Tag: Bob Mark

It’s Here! Impact Magazine Fall/Winter 2011 Issue

The third issue of Impact features the Business Development Experience, an experiential learning component of undergraduate business curriculum.

Impact is Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics semi-annual publication. It illustrates how our students, alumni, School, and University are changing our world.

This issue discusses the future of business education, renewed AACSB accreditation, successful alumni stories, the spring 2011 undergraduate trip to Silicon Valley, two faculty who have become co-editors of an influential policy journal, and MBA student research on survey data. Read Impact now.

See past issues of Impact on our website.

The School of Business and Economics would like to recognize key people who have continued to make Impact a reality. University Marketing and Communciation’s Crystal Verran, Dennis Walikainen, and Bill Tembruell. Also, writer Erin Kauppila. Thank you all for your hard work.

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Pitching the Perfect Game (Plan): Students Sell Their Business Ideas

First-place winners Travis Beaulieu and Joel Florek receive $1,000 from Dean Darrell Radson.

At the Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition at Michigan Technological University on Nov. 14, 2011, students had three minutes to sell their next great business idea to a panel of judges. The pitches were as wide-ranging as they were clever.

Placing first–and winning the $1,000 top prize–was AsfalisMed, the creation of Travis Beaulieu and Joel Florek. Beaulieu is an applied physics major with a concentration in entrepreneurship and a minor in mathematics. Florek is a first-year engineering student and a member of the Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership. Their business would put everyone’s medical information on wallet-sized identification cards.

“We started with a USB drive,” Florek said, “before we moved on to student IDs. We’ve been working on it every night for a long time.”

“Yeah, we’ve been diligent,” Beaulieu agreed. “And we are going to present it to 10 other campuses across the nation.”

AsfalisMed also is a semifinalist in the statewide Accelerate Michigan innovation competition taking place in Ypsilanti, Mich., this week.

David Shull took home second place and $500 with his business, Picket, a textbook rental operation. His idea differed from similar current operations in one significant way.

“It’s peer to peer,” he said, “students working directly with other students. Using a QR code [scanned by their cellphones], they can make a connection in 30 seconds to a minute.”

Shull said his business would profit by getting a service fee, similar to eBay and PayPal. He said students would also be able to recover all their costs.

The SafePlug took third place. It was the brainstorm of biomedical engineering student Anne Dancy and mechanical engineering student Brett Jenkins. It would automatically turn off heat-producing appliances for those who have forgotten to do so.

“A bracelet would turn off the devices—hair dryers, electric blankets, portable heaters—if the person moved more than 50 yards away,” Dancy said.

By their calculations, they could sell the item and show a 40 percent return on each sale.

Other elevator pitches focused on web-based news-gathering applications, wedding services, better bicycle tires for Africa, healthier bakeries, Chinese language coaches and services for visiting the elderly with a cup of coffee.

It was the first elevator pitch competition named for the late Bob Mark, the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics professor who started the competition in 2007.

TV6 news coverage and interview with Dean Darrell Radson.

Published in Michigan Tech News
By Dennis Walikainen

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2011 Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition Comes to Michigan Tech

Where can you win $1,000 for just 3 minutes of your time? At the 2011 Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition! Join us on Monday, November 14 in Fisher 139 at 6pm for the fun!

In the competition, contestants have a limited time (like on an elevator ride) to sell a concept to someone who doesn’t have previous knowledge about their business. A three minute time limit is placed on the competitors, who will also be competing for second ($500), third ($250), and audience-favorite ($200) prizes. Please join students, faculty, staff, and community members for this year’s event. You won’t be disappointed!

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, Professor of Practice within the School of Business and Economics and co-director of the Institute for Leadership and Innovation. Mark started and ran the first four years of the Elevator Pitch Competition and brought the Business Plan Competition to Michigan Tech. The Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition and other efforts  support his entrepreneurial spirit that lives on in students, faculty, and staff. Support Bob’s lasting efforts by contributing to this event.

Register Today

Deadline to register is Friday, November 11. Send the names of the presenters and the idea you will be pitching (paragraph or less) to Tanya Maki: tanya@mtu.edu. Any questions about the competition should be directed to Dean Darrell Radson: radson@mtu.edu.

This event is sponsored by the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics, the Entrepreneur Support Center, Michigan Tech Smart Zone, and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA).

Winners from the 2010 Elevator Pitch Competition


1st Place: Jess Tompkins pitches Two Bows, an outdoor clothing company for women.


2nd Place: Alex Cotton and Connor Callihan pitch EZ Lock, a technology improving entrance tactics.


3rd Place: Shawn Peterson and Ibrahim Ndaou pitch Yooper T’s, a tee shirt company.


Audience Favorite: Bobby Cheeseman and Dan Madrid pitch Tasty Tape, a new food product.

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Celebrating the Life of Bob Mark

The Mark family along with the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics are pleased to announce that a celebration of Bob’s life will take place on Monday, June 27, from 5 pm – 8 pm at Schute’s Bar in Calumet (322 6th Street, next to the Calumet Theatre).

“My dad wouldn’t want a somber mourning of his death, he’d want a big party to celebrate his life,” said Bob’s son, Larry Mark.

Come to share your memories of Bob during the celebration. The event is informal, snacks will be provided, and guests should feel comfortable coming and going.

To keep the memory of Bob alive, the Elevator Pitch Competition, that Bob designed and successfully implemented, will now be known as the Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition.  Donations to maintain this competition can be sent to the Michigan Tech Fund, specifying the Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition (account # 3239).

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Business Plan Competition Ramps Way Up: $30,000 for First Place

Judges complete evaluations during the 2011 business plan competition.

“How do I sign up?”

That’s the question Bob Mark, professor of practice in the School of Business and Economics, is going to get asked a lot.

The reason?

His Business Plan Competition, with modest awards, just joined forces with Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition to the tune of $30,000 for first, $10,000 for second, and $5,000 for third place.

Held at Central, at least initially, the competition will pit teams of undergraduate or graduate Tech students against CMU students. They come up with ideas for new companies and how to make them come to fruition.

“And next year, it could be even higher,” Mark said.

The competition will be extended to an all-day affair of each team making three presentations in front of three different panels of judges.

“This makes us part of one of the top competitions in the country,” Mark said. “I can’t recall any this large, other than Rice University’s graduate student-only competition.”

Mark sees more training sessions ahead for the Tech teams to match Central’s semester-long workshops for their competition.

“Now we do three sessions: one on executive summaries, another on identifying your market, and one more on the financial numbers you need in a business plan,� he said.

Additional changes will include putting the training sessions on the web (via a grant), and greater numbers of teams are anticipated to advance to Mt. Pleasant next year.

“We had seventeen teams begin this year’s competition, and only six continued to the end,” Mark said. “The increased monies will make a lot of the teams want to stick it out.”

By comparison, Central, with 28,000 overall enrollment and 2,200 in its business school, had 23 teams competing at their New Venture Competition that was just completed.

Tech could do well.

“They didn’t have a lot of high-tech businesses planned,” Mark said. “Their winner had a smart phone app for shopping, second was replacing rollers for conveyor belts, and another had plans for bamboo plantations.”

Microbreweries were also prevalent in the plans.

“We’ll be able to hold our own,” Mark said. “We will have to focus on our presentation and communication skills.”

A trip across the bridge could begin the trip of a lifetime, if the Tech students do their homework.

Like Jess Tompkins, a junior in management, did this year. She took second this semester in the Tech’s Business Plan Competition.

She used her prize of $500 to register her women’s outdoor apparel business, Two Bows LLC. “I will definitely be working to join next year’s competition,” she said.

Jacob Carlson, a finance major, agrees: “The partnership with Central presents students with a great opportunity to increase awareness of their business ideas, network and bounce ideas off of each other, and receive a large investment that can have a great impact on their business.”

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

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