Purdue News

November 29, 2006

Environmental firm wins Purdue business plan competition

Aerial Image team makes presentation
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A West Lafayette company that is developing a device to detect contaminants in water supplies won the top prize Tuesday (Nov. 28) in the West Lafayette-Lafayette event of Purdue's third annual Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition.

Quansor Corp., which is located at the Purdue Research Park, snared the $25,000 first prize for its efforts to develop and manufacture a real-time sensor that can detect inorganic and organic contaminants in fluids. The sensor then feeds data into an off-site computer where a technician can determine the extent of the contamination.

"We have worked very hard for this, and we plan to start ramping up our sales by 2008," said Quansor executive Frank Reed, who leads the company with founder John Merrill. "We are optimistic that within five years, we could be providing 800 jobs to this part of Indiana."

Aerial Image Corp. and Micro Machinists LLC, both also from West Lafayette, shared second place and received $12,500 during the finals in the Purdue Technology Center at the Purdue Research Park.

Aerial Image is using radio-controlled helicopters, a 30-foot-long radio-controlled blimp and other devices to offer video and photography for emergency and commercial services, public events and mapping systems. Using Purdue technology, Micro Machinists is developing tools capable of drilling and milling in engineering materials at the microscale level.

En'Urga Inc., a West Lafayette company developing a near-infrared fire detector with Purdue technology, won $2,000 for finishing fourth.

Fifth-place finisher Marco Design & Development, a West Lafayette company that is developing a product to close a home's window shutters during a hurricane or thunderstorm with a remote-control device using existing phone lines and an Internet connection, won $1,000.

Don Blewett
"All five business plan presentations were terrific and all five ideas show tremendous promise," said Don Blewett, associate director of event sponsor Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Discovery Park. "But Quansor's innovative environmental product stood out for its clarity, market strategy and the potential this Indiana company holds for creating jobs for our state and growing our economy."

As the regional winner, Quansor also receives $5,000 in services from Ernst & Young, one year of free business checking services from the Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union and six hours of insurance review from Henriott Group.

For finishing second, Aerial Image and Micro Machinists each receive $2,500 in business services from Ernst & Young.

"These business plan competitions have been a predictor of future success," said Gregory Deason, vice president for development at the Purdue Research Foundation, which operates the Purdue Research Park. "Winners of the past few years have accounted for more than 100 jobs now at the Purdue Research Park."

Finalists for the northwest event taking place on Wednesday (Nov. 29) are Bio-Barrier of Whiting, Intellinanoparticles of Schererville, Litko Aerosystems of Crown Point, RLM Tissue Bank Prosthetics of Valparaiso and Tot Shots Photography of Chesterton. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. at the Calumet Conference Center at Purdue University Calumet. Awards will be announced at 3:30 p.m.

Finalists for the northeast competition on Friday (Dec. 1) are Solstice Medical of Fort Wayne, Identity Alliance of Fort Wayne, Valpo Orthopedic Technology of Valparaiso, Innovation Mapping of Huntington, and Blue Bean RFID of Carmel. Presentations begin at 9 a.m. in Kettler Hall, Room 243, at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. Winners will be announced at 1:15 p.m.

Teams for all three regional competitions submitted an executive summary of their business idea on Sept. 25. From each region, 15 teams were selected to continue into the second phase and develop their summary into a business plan, which was due Oct. 30.

All Indiana residents were eligible to form a team, except for previous first-, second- and third-place winners. The competition also was open to out-of-state entrepreneurs wanting to establish a new business or expand an existing company in Indiana.

Sponsors for the West Lafayette competition were the Indiana Small Business Development Center, Ernst & Young, Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union, Henriott Group, Shiel Sexton, Purdue Research Park, Vistech 1, Stuart & Branigin, the Lilly Endowment and Spring Mill Ventures.

Competition sponsors at northeast Indiana are the Indiana Small Business Development Center, IPFW, Purdue and Lilly Endowment. For the northwest competition, sponsors are Purdue North Central, Purdue Calumet, Hoeppner Wagner & Evans and Lilly Endowment.

The Lilly Endowment funds for these competitions are part of a $3.5 million, three-year Opportunity for Indiana grant, which aims to provide more opportunities and good jobs for graduates of the state's colleges, universities, technical schools and high schools.

The Burton Morgan Center, the first center launched in Discovery Park, is a platform for launching technology-based enterprises based on Purdue research. The center also helps faculty, students and entrepreneurs better understand how to bring research and technology to market and works closely with the Purdue Research Park to help commercialize the university's research.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Sources: Don Blewett, (765) 494-6400, blewett@purdue.edu

Frank Reed, (765) 474-8855

Note to Journalists: For more information on the competition, contact Phillip Fiorini , Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu


Sean Henady of Aerial Image Corp. explains the radio-controlled helicopters his company uses to offer aerial video and photography services. Henady was making the presentation Tuesday (Nov. 29) as part of Purdue's third annual Opportunity for Indiana Business Plan Competition. Quansor Corp., a Purdue Research Park company developing sensors to detect contamination in water supplies, took the $25,000 top prize among the five finalists. Aerial Image tied for second with Micro Machinists in the first of three regional business plan competitions taking place this week. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at https://www.purdue.edu/uns/images/+2006/bizplan-comp06.jpg

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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