Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Mines Dominates Governor’s Giant Vision and Statewide Business Competitions

Mines students and winners of the 2022 Governor’s Giant Vision Business Plan Competition Whytneigh Duffie and Maryam Amouamouha, pose with Joseph Wright, Associate Vice President for Research Affairs at Mines.  

South Dakota Mines has won both the student and open division categories at the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Business Competition. The competition is the biggest of its type in the state and Mines students or alumni have taken home top honors at the competition for eight years in a row.

The wins at Giant Vision conclude a year of top honors for Mines student business competitors. Mines has taken home first place at every statewide business competition this year. This includes top honors at University of South Dakota (USD) and Dakota State University (DSU) competitions. In 2022, Mines students have won $43,000 in prize money at business plan competitions. These winnings total five times more prize money than all other state university winners combined.

“Congratulations to this year’s winners. These students are fantastic examples of the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation that thrives on our campus,” says Mines President Jim Rankin. “We’re proud of the work of our students, faculty and alumni have set by turning high-tech ideas into businesses that transform the state economy. We’re also thankful to Governor Kristi Noem and all the organizers of the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition for inspiring and supporting the next generation of innovators through this annual event.”

Governor’s Giant Vision Winners 

Whytneigh Duffie, a Ph.D. candidate in the Karen M. Swindler Department Chemical and Biological Engineering, took home first place in the student division with her business, Disappex LLC.

Duffie’s business involves a new type of high-resolution 3D printer resin that dissolves in water. The product can be used in the injection molding process for manufacturing in a wide range of industries. The applications could include precision casting of parts that are difficult to machine, end-of-life disposal of a part or device to prevent reverse engineering of sensitive technology, and a wide range of medical uses from new types of casts for broken bones to wound coverings to drug delivery. Duffie also won the 2022 Braun Student Inventor Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize and a free patent application. She claimed the top spot at this year’s i2i Business Competition at USD.  In total, she has claimed $10,000 in prize money in business competitions in the state.

Maryam Amouamouha, a Ph.D. candidate in the Karen M. Swindler Department Chemical and Biological Engineering, won the business competition with her company, AMBER LLC. The company makes on-site wastewater purification systems that can replace traditional septic systems and provide clean water discharge from any home or business. The invention requires no excavation and is designed to drop in place. Amouamouha takes home $20,000 in prize money for winning the business competition.

“These two students represent the best innovators in South Dakota. We’re proud that these winners are women and minority entrepreneurs who are at the top of their student careers. They are fantastic role models for all of us at Mines and for all future students,” says Joseph Wright, associate vice president for research affairs at Mines.

Mines undergraduate student Philip Litecky also placed 4th in the student division, winning $2,000 with his company Li-Tech Lures, LLC. Henry Wegehaupt, Mines alumnus and former student winner, placed 4th in the business division, bringing home $3,000.

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business Competition and Governor’s Giant Vision Student Competition were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business. The event is sponsored by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The competition was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream.

University of South Dakota (i2i) Business Model Competition

Mines took home first and second place at the University of South Dakota Beacom School of Business annual Invent to Innovate (i2i) Business Model Competition held on April 8 in Vermillion, SD.

Whytneigh Duffie also captured first place in this competition with her business, Disappearing 4D Advanced Materials.

Mines student Kaleb Roth, an undergraduate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, took home second place at the USD competition for a new and innovative campfire starting device he invented, called the Forever Fire. It uses a human-powered generator to power electronic parts, which can produce an electric arc in all weather conditions.

Dakota State University Collegiate Business Plan Competition

Kaleb Roth and his invention, Forever Fire, won first place at the Dakota State University Business Competition.  Whytneigh Duffie, and Disappearing 4D Advanced Materials, took home second place at DSU.  Philip Litecky, with his company Li-Tech Lures, was also a finalist at DSU. He produces fishing lures engineered to target panfish. Litecky is student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Mines. 

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

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