Winners Announced: 2023 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Child Protection, Fashion and Safe Water Technologies Win Big at the Bob Mark Pitch Competition – Pictured: Winners Asia Motte, Bayle Golden, and Jordan Craven

It was a night of fierce and calculated competition as MTU students across disciplines pitched innovative business ideas and solutions to help shape the world.

This Husky Innovate event is a tribute to the late Professor of Practice, Bob Mark, within the College of Business, and a recognition of students’ entrepreneurial spirit. In its 16th year, the event, which took place on Thursday, January 19, at the MUB Ballroom, is also a highlight of Michigan Tech’s 2023 Innovation Week activities.

In all, eleven students pitched their ideas to judges, comprised of professors and renowned business professionals, and a lively audience. After an extremely interesting presentation session, Bayle Golden with her idea titled SafeROW, emerged as the winner. Taking a cash prize of $2,000 home, Ms. Golden’s start-up will help curtail the issue of child abduction in the country. This idea also won the Social Impact Award ($1000) which is sponsored by Dr. Elham Asgari, from the College of Business.

With a new innovation in finding the right fit when shopping for clothing online, Jordan Craven received the second prize with Tall and Small Designs. She received a cash prize of  $1,000 and another $250 in addition to being voted the Audience Favorite.  It did not end there for Ms. Craven as she also won the Breakout Innovation Award which is sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. That also came with a $1000 cash prize.

The third prize worth $500 was taken by Asia Motta with the Droplet. Miss Motta’s idea previously won the overall at the Idea Pitch competition in the Fall of last year. For millennial plant parents, Asia’s idea is going to help save your plants from dying.

Safe water is an essential part of everyday living and public health. However, for people who manage their water at home, we are always not sure whether it has been contaminated in the wells or not. Here’s where Rehab (Ruby) Alhajjar’s Water Solution idea comes in. Winning the Honorable Mention ($250) category, Ms. Ruby’s innovation will help us detect any contamination in time.

Other ideas in health, education, and sustainable power generation also competed at the event.  With Michigan Tech’s commitment to preparing students for the future, the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition has become an exceptional avenue to expose students to the business, entrepreneur, and academic community.

Congrats to all the contestants who took a big step forward with their entrepreneurship goals when they pitched their business models.  Special congratulations to our award winners:

Business Model Category

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. Student pitches were judged by how well the solution addressed the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation.

  • 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 Category

Sponsored and presented by Gates Professor Dr. Elham Asgari, College of Business. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it.

  • Bayle Golden with SafeROW ($1,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC SmartZone, and sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.

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

Emcee Rourke Sylvain, First Place Winner Bayle Golden, and Host Jim Baker
Jordan Craven shows off their awards – Second Prize, Breakout Innovation, and Audience Favorite

Husky Innovate extends a special thanks to those who provided their time and resources to make the competition a success.

Our Sponsors

  • 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 MEDC

Our Judges

  • 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 J. 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

Our Host

  • Jim Baker, associate vice president for research administration; executive council advisor, Husky Innovate, Office of Innovation and Commercialization

Our Emcee

  • Rourke Sylvain, MS student, Biomedical Engineering, New Venture Challenge pitch winner ‘22, President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and Founder and CEO at Integrated Molecular Innovations

Our Marketing and Support Team

  • Jessie Stapleton, marketing and communications specialist, Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
  • Eugene Agyei, Ph.D. student, College of Sciences and Arts; Husky Innovate intern
  • April DePaulis, Pavlis Honors College administrator

Our Production Team

  • Sound and Lighting Service’s Elijah Nation and the SLS team
  • Dining and Catering Services for their support. 

Thanks to all who attended! We look forward to next year’s event!

If you are interested in additional opportunities, check out our Husky Innovate Events Page.  Please feel free to reach out to huskyinnovate@mtu.edu for more information.

Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate

Congratulations, graduates!

The Pavlis Honors College would like to celebrate the accomplishments of graduating seniors, who chose to take advantage of all that Michigan Tech has to offer and challenge themselves inside and outside the classroom.  These students reflect our core values by being authentic, building relationships with each other, and being open to learning through new experiences. All of their hard work and commitment to the ideals of the Pavlis Honors College and Michigan Technological University has paid off!


Christian Johnson

Major: Human Biology and English
Minor: Pre-Health Professions

Christian graduated with a dual major in Human Biology and English and a minor in Pre-Health Professions. He was the 2022 Pavlis Honors College Departmental Scholar and the recipient of the 2022 Provost’s Award for Scholarship. When asked to share a memorable experience from his time in the Pavlis Honors College, Christian shared, “Finding Dial Help through the honor’s project component and being an active volunteer since 2020.”


Jailynn Johnson

Major: Chemistry
Minor: Mathematics

Jailynn graduated with a Chemistry major and a Mathematics minor. During her time at Michigan Tech, she made her mark by holding the position of president of the Black Student Association, helping to host the Black History Month exhibit at the library, and receiving the Percy Julian Award for outstanding leadership in 2021, among many other things! When discussing her time in the Pavlis Honors College, Jailynn stated, “One of my fondest memories has been serving on the Undergraduate Student Advisory Board.”


Audrey Levanen

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Medical Devices & Instrumentation

Audrey graduated with a Mechanical Enginerring degree and a minor in Medical Devices and Instrumentation. Her determination to make the most of her time at Michigan Tech definitely showed as she participated in many opportunitites including being a Success Coach and completing a successful internship at Thermo Analytics. While reflecting on her time in the Pavlis Honors College, Audrey shared that she “loved getting to know all the PHC people, especially during the seminars!”


Luke Reich

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Structural Materials

Luke graduated with a Mechanical Engineering major and a minor in Structural Materials. Luke was determined to complete his Honors Program components and shared, “One of my favorite parts about being a part of the Honors College was being a Learning Facilitator. Not only was I able to use the teaching and communications skills I learned working in the Math Learning Center for three years, I really appreciated being able to participate in some of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into running the different honors seminars. I was able to take the different courses again as I led my students through them. Whether it was through reviewing the material or hearing my students’ perspectives I always learned something new every time I participated in one of the seminars. Being a Learning Facilitator taught me that there is always more to learn. Even if you’ve gone through something before, there can be a lot to learn if you view things from different perspectives.


Ry Swaty

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Aerospace Engineering and Business

Ry graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and a dual minor in Aerospace Engineering and Business. During his time in the Pavlis Honors College, the faculty remarked that Ry consistently holds himself to high standards, and his thoughtfulness and consideration were considered contagious. Throughout his time in Pavlis, Ry made a point to challenge himself in many different ways–for instance, to physically explore his space and talk to people. Reflecting on his time, Ry stated that he is very thankful for the PHC faculty, stating, “A big thank you to the Pavlis faculty – you have truly facilitated a monumental positive shift in my view of the world and myself.”


Pavlis Honors students at the Medallion Ceremony Fall 2022

“You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”

Tom Brokaw

Huskies win at the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge

Michigan Tech students participating in the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge pose for a photo
From left to right: Rourke Sylvain, Jordan Crave, Zane Smalley, and Asia Motta

On November 11, 2022, four huskies representing three teams pitched their business ideas at Michigan State University (MSU) during the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge (MCSC). MCSC is Michigan’s university-level business model competition specifically designed for student entrepreneurs across Michigan. MCSC fosters entrepreneurship by encouraging students to commercialize their ideas. The event provides a forum where students develop skills by pitching their ideas and building entrepreneurial ventures.

MCSC is hosted by MSU and sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The pitch competition is a collaboration between Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, Mid-Michigan College, Northern Michigan University, and Wayne State University.

The 20 semifinalist teams participating in Friday’s event included the following Michigan Tech teams:

  • Jordan Craven, Tall and Small Designs
  • Anastasia Motta and Zane Smalley, The Droplet
  • Rourke Sylvain, Integrated Molecular Innovations

During the event, twenty college student teams representing nine schools from across Michigan participated in the Elevator Pitch Challenge & Showcase. During this two (2) hour timeframe, investors, community members, students, mentors, and a panel of judges networked with this year’s competing student teams. The judges then selected ten (10) student teams to move forward to the Grand Startup Challenge. The Grand Startup Challenge consisted of having the ten (10) finalist teams pitch their idea in five (5) minutes to a live audience and this year’s judging panel.

Congratulations go out to each of our huskies. And a special shout-out goes to Jordan Craven and Rourke Sylvain! Craven took first place, winning $5,000, and Sylvain took fourth place, winning $1,000. In addition, Asia Motta, first-place winner of the Husky Innovate Idea Pitch, and Zane Smalley represented Michigan Tech well during their pitch. We are excited for the future and look forward to the next steps on their innovation journey!

Student winners of the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge pose on stage with large checks
Winners of the Michigan Collegiate Startup Challenge featuring Michigan Tech participants Rourke Sylvain (Fourth Place, far left) and Jordan Craven (First Place, center)

Idea Pitch 2022: MTU Students Poised to Shape the World with Innovative Solutions


One hundred and twenty seconds. This is the amount of time students had to present their entrepreneurial ideas to judges at this year’s Ideas Pitch Competition. 

The event took place at 5 pm on Tuesday, October 4, at the Great Lakes Research Center.

Organized by Husky Innovate every fall semester as one of several activities to build the capacity of students to launch real-world startups.  This year’s event saw eight contestants whose ideas ranged from building college-friendly cabinets that do not require tools to assemble, to setting up food trucks for diverse communities in the Houghton area. 

After very interesting presentations, the first-place award with a $200 cash prize went to  Anastasia Motta whose idea, “The Droplet”, is going to help you save your house plants from dying. 

Husky Innovate Idea Pitch Competition certification presentation
Asia Motta (right) receiving the first place certificate and award from Jon Leinonen.

Cassandra Nash with a new idea of making college-friendly cabinets won the second-place award. She received a $100 cash prize. The third-place award with a $50 prize was taken by Alex Bos. Alex’s pitch is attempting to revolutionalize how college students can enjoy a couch even in limited spaces. 

In addition to judges, the audience was comprised of students, faculty members, and university staff.  The audience was given the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitch.  Noel Kamdem-Tegue, whose company, Black Earth Rising, pitched their food truck idea to serve African and Indian food with the idea that diverse communities can enjoy their home favorites.  Black Earth Rising was judged as the audience’s favorite. 

Other award categories included an honorable mention and a social impact award received by Ruby Alhajjar and Cethan Magnan respectively.

The event was supported by Pavlis Honors College.  Awards were sponsored by Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business, and Elham Asgari, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at the College of Business.

The judges for the night were Elham Asgari (COB); Erich Petushek (CLS), Mark Rudnicki (COFRES), Briana Tucker (Enterprise), Jason Mack, (MTEC SmartZone); and Rourke Sylvain (Biomed). The event was emceed by Bayle Golden, (COB).

The Idea Pitch Competition is the first of three pitch events that Husky Innovate hosts each year. The next pitch event is the Bob Mark Business Model Competition on January 19th, a legacy event that celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark. Contestants pitch the key components of their business models, including value proposition, customer segment, and product market fit. 

First Place: Anastasia Motta with The Droplet ($200)
Second Place: Cassandra Nash with College Friendly Cabinets ($100)
Third Place: Alex Bos with The SELF Couch ($50)
Honorable Mention: Ruby Alhajjar with Monitoring System for Microbial Influence ($25)
Audience Favorite: Noel Kamdem-Tegue with Black Earth Rising, a food truck ($25)
Social Impact Award: Cethan Magnan with School Swap ($100)

Written by: Eugene Brown Agyei for Husky Innovate

Keynote Speaker Announced – Dr. Kurt Paterson

The Pavlis Honors College is excited to announce the keynote speaker for this year’s Global and Community Engagement Conference is Dr. Kurt Paterson. Paterson is responsible for organizing the first D80 conference at Michigan Tech back in 2007 while he was an Adjunct Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Headshot of Dr. Kurt Paterson in black and white.
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Kurt Paterson

Kurt Paterson is a first-generation college graduate who grew up in a fairly humble Iowa neighborhood but managed to wander into a life of global engagement. Currently, he is a professor of engineering at James Madison University, where he was Head of Engineering for seven years. He is also serving the U.S. Department of State as Senior Sustainability Advisor and was recently named a Jefferson Science Fellow of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In these capacities, he has championed the development of climate-sensitive operations to parallel the Department’s international climate diplomacy.

Prior to these efforts, Kurt was on Michigan Tech’s environmental engineering faculty and partnered with countless faculty, staff, students, and communities on global engagement programs and projects in more than 40 countries. Inspired by these successes at Tech, Kurt helped launch a nationwide community of practice through the American Society of Engineering Education, the Community Engagement Division.

In January 2023, to take engagement to a new scale, Kurt will become Director of The Polytechnic School at Arizona State University’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. Kurt currently lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, two daughters, and Covid rescue puppy, the latter of which also started life in humble circumstances and is good at wandering.

The keynote presentation will be a featured program during the 2022 Global and Community Engagement Conference (formally known as D80 Conference). The Michigan Tech campus hosts this annual conference every fall to give a platform to the voices of those serving communities both domestically and abroad.

This year’s theme is “Re-energizing Our Communities Through Service” and the conference will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2022, from 9:00am – 3:00pm in the Memorial Union Ballroom – lunch will be provided. The conference is open to anyone interested in the development, design, and discovery of people and communities! Please register to attend by filling out this form.

In addition, faculty, staff, students, and local organizations are invited to participate in this event as presenters. We want to hear more about the work that you are doing! This is a great opportunity to share your recent studies, projects, or research with the community. Please consider submitting a 30-minute presentation proposal.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Darnishia Morris.

Husky Innovate Announces Fall 2022 Schedule of Events

Husky Innovate, a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business, has a goal to provide the tools and knowledge to cultivate Michigan Tech’s innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial spirit across all disciplines offered on campus. To accomplish that goal, Husky Innovate provides valuable innovation and entrepreneurial education programs to students, staff, and faculty at Michigan Tech and this fall’s schedule is no exception!

This semester we have an outstanding lineup of workshops and speakers – check out the schedule of events for fall 2022 below. For more information on our Husky Innovate events, please visit:  http://www.mtu.edu/husky-innovate

Husky Innovate Fall 2022 Calendar of Events
Husky Innovate Fall 2022 Calendar of Events

Looking for ways to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list and get information sent directly to your inbox about upcoming innovation workshops, speakers, or other ways to excel your career. 

Enterprise Spotlight: CinOptic Communication and Media Enterprise

CinOptic Communication and Media is a student team in the Enterprise program that focuses on creating photography, video, and sound in communicative media products for clients. They specialize in filming, editing, lighting, acting, and other aspects of media production. The team uses technology to “tell your story,” as advertised on their website. They focus on clarity and creativity in their projects, while also allowing student members to grow in their skills. Located in the Humanities Digital Media Zone in Walker, CinOptic has access to computing equipment, photography devices, editing software, etc. for their work. Within the past year, the team has grown to nine members, including three team leaders and a faculty advisor, Dr. Erin Smith. Additional information on the team can be found at https://cinoptic.hu.mtu.edu/.

Enterprise Team (as of March 2022)
Team Leader Riley Mehki

Team Leader Matthew Brisson opened up on his experience with the enterprise: “CinOptic has been the most important part of my collegiate experience so far. Without the exposure to hands-on equipment usage and real-world clientele, I would not feel comfortable on my current path. Michigan Tech doesn’t have a lot of options for Humanities students, but CinOptic has been the perfect organization for honing the skills I hope to use after graduation.” 

Julianna Humbecke, Team Leader for the biology educational series, describes CinOptic’s project selection process: “Dr. Smith looks over a project proposal, then presents it to the team for us to make the final decision”. She noted the freedom the team has in terms of who they work with.

One of Humbecke’s current projects is creating a series of educational and promotional videos for Biologist Dr. Erika I. Hersch-Green. She explained, “We accompany her in her greenhouse, lab, or mini-internships to record the processes that are undergone and the research she gathers. We then host interviews with her so she can further explain the procedure and we can edit an accurate description to accompany the visuals.” Julianna mentioned that the project is funded by the National Science Foundation to promote Dr. Hersch-Green’s research. It’s meant to follow her progress in research, as well as garner interest in biology and research from high-school students. 

Team Leader Julianna Humecke

Last semester, Humbecke traveled abroad to Germany. Fortunately, another team member could step in to finish up filming and capturing material until she returned. Humbecke described how the organization looks after its members, having members cover one another to help keep projects going.  During their bi-weekly meetings, teammates communicate objectives and project progress. 

Team Leader Riley Mehki followed up on Humbecke, stating, “My favorite thing about CinOptic is that everyone has a specific role and knows exactly what to do at the end of each meeting”. One of his major projects in the past few years was working with Isle Royale National Park to produce a video guide for visitors. The project included voiceovers recorded by a park ranger, with footage shot from the island. For Mehki, projects like these are “… a great way to learn to work with equipment and real-world clients in a low-stress environment”

Team Leader Matthew Brisson
From left to right: Brisson, Humbecke, and Mehki working on their projects in the HDMZ

If you’re interested in learning more about Enterprise at Michigan Tech, you can visit https://www.mtu.edu/enterprise/

Enterprise Spotlight: Humane Interface Design Enterprise

Humane Interface Design Enterprise Team

Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) focuses on software development and usability research. HIDE provides students a collaborative environment where they can gain real-world work experience and get a headstart in their careers. For students, joining Enterprise is more than just taking a class, it’s an all-encompassing opportunity to prepare for their future career, and find the industry they want to one day work in. Students elect to discover opportunities through many different projects that can be industry-sponsored. HIDE is dedicated to doing just that. In this guest blog, current HIDE team members share about their enterprise experiences, team projects, and how students and sponsors can get involved.

Charles Vidro, President, HIDE

“I joined HIDE because I wanted to get practical, real-world software development experience. As president, I like to know what type of work people are interested in. Instead of asking what they’re good at, I ask what they want to work on because our projects prepare students for their future careers,” said Vidro. “While students can work on substantial projects within their courses, such as the Team Software Project course, HIDE offers opportunities to work on a project for several semesters with students who are from different majors and have various skill sets and experiences.”

Vidro continues by sharing HIDE project processes and highlights successful projects, “Within HIDE, there is a culture of helping others out and making a difference. Our projects are used by people, so when we develop a web app, we keep the user in mind throughout the entire process. We accomplish this by creating a simple but powerful user interface that meets the users’ needs. Whether it’s helping a user through the crisis of not having access to food, such as in our Health Resource Hub team, or making people’s jobs easier and safer, such as in the Chem Store project,” said Vidro.

Interested in getting involved in Enterprise as a corporate partner? Contact Chris Morgan to learn about partnership benefits and opportunities.

HIDE Students Working on Team Project

“HIDE has worked on several exciting projects. Early projects were the touch screen display studies and developed a HVAC controls mobile app. HIDE has also developed a citizen science app, CoCoTemp, for a scientist in Arizona. A web app for voting on music preferences during Winter Carnival was very popular. Recently, I think that the HuskyHunt website replacing the old Bark Board website will be very popular. I am optimistic that the app Little Brothers supporting drivers transporting community elders will be very successful and helpful. HIDE gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of clients to design and implement enterprise applications.”

Robert Pastel, HIDE Faculty Advisor

HIDE Members Share Their Stories

Abby Myers

“The project I’m currently working on, Health Resource Hub, will make a difference in the UP. It will allow UP residents to locate any resources they may need – food, legal, education, health, etc. This project, co-sponsored by Superior Health Foundation and the Western UP Health Department, is aimed at improving web access to all health related support and services in our local community.”

Abby Myer, Vice President

Jason Hoffman

“CCLC queue is a project that had the most impact on my school life as a computer science student, as it changed the way students can ask questions in the learning centers on campus. It anonymizes questions and makes the coaches more accessible, which makes it easier and less stressful to ask questions when I need help.”

Jason Hoffman, Chemstore Team Lead

Joe Wood

“HuskyHunt is a project developed by HIDE that offers students a platform to create listings for products that they would like to sell to other MTU students. It also offers ridesharing planning to help students in getting home and back during school breaks.”

Joe Wood, GVSC Team Lead

Tyler Zetty

“A project from HIDE that I think is really good is the Little Brothers project. I think it has a good purpose and if it works it will really make their mission easier to achieve.”

Tyler Zetty, CCLC Queue Team Lead

Winners Announced: 2022 Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition

Social Impact Award Winner – Bayle Golden with STEMPOWER

Congratulations and thank you to Husky Innovate’s Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition contestants and winners! On January 27th, 16 Michigan Tech students, representing diverse majors, participated in the competition either virtually over Zoom or in-person, and pitched their business models to a panel of judges and to a live audience. Each contestant was provided 4 minutes to pitch key components of their business models, including the value proposition and customer segment.

A highlight of Michigan Tech’s Innovation Week, this legacy event celebrates entrepreneurship and is a tribute to the late College of Business Professor of Practice Bob Mark. There were three categories of prizes: business model, social impact, and breakout innovation. The business model category looked at how well the solution addresses the customers’ needs, the path to revenue, and the overall presentation. The social impact category examined the significance of the social problem and how well the solution addressed it. The breakout innovation award considered the solution’s novelty, ease of implementation, and time to implementation.  

Congrats to all the contestants who took a big step forward with their entrepreneurship goals when they pitched their business models. Special congratulations to our award winners:

Business Model Category 

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

  • First prize – Akhil Kurup with Sense ($2,000)
  • Second prize – Maggie Zimmermann  with Famealia ($1,000)
  • Third prize – Jakob Christiansen with ProBoard ($500)
  • Honorable Mention – Nick Peterson with NOMAD ($250) 
  • Audience Favorite – Maggie Zimmermann with Famealia ($250) 

Social Impact Award Category

Sponsored and presented by Dr. Elham Asgari, Gates Professor College of Business, with a $1,000 matching contribution from Arick Davis and Jake Northey of Creative Mines.

  • Bayle Golden with STEMPOWER ($2,000)

Breakout Innovation Award

Presented by Patrick Visser, Chief Commercial Officer, MTEC SmartZone, sponsored by the MTEC SmartZone and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

  • Akhil Kurup with Sense ($1,000)

Husky Innovate extends a special thanks to those who provided their time and resources to make the competition a success.

Our Sponsors

  • Dean Johnson, Dean, College of Business
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Rick and Jo Berquist
  • Dan and Jane Green
  • Arick Davis and Jake Northey, Creative Mines
  • MTEC SmartZone and the MEDC

Our Judges 

  • Jim Baker, Associate VP Research Administration, Co-Director Husky Innovate 
  • Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, Assistant Professor Engineering Fundamentals
  • Eric Roberts, Executive Director 20Fathoms 
  • David Shull, Senior Director Skills Partnerships, Handshake
  • Elham Asgari, Gates Professor, College of Business
  • Dan Green, Entrepreneur, and Principal at BlackFin Group, MTU Alumnus
  • Arick Davis, Entrepreneur, Co-founder Last Mile Cafe, Creative Mines, MTU Alumnus 
Competition Judges

Our Emcee

Gary Tropp, Computer Network and System Administration, Pavlis Honors College Student, University Innovation Fellow, and Husky Innovate Pitch winner ‘18, ‘19.

Our Marketing Team

Vienna Leonarduzzi, Marketing and Communications Director, Pavlis Honors College, and Laura Vidal Chiesa, Michigan Tech Ph.D. Student, College of Sciences and Arts and Husky Innovate Intern.  

Our Production Team

Special thanks to Stefan Hurthibise and the Michigan Tech IT team, Sound and Lighting Services’ James Langsford, Elijah Nation, Luke Schloemp, and the rest of the team, and Photo Services provided by Alok Shelar of University Marketing and Communications, and Dining and Catering Services for their support. 

A special thank you to the Office of Advancement and Alumni Engagement for inviting all Bob Mark pitch contestants to watch the January 29th Michigan Tech Hockey game from the Presidential Skybox.

Thanks to all who attended! We look forward to next year’s event!

SURF Applications Now Open

Applications for the 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs) are now open. Fellowship recipients will spend the summer on an individual research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor. SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer term. Awards are up to $4,000.

How to apply

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 11, 2022. For more information on the SURF application process, watch the workshop video included on this page. To access application materials and instructions, visit the SURF webpage. If you have any questions, contact Rob Handler at rhandler@mtu.edu