FCB Students Compete in Collegiate Wind Competition Concept Pitch

Posted: Tuesday, September 26th 2017 at 11:05 AM

On September 21, 2017, four teams of FCB management students in Dr. Denise Parris’ two entrepreneurship courses (MGT 435 New Venture Creation and Business Planning) came well prepared for the Wind Pitch Competition where each team presented their research-supported business model for a marketable wind turbine in preparation to represent NAU in the Collegiate Wind Competition in 2018.

The groups delivered their final market research and business plans for a wind turbine that will be designed in collaboration with the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS). Karin Wadsack, project director and David Willy, mechanical engineering lecturer from the College of Engineering worked collaboratively with Parris to design the Wind Pitch Contest as part of MGT 435. The goal of the competition is to provide students in different disciplines hands-on, real-world experience in the wind energy workforce.

The students had only four weeks to ideate, test, and refine business models for the contest. The finalists had been selected earlier in the week during an in-class pitch contest, and were given some direction to polish their pitches before the competition. The students competing were:

Team 1- Strategic & Efficient Energy Solutions (SEES)- Rashid Jones, Jordan Parker, Vanessa Beall, and Herminia Garcia

Team 2- Jet Blast- Kari Cesaro, Eric Baskovich, Evelyn Vizcarra and Fawaz Kandari

Team 3- Airborne Wind Turbine Worldwide- Diana Carlson, Shawn Malkou, Levi Butler, and Jordan Castro

Team 4- Renewable Storage Solutions- Ryan Boser, Mitch Vaughan, Adam Muller, and Nathan Garcia

The competition started with a keynote presentation from Kiersten Parsons Hathcock, an entrepreneur and winner on ABC’s Shark Tank. She gave an energetic talk about perseverance and the importance of authenticity. She spoke about her decision to keep her story authentic instead of following the producers’ suggestions on Shark Tank. She showed the clip from her episode that aired in April 2011, where her story ultimately won her an investment. Unfortunately, the deal fell through, but Hathcock didn’t let that stop her from moving forward.

Her story of hardships-turned-new-opportunities inspired students to push through their challenges and come out ahead. “It’s hard, but you have to keep going,” shared Hathcock.  

Following Hathcock’s talk, the competition began. Students were given five minutes to present their business plan, and four minutes to answer questions from the judges. Each team had a different take and idea on a wind turbine and how their design was best implemented for their market.

No team presented a similar pitch. From use on military bases to hospitals in Senegal, the variety and expertise from the FCB students made the judges’ jobs that much harder.

The prestigious panel of judges were:

-Ken Kotalik, director of North American Sales, Primus Wind Power

-Scott Hathcock, president/CEO of NACET

-Ross Taylor, marketing director of Love You Foods and past Technical Service & Installation manager at Xzeres Wind Corporation

-David Soto, principle of Creative Solutions

-John Jacquay, retired telecom/Internet industry

When asked what stood out to them overall, the judges unanimously spoke about the level of professionalism the students showed. One judge, Jacquay, raved about the passion he saw from the students. “They were passionate! They were articulate, they had good posture, they had good eye contact,” said Jacquay. “They had everything necessary to give a good presentation.”

NAU is one of only 12 schools that have the honor of taking part in the competition that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The business students will spend the next several months working with the engineering students on the team, collaborating to design a turbine that will succeed in the specified wind market. They will present their wind turbine business plan and design, and participate in another pitch contest, as elements of the national competition in Chicago in May 2018.

The wining team of the concept pitch contest was Airborne Wind Turbine Worldwide. Business students in MGT 435 can apply to move on to the national Collegiate Wind Competition.

Read about last year’s competition team HERE.

Categories: collegiate wind competition department of energy students 2017 fall 2017 2018 kiersten parsons hathcock rashid jones jordan parker vanessa beall herminia garcia kari cesaro diana carlson shawn malkou levi butler jordan castro ryan boser mitch vaughan adam muller nathan garcia cefns denise parris