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Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge IV

Catalyze Challenge

Igniting Entrepreneurship of Students and Recent Alumni of Oregon Tech

Oregon Tech’s Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge has been a huge success for student competitors and the Klamath community. Over the past three years, 15 student/alumni teams have competed for nearly $100,000 in prize money that was generously donated by Representative Whitsett, Senator Whitsett, Klamath County, City of Klamath Falls, KCEDA, Avista, the Gaucho Collective, the Herald & News, Klamath IDEA, Oregon BEST, Business Oregon, the Wendt Family Foundation, and Black Canyon Woodworks.

Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge aims to support business ideas and/or fledgling entrepreneurial activity from any field of study that produces a new idea, product or service that could become a thriving business in Klamath Falls, and has the potential for job growth in rural Oregon.

Final Competition:
Thursday, May 17th
4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Mt. Mazama, College Union

2018 Schedule of Events

Event Date Time Additional Information
Kick-off Meeting October 24, 2017 5 - 7 p.m. Hosted event at the Gaucho Collective for students, faculty, and community members to learn about the contest and begin to form teams.
Preliminary Concept Pitch and Resource Solicitation November 7, 2017 Held at the Gaucho Collective.
Catalyze Team Registration Window November 27, 2017 - Jan 12, 2018 Final Deadline is January 12, 2018.
Catalyze Team Meet and Greet January 17, 2018 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. Hosted event at the Gaucho Collective for all teams to meet with mentor network and learn about external resources that are available to teams.
Annual SharkTech Venture Pitch Contest March 7, 2018 4:30 p.m. First competitive event for all student teams (mandatory). Contact Mark.Ahalt@oit.edu.
Final Report Due April 30, 2018 See details, final report submission requirements on this page.
Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge Contest May 17, 2018 4 - 7 p.m. Teams will compete in front of a panel of judges (College Union) for the PRIZES! Refreshments will be served for all team members.


Contact Information

For more information and competition guidelines, contact Dean Neupert:

Hallie Neupert

 Klamath Falls

2018 Catalyze Klamath Participants

  • Pocket bar
    Bryan Wada, Jake Carpenter, Damian Johnson, Megan Morris
  • OrbitOWLs Space Services
    Micah Hicks, David Minar, Julien Mindlin-Davidson, Brandon Camp, Ben Porter
  • Linking Limb-er
    Dakotah Webb, Adam Arrington, Bailey Bixler
  • Lit
    Avery McMillan, DJ Harryman, Ethan Cole, Connor Scott
  • Fleur de Lis
    L.B., Trinidad Gonzales, Clayton Maves, Ephraim Church
    Baker McDonald, Ory Foltz
  • Brevada Brewhouse
    David Murphy, Seth Gretz, Spencer Jackson, Isa Daibes
  • Klamath Venture Consultants
    Jason Peters, Benjamin Porter

Winning teams will be awarded cash prizes to invest in start-up costs and ignite project development, or to share among the Team.

Meet the Judges

John Lamy

John Lamy is Principal Consultant at Lamy Consulting in Jacksonville, Oregon. John has been a management consultant for 15 years, including six years with smaller companies in the Rogue Valley. John specializes in Lean Manufacturing, R&D/New Product Development, General Management of the company, and development of the company’s Top Team. Before that he spent several decades in Silicon Valley as an R&D Manager. John holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from Cornell.

Kate Sinner

Kate Sinner has spent nearly two decades in public policy and strategic partnership roles within the public sector. She began her career as campaign and Capitol Hill staff in Washington, DC. Kate then served as the Director of Federal Relations at Oregon State University (OSU) for seven years, where she developed and executed OSU’s federal program that included policy and budget, as well as, spearheaded OSU’s effort to enhance federal research awards. In 2014, Governor John Kitzhaber appointed Kate to serve as North Central Regional Solutions Coordinator, and in 2016, Kate was tapped by Governor Kate Brown to serve as Deputy Legislative Director and Higher Education Policy Advisor. Kate also has links to Klamath Falls, having served as the Associate Vice President for Government Relations and Strategic Partnership at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Kate has a passion for the link between academic research and economic development. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

Charlie Manger

Charlie Manger is the Co-Founder & CEO of Duwamish Industrial Innovation. For more than 30 years Charlie has worked as an executive, attorney, consultant, professor, and entrepreneur. Serving a multidisciplinary role on multidisciplinary teams, he works to analyze, strategize, and execute business+financial+legal issues relating to technology-driven opportunities across diverse industries, stages, and structures. Mr. Manger’s work has included project development, financial structuring & sourcing, clean energy portfolio building, technology-driven project innovation, and technology-led natural resource projects. Charlie holds a BA in Political Science, a MA in Political Science, and a JD with an emphasis in international law & the policy of economic development in English and Japanese languages, all from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Bill Thorndike

Bill Thorndike operates his family business, Medford Fabrication, a custom metals fabrication company that has been in operation for 75 years. Mr. Thorndike currently serves on the boards of Southern Oregon University, Oregon Business Council, Regence- Oregon BlueCross Blue Shield, Crater Lake National Park Trust, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc., Oregon Economic Forum, Jefferson Regional Health Alliance, Philanthropy Northwest, and the Northwest Health Foundation. He is a 1972 graduate of Medford Senior High, and graduated in 1976 from Lewis & Clark College with BS in Business Administration. His honors include the SOLV / Tom McCall Leadership Award and the Glenn Jackson Leadership Award from Willamette University. A third-generation Rogue Valley resident, he resides in rural Jackson County with his wife Angela Littlefield, an equestrian judge.

Stephanie Hirche

Stephanie Hirche is a Business Lender for Craft3, a regional nonprofit that makes loans in Oregon and Washington to strengthen the resilience of businesses, families and nonprofits, including those without access to traditional financing. She is responsible for generating and underwriting new mission based commercial loans to Southern and Southwest Oregon small and medium businesses. Prior to joining Craft3, Stephanie served as Assistant Vice President – Commercial Relationship Manager as well as a variety of banking roles since 1998. Stephanie received her BA in Business Management from Southern Oregon University as well as an emphasis in International finance from Harz University in Wernigerode, Germany.

Kelley Minty Morris

Kelley Minty Morris is serving as a Klamath County Commissioner, elected in 2014. Commissioner Morris was appointed by Oregon’s Governor to serve as a Trustee for Oregon Institute of Technology. The Governor also appointed Kelley to service on the Oregon Business Development Commission as a Commissioner. Kelley was also appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve on the Southwest Oregon Resource Advisory Council for the Bureau of Land Management. Commissioner Morris is passionate about health and serves as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the Blue Zones Project as well as Co-Chairing the Association of Oregon Counties Health and Human Services steering committee. Kelley grew up in the Willamette Valley and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Business. Kelley shares her Klamath Falls home with her husband Dean and the puppies they adopted from the Klamath Humane Society, Jesse and Christian.

Previous Catalyze Winners

2017 Winning Project: Helios Hive
A Solar Bee Hive which allows for the temperature regulation within a hive or set of hives, in order to assist with the elimination of the varroa mite. This device uses the concept that the varroa mite cannot survive in temperatures between 104 Fahrenheit to 116.6 Fahrenheit while the hive and bees remained unharmed. Using direct solar radiation to heat the hive, the Solar Bee Hive uses a solar panel to convert solar energy into electricity in order to power heating elements placed directly into the hive. Inventor Mathias Dean is a Renewable Energy Engineering student graduating this year.

2016 Winning Team: GO Possibilities
Production of graphene oxide
Team: Matthew Stansbury, Eric Tipler, Ben Fawver, Tate Orlik Hill

2015 Winning Team: Gro-volution
Sustainable agriculture production system ("In the box farming")
Team: Eric Wilson, Derek Pallett, Nathan Leung

Mathias Dean