and that you should follow (in no particular order):

Ed Scanlan (@edscanlan). With Kevin Chern, he has built an amazing company, Total Attorneys– #2 in Chicago on the fastest growing track. When it comes to web technology, he is visionary. Ed employs hundreds of students looking for part time jobs.

Nicole Loftus- When we came to me many years ago with her business plan for Zorch, I told her to forget about it since that it would never succeed. Years later, she was #8 on the Inc 500 list and #1 in Chicago. Nicole has never looked back since. She reconfirmed that business is not about the idea but about the execution.

Genevieve Thiers (@GenevieveThiers) I met her many years ago, when I was advising a bank on whether not to give her a loan for the start up of Sitter City. I told the bank to go ahead. They didn’t. Score one for me. Sitter City is now in dozens of cities and their growth has sky rocketed. She is also CEO that sings opera- is there a club for that?

Matt Wilson (@mattwilsontv) and Jared O’Toole (@jaredotoole) have the spark. With their business, Under30CEO they have not yet accomplished what they set out to do, but I know they will. They are always there to explain things to me as “the older generation” and lend a helping hand. With their passion, its just a matter of time!

Brett Farmiloe (@thepassionguy) is the brain child for “Pursue the Passion Tour” which he sold to Jobbing.com years ago. I was one of his first sponsors. He spent two summers in a bus traveling around the US asking people why they pursue or don’t pursue their passion. When you have a down day, watch the videos of the trip.

Amber Osborne (@missdestructo)- ok, I lie, I actually have not met Amber, though I feel I have since there are so many photos and videos on her site, Miss Destructo. Hands down, one of the most courageous and creative people on the web. After losing her job, she has successfully reinvented herself as a social media person.

Sima Dahl (@simasays) is energy and enthusiasm incarnated. Whenever I am with her, I can’t help but become infected. She recently struck out on her own establishing Parlay Communication. Need help in marketing- use her! She is also the go to person in Chicago if you are looking for a job in marketing.

Julia Stamberger (@juliastamberger) has nine lives as an entrepreneur. There is a picture of her under resiliency in the dictionary.  Her latest venture is GoPicnic which offers a shelf stable food products to a variety of industries.

Who is on your list?