Two student business ideas were selected as Grand Prize winners out of 20 finalists at the Springboard Awards Dinner. One winner was selected from the college division and one from the the community division.
In the college division, Eldad Campbell was awarded $10,000 for his company, Double Impact Shoes, to provide customizable athletic socks to college athletic teams.
In the community division, Robert Blasingame and Jimmy Buchanan were awarded $20,000 in cash and $30,000 of in-kind benefits for their business concept to promote and sell the Sharps Terminator, a patented product that eliminates the needle and neutralizes bloodborne pathogens of many injection devices.
Blasingame and Buchanan are experienced in textile manufacturing, medical equipment sales and internet marketing and have been working hard to expand their business.
“We have felt confident all along in the future of what we are doing, but when you start a business you always feel good about what you are doing,” Blaingame said. “This product could truly revolutionize the Sharps Disposal industry and we are in the drivers seat.”
Blasingame and Buchanan have several plans for the future of the Sharps Terminator, including attending a medical tradeshow, conversing with medical institutions and finalizing contracts in manufacturing. They also currently own master distribution rights in India where they are working on sales and distribution.
Blasingame said, “We are taking it a day at a time and allowing God to guide our ship.”
William Greehey, chairman of NuStar Energy, opened the awards dinner as the keynote speaker.
Greehey, a founder of Valero Energy, is a well known businessman and philanthropist who has achieved multiple feats. Greehey spoke at the dinner about his personal experiences, business career and the importance of giving back to the community.
“Learn now to give back to the community. Take time to give back, and try to do more as you go through your career,” Greehey said. “I used to write small checks to St. Mary’s after I graduated, and they kind of laugh at it now because they showed me a record of it after I gave them $25 million.”
Greehey’s said he’s been practicing philanthropy his whole life.
“I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Iowa where neighbors supported neighbors, so I saw poor people, the needs and how they share,” Greehey said. “All my life I have shared. It wasn’t something that was new, and it was something I really encouraged our employees to do.”
Another way Greehey gives his time is by passing on his experience to college students, and this is something Greehey enjoys to do.
“I thought it would be fun visiting with the kids,” Greehey said. “I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”