The University of Arizona, McGuire Entrepreneurship Students Take $150,000 First Prize in Honeywell Growth Challenge
UA McGuire team’s vision for unmanned vehicles wins after stiff competition from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, UCLA, and Arizona State University.
TUCSON, Ariz. – May 25, 2005 – Five students from The University of Arizona’s award-winning Karl Eller Center/McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the Eller College of Management will share $100,000, thanks to their innovative vision for advancing the business of worldwide avionics manufacturer Honeywell (NYSE: HON). Additionally, Honeywell will award $50,000 to the team’s academic sponsor, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, bringing the UA team’s total winnings to $150,000.
Each year the Honeywell Aerospace University Growth Challenge asks students from invited schools to develop and present business plans detailing innovative growth opportunities built on Honeywell technologies. The 2005 winning team—Team RABU (Robotics and Automation Business Unit)—was announced in April 2005, beating out teams from across the United States, including stiff competition from finalists Arizona State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Purdue University, and UCLA.
“Team RABU delivered an innovative plan for applying Honeywell aerospace technologies used in unmanned ground vehicles to new markets,” said Dean Flatt, president of Honeywell Aerospace Electronic Systems (AES). RABU’s plan is to partner Honeywell aerospace technology and expertise—including GPS, software, electronics, and sensors—with additional proprietary optical technologies to create unique autonomous vehicles that can “see” and therefore operate more effectively and efficiently. Multiple applications exist for this type of technology, and based on product knowledge and market knowledge, team RABU has identified the agriculture market—which includes repetitive and critical tasks such as moisture monitoring or spraying and other precision farming applications—as its primary target market. During the course of the academic year working on the Honeywell Growth Challenge Competition plan, the RABU team not only developed a working prototype of the autonomous vehicle, but gained market traction by establishing critical contacts and partnerships prior to their presentation to Honeywell.
Honeywell designed the Growth Challenge to identify new markets for existing technologies. The RABU team developed a product that not only met this goal, but blended science and business to successfully meet a real market need. This success, along with the blended background of the team members, led to RABU’s competition success.
The team members include three second-year MBA students—Warren Donian, Carlos Mendoza, and Marisol Ramos; a Ph.D. candidate from the UA College of Optical Sciences—John Goulding; and one student earning a master’s in MIS—Niranjan Kesani. The team was coached by McGuire Entrepreneurship faculty Jim Jindrick and Joann Rockwell. Other contributing UA advisors include Eller College’s Brown Chair in Technology and Management Amar Gupta, and the Office of Technology Transfer’s Stephen O’Neil.
“This is an exciting and important milestone for both the RABU team and the McGuire Program. It further validates the curriculum design of the program and ensures that the skills and knowledge students seek through entrepreneurship education are met in the McGuire Program. It is about moving ideas to reality. These students have achieved this in both a corporate and true, new venture sense. They have gained a great deal and will benefit significantly. It is also strengthens the precedent for business education to partner with industry to advance ideas and opportunity,” said Gary Libecap, Director of the Karl Eller Center and McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.
“This recognition from Honeywell is a testament to our focus on growth through innovation,” said Ken Smith, interim dean of the Eller College, which is currently launching a groundbreaking series of dual-degree programs combining an MBA degree with master’s studies in optics, engineering, and other technology-focused disciplines. “For us, this competition is reflective of the future of commerce and social progress, where science and business work together to transfer technologies and knowledge sets into new and meaningful applications, and in which the McGuire program has already established important models.”
Eleven teams entered the Honeywell Growth Challenge in September 2004, consulting with company personnel and faculty advisors from their schools to identify technology and expertise with potential uses in new markets. Teams then developed business plans around those knowledge sets, detailing specific, innovative applications for business growth. After presentations from five finalist teams, Honeywell judges selected the winning team during a day-long event in Tempe, Ariz. Ideas presented by Team RABU and other participants will now be further evaluated by the Honeywell Aerospace growth and licensing team.
The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is a National Model Program of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is home to the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, ranked the #2 public undergraduate and #1 public graduate program in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. Established in 1984, it was one of the first university-based entrepreneurship centers in the country. Today, the Center offers entrepreneurship education for any graduate program at the University of Arizona and reaches more than 1,000 undergraduate students every semester. With courses in business, law, science, engineering, health, medicine, arts, and humanities, the McGuire Center advances the state and regional economy, advances entrepreneurship education nationwide, and teaches life-long problem solving for economic, social, scientific, and environmental progress.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #12 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #48 in the U.S. The College is among the leaders of business schools generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers the 25th ranked Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,000 undergraduate and 600 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona, and a satellite campus in Phoenix.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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