Winners will travel to Denmark for global competition in March 2013
A global leader in high-efficiency water technology, Grundfos will host a first-ever U.S. competition to give business and engineering students the opportunity to design ground-breaking solutions to a real-life water management case. The Grundfos Challenge will take place Nov. 15 and 16 at the company’s facility in Olathe, Kan. Other regional events will take place simultaneously at Grundfos facilities in Denmark and China.
Students participating in the Grundfos Challenge will have the chance to pioneer one of the last frontiers of energy efficiency: water. They will compete against teams from other universities to turn theoretical knowledge into a practical business strategy that is supported by sound engineering schematics. A test of talent, ingenuity and teamwork, the Challenge will provide participants with an important platform for innovation.
“We are incredibly excited to bring the Grundfos Challenge to the U.S. this year,” said Dennis Wierzbicki, president of Grundfos USA. “Last summer’s brutal drought highlighted the need for innovation in the water industry. Our goal with the Challenge is to help these students understand the vital role they can play in developing solutions for a changing world.”
Teams will be judged on strategic focus and technical or business acumen by panels of internal and external experts. Awards will be presented by Wierzbicki and Jes Munk Hansen, president of Grundfos North America. They will announce which 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 the winning Chinese and Danish teams.
“The Challenge was one of the most stressful yet rewarding weeks of my life,” said Chris Snyder, a former Challenge participant who is now an innovation engineer at Grundfos’ North American headquarters. “It was educational not only in terms of learning a business segment and conceptualizing practices, but I also discovered a company that lives its values and allocates resources to realize a more sustainable future.”
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 U.S. and China as well.
The 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 employees.