Grundfos hosted a first-ever U.S. competition in November to give business and engineering students the opportunity to design ground-breaking solutions for managing the world’s scarce water resources.
Grundfoshosted a first-ever U.S. competition in November to give business and
engineering students the opportunity to design ground-breaking solutions for
managing the world’s scarce water resources. The Grundfos Challenge took place
at the company’s facility in Olathe, Kan., while other regional events occurred
simultaneously at Grundfos facilities in Denmark and China.
Two business teams and two
engineering teams were chosen to represent the U.S. in a global competition in
Denmark, Grundfos’ home country, in March 2013 for a weeklong final competition
against their Chinese and Danish counterparts.
The winning engineering students wereCole
Minnickof the University of Kansas; andSteven
Nabelekof the University of Missouri.
The winners from the business tract wereEric
Gishewskiof Purdue University; andAndrew Holt,Sarah WhiteandAnna Juenemannof Rockhurst University.
The students competed against
teams from other universities to turn theoretical knowledge into a practical
business strategy that was supported by sound engineering schematics. Each team
developed a plan to reduce overall water consumption, decrease the energy
needed to transport and purify water, increase the reliability of water
networks, and shrink the cost of handling and using water.
“It was absolutely inspiring to
see the innovations that the students developed,” saidDennis
Wierzbicki, president of Grundfos USA. “They came here and truly
challenged us and the status quo.”
The teams were judged on
strategic focus and technical or business acumen by panels of internal and
external experts. Awards were presented by Wierzbicki andJes
Munk Hansen, president of Grundfos North America.
Participating schools include California State
University – Fresno, Purdue University, the University of Kansas, Kansas State
University, Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri. Originally a
competition for Danish educational institutions, the Grundfos Challenge took
the concept global this year with regional competitions in the United States
and China as well.
The Grundfos Challenge began in Bjerringbro,
Denmark, in 2006 to highlight the importance of cooperation between the
business community and educational institutions. After taking part in the
competition and receiving an introduction to Grundfos’ culture, many past
participants have gone on to continue their innovative work as permanent
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