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December 06, 2012 | Tom Ballard

Engage My Family wins Chattanooga event

A company founded by a couple during a conversation two years ago won the annual “Y-12/Inventors Business Plan Competition” presented on Wednesday by The Enterprise Center in Chattanooga.

The company is named Engage My Family and was founded by Robert Chapman, a native of South Africa, and his wife. Through the use of technology, Engage My Family focuses on helping students in grades nine to 12 personalize a curriculum to achieve what they want to pursue as a career.

Chapman told those in attendance that “700,000 kids dropout of school every year,” and it costs society $3.2 million per dropout. Engage My Family is not directly focused on that problem, but rather a three-part strategy that should help.

The three elements are purpose, direction and pursuit – helping students determine their life purpose, enable the achievement of that purpose by drawing on curriculum from man institutions, and creating an “Engaged Career Team” which is the support family.

Chapman said the company is negotiating a technology license agreement with Vanderbilt University as well as pursuing Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

Engage My Family won over four other presentations. Those companies and their strategies were:

  • EDMS Pods, presented by Marco Perez that uses a Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) technology formerly known as the Rapid Deployment Shelter System and now referred to as the Easy Deployment Mobile Shelter Pad (EDMS). Perez cited the number of major natural disasters that occur each year, including the recent Hurricane Sandy. He envisions the EDMS units being staged in various locations and rapidly deployed to locations as needed. The one-button device can be fully opened in two minutes and offers 450 cubic feet of “rigid wall shelter and storage space.”
  • Eduity, presented by Greg Laudeman as a vehicle to provide a “just-in-time talent pipeline.” Laudeman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a former administration with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. His concept translates technology roadmapping into talent roadmapping to queue-up talent so that it is ready for opportunities when they emerge.
  • Personal Annunciation Device (PAD), another Y-12 technology presented by former Chattanooga Gig Tank participant Peter Conley. He said that he saw the combination radiation monitor and notification device when he visited Y-12. PAD is the first personal wireless device that is integrated into a safety-related nuclear accident alert system.
  • MDLightAide, a Chattanooga company that has created and is manufacturing “a disposable, portable, self-contained, photobiomodulation device.” As presented by co-founder Monica Dean, the company has two products – one for the cosmetic industry and another that is an anti-fungal treatment that is initially targeted for Central and South America while work continues to make the latter approved for use in this country. Her concept uses “photo therapy bandage” or, as she calls it, a “bionic Band-Aid” to treat wounds and infections.

Judges for the event were Jeremy Benton, Y-12 Commercialization and Partnerships Manager; Paul Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Advanced Catheter Therapy in Chattanooga; Kathryn Foster, Director of the Chattanooga Incubator; Kannon Grant, Director of Technology Commercialization at the University of Alabama at Huntsville; and Dillon Hunneycutt of BB&T Bank in Chattanooga.

The event was coordinated by Chris Daly, Director of Technology Development and Transfer at the Enterprise Center (EC). During the opening session, EC CEO Wayne Cropp talked about the “exciting times in Chattanooga.” He said there are “things happening in technology and entrepreneurship.”

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