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South Dakota Ag News Headlines
Mines Team Wins 'Shark' Style Contest with Vortex Generator
South Dakota Ag Connection - 01/08/2019

The fifth annual CEO Business Plan Competition at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology wrapped up with new winners who took home more than $10,000 in total prize money that can be used toward their business ideas. The competition is themed after the popular television program "Shark Tank." It challenges entrepreneurs to present a business plan to a panel of expert judges.

Mark Rotert, John Parker Chandler IV with their company, "Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions, LLC" took home 1st place and the $3000 award. The pair also won a separate category for the best agricultural plan at this year's competition, a $1000 prize.

Rotert and Chandler say their company's aim is to improve fuel economy via aerodynamics on automobiles and trucks with a particular focus on agriculture. Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions plans to start and grow through the sale of its flagship product TwisTech. The product is a vortex generator that reduces drag on cars and semis. The team found that this product can offer increases in miles per-gallon on cars by up to 10 percent and trucks by 7 percent.

Joey Brown & his company AmmoNyte took home the 2nd place award of $2000 and William Trevillyan & Kayla Kassa with their company, MaintenanceMetrics took the 3rd place award for $1000. The top high school entry, Jade Parkin, took home the $500 award for her business Butterstick.

The competition is open to all West River high schools, as well as neighboring higher education institutions Black Hills State University, Western Dakota Tech, National American University and Chadron State College. Participants in the SD Mines CEO Program attend on-campus business plan training throughout the semester and receive assistance from the Small Business Development Center in preparing financial statements, as well as mentoring from local business leaders and SD Mines' Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Teams who compete in the SD Mines CEO Program often take their business plans to compete statewide at the South Dakota Governor's Giant Vision Awards. Mines students who have competed in the CEO Competition have gone on to win the Governor's Giant Vision Award the last four years.

In the past, student business plans have ranged from an intelligent wheelchair and energy saving window films to guidance devices for the blind and subterranean salt caverns for natural gas storage.

CEO Competition sponsors include Ascent Innovation, Big D Oil, Golden West Technology and Internet Solutions, Regional Health, South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Darren Haar, Sioux Steel Company and West River Electric Association.

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