Island University Students Innovate, Compete at Buc Days Ideas Challenge

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A good idea can take a person a long way, and for Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi sophomore Luke Raglin, an innovative solution to a common problem took him all the way to College Station, Texas.

Raglin, a business administration major, won last year’s Buc Days Ideas Challenge and went on to the 2019 Raymond Ideas Challenge at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University in November, where his SimpleSeat prototype captured second place and a $2,000 prize.

SimpleSeat is a full-size folding chair that can be carried to football games and other events. Raglin had the idea for the chair when he was in high school. At the Island University as a freshman, he worked with Russell Franques, director of the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center. Raglin then had the prototype built by Innovaum, a Corpus Christi business.

SimpleSeat is just one of Raglin’s ideas. For example, he also envisioned a garage door remote control that would be small enough to fit on a keyring.

“Seldom have I had the opportunity to meet and mentor a young person who exemplifies the characteristics of an entrepreneur,” said Dr. Kent Byus, Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship Education at A&M-Corpus-Christi’s College of Business. “Luke impressed me with his calm, yet dogged persistence to solve a widely recognized problem of seating at events held at venues that did not have built-in seating capacity. While this may seem trivial, his ability to focus on the issues, creatively and structurally engineer a solution, and his desire to make the Simple Seat available is a daunting challenge for anyone; but for an 18-year-old, it is remarkable.”

Raglin plans to sit out this year’s competition, which is set for Tuesday, Feb. 11.

“I will be there to support whoever’s there and I do have more idea contests that I’m planning to do at other universities throughout this semester,” Raglin said.

The Buc Days Ideas Challenge is a high-impact event that provides students with an opportunity to solve problems, creatively develop commercially viable ideas, and then pitch-and-defend the ideas to a panel of judges.

“This event illustrates how our students can work to innovate new and interesting possibilities that create and capture value,” Byus said.

Three finalists will compete in this year’s event.

– Accounting major Lindsay Carroll, whose project, “Once Upon A Trail,” is a dual functioning property that appeals to customers looking for a wedding venue, or a hunting and fishing destination.

“Our main goal is to keep our customers safe and we believe we’ve found the perfect solution by providing on-site cabins to ensure this,” Carroll said. “We strive to provide a property that creates the perfect balance between a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and the safety of all involved.” Carroll plans to graduate in May 2021.

– Marketing major Leila McElroy, whose project “Ruff Adventure” is a monthly subscription box designed for dog owners who want to be more active, enjoy the outdoors, and spend more time with their dogs.

“Each box contains coordinated items to be used by dog and owner on a specified outdoor adventure, along with a toy or treats. We give you the tools to explore your healthy, adventurous, and fun side with your best friend,” she said. McElroy, a student at the A&M RELLIS Campus, will travel to the Island University for the competition. She plans to graduate in Fall 2020.

– General business major Taylor Castillo, who envisions a vacation babysitting service.

“This service would allow parents access to reputable sitters for their children while on vacation,” Castillo said. “As a mom, this service is something I would love to see out there.” Castillo plans to graduate in 2021. 

Byus said students are fortunate to have an organization like the Buccaneer Commission provide support for the Buc Days Ideas Challenge, an opportunity not commonly available, even to students at larger universities. Byus said the ability to think creatively, reason logically, and act specifically is at the center of entrepreneurship education. 

“Every employer, every organization, and every community depends on the next generation of leaders who can solve problems, seize opportunity, and add value,” Byus said. “Regardless of discipline, entrepreneurship education provides the basics that enhance the quality of next-generation innovations; entrepreneurial teachers create and innovate new ways to learn and teach; entrepreneurial engineers create and innovate new methods and materials that make our lives more enjoyable, more effective and more efficient; and entrepreneurial business owners create and innovate new jobs, new products, new services, and new markets which together make for greater possibilities.”

The fifth annual Buc Days Ideas Challenge Showcase is from 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the University Center, Anchor Ballrooms B and C. The showcase is free and open to the public.