Our Story:

Approximately $50 Billion is spent annually on leadership training each year in America. Yet, the underemployment rate continues to rise, where students who have a college degree are working in jobs that do not require one. Prime U was created to provide intentional, relevant, and research-based training solutions that do more than simply “check the box” or improve the bottom line.

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Prime U's Founder: Jarrod Barnes

Jarrod Barnes founded Prime U in 2017 out of the desire to help bridge the gap between education being delivered in the classroom and application within real-world scenarios.

As a former student-athlete, collegiate coach, and administrator, Jarrod has seen and experienced the needs of students and young professionals within the collegiate landscape and workplace. While working on his Ph.D. at Ohio State, Jarrod focused his research on how to develop the talent and potential of millennials and generation Z. Research, experience, and consistent presence alongside young people are what gives Prime U the expertise and knowledge to execute values-based leadership training, holistic student development, and provide innovative learning solutions.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Barnes has been recognized by Who’s Who Magazine, NPR Radio, ESPN, Fox Sports, and The Big Ten Network. 

Jarrod resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a contributing writer to Front Office Sports and a current Khayrallah Innovation Fellow at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

Jarrod Barnes presenting at the 2018 Black student-Athlete Summit at the University of Texas.

Our Staff


Scott Woods


Charlotte, NC



Role at Prime U: Leadership Strategist & Chief Financial Officer

With over 25 years of strategic and financial experience, Scott acts as in an advisory capacity at Prime U focused on strategy and ensuring proper alignment of people, process and products.


Zach Barnett


Atlanta, GA



Role at Prime U: Talent Developer

A native of Atlanta, GA, Zach Barnett is a former student-athlete at Samford University. Previously working in collegiate athletics at the University of Georgia and University of Arkansas, Zach brings experience in student-athlete development, event management, and corporate leadership experience within Chick-Fil-A’s corporate office.


Keith Gabriel


Charlotte, NC



Role at Prime U: Talent Developer

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Keith Gabriel is a former student-athlete at the Virginia Military Institute and went on to spend 3 years playing professional basketball overseas (in Sweden, Germany, Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Kosovo). Keith joins Prime U as a Talent Developer and currently works as an Economic Development Specialist at Duke Energy.



“Jarrod is on the cutting edge in terms of concerns about the student-athlete…His maturity, his attention to detail, his big-picture thinking, and his genuine care about the student-athlete…I just hope we hire him at some point at this university, I love him. I think he is a great role model for a lot of our players. And not just our players, for all of college football. When he speaks, people listen”
— Urban Meyer, Head Coach, Ohio State Football
“I cannot thank Jarrod enough for helping me take my leadership to the next level. He was prepared every step of the way to challenge and help me understand my leadership qualities. His consultation not only got me ready to host our first ever Game Changing Retreat but laid the foundation to continue making a positive impact on the lives of future leaders.”
— Corinne Milien, Executive Director of The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, Former ESPN Producer
Jarrod is an amazing speaker and very thorough in his approaches to address the needs of the student-athlete. He understands who they are and what type of approaches we need to take to help them become successful.
— James Taylor, Academic Advisor, Hampton University