Thirty-Five Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Students Named Semi-Finalists in Business Plan Competition

Published: January 21, 2014

Thirty-Five Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Students Named Semi-Finalists in Business Plan Competition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thirty-five Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students were named Phase II semi-finalists in the Business Plan Competition on Monday, Jan. 13, at the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC). Students proceeded to Phase II of the competition based on the quality of their proposed business plan.

The three-phase competition is judged by a panel of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, financial professionals, and other economic development supporters in the Coastal Bend.

“The Business Plan Competition is a great thought process for any person who is pursuing a business idea,” said David Fonseca, Incubator Manager at the CBBIC. “Finalists will have the opportunity to share their business plan with key members of our community, who have developed successful businesses and have first-hand experience.”

Among the semi-finalists were a group of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi engineering and engineering technology students, who submitted a business plan to make affordable, light-weight, and energy-efficient unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We knew that we had a very good engineering concept, but to also have our business plan go to the next round is very motivating,” said Cody Torno and Cody Lemke, Mechanical Engineering students at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The following students from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi were selected as semi-finalists:

  • Kenny Chou, Cody Lemke, Cody Torno, Daniel Valdes – An electronically- powered multifunctional UAV that will deliver high-definition video (ROA TAMUCC-Remotely Operated Aircraft).
  • Derek Vueleman, Samir Abusetta, Shehryar Niazi, Shumeng Wang, Michael Frazier – A centrifugal casting machine that can manufacture complex machinery parts (Vertical Axis Centrifuge).
  • Mia Matuszak, Dylan Foley, Ben Heuer, Chris Perez, Matthew Rocha – A hydraulic underwater ROV that provides a long lasting source of information for educational purposes to schools around the Coastal Bend (Underwater ROV-Remotely Operated Vehicle).
  • Alberto Duque, Maria Gironza, Michel Caballero, Trey Martin, Baybars Kucuktekin, Ricardo Vasquez – A combined system of three different green energy sources that work together to produce sustainable energy (Hybrid Energy Conversion and Storage System for Marine Environments).
  • David Dodson, Jeremy Hes, Chance Branecky, Justin Ortiz, Jose Dinn – A container with adequate radiation shielding around a 55 gallon‐drum to reduce radiation levels (Remote Handled Transuranic Waste Processing Containment Unit).
  • Daniel Files, Jerry Hunsaker, Daniel Mendez, Ryan Velasco, Bokang Yang – A lawnmower system that can cut grass using global position system (GPS) navigation and computer software (Autonomous Lawnmower).
  • Fidencio Lopez Jr., Glendon Domingue, Jose Gutierrez, Matthew Berlanga, Emily Schneider – A retrofit kit for an engine that increases vehicle fuel economy, reducing emissions and increasing dependability (Turbo Diesel Retrofit).

In Phase I of the competition, contestants submitted a business plan overview that met specific criteria including commitment to economic development and job creation in the Coastal Bend. Phase II semi-finalists will be asked for a more comprehensive business plan. In Phase III, finalists will present to a panel of judges on May 12. Winners will be announced on May 14.

The winner of the overall competition will receive a $4,000 cash prize and a package of in-kind business services donated by local businesses and organizations designed to assist with a business start-up. In addition, the winner will be accepted into the CBBIC business incubator program. Second place will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

The 2014 Coastal Bend Business Plan Competition, which is being administrated by the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Incubator - Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center and supported by several other area entities involved in economic development, creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain exposure and develop business plans that will build new technology-driven ventures in the Coastal Bend. For more information, go to