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Eight teams of innovators pitch their sustainability ideas to Under Armour in new Corprenect challenge

Eight teams of innovators pitch their sustainability ideas to Under Armour in new Corprenect challenge


Eight teams of student, faculty and regional innovators pitched their sustainability ideas to both Under Armour and a live audience during the University of Maryland’s annual Innovate Maryland event on April 11 in College Park.

Through the pitch session, called the Under Armour Sustainability Challenge, University of Maryland researchers, students and faculty, along with regional entrepreneurs and innovators, were invited to submit ideas to improve Under Armour’s sustainability across its operations and products. Approximately 64 entries were submitted.

The challenge was held as part of the university’s Corprenect Program, which connects innovators and entrepreneurs with corporations in Maryland for technology development projects that drive innovation.

“At Under Armour, one of our values is ‘Think Beyond’,” said Michael Levine, Vice President, Sustainability and C.S.R. and Managing Counsel at Under Armour. “Working with UMD students and faculty, as well as emerging entrepreneurs, helps us harness the passion and enthusiasm of a unique group of people and business. These groups are committed to providing solutions to performance challenges that protect the people who invent, build and make our products and technologies--and by doing this, we can protect our collective house, this planet.”

The eight teams selected to pitch their ideas were:

  • Linda Castano, post-doctoral researcher, A. James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland: 3D-printed piezomaterials that harvest kinetic energy to power wearables

  • James Dolgin, local entrepreneur, DiPole Materials, Inc.: electro-spun yarn that generate electricity from mechanical force

  • Frank Yang, President and CEO, Liatris Inc.: highly recyclable, lightweight, low-cost polymer blend foams

  • Annie Fang, Computer Science major and Honors College Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, University of Maryland: box subscription service of returned merchandise

  • Liangbing Hu, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland, and Teng Li, Keystone Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland: sustainable, high-performance material to replace plastics

  • Charles Grody, Mechanical Engineering major and Honors College Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, University of Maryland: latch-activated flush mechanism to eliminate automatic phantom toilet flushing

  • Daniela Tizabi, graduate student, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES): sustainable, fossil fuel-free pigments derived from marine microbes

  • Robert Mroz, Founder and CEO, HY-TEK Bio: greenhouse gas emissions mitigation technology

Applications were solicited from the University of Maryland and regional entrepreneurship and innovation communities.

Company representatives from Under Armour attending the pitch session were: Michael Levine, Vice President, Sustainability and C.S.R. and Managing Counsel; Matthew Trexler, Director of Technology Validation; Lorin Hamlin, Senior Lead, Innovation Partnerships; and Jeremy Stangeland, Lead, Materials Laboratory.

The Under Armour Sustainability Challenge was the third cohort for the Corprenect Program. The first two included Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Corprenect is one of six projects to receive funding through the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) Incubation Challenge.

Corprenect partners include the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), a unit of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, along with the Bowie Business Innovation Center (Bowie BIC), Inncuvate Consulting LLC, the Prince George’s Community College Center for Entrepreneurial Development and Training, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

May 3, 2019


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