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School of Mines Dominates Chamber/Governor’s Entrepreneurship Contest

South Dakota Chamber chief David Owen noted in the comment section that the Chamber’s “Giant Vision” entrepreneurship competition (backed with $40K of our moneygot snowed out by our April blizzard. The Chamber managed to get all the contestants back together for online presentations to the judges and announce some winners. Sweeping the top four out of five awards in the student division are students at the rigorous and practical School of Mines and Technology:

For the fifth year in a row, students from South Dakota School of Mines & Technology took home first place in the student division of the Governor’s Giant Vision Awards Business Competition.

Mines student teams swept the first through fourth places in the student division. This year SD Mines competitors won $19,000 in prize money at the Giant Vision competition to put toward their businesses.

Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions, a company started by students Mark Rotert and John Chandler, earned the top spot in the competition, taking home $5,000. Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions aims to improve fuel economy via aerodynamics on automobiles and trucks with a focus on agriculture. The company’s flagship product is TwisTech, a vortex generator that reduces drag on cars and semis. The product can increase miles per gallon on cars by up to 10% and trucks by 7%.

Rotert and Chandler also won the CEO Business Plan Competition at SD Mines, held in December 2018, and the Braun Student Inventor Award in April 2019. All SD Mines teams who competed in the CEO Business Plan Competition at Mines won prize money at the Giant Vision competition.

At this year’s Giant Vision, second place went to SD Mines student William Trevillyan for his business, HomeMetrics. Trevillyan won last year’s Mines CEO Business Plan Competition and the Governor’s Giant Vision. Trevillyan received $4,000 for this year’s placing at Giant Vision.

Third place went to Justin Schroeder for his business, Antier Skateboards. He was awarded $3,000. Fourth place went to Anahita Haghizadeh for the business, SunUp. Haghizadeh was awarded $2,000 [South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, press release, 2019.04.29].

Mines students also won fourth and fifth place in the open division of the contest:

A Hartford business has taken first place in the annual Governor’s Giant Vision business competition.

Advanced Remote Sensing Inc., owned by David Groeneveld, won the top prize of $20,000.

The company works in remote sensing and hydrology in agriculture and natural resources, including using remote sensing in the crop insurance industry.

…The other top winners were:

  • Second place, winning $10,000: Query.AI Inc., owned by Dhiraj Sharan of Brookings.
  • Third place, winning $5,000: Neb Tray by Casanier LLC, owned by Susan Evans of Aberdeen.
  • Fourth place, winning $3,000: AmmoNyte Systems LLC, owned by Joey Brown and Jamie Hale of Rapid City.
  • Fifth place, winning $2,000: Life Excel LLC, owned by Marit Johnson of Rapid City [“Governor’s Giant Vision Winners Announced,” Sioux Falls Business, 2019.04.30].

Next up: the Governor’s Big Thinkers Contest, offering thousands of dollars in cash and prizes for achievement in philosophy and sociologyoh, waitsorry, having trouble finding that link….


  1. Debbo 2019-05-02 16:08

    I thought the other state schools would have done something. Apparently I’m wrong. SDSU and ag science?

  2. T 2019-05-02 19:32

    Query uses actual pics of Brookings on their website, I think it’s downtown, main-street
    Congrats to the team! .

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