2023 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition Winners

Three students stand with certificates

By Eugene Brown Agyei (Husky Innovate), Shannon Rinkinen (COB)

On Jan. 19, eleven Michigan Technological University students across disciplines pitched their business models to a panel of judges comprised of faculty and business professionals. In it’s sixteenth year, the business pitch competition is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark and helps nurture Michigan Tech’s entrepreneurial spirit. The tradition is a highlight of Innovation Week activities.

In the end, Bayle Golden (master’s in engineering management) emerged as the top award winner with SafeROW, a startup focused on solving child abductions. Golden also earned the Social Impact Award, sponsored by Elham Asgari, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship in the College of Business.

Presenting Tall and Small Designs, an innovation for finding the right clothing fit, was Jordan Craven (management information systems), who earned second prize as well as Audience Favorite and Breakout Innovation Award, sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Third prize went to Asia Motta (engineering management) with the Droplet, a device to keep houseplants alive.

Ideas spanning health, education, and sustainable power generation were also pitched by Huskies.

Business Model Awards

Presented by the College of Business with thanks to sponsors Rick and Jo Berquist, and Dan and Jane Green for sponsoring the Audience Favorite award.

  • First Prize—Bayle Golden with SafeROW ($2,000)
  • Second Prize—Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($1,000)
  • Third Prize—Asia Motta with The Droplet ($500)
  • Honorable Mention—Rehab (Ruby) Alhajjar with The Water Solution ($250)
  • Audience Favorite—Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($250)

Social Impact Award

Sponsored and presented by Gates Professor Elham Asgari, College of Business.

  • Winner—Bayle Golden with SafeROW ($1,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Patrick Visser, chief commercial officer, MTEC SmartZone.
Sponsored by MTEC SmartZone and Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

  • Winner—Jordan Craven with Tall and Small Designs ($1,000)

Special Thanks

Special thanks to those who dedicated time and resources to make the competition a success.


  • Dean Johnson, dean, College of Business
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Rick and Jo Berquist
  • Dan and Jane Green
  • MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation


  • Jay Meldrum, executive director, Keweenaw Research Center; MTU liaison to the Grand Traverse Area
  • Eric Roberts, MTU alumnus; executive director, 20Fathoms
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Dan Green, MTU alumnus and entrepreneur; principal, BlackFin Group
  • Adrienne Minerick, professor of chemical engineering; affiliated professor of biomedical engineering; president, American Society for Engineering Education
  • Patrick Visser, chief commercialization officer, MTEC SmartZone
  • Michael Cleveland, P.E. and MTU alumnus; mentor in residence at Michigan Tech
  • Lawrence W. Staley, MTU alumnus; director of engineering (retired 2019), Parker Hannifin Corporation

Visit the Husky Innovate Events page for upcoming opportunities.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accountingbusiness analyticsconstruction managementeconomicsengineering managementfinancemanagementmanagement information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.