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Release: Jan. 15, 2003

(Photo: Hubert E. Storer)

College of Engineering Announces Storer Entrepreneurial Start-up Award winners

The University of Iowa College of Engineering has announced that two student-run businesses -- Peace of Mind, Inc. and X-Wires Communications, LLC, both based in Iowa City -- are the winners of the first Hubert E. Storer Engineering Student Entrepreneurial Start-up Awards.

The annual awards, established in 2002 and funded by an endowed gift from College of Engineering alumnus Hubert E. Storer, provide $2,500 of initial financial support for two College of Engineering students' technological business plans.

Peace of Mind, Inc. is a patient monitoring company that has designed a device to monitor an infant's respiration in order to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the third leading cause of death among infants with an incidence of about seven deaths per 1,000 newborn babies. The privately held company, currently pursuing patent applications, projects sales in its third year of $4.6 million, with a net profit of approximately $2.4 million. The firm's majority owner is Will Lack, who earned his bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from the UI College of Engineering in December 2002, served for four years as a researcher at the UI Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, and was a member of last season's Big Ten championship UI football team. Lack's partner in Peace of Mind, Inc. is Steve Smetana, who earned his bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 2002.

X-Wires Communications, LLC is a new wireless Internet service provider that began offering fixed and roaming wireless Internet access to downtown Iowa City business and residential customers in August 2002. Over the next year and a half, the company plans to become a major Internet service provider in Iowa City, serving nearly 400 customers, collecting $190,000 in revenue, earning more than $65,000 in profit, and growing at a rate of more than 20 percent a year. The firm's president is Karsten Temme, who earned his bachelor of science degree in May 2002 and is currently pursuing a master's degree, both in biomedical engineering from the UI College of Engineering. He is currently a national Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellow. Kris Halter, a junior in industrial engineering who is also seeking a minor in business management, and Andrew Rinner, a junior in management information systems, are responsible for technical operations. Erin Wallerich, a senior in industrial engineering, and Ben Anderson, a senior in economics with a minor in business, oversee sales.

The Storer Awards are named for Hubert E. Storer, president, owner and founder of Storer Equipment Company of Shreveport, La., who earned his bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering from the UI College of Engineering in 1959.

The awards highlight the UI Technological Entrepreneurship Certificate, earned in conjunction with an engineering degree and established in 1996 by the College of Engineering and the Henry B. Tippie College of Business. The first of its kind at any U.S. engineering college, the nationally recognized program enables students to study the entrepreneurial process as it relates to technology.

All currently enrolled UI College of Engineering undergraduate and graduate students may apply for the Storer Awards by submitting formal written business plans to the College of Engineering Dean's Office where a review panel will judge the entries and recommend to the dean two finalists. Undergraduate student recipients may register their awards as qualified internships on their transcripts, and all recipients will have access to an entrepreneurial mentor provided by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. Additional information may be obtained on the Web at http://www.engineering.uiowa.edu/about/storer.html or by contacting the UI College of Engineering at (319) 335-5764 or engineering-adm@uiowa.edu.