Innovation Challenge

Jun 18, 2009

Eleven innovation ideas were pitched and $2,000 in cash prizes handed out during the 2009 Innovation Challenge, which you can check out on Kettering's channel on YouTube.

Want a battery that delivers 24 hours of laptop computer usage? That’s what Tyler Farrar and Mike Elenbaas, students at Kettering University and founders of PC Power, pitched to win Phase 1 of the Innovation Challenge.

Kettering Provost Michael Harris awarded the three top student pitches with cash awards Tuesday, June 16, in the Great Court of the University’sCampusCenter. “These students exemplify what Ketteringstudents are all about: innovation, initiative and performance,” said Dr. Harris.

PC Power won the top prize of $1,000 for its concept for a rechargeable battery attachment that will supply up to 24 hours of power to a standard laptop computer.  “It’s targeted toward field applications where the computer must be used for the day without being connected to the grid,” said Farrar, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student from Cambridge, Ohio.

Two runner-up innovation pitches won $500 apiece. Kelly Okapal and Bradley Howard, pitched an automated toilet sensor that provides the exact amount of water needed for “The Perfect Flush;” and Marc Alexander, from Pontiac, pitched his not-for-profit youth coaching program – “Youth of Tomorrow.” 

Other Kettering students competing in the Innovation Challenge included:

  • KeySatt – Jon Hockenberger;
  • Automated Window Control Module -RaviSharma;
  • Mobile Emergency Alert Device (MEAD) - Harold Dost;
  • Green Disposal - Chandramouli Venkates;
  • Flash Photos – Allen Jones;
  • Instant Transmission - Robert Sunshine, Matthew Johnson, Greg Tamanin;
  • - Matt Gaidica;
  • Mobile Phone VoIP - Cory Ferriby.

The Innovation Challenge has two phases: the Innovation Phase and the Commercialization Phase – with each phase taking place in separate teaching terms. In the upcoming Commercialization Phase, students will provide more details regarding how to build their idea into a commercial opportunity and in addition to a video pitch; they will also submit a five-page executive summary that covers marketing and financial projections.

“Our Innovation Challenge continues to gain momentum,” said Art DeMonte, professor of Entrepreneurship atKetteringUniversity. “The quality of the ideas, the volume of student entrepreneurs, and the participation level of the student body voting for the winners is extremely encouraging.

“Our Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum effort, entrepreneurship courses, robust activity of the Kettering Entrepreneurship Society and the success of our TechWorks Business Accelerator provides students with many opportunities to think creatively and act,” he said. 

All video pitches can be viewed at the Ketteringchannel on via

For more information, contact Art DeMonte at or SunnyPark at

Written by Art DeMonte, McDonald Professor of Entrepreneurship