His 'E-Stud' in the running; winners to be named April 24.

    IDEA Competition winners will be announced at the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet to be held April 24, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls. Pre-registration is required for the banquet at ideacompetition.org.
2013 finalists
    • Lester Wilkens, Crookston, for E-Stud – An engineered stud for new building construction that raises the R-factor to R-19 on the whole structure.
    • Brian and Coreen Berdahl, Red Lake Falls, for Spot-Knot – A fast, easy, and economical on-the-spot slip knot tie device that is the only one of its kind in the fishing industry.
    • Scott Johnson, Warroad, for Sand Shark – An easy to operate tiller attachment that removes rocks and debris from sand bunkers and beach fronts.
    • Morgan, Ron, and Brenda Knable, Bagley, for Knable Machine Works – A rifle attachment that converts a gun’s action from right-handed to a left-handed in a matter of seconds.
    • Dr. Jack V. Lundbohm, Roseau, for Stand Alone Game Calls – An elk hunting call that allows an elk hunter to hunt alone while remotely operating the call that is set up in a second location.
    • Dr. Alan Rudnick and Dan Kramer, Bemidji, for Rudnick Medical Technologies –  An innovative solution for chronic wounds that reduces infections, increases circulation, and jump-starts the wound healing process.
    • Tim and Jenny Slukynsky, Warroad, for Lamplighter Hockey – A hockey stick weight that overcomes the weaknesses of other hockey stick training tools on the market today.
    • Jerry Titera, Bagley, for Hubmaster, Inc – An innovative tool that helps remove the tapered wheel hub from bobcat skidsteers for routine maintenance and repair.

     Final awards will be determined by a judging panel comprised of members from three area equity funds, bankers, successful entrepreneurs and business development professionals. The panel will choose up to five winners who will each receive $10,000 to advance their business idea, plus additional technical assistance.

     In addition to the individual 2013 IDEA Competition awards, Ron Stordahl, founder and CEO of Digi-Key, and Mark Larson, president and COO for Digi-Key, will be inducted into the IDEA Hall of Fame. The IDEA Hall of Fame was instituted to recognize the accomplishments of northwest Minnesota’s legacy innovators and entrepreneurs – those within the region who have inspired others with their entrepreneurial vision, leadership and achievement.

     Jason LaValley, founder, president and CEO of LaValley Industries, and Jorge Prince, CFO for LaValley Industries, will be presenting the keynote address.

     LaValley Industries was a winner of the IDEA Competition in 2010 for its DECKHAND® pipe handling system, The DECKHAND®. The Bemidji-based company has since partnered with Pipeline Machinery International, CRC-Evans Pipeline International, and Vermeer Corporation to distribute the DECKHAND worldwide.  Since inventing the DECKHAND, LaValley has continued to grow the product line into other markets and is now a multiple patent holder.

     Jorge Prince is Chief Financial Officer and part owner of LaValley Industries. Prince has been a key member of the management team, growing the company from start-up to a respected industry leader in six short years. In his role, Mr. Prince has negotiated contracts with Fortune 500 companies, raised equity and debt capital, navigated the complexities of international business and worked to build the company’s people, processes, and infrastructure.

     For more information on the IDEA Competition Awards Banquet, go to www.ideacompetition.org.

     IDEA sponsors are: 360⁰ Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence; Arvig; Bremer Bank, Crookston and Warren; Headwaters Regional Development Commission; Northwest Minnesota Foundation; Northwest Regional Small Business Development Center; and University of Minnesota, Crookston.  IDEA was made possible through a generous grant from the Blandin Foundation.