Teams from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences swept the awards at the WMU Business Pitch Competition with products ranging from a heat-to-cool mattress pad that combats insomnia to a rotating drying rack that serves as an indoor alternative to hanging laundry outside.
First- and second-place awards went to teams from WMU’s industrial and entrepreneurial departments. The teams that pitched their idea are part of Dr. Bob White’s Entrepreneurial Engineering course, IEE 2010. Third and fourth place awards -- as well as the People’s Choice award -- went to students from WMU’s mechanical and aerospace engineering program.
Participants agreed the pitch competition was an invaluable experience. “It was a chance to showcase our creativity, innovation and of course, fine tune our presentation skills,” said Morgan Kronner, whose first place team of four pitched the idea of a mattress pad that could both heat and cool and was designed for individuals who have difficulty regulating their body temperature when trying to sleep.
Michael Leonard and his team – who came in second place -- designed an indoor drying rack with a metal base and tower that would rotate, require less electricity than a conventional dryer, and emit a “clean-laundry” scent. “We’re evaluating whether to pursue it further,” Leonard said.
The WMU Business Pitch Competition is named in memory of Dr. K.C. O'Shaughnessy, a professor of management in the Haworth College of Business and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, who passed away in 2011. The work he started in the area of entrepreneurship led to the creation of events like the pitch competition, a major and minor in entrepreneurship, and the formation of WMU’s business accelerator, Starting Gate. His legacy lives on in the students who now benefit from these programs.
1st Place ($2,000)
Just Right Temp - Victoria Blaine, Morgan Kronner, Sarah Jozwiak, Aseel Munshi, industrial and entrepreneurial engineering
The Rotating Drying Rack - Emma Dubensky, Cortney York, Jasmine Fails, Michael Leonard, industrial and entrepreneurial engineering
3rd Place ($800)
SmartShot - Conner Knepley, Jorge Diaz-Sanin, mechanical and aerospace engineering
4th Place ($500)
Multi Use Recyclable Arcade - Ramin Mirshab – mechanical and aerospace engineering
People's Choice ($300)
Smart Shot - SmartShot - Conner Knepley, Jorge Diaz-Sanin, mechanical and aerospace engineering