Sixteen USI students worked full time developing ideas and business strategies around commercialization of several military patents from Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane). This year’s third annual Technology Commercialization Academy (TCA) included students in several different academic disciplines across USI. The TCA is a partnership between USI, Crane, and Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE).
This year’s TCA program was divided into three phases. Participants were divided into four teams of four students. Dr. Andrew Moad, USI-Crane partnership manager, Dr. Jason Salstrom, Commercialization Researcher, and Mr. Gene Recker, manager of education and entrepreneurship, kicked off the TCA, guiding students to dig deep into the Crane patents and technologies to gain greater understanding of capabilities and opportunities.
Romain College of Business faculty members Dr. Kevin Celuch, Blair Chair of Business Science and Professor of Marketing, and Mr. Bryan Bourdeau, Instructor in Business, led students through a unique ideation process and business models creation. Developing product pitches was also an important component.
Front Row L-R: Austin Craig, Garrett Wardell, Megan Granderson, Ryan McGuire, Matthew Koewler
Second Row: Kristina Mobley, Brittany Small, Suzanne Pierce, Jordan Whitledge, Aaron Taflinger, Randa Doleh
Third Row: Alexander Flick, Kevin Howard, Tyler Fitzsimmons, Leah Woodbury, Nathan Hawes
Fourth Row: Dr. Jason Salstrom, Dr. Kevin Celuch, Mr. Bryan Bourdeau
In the third segment, Debbie Dewey, president of GAGE, challenged students with prototyping a commercial application and financial projections.
The TCA concluded with final product pitches at NSWC Crane on July 1, Tech on Tap, a local entrepreneur group, on July 2, and USI on July 3. The USI presentations were held in the atrium of the Business and Engineering Center. The event was attended by administrators, including Dr. Linda L.M. Bennett, faculty, students, community leaders, investors, and local news media.
Product pitches included:
Two students started their own business and have filed a provisional patent on their product idea.
Randa Doleh, an MBA student, described her experience with the TCA as “a very unique experiential process that has equipped me with a widely applicable set of skills through exposure to Crane patents, the ideation process, and the entrepreneurship mindset. The interdisciplinary work environment allowed for the very diverse opinions and areas of expertise shared throughout this program to form a lifelong valuable learning experience.”
Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE) in collaboration with USI came up with the TCA idea in their Tech Transfer Committee. The academy was made possible through a Lilly Endowment Sustaining Grant secured by Dr. Mark Bernhard, associate provost of Outreach and Engagement, and Dr. Scott Gordon, dean of the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.