Enterprise Center at Calvin (EC) was formed to commercialize intellectual properties (IP) for the benefit of students, professors, the college and God's kingdom. This newsletter is to update those with a vested interest in the success of the EC and the greater Calvin community. It is by design brief, focused and distributed via the Internet because the readers have limited time. Plus, disclosure of IP is to be guarded.
Smashboards - A web site owned by Ricky Tilton, a Calvin Senior
Ricky developed the site in his early teens but decided to sell it at what appears to be the top of the market. Sam Wanner, Calvin's Director of Financial Services and Business Advisory Board (BAB) chair, brokered the sale. Sam was assisted in the transaction by attorney Scott Alfree, and various members of the Fifth Third Bank Trust Department. Ricky, a Calvin tennis team member, will be venturing into the pro tennis arena this summer for about a year before entering medical school.
Summer Research Project
Sound Off Signal, Inc. owned by George Boerigter, a BAB member, has hired two Calvin students and Steve Steenwyk, Physics and Astronomy Chair, for the Summer. They will be working on a research project that will hopefully provide a breakthrough opportunity for Sound Off Signal. Thank you George!!
Patentable Medical Device
Matthew Heun, Engineering professor, and Jordan Wanner...yes, Sam's son... developed a medical device that is patentable. BAB members, Marge and Tom Hoogeboom, did an initial market evaluation and concluded that a market potential existed. Karl Ondersma, Calvin Engineering grad and patent attorney, provided a patent search. A second market study by Innovation Works provided a more in depth market evaluation. The provisional patent application is planned to be made by June 1 at which point the EC will attempt to market the device.
On campus several noteworthy events have occurred that impact directly on the Enterprise Center. Janel Curry, Dean of Research and Scholarship and Chair of the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB), and Wayne Wentzheimer, Engineering Professor, guided a new college intellectual properties policy through a gauntlet of six committees. The FAB believes that the new policy will have positive, far reaching effects for development of IP on campus. This process took almost one year from concept to final approval.
"Green Energy" Opportunities
Paulo Ribeiro, Engineering professor, is developing two projects with significant "green energy" opportunities. One is a wind power generation for a residential community in Grand Rapids. A second involves what might be called a "micro" hydro power generation system for small municipalities. Both projects involve a number of Dr. Ribeiro's students. Contracts drafted with the help of the EC are in process. Jim Cash, Christman Co., and BAB member, is aiding with the hydro power project.
Communication is Key
Communication is key to developing the EC's potential at Calvin. This newsletter is one such avenue. The EC also has a website currently in its formative stages. The EC in conjunction with various departments, will be mailing letters over the next few months introducing the EC to alumni. In the West Michigan area, Ron Lubbers, Executive Director of the EC, has been interviewed for newspaper articles, and the EC was highlighted in a cover story of the West Michigan Business News. An article was also included in the December 2007 Spark.
BAB and FAB members have met several times in the past months to discuss various issues. Both have recognized the need to hold the information discussed in their meetings as confidential. A confidential section of the EC's website is reserved for their communication when not in their respective meetings.
The Project Pipeline continues to grow with FAB members and Lubbers marketing the EC throughout the halls of Calvin and to outside businesses. This includes speaking at departmental meetings, faculty events, one-on-one meetings and lunches. Projects on which the EC is advising include an Alaskan documentary film, office equipment design, software development and the sale of computer hardware to name a few.