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Students and Alumni Receive Recognition at Grinspoon Banquet

Posted May 6, 2013

Western New England University was well represented at the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Awards Banquet that took place on April 24 at the Log Cabin.  During the event, four students received awards for their business concepts and one took home second place in the Elevator Pitch Competition. In addition, alumnus Stanley Kowalski III, Board Chairman of FloDesign, delivered the keynote address at the event telling students to never ever give up  and "pursue your dreams." Kowalski was introduced by Eric Gouvin, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Gouvin has served on the board of advisors for the Entrepreneurship Initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation since 2004. The banquet was attended by over 450 faculty, students, and community leaders from the area.

april2013_139jpg(L-R) Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Robert Gettens, Jhonatan Nagasako, Professional Educator of Marketing Jim McKeon, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Glen Vallee

Students who received awards for their innovative entrepreneurial ventures included Lauren Silvis, Aaron Harris, Paul White, and Martin Payne. Silvis is a senior majoring in Marketing Communication/Advertising and received a Business Concept Award for her business QUINKS, an up-scale tattoo studio with an emphasis on tattoo removal. Harris is a senior majoring in General Business with a minor in Entrepreneurship and received a Business Concept Award for his business ThinkTank, a relaxation therapy studio using flotation technology. White is a senior majoring in Psychology and received a Business Concept Award for his sport T-shirt business called Grilled Clothing Company. Payne, a recent graduate with a degree in Accounting, received the 2013 Spirit Award for his political website business called "That's A Fair Point" which began in 2012. In the future, Payne hopes to expand his operation from two states to ten and sell advertising space on his website.

Jhonatan Nagasako, a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering, won second place in the Elevator Pitch contest for his "Smash Cap" product which is a wireless brain concussion measuring and monitoring device using accelerometer technology. The Smash Cap is a recent innovation of the multidisciplinary course called Product Development and Innovation, which teams business students with engineering students and tasks them with creating a new innovative product. The University has applied for a utility patent for Smash Cap. Nagasako competed against representatives of fourteen area colleges and universities.


Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,700 students, including 2,550 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.


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