Mines News

Release Date Friday, December 7, 2018

Mines Team Wins “Shark Tank” Style Competition with Vortex Generator to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Mark Rotert and John Parker Chandler IV with their company, Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions, LLC took home both 1st place and the Best Agricultural Plan award at this year’s CEO Business Plan Competition at SD Mines.


The fifth annual CEO Business Plan Competition at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology wrapped up in early December with new winners who took home more than $10,000 in total prize money that can be used toward their business ideas. The competition is themed after the popular television program “Shark Tank.” It challenges entrepreneurs to present a business plan to a panel of expert judges.

Mark Rotert, John Parker Chandler IV with their company, “Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions, LLC” took home 1st place and the $3000 award.  The pair also won a separate category for the best agricultural plan at this year’s competition, a $1000 prize.

Rotert and Chandler say their company’s aim is to improve fuel economy via aerodynamics on automobiles and trucks with a particular focus on agriculture. Tornado Aerodynamic Solutions plans to start and grow through the sale of its flagship product TwisTech. The product is a vortex generator that reduces drag on cars and semis. The team found that this product can offer increases in miles per-gallon on cars by up to 10 percent and trucks by 7 percent.

Joey Brown & his company AmmoNyte took home the 2nd place award of $2000 and William Trevillyan & Kayla Kassa with their company, MaintenanceMetrics took the 3rd place award for $1000.  The top high school entry, Jade Parkin, took home the $500 award for her business Butterstick.

The competition is open to all West River high schools, as well as neighboring higher education institutions Black Hills State University, Western Dakota Tech, National American University and Chadron State College. Participants in the SD Mines CEO Program attend on-campus business plan training throughout the semester and receive assistance from the Small Business Development Center in preparing financial statements, as well as mentoring from local business leaders and SD Mines’ Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.

Teams who compete in the SD Mines CEO Program often take their business plans to compete statewide at the South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Awards. Mines students who have competed in the CEO Competition have gone on to win the Governor’s Giant Vision Award the last four years.

In the past, student business plans have ranged from an intelligent wheelchair and energy saving window films to guidance devices for the blind and subterranean salt caverns for natural gas storage.

CEO Competition sponsors include Ascent Innovation, Big D Oil, Golden West Technology and Internet Solutions, Regional Health, South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Darren Haar, Sioux Steel Company and West River Electric Association.



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 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. 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, and Snapchat.

Contact: Charles Michael Ray, 605-394-6082, Charles.Ray@sdsmt.edu