mechanical engineering technology (MET) major Michael Long may have
started something with his start-stop engine that took first place in
the Innovation Challenge during Innovation Week, March 10–14.
Long took home the $500 grand prize for his presentation on a
start-stop engine that would lower emissions. He spent two years on his
idea for the engine. “At times the only thing on my mind was the
project,” he said.
Long’s next step is to build a prototype, working alongside MET Professor Mingli He.
According to He, Long is a bright kid with a great idea, it is
patentable, and quite feasible to accomplish. However, without
Innovation Week, he wouldn’t have been able to convert his dream to
“(Innovation Week) was well put together and was a needed forum for students like myself,” Long said.
goes to show that there are great minds at Metro State,” said Mick
Jackowski, interim director of the Center for Innovation, which
sponsored Innovation Week. “You can be young and still have great
In Jackowski’s opinion, the first-ever Innovation Week turned out to
be a big success. “We were pleased that Metro students were excited
about the week as much as they were,” he said.
Throughout the month of January, the Center for Innovation took
applications from students to participate in the Innovation Challenge.
The winners were announced Tuesday, March 11.
Second place, with a $250 prize, was awarded to Bryan Randall, a
sophomore in the individualized degree program, for his development of
SNAPr, a program that would make online searches more personalized.
Third place went to junior computer information systems major Richard
Arbour and sophomore Damon Fleming, who has a double major in MET and
civil engineering technology.
On Thursday, the Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour arrived on campus and
the alumnus and student Oppenheimer Funds Entrepreneur of the Year
Awards were announced.
Robert Lanphier (’95) owns Buff Brothers Sports Bar chains and
junior Jason Elkins owns Team Direct Sports and Corporate Outfitters.
Both received $500.
Elkins demonstrated to the judges that his business is run
successfully, with nine full-and part-time employees. He also
contributes to the community through his involvement with teaching
local school kids about business, donating sports uniforms to kids and
working with Metro Volunteers.
Elkins said that the weeklong event held many networking possibilities, and could be a great incubator for small business.
“(Innovation Week) is a great opportunity for anybody who wants to
be an entrepreneur,” said Elkins, who’s owned his business since 2001.
Jackowski agrees. “It’s terrific to see people who go to school and
accomplish great things, but to see people who own their own business
and still have time to go to school is great.”
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