University of Southern Indiana

Ideation Contest: Evansville-based sporting goods maker challenges USI students to invent game

Ideation Contest: Evansville-based sporting goods maker challenges USI students to invent game

8/17/2010 | University Communications
Robert J. Keller, president and chief executive officer of Evansville-based Escalade, Inc., will introduce the 2010 Ideation Contest for University of Southern Indiana students in his executive-in-residence presentations September 15 for the College of Business.

Keller will present open forums at 10 a.m. and noon in Carter Hall of the University Center.

The Escalade Ideation Contest will challenge students to develop a new game that Escalade Sports can produce and market. The basic requirement is to create an outdoor game that requires skill and social interaction. Student teams will develop the rules and necessary equipment. The competition is open to all USI students. It also will be an integral part of the first course in the college's new entrepreneurship minor.

Keller's executive-in-residence presentation is titled "C-Story: How a Perfect Storm can produce a Consumer-centric Culture." In addition to introducing the ideation contest, he will discuss leadership principles that transform an organization to build enduring brands that provide real satisfaction for consumers. Keller also will talk about the challenges an organization faces during turbulent times, especially the recent recession, and how to lead into, through, and out of difficult times.

The ideation contest is an opportunity for USI students from any college and in any major to use their creativity to come up with a real game and learn about themselves, teamwork, and how businesses arrive at innovative products.
The competition will begin in September and conclude prior to Thanksgiving break. Finalists will make presentations to executives from Escalade and other judges. The winning team will receive a cash reward. At least one member of the winning team will be offered an internship with Escalade Sports.

Keller was named president and chief executive officer of Escalade, Inc., in 2007 and elected to the board in 2008. He was previously president of Disston Tool Company (2005-06) and division president of Russell Corporation (2000-05). His consumer products experience includes a variety of strategic marketing and manufacturing leadership roles with Coca-Cola, Clorox, and Kodak. Keller earned a bachelor's degree in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Tech in 1983 and completed the Senior Executive Finance program at Harvard Business School in 2003.

Escalade, Inc. is a $115 million publicly traded consumer products company that operates divisions in sporting goods and office products. A global company, Escalade is the world's largest producer of table-tennis tables and one of the largest marketers of premium basketball systems, playground equipment, and archery products. It also is the leading producer of data security and print finishing equipment.

The College of Business executive-in-residence program is an annual event that gives students a glimpse into the world of business executives.

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