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Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competition Winners Announced

As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards Program, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry President David Owen announced the top winner of the 2012 business competition and student business competitions during the GOED Conference banquet in Sioux Falls.

After a preliminary competition that reduced the field of applicants to 12 qualifying business and

12 qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with day-long judging activities Tuesday, April 10 at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls.  The awards were presented as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) banquet with Governor Dennis Daugaard presenting the top prizes in both competitions.  The following were selected as the 2012

Governor’s Giant Vision winners:


The first place $20,000 winner was Pro Mags LLC, Eric and Ron Hesla, Wakonda

Pro Mags is an innovative agricultural company redesigning the method of crop seed planting. Focusing on components of the standard row unit, our products enable the farmer to plant during or sooner after adverse weather conditions.  Our patented gauge wheels and radial scrapers prevent plugged row units and provide the ability to plant during the optimal time-window to achieve maximum yields.  Our products are engineered to work on all brands and models. Whether practicing full-till, conservation-till, or no-till farming, Pro Mags provides products that improve the planting process.

Second ($5,000):  J1 Insoles, Dr. Lorri Riley, Spearfish

Third ($4,000):  MVA Software, Michael Moser & Mike Vetter, Sioux Falls

Fourth ($3,000):  Syrical, Debra McCoy, Bridgewater

Fifth ($2,000):  Bar-Tek, Gary & Rob Horrocks, Dave Mettler & Chris Bartek, Harrisburg

The remaining qualifiers received $500 each to help with the expenses of participation.

Sponsors of the Giant Vision business program are Governor Dennis Daugaard; Avera McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls; Black Hills Power and Black Hills Corp., Rapid City; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd., Kimball; Dacotah Bank, Aberdeen; Daktronics, Inc., Brookings; Home Federal Bank, Sioux Falls; South Dakota EPSCoR, Brookings; Toshiba America, Mitchell; US Bank, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Rapid City; Wheeler Manufacturing, Lemmon, and Xcel Energy, Sioux Falls.

The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future while also expanding South Dakota’s economy.  We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the businesses participating.  While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts and rigor required to be a qualifier will prepare each entrepreneur to advance their business idea” said David Owen, President, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

2012 marked the fifth year of a college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota.  From the original applications, the top twelve were selected to compete April 10. The winner of the student competition was:


The first place $5,000 winner was Thomas M. Renner, Remote Grain Moisture Sensor Vermillion, USD

Our product opportunity is a remote sensor device that can read moisture levels and temperature of stored grain.  The sensor would be placed in a grain bin prior to filling it and from there a farmer can simply drive by and hit the sensor remote to get a reading of the moisture level and temperature of the grain.  We will also explore the possibility of providing farmers the opportunity to check their different grain bins through the use of a smart phone application that will link them directly to a desired bin with a unique pin number or name.

Second ($3,500):  Alexander Bachwich, Zephyr Luxury Coach Services, SDSM&T, Rapid City

Third ($2,500): Joel DeJongh, DeJongh Manufacturing, USD, Vermillion

Fourth ($2,000): Carlos Pasara, ASPAR Process & Technologies, LATI, Watertowns

The remaining qualifiers will receive $500 each to help with the expenses of participation. Governor Dennis Daugaard supported this program financially, along with Citibank of Sioux Falls, Ken Stork, President and CEO as the corporate sponsor.

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards and Governor’s Giant Vision Student Awards were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business.   The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream.

This South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry program is chaired by Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing in Lemmon.  Wheeler commented “We are fortunate to have successful entrepreneurs take time to be judges and really work hard to examine all of these new ideas.  This is an exciting day with high energy people working hard to share in the American dream.”

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business Competition is an annual event held in April.

The following is information on the competitors of the 2012 event.


Age Innovations Inc., Cory Geffre & Nathan Gellhaus, Aberdeen

Age Innovations, Inc. was founded by Cory Geffre and Nathan Gellhaus.  The company developed the product CareConfirm, which helps the 76 million baby boomers and long term care facility administrators better manage the care of aging spouses, parents, in-laws and relatives by giving them the ability to effortlessly track the quantity of care delivered as well as skill level of the care provider. Age Innovations currently has two other products in the early development stages, one of these products will help aging Americans stay in their own homes longer and the other product will help prevent and reduce bed sores.

Bar-Tek Inc., Gary and Robert Horrocks, Dave Mettler and Chris Bartek, Harrisburg

Bar-Tek is a mobile application that will raise the bar in the hospitality industry by technology integration, social media and mobile flexibility. Bar-Tek will benefit both patrons and businesses through its efficiency, reporting and entertainment applications.You will be able to place your order faster, streamlining the entire process, send a round to friends and provide a contest medium.  Our application offers the easy, fast and convenient way to see friends, rate establishments, make reservations and order. We are linking critical components together in an easy to use application that will revolutionize the industry and this is only phase one.

Find Your Crave, Adam Peterka, Sioux Falls

Find Your Crave will be a mobile application and website that allows customers to access food and drink specials offered by restaurants in a given location. We will provide the most up-to-date restaurant information including deals, specials, happy hours, new menu items, featured entrees, hours, locations, directions, phone numbers, and websites in one place to give consumers the convenience of finding their crave at the touch of a button. The application and website will be free to consumers.

Hole in the Wall  Manufacturing LLC, Larry Robins, Elkton

Whether designing a personal living space, commercial building open to the public, or an executive conference room, stunning beauty is your goal. But what about those ugly outlets, right there, ruining your luxurious design? They distract everyone from seeing your vision, especially when they are not being used. You could choose a fancy cover from the thousands available, but is that the look you are going for?  Of course not.  Introducing the future of outlet elegance, the Hideout.  Like magic; now you see them, when needed, now you don’t, when not in use. For more information go to

Humidity to Water LLC, Essam and Dawn Makram, Sioux Falls

With certainty, there is a growing need for pure drinkable water for everyone regardless of where one lives today.  We have a safe and inexpensive product that will produce pure drinkable water by extracting the humidity from the atmosphere.   H2W systems harvest fresh, great tasting water from the vapors in the air.  Most people have no idea how much water is readily available in earth’s atmosphere; there is over 3,100 cubic miles of water at any one time in our atmosphere. This creates a never-ending continuous supply of fresh water that is available and accessible almost everywhere in the world.

Malloy Labs, Ian Malloy, Dell Rapids

The US Government has released statements marking cyber criminals as terrorists, and that the threats of attacks against critical cyber-infrastructures are growing exponentially and carried out in increasingly sophisticated manners.  Our company aims to reprove the attacks through the use of advanced number theory, cryptography, transcendental functions and artificial intelligence. Malloy Labs’ work in cyber security will aid the United States by providing multiple agencies excellent protection from attacks.  Malloy Labs also does Research and Development in Robotics and Energy.  Out Energy Recovery System converts mechanical energy into usable kinetic energy and has applications in both robotics and automotives.

MVA Software LLC, Michael Moser and Mike Vetter, Sioux Falls

Backcountry Tracks is a new way to plan and experience backcountry trips. This web app gives the user a way to plan gear, pick a route, post a trip itinerary, and collaborate “Facebook” style. It is free to use and accessible through the web or mobile devices. Revenue is generated by displaying targeted ads on the site and recommending gear to users. There are more than 20 million potential users in the US who plan backcountry adventures each year, and many niches within this market, giving us a defined go to market strategy.

Rylo Inc (J1 Insoles), Lorri Riley, Spearfish

J1 Insoles are a medical grade insole made of a quality, plastic shell with a cushioned top cover. J1 Insoles come in two styles, flat and high/average.   J1 Insoles were designed by Dr. Lorri Riley, a podiatrist for over 20 years.   Currently they are made in Spearfish, SD. In the past, if a person had flat feet, they had to have prescription orthotics.  J1 Insoles for flat feet are a patent-pending, 3-point design.  80% of Dr. Riley’s patients are able to successfully use J1 insoles instead of prescription orthotics to relieve pain in their feet, legs, knees and/or back.

Syrical, Deb McCoy, Bridgewater

Syrical has been established to utilize a native, perennial plant, Common Milkweed, with such amazing qualities it was named for Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.  Native Americans have known Asclepias Syriaca’s medicinal qualities for a millennia and new research is being conducted exploring its varied potential uses.  Farmscaping, manipulation of the agricultural ecosystem, would be implemented by growing plants that attract the beneficial organisms that are nature’s pollinators, sowing cover crops and implementing improved protection of our environment by the reduction of chemical residues.  Syrical aspires to become an industry leader in milkweed floss and seed production.

V & W Strategic Partners, Ryan Van Zee and Bruce Watley, Sioux Falls

V&W Strategic Partners believe in bridging the gap between knowing the definition of an innovation and what an innovation looks like, we believe in helping people think differently. The way we bridge the gap is by making innovation training interactive, experiential, simple to use, and user friendly. Our product is called The Innovation Guide. This online, module based, innovation training curriculum is designed to teach a step-by-step process of how to create innovations from either a new idea or existing products or services, regardless of industry or personal innovation experience that results in increased sales, profits, and distinct competitive advantages.

Win/Give LLC, Josh DeWitt, Sioux Falls

Win|Give is socially responsible apparel company putting giving first. Born from social entrepreneurship, Win|Give combines the purchasing power of people to give back through education and food to those in need. By combining an interactive website, quality apparel, giving opportunities,  and  prize  giveaways,  Win|Give  provide  customers  with  a  unique  buying experience that gives them more for their purchases. When you shop at you are involved in a three-step process: Pick from a variety of great products, decide how you want to give back through education and food, and be involved in the Win|Givaways. At Win|Give, giving is our goal.

STUDENT COMPETITION QUALIFIERS Cairn Nanotechnologies, Braden Bills, Sioux Falls, SDSU

Cairn Nanotechnologies is developing protective eyewear lenses to have superior anti-fogging and water repellency properties. Currently available products can fog up in less than ideal conditions causing the protective eyewear to have to be removed in order to see, which leaves the eyes unprotected. Our process permanently textures the surface of the protective eyewear lens with nano-sized features to mimic nature’s unique ability to repel water. Our process will be used for treating military and civilian safety and sporting protective eyewear lenses. Cairn Nanotechnologies is an innovative company based in Brookings and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Concrete Mixture, Trevin Tetrault, Vermillion, USD

The product opportunity arises in this market due to advances in the chemical make-up of concrete, doubling its service life. This approach vastly increases the standard of concrete; the key is a nano-sized additive that slows down the penetration of chloride and sulfate ions from road salt, sea water, and soils that break down concrete. The current market for this product doesn’t have these technology capabilities, and is a substantially large market with high revenues and projected growth. Our product will double the service life of concrete reducing cost and increasing efficiency, using value and innovation for market entry.

ConPhones, Kody and Skyler McCollam, Brookings, SDSU

ConPhones is a new approach to personal audio headphones.  Currently headphones are uncomfortable, very hard to keep in while exercising, and are made with a one size fits all mentality.  The product we have created eliminates all of these problems by simply thinking outside the ear.  ConPhones are made to be placed in the outer ear canal instead of the inner ear. They have a large outer lining of memory foam, that when pressed in the outer ear, conforms to the ears’ shape.  The memory foam creates a secure custom fit that stays in place and is very comfortable.

De Jongh Manufacturing, Joel De Jongh, Vermillion, USD

De Jongh Manufacturing will produce a line of the highest quality, most efficient, and easiest to maintain vacuum excavators for the fast growing underground construction sector.  The flagship machine of the excavator line for DJ Manufacturing will be the 500X2.  It will be a truck and trailer mounted excavator.  It will increase productivity for its users and eliminate the downtime that occurs when typical excavators are absent because they need to be cleaned out or refilled. Smaller machines similar to the competitors’ machines will also be produced, but will be of much greater quality and will require less painful maintenance.

ePod –Entertainment Furniture, David Marty, Taylor Choudek and Chris Berke, Sioux Falls, SETI

Entertainment Furniture is a start-up that fuses consumer electronics with cutting edge furniture. The ePod (short for entertainment pod) is our flagship invention.  The user will be inside the ePod and have all of their games, movies and favorite websites in one place.  The ePod provides a better user experience because they are surrounded by their technology.  Equipped with Dolby Surround Sound, high definition projector or monitor, and a single touch control system, the ePod is the future of home entertainment.

Flame-Away, Kelsie Schmidt and Andrew Bork, Vermillion, USD

Flame-Away is a small business distributing revolutionary fire resistant clothing being started by Kelsie Schmidt and Andrew Bork.  Flame-Away is currently located at the University of South Dakota business school incubator. Current fire resistant clothing worn by the military and fire fighters contain chemicals that are unfriendly to the environment or that contain metals that in the field when exposed to excessive amounts of heat can drip, causing unnecessary harm or death to the wearer. Flame-Away plans to partner with an existing clothing manufacturer and patent holder to produce military and firefighter uniforms using a new patented treatment process.

HLPR Chair, Nick Peterson and Megan Tjeerdsma, Vermillion, USD

The HLPR chair is a medical device designed to assist caregivers in transporting patients as well as helping with rehabilitation.  With the unique capability to transfer a patient from a bed to a toilet, the HLPR chair provides a great benefit to the healthcare staff and patient.  This product is user-friendly and operated with a simple joystick that both nurses and patients can use.  This product offers a lift feature that safely lifts patients up to six feet, giving the patient full mobility. With the medical costs rising due to patient related injuries, the HLPR chair is truly a quality product.

Invinitech, Brian Swan, Vermillion, USD

Invinitech, Inc. is soon to be the leading company in military software technology while setting the standard for safety and tactic design.  With our FUSE System, officers will be able to track their platoons with individualized location tracking while keeping them safe from air to ground weaponry through direct satellite links to the weapon’s fuse.  Through this new technology, Invinitech's FUSE System will improve military tactic design while drastically decreasing ground force fratricide at an extremely affordable, yet profitable rate.

Renewable Energy Facility - ASPAR, Carlos Pasara, Watertown, LATI

ASPAR is a South Dakota company that converts garbage, agriculture waste, and cheese whey into energy and fuels.  This technology is a combination of state-of-the-art processes and technologies to produce without air pollution or water contaminated discharge to the river, hydrogen, methane, organic fertilizers, electricity, and biodiesel.  Each product can be sold in advance using only long term contracts. The commercialization of these products will support about 100 to 150 new jobs and more than 500 jobs in its network, and also generate millions of dollars in revenue for the State of South Dakota and for the capital investors.

SF Dining Delivery, Brandon Hillman, Sioux Falls, SDSU

SF Dining Delivery is the premier, affordable, and fast restaurant delivery service. SF Dining Delivery will be an “online restaurant” brought to you.  The website will consist of 15 to 20 local restaurants in the Sioux Falls area. will list the restaurants’ menus with the capability to order entrees.  Once the customer finds a meal they would like, they just simply click order now and enter their address.  The order will be transferred to SF Dining Delivery and sent to the restaurant.  We will then make arrangements for our driver to deliver the entrée to you.

Zephyr Luxury Coach Services, Alexander Bachwich, Rapid City, SDSM&T

Zephyr Luxury Coach Services will provide several daily scheduled connections between Rapid City and Sioux Falls and other cities throughout the region.  With a fleet of luxurious, all business-class vehicles, Zephyr will cater to business travelers by combining convenience, service, and dependability.  All Zephyr coaches will offer a comprehensive array of on-board services, including wireless internet, a conference room, an extensive food and beverage offering, 40”+ seat pitch, and a dedicated cabin attendant.  These services will allow passengers to become more productive and be comfortable while traveling, making Zephyr the first choice for business travelers across the region.


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