TU teams sweep high growth divisions in Oklahoma Governor's Cup again - The University of Tulsa

TU teams sweep high growth divisions in Oklahoma Governor’s Cup again

Friday, April 11, 2014

TU teams sweep high growth divisions in Oklahoma Governor’s Cup again

University of Tulsa teams took top honors in both the undergraduate and graduate high growth divisions of the 2014 Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup collegiate business plan competition for the second consecutive year. Winners were announced during a gala Thursday, April 10, at the Bricktown Events Center in Oklahoma City.

The Governor’s Cup simulates the process of creating a business plan and pitching the idea to potential investors. Nearly 50 university and college teams competed in this year’s statewide event.

TU teams Owlpal Healthcare and Valoshade placed first and second, respectively, in the High Growth Undergraduate Division. TU team AeroHead placed first in the High Growth Graduate Division.

Twenty-two teams advanced to the oral presentation finals on April 4 and 5 in Oklahoma City after submitting business plans for the first round of competition. The teams had 20 minutes to present their business concepts to a panel of local investors, after which they spent 15 minutes answering questions.

All three TU teams will move on to the Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Award competition May 22-23 in Las Vegas, where they will face the top two teams in the undergraduate and graduate divisions from Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma.

AeroHead team leader Philip McCoy and team members Se Yeon Kim, Bryan Kinzer, Kristina Merkle, Gann Swan and Yang Zhao developed a special cartridge for an innovative golf putter that produces overspin on the ball, increasing accuracy for recreational golfers. The team, which was advised by Steven Tipton, TU’s Frank W. Murphy Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, was awarded $20,000 for its first place win.

Owlpal Healthcare’s team leader Jordy Albert and team member MacKenzie Ward designed a proactive mobile health solution for diagnosing and monitoring asthma in children at night. The mobile application uses the internal acoustic capabilities and internal computing power of iOS or Android devices to monitor wheezing and coughing rates for children as they sleep. Owlpal’s faculty adviser is Claire Cornell, assistant director of entrepreneurship at TU. Owlpal was also awarded $20,000.

The Valoshade team, led by John Lestina and including members Eric Kuxhausen, Alexander Lach and Kimberly Poff, developed a self-adhesive electronic film that is applied to windows. The technology uses a smartphone app that allows users to control the amount of natural light allowed through a window. The team was awarded $10,000. John Hale, Tandy Endowed Chair in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in TU’s Tandy School of Computer Science, served as faculty adviser.

“I commend our teams for developing business opportunities the judges recognized as having significant potential for high job and revenue growth,” said Steadman Upham, president of The University of Tulsa. “Under the guidance of exceptional faculty, these students have gained entrepreneurial skills that will set them apart as future business leaders.”

Also recognized during the program were winners in additional categories. AeroHead won the interview competition in the Oklahoma Business Roundtable manufacturing, material sciences and transportation category. TU undergraduate and Owlpal team member MacKenzie Ward was one of three recipients of a $5,000 Oklahoma Business Roundtable Paulsen Award scholarship. In the pitch competition, AeroHead team leader Philip McCoy won a cash award of $1,000 in the graduate division for his 90-second business pitch.

The Governor’s Cup is managed by technology company i2E Inc. and is underwritten by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and more than two dozen sponsors.

Amber Remke