Great Music, Ideas and Laughs Highlight Judson Shark Tank Event, Winners Create Storage Device to Organize Earbuds | Judson University Christian College
Great Music, Ideas and Laughs Highlight Judson Shark Tank Event, Winners Create Storage Device to Organize Earbuds

Shark Tank Winners - Creighton North  and Ryan Faulkner(ELGIN, IL – November 17, 2017) Judson University’s fourth Judson Shark Tank event was packed with great music, great ideas and a few good laughs to boot.

Emceed by members of the Judson Improv team (John “Davis” Hitch and Charles Kirby) and watched by more than 200 students and guests, the two-hour event included five student competitor groups that courageously took to the Herrick Chapel stage and pitched their ideas in front of hard-nosed judges representing various facets of business.

The judges included Architecture student John Ashworth, who won last year’s Shark Tank competition for his Custom Cubes pitch; Carol Gieske, president and CEO of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce; Sergio Rodriguez, vice president of Information Technology and Marketing for KCT Credit Union; returning judge Ray Stachowiak, a venture capitalist and founder and former CEO of Shared Imaging; and returning judge Lisa Waller, vice president and co-owner of BDG International, Inc.

In the end, it was seniors Creighton North of Ferrisburg, Vt., and Ryan Faulkner of Montrose, Pa., who won the $1,000 first-place prize and the $100 Fan Favorite prize for their “Earbuddi” idea. The “Earbuddi” is a storage device for earbuds. One side of it adheres to a cellphone and can hold an iPhone adaptor. When the storage lid is closed, earphone cords can be wrapped around it for easy storage.

Like the other contestants, this duo was prodded and probed by the judges, who wanted to know how they might mass produce their product and how could they bring down the cost for companies who might want to buy in bulk. The Architecture majors and best friends stood their ground, calmly presented their data and even brought a few prototypes of the product to the event.

“We’ve been working hard on this for half a semester, and it feels great to have that come to fruition,” Ryan Faulkner said of nabbing the top prize. “It feels amazing.”

Neither guy knows for sure what he will do with the money, but really, they both say school comes first. And as Architecture majors, their sights are set on moving to an apartment and landing internships before graduate school. As for the Earbuddi, they say, “It’s an idea. We’re not sure where we will begin.”

JU Shark Tank Prize WinnersThe other winners of the night included junior Sarah Kay of Barrington Hills, Ill., who won the $500 second-place prize for her boutique tea shop idea, "The Tea Leafe." Junior Jean-Marc Plantin of Brockton, Mass., took home third-place honors and $250 for his leasing app idea, "Rent-N-Roll."

The night’s contestants also included freshman Kenjrick Watson of Worth, Ill., and his "Security Code Washers and Dryers" idea and sophomore Jaqueline Sosa of Rockford, Ill., and her idea for the dating app, "D8M8."

This year’s Judson Shark Tank had the added bonus of musical performances by student recording artist Kenny Hass during the pre-show and Tiger Khokunthod, Daniel Flage and Lindsey Mellema during halftime. Worship Arts student and Citizen Way protégé Daniel Olsson closed out the event.

“The event successfully highlighted the gifting of several of our students, not just the competitors. It is our hope that all the students see the potential of turning their passion into possibility,” said Traditional Business Program Chair Dr. Michelle Kilbourne, who co-chaired the Judson Shark Tank event with Business Professor Dr. Joyce Shotick.

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