Five student entrepreneur teams present solutions to real-world problems, Win


  • Catalyze or Die: A renewable energy demonstration project that serves as a destination accommodation and learning center for students, community members, and visitors to the region. Students Natalie Arnot (sophomore, Civil Engineering), Jon Freilinger (freshman, Renewable Energy Engineering) and Roy Noland (junior, Mechanical Engineering).

  • The BioSpec Enterprise: An all-in-one indoor house plant monitoring system; your plant care assistant. Students Abbey DuBois (freshman, Software Engineering Technology), Joshua Hewitt (sophomore, Cybersecurity), Jared Monroe (freshman, Mechanical Engineering Technology) and Matt Volpe (senior, dual Embedded/Software Engineering Technology).

  • Electerro: A natural tree structure with photovoltaic solar leaves and a vertical wind turbine to generate power. Students Mariano Segura (senior, Mechanical Engineering) and Hanna Wolf (senior, dual Renewable Energy/Environmental Sciences).

  • Biomass Gas: A biomass gasifier that harnesses plant by-products to create renewable electric energy. Students Darby Twight (senior, Mechanical Engineering) and Aaron West (senior, Mechanical Engineering).

  • UPlan: An app to find and create events and activities, and join together with like-minded people. Student Victor Rios (senior, Operations Management) and community partners Isaac Gonzalez, Daniel Partida and Edgar Ramirez.

Throughout the event, finalists presented and defended their business plans to the panel of judges which included: Stephanie Hirche, Craft3; John Lamy, Lamy Consulting; Mike Moore, business owner and community advocate; and Kendra Santiago, Oregon Tech alumna, Klamath County Economic Development Association.

 The winning projects were:

  •  First Place- BioSpec Enterprise: $6,000 prize

  •  Second Place- Biomass Gas: $4,000 prize

  •  Third Place- Electerro: $2,000 prize

  •  Entrepreneur in Action- Biomass Gas: $750 prize

  •  Audience Choice- Electerro: $1,000 prize

Additionally, Electerro and Biomass Gas were awarded $2,500 each from InventOR to further develop their business plans and compete against other colleges and universities in the statewide InventOR competition on June 25.

The 2021 event is made possible through generous sponsorship and donations from AVISTA, the City of Klamath Falls, Klamath County, Gaucho Collective, Klamath County Economic Development Association (KCEDA), Klamath IDEA Center for Entrepreneurship, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), Oregon Small Business Development Center, and the Wendt Family Foundation.

Faculty and staff members of the Oregon Tech Innovation and Entrepreneurship Committee who organized and managed this year’s Catalyze event include Hallie Neupert, Chair; Mike Healy, Levi Lopez, Travis Miller, Eileen Mudgett, Barbara Neal, Kristy Weidman and Shellie Wilson.

For more information regarding the Catalyze Klamath Falls Challenge, visit www.oit.edu/catalyze>.





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