The winners for the Springboard Ideas Challenge were announced Tuesday night at the awards dinner in the Hunter Welcome Center. Morgan Hood, Jason McVey, Rudy Garza and Jeff Johnston were the winners for the College Division.
The winners for this year’s Springboard Ideas Challenge are as follows:
For the College Division, the grand prize went to Hood, freshman biology major from Abilene, for Float 2 Swim; second place went to McVey, junior business management major from Austin, and Garza, sophomore marketing major from Corpus Christi, for Novascore; and third place went to Johnston, sophomore ad/PR major from Coppell, for Sign Me Up.
For the Community Growth Division, the grand prize went to Shawn Altman & Chas Quisenberry for iGreenPod, second place went to Nicola Joshua for Nap Mat Carriers and third place went to Mike and Patty Smith for The Country Escape.
For the Community Small Business Division, the grand prize went to Jacob Ray for Jacob Ray Creations, second place went to William Suell for Clean & Simple and third place went to D’Angelo and Janelle Sands for Academy of Life.
Value awards were given to Brandon Avedikian for Carefree Financial Solutions in the College Division and Ryan Lynn for TruMud in the Community Division.
“Winning the grand prize of the Springboard Competition is such an encouraging feeling,” said Morgan Hood, freshman biology major from Abilene. “I am even more confident and passionate about Float 2 Swim because of winning.”
Float 2 Swim is a personal floatation device that teaches children the basics of swimming, such as the ability to float on their back, while keeping the child safe, Hood said.
“Float 2 Swim will allow the child to excel above other children, while at the same time saving their parents time and money when they begin swim lessons, because they will already feel comfortable and knowledgeable in the water,” she said.
Hood said she will use the $7,500 grand prize toward testing and perfecting her prototype, paying for certification costs and patenting the product.
Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations who oversees 2,216 company-owned stores, was invited to speak to the young entrepreneurs at the dinner about faith and business.
“Stu Crum was an excellent speaker that grasped my attention his entire speech,” Hood said. “Mr. Crum is an inspiration because even though he struggled, he continued to work hard and be successful while at the same time he strived to glorify God in everything.”
Crum attended the University of Tulsa with a football scholarship and graduated with a marketing degree. He was a professional place kicker for three years for the NFL and USFL, according to the bio.
After being cut by the New York Jets, Crum said he received many job offers and decided to work for Texaco Inc.
Crum then worked for Shell Oil Company and was the president of Jiffy Lube International, according to a bio. During his time at Shell he was the vice president of National Accounts, North American Automotive Consumer Products; general manager strategy and portfolio, North America; general manager sales and operations for the Caribbean, Central America, northern South America and director of marketing, according to the bio.
“There aren’t many senior-level executives that are out-of-the-closet Christians, most folks stay behind the scenes,” he said. “I’m pretty vocal about my faith. And so it is a great opportunity to share that you can be the executive of a big company and also have a faith and live that faith openly.”
“It’s really about not compromising who you are, and what you are and what you believe,” he said. “It’s being a person of integrity.”
Crum said an entrepreneurial spirit is important, and shared with students what it takes to succeed in the business world.
“Run a business as if it’s your own,” he said. “And the first thing, if you run a business of your own, is that the customer is always first. We call it a customer-centric type of mentality. If you have that mentality that you are trying to please the customer, business will thrive. Number two, you have to be passionate about your business. If you are an entrepreneur and you aren’t passionate about your business you won’t succeed because passion plays such an important role. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers. If you don’t have the passion to deal with the ups and downs of running a business you will never succeed. The third thing I would say is you really do have to have an incredible work ethic because most entrepreneurs don’t start off rich, they start off working hard with a passion for business, wanting to satisfy the customer and grow the business. Those three things together will create success, but without those I don’t think you can be successful.”