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Gillette Student Wins $30K Entrepreneurship Competition at UW

April 27, 2016

A Gillette student’s business proposal that specializes in designing and providing tools to sanitary companies to help maintain the cleanliness of portable toilets (porta-potties) won the recent John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition sponsored by the University of Wyoming College of Business.

Trevor Trouchon, a sophomore computer engineering student, received $15,000, with half awarded after the recent competition. He will receive the balance after submitting a satisfactory progress report. Trouchon also will receive space in the Wyoming Technology Business Center for one year to grow the business.

This semester, 47 teams entered the 15th annual competition from various disciplines across campus, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral students. Eight student teams created companies that made the final round; each worked with a mentor for the final presentation.

Known as the UW $10K Competition until 2011, the John P. Ellbogen $30K Entrepreneurship Competition encourages students to act on their talents, ideas and energy to produce tomorrow's leading businesses. The competition awards cash prizes to outstanding teams of student entrepreneurs who submit their business plans for new ventures that show significant business potential.

Trouchon’s company, SanMon, currently is developing a unit to monitor data from discrete sensors within portable toilets, and use that information to determine if the portable toilet requires maintenance. The sanitary company using the SanMon units will be able to analyze the data to more efficiently schedule cleanings of the portable toilets. The final design will include GPS capabilities to record locations and also solar panels to recharge unit batteries.

The second-place team received $7,500, and third place received $5,000. Second- and third-place winners received half their prize winnings after the competition, and the remaining will be awarded after the teams submit a progress report.

Second place in the competition went to Paradox and team leader Vinay Ramakrishnaiah, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, from Udupi, Karnataka, India.

Paradox targets commercial companies and profit/nonprofit organizations that seek simple and effective ways to get personalized high-performing computer solutions. The company provides a general solution to simplify the development of high-performance parallel applications, which is source code language and platform independent, and also hardware robust.

Third place went to Cowboy Performance and Manufacturing led by Kyle Kuhn, a senior in mechanical engineering, from Laramie. The company will design, manufacture and market high-performance, after-market snowmobile components and provide sophisticated manufacturing services to Laramie and the surrounding area. The company will target two specific areas: the aftermarket snowmobile industry, and the engineering consulting and manufacturing industry.

Additionally, the “Fan Favorite Video Pitch Award” was presented to Roti Magic, led by Dilraj Kaur, a master’s degree candidate in finance, from New Delhi, India.

Kaur and her team is developing a small machine that makes Rotis, similar to tortillas, in about three minutes, compared to 40 minutes it takes to make by hand. The product can help markets overseas where particular types of tortilla/breads are handmade on a regular basis -- mostly by women. The team’s goal is to make a Roti maker available at a competitive price because some units cost more than $500.

Judges for this year’s competition were Tori Campbell, president and founder of Mizzen Energy and Mizzen Energy Services; Kim DeVore, Jonah Bank CFO; Bob Jensen, former Wyoming Business Council CEO and current principal at RJBC, LLC Business Consulting; Pat Rile, Wells Fargo Advisors senior vice president; Stephanie Teubner, CEO of Warren Federal Credit Union; Chris Tice, CEO of Pharmacy Solutions Inc. and PharmaC LLC; Jacques Dubois, retired chairman and CEO of Swiss Re America; and Sandy Hesseler, former assistant dean of Harvard Kennedy School of Business.

For more information, contact Steve Russell, College of Business marketing and external relations director, at (307) 766-4112 or

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