Competition offers lessons to future entrepreneurs

Doug Heneghan is hopeful that participants in the Saint-Gobain Student Design Competition held in partnership with Case Western Reserve University will be inspired to achieve entrepreneurial greatness.

“Hopefully, they put this experience on their resume,” says Heneghan, who worked with the PulseOx team that was selected out of nine finalists as the winner of the competition. “This is something they would want to tell a prospective employer, that they had this drive, this motivation and this entrepreneurial spirit. There’s not a company out there that wouldn’t appreciate that.”

Heneghan, sales manager for North America and Asia at Saint-Gobain NorPro, has been involved in the competition for six years.

“Some of these students go on to either file a patent or a patent application, which certainly looks good,” Heneghan says. “They are actually dipping their toe into the real world and it gives them a heads up as to what to expect.”

You can learn more about how the PulseOx team approached its work to develop a device that could obtain reliable blood oxygen level measurements of infants in this month’s Building Stronger Communities feature.

Jim Pae, the university’s director of corporate relations and an organizer of the competition, says the event is a great example of what can be achieved through partnerships between universities and businesses.

“The competition provides our students with an invaluable experience to engineer and design within the context of business drivers, preparing them for their next step as they enter the workforce,” Pae says.

Say it with signs
Rachel Downey is really into signs and if you get around different parts of Northeast Ohio on a regular basis, you’ve probably seen some of her work. Downey’s business, Guide Studio, works with clients to create signage that both engages and lets people know how to get to where they want to go. The company is celebrating 20 years in business and Downey is excited both about what she’s learned and what lies ahead.

One of the highlights for Downey, who serves as the company’s president, is the Guide Studio’s quarterly project review meeting.

“Those are my proudest days to see work I haven’t been involved in that is done under the direction and processes of this company,” she says. “It’s incredible to see the growth of the individuals and how they contribute to the greater whole.”

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor for Smart Business Cleveland