Author: Shannon Rinkinen

Bob Mark Business Model Competition Applications Now Open

The Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship will host the 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 in the Opie Library. Students can apply to compete here.

Prizes will be awarded to the most scalable and actionable business model pitches. Using prize money, students have a chance to take their entrepreneurial idea to the next stage of development further preparing them for additional opportunities such as competing at the New Venture Competition held in April at Central Michigan University.

President Koubek will serve as a distinguished judge alongside other entrepreneurially minded faculty, staff, and community members.

Prizes for the Bob Mark Business Model Competition include:

  • First Prize – $2,000 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone
  • Second Prize – $1,000 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone
  • Third Prize – $500 + $100 services from MTEC SmartZone
  • Honorable Mention (2 prizes) – $250 each
  • Audience Favorite – $250
  • MTEC SmartZone prize – $1,000

Students should apply by submitting this form no later than midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The top 15 applicants will be selected to participate in the Bob Mark Business Model Competition. Student guidelines, scoring criteria, and a blank Business Model Canvas can be found at mtu.edu/honors/ice/husky-innovate.

The 2018 Bob Mark Business Model Competition is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and events that guide students through key phases of innovation or business development while emphasizing evidence-based strategies for success. The competition is hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, which is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the School of Business and Economics, and the Vice President for Research Office. The event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, professor of practice in the School of Business and Economics. Mark founded the Elevator Pitch Competition and brought the Business Plan Competition to Michigan Tech. His entrepreneurial spirit lives on in students, faculty, and staff.

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Imagineering Audit 4.0 Researcher at Michigan Tech

Jun Dai is a visiting assistant professor from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China. She received her PhD in 2017 from the Rutgers Business School. Her research interests include applying new technologies such as blockchain, industry 4.0, and data analytics for the auditing profession.

Dai’s paper “Imagineering Audit 4.0” received the Bright Idea award in 2017, which is identified as one of the top 10 manuscripts for the year among all publications of New
Jersey ’s business faculty.

In addition to conducting research, Dai will be guest lecturing finance and accounting classes during her time on campus.

Earlier this month, Dai presented to the 43rd World Continuous Auditing and Reporting Symposium. The theme of the symposium was disruptive innovation in accounting. Her presentation, “Utilizing Blockchain and Smart Contracts to Enable Audit 4.0: A Case of Accountability Audit of Air Pollution Controls In China,” explored the potentials of using smart sensors, Internet of things, blockchain, and smart contracts to reengineer current auditing procedures to be more agile, precise, and transparent.

Dai serves as an associated editor of the Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting and has published in academic journals and professional journals, including Accounting Horizons, Journal of Information Systems, International Journal of Accounting Information systems, Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting, and the CPA Journal.

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Business and Technology Merges in Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition

The first annual Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition took place Wednesday, Oct. 17 in Fisher Hall. The competition was hosted by the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the School of Business and Economics, and the Vice President for Research Office.

More than 30 students from various majors and disciplines pitched to a panel of judges comprised of faculty, alumni, and community members. Participants had two minutes to pitch their innovative and disruptive ideas. Alumni from Michigan Tech’s 14 Floors joined the judging panel to offer feedback and expert advice to budding Michigan Tech entrepreneurs.

Two students on stage after presenting in the Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition
Students in the School of Business and Economics participate in the Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition.

The winners of the 2018 Idea Pitch Competition are:

  • First Place and Audience Choice—Cameron Philo, Electrical Engineering, Pavlis Honors College, Life Pro Jackets
  • Second Place—Gary Tropp, Computer Network and System Administration, A Better Way to Schedule Classes
  •  Third Place—Mayank Bagaria, Mechanical Engineering, Wearable Translator
  • Honorable Mention—Sarah Smyth, Business, Post-op Bra for Breast Cancer Survivors
  • Honorable Mention—Christopher Codere and Joshua Hansen, MBA and Software Engineering, Firearm Detection Technology for Police Officers
  • Honorable Mention—Marina Brusso and Maxx Fredrickson, Marketing/Management and Management, Parking Improvement App

The Idea Pitch Competition is part of Husky Innovate, a series of workshops and competitions that guide students through key phases of business development while emphasizing strategies for success. More information on upcoming Husky Innovate events can be found at mtu.edu/husky-innovate.

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Alumni Spotlight: Tim Spehar at Therma-Tron-X, Inc.

Last year during Career Fair, Tim Spehar ’17 was an engineering management student. This year, he’s back on campus—as an alumnus and recruiter for Therma-Tron-X, Inc. (TTX), a custom industrial finishing systems manufacturer with locations in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois.

Photo of alumni Tim Spehar at Career Fair
Student to recruiter is an eye-opening experience, Tim Spehar ’17, says

Tim serves as a project engineer, managing the design, fabrication, installation, and startup of equipment. “Our organization is flat, so I report to the VP of Engineering, the VP of Special Projects, and our CEO.” At any given time, TTX project engineers like Tim are in charge of 10 mechanical designers during the engineering phase, up to 20 fabricators who assemble subsystems, and 10 on-site installers who erect the system for customers.

Husky Work Ethic on the Job
Once the machine is assembled, Tim’s team travels to the client facility, working multiple rotations as field engineers to start-up and test the equipment, training the customer through the entire process before handing the keys over.

“A rotation is a two-week stint where we work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or until we decide to leave,” Tim says. “Some nights have been midnight or later to troubleshoot and stay on schedule. We fly in on a Monday (with our own planes—super sweet perk!) and work through the weekend until the following Friday.”

The rigor doesn’t phase Tim.

 “The rotations are my favorite,” he says. “While we work very tough hours, it is the most rewarding part of the project process. We get to see what was once on paper, become a physical machine. It’s our baby—it’s really cool to see it through beginning to end.”

Back in the office, Tim works with every facet of the organization to see that the project progresses on time, working with the lead designer to manage the drawing release schedule; working with the shop manager to discuss workflow; and working with accounting, shipping, and purchasing, coordinating equipment deliveries to customers. “And through all of this, we interface directly with the customer, helping them get ready for their new paint line, working with chemical coaters to discuss system capabilities and limitations.”

For Tim, getting the job done well is the number one goal—but it hasn’t come easy.

Michigan Tech’s Business Degree Prepared Me
In fact, he admits it was challenging to size the equipment for his first machine project. “But now after three machines it feels like old hat,” Tim says. Having an engineering background and project management experience through Michigan Tech’s engineering management degree has paid off. “Working on a few special projects and standardization projects in-house, I have become one of our go-to foundry systems installers and hydraulics applications engineers.”

“Having opportunities to work with and teach others is so rewarding. Some days feel like day 0, where I’m learning or teaching myself something new to solve problems quickly and creatively, but other days I find myself being pulled in to assist others on the team because I can problem solve so effectively. I really enjoy what I do. It has become a rewarding passion.”

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