Robot Wars team takes Top Dawg competition

May 7, 2008

by Lamesa Furlow

The sixth annual Top Dawg Business Plan Competition, organized by the Association of Business and Science Entrepreneurs, recently announced the winning team.

Teams were scored on presentation, plan and the overall viability of their business concept, landing the Robot Wars team in first place.

The winning team consists of Karren Lovelady, a senior marketing major; Heath Hemphill, a graduate student of engineering; Blake Hosli, a graduate student of engineering; Noah Bergeron, a graduate student of engineering; and Daniel Scoggin, a graduate student of engineering.

Hemphill said working on the Top Dawg project helped him develop a more entrepreneurial way of thinking.

“It was a good exercise in putting sound engineering ideas in layman’s terms,” he said. “I was proud of our project and thankful for a good group of teammates, without any of whom the project would not have been a success.”

Hemphill said he hopes other citizens will be able to look at his team’s project and see that students in Louisiana, especially at Tech, have the potential to make a difference.

“Whether big or small, [potential] is determined only by the size of your vision,” Hemphill said. “When starting a project that you hope to enter [into] this competition, it is very important to be picky when choosing your team.”

Second place, including a cash prize of $2,500, was awarded to Cellar Door Theater’s James Lanius, a senior speech major, and Adam Tidwell, a senior business administration major. Debbie Inman, coordinator of entrepreneurial studies, said the quality of the plans get better every year.

“I feel the competitors and the board pulled off a great competition,” she said.

Inman also said the students learned a lot from their projects, which is why the competition was started.

Hosli said their project took all year long to develop, but the process of developing a fully detailed business plan picked up in the last two to three months of work.

The SuperCap Power Management team of Joseph Cannon and Steven Bearden, both doctoral engineering students, won third place and $1,500 for energy storage technology. The law firm Jones Walker recognized the team that was the most entrepreneurial through the $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

This award went to Uniform Rack’s Michelli McKnight, a political science graduate, and Sallie Martin, a senior communication design major.

The $2,000 Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Most Improved Plan award went to Team TPSI, a tire pressure monitoring system. Its members are Karl Matsumoto, a post- baccalaureate non-degree student; Ling Wu, a senior speech major; Jeff Nelson, a senior business managment and entrepreneurship major; and Amanda Hollingsworth, a senior business management and entrepreneurship major.