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USI Business & Engineering Center - Evansville, Indiana

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For more info on upcoming
events & programs
visit your community's
new home on

By attending Startup Weekend Evansville 3.0, you will expand your entrepreneurial mindset.

The environment during a Startup Weekend is one of openness, collaboration, and education. It embodies the paradigm shift taking place in our education system today by emphasizing the power of collaborative, hands-on learning utilizing real problems and scenarios. All ideas are welcome and decisions are made democratically. No idea is considered unworthy and any team with passion and vision is encouraged to continue working after the weekend, regardless of judges’ feedback.

You will be immersed in autonomy - independent action by yourself or team aimed at bringing forth a business concept or vision and carrying it through to completion. Can you ‘pan out’ to see a compelling big vision for your business idea, then ‘zoom in’ and focus on near-term startup goals? Successful entrepreneurs can facilely move back and forth between these two views. They’re able to articulate the big picture, while simultaneously managing and executing to the ‘zoom-in’ picture.

Whether you’re a born extrovert or introvert, you’ll find yourself always selling. You’ll be selling your vision to prospective partners and funding sources. You’ll be selling prospective recruits on why they should join this startup they’ve never heard of.

Startup Weekend helps harness the raw power of creativity and human potential by empowering individuals and teams to build and validate the solutions to the opportunities and problems they see and feel every day. Through Startup Weekend people are able to pursue their passions and find the people they need to transform their vision into reality, while providing opportunities to learn how to succeed not only on a local level, but with the ability and potential to become a high-growth venture.

You will engage with creative, like-minded individuals by immersing in organic team development; you will capture the advantages of diversity. Idea variability depends on individuals whose views don't cluster around the mean. Play your part of enabling a large community of passion. Passion is a multiplier of human effort, but it can't be manufactured. It's present only when people get the chance to work on what they truly care about.

Whether you found a company, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn new skills far outside your comfort zone of thought and action, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the "shoes of change thinking", register now for the most unique 54-hours of your life!

View Startup Weekend Evansville 3.0 Video: 


Prize Package for SWE 3.0 provided by our generous Growth Alliance sponsor:

1 Scholarship to New Venture for 1 member of the winning team. (Value $1,000)

1 Year Free membership in Innovation Pointe co-working space to the team (not more than 3 persons). (Value $1,800)

1 Scholarship to New Venture for another participant to be selected by the Growth Alliance. (Value $1,000)

1 Year Free membership in Innovation Pointe co-working space to 1 person selected by the Growth Alliance. (Value $600)


The Venture Sharks business competition will give the winner of Startup Weekend Evansville 3.0 automatic entry into its preliminary business competition in Louisville in April.



Feb 21
  • Doors Open
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Kick off
  • Debbie Dewey (GAGE) announces prize package details
  • Pitches begin (60 seconds per person)
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams form and start working
  • Building Closes


Feb 22
  • Doors Open, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Business Model Canvas Demo
  • Teams Continue working / Coaches arrive
  • Lunch
  • Team check in
  • Dinner
  • Team check in
  • Building Closes


Feb 23
  • Doors Open, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Team check in
  • Lunch
  • Tech Check
  • Mayor Lloyd Winnecke
  • Dinner & Judging
  • Winners Announced
  • Awards & Wrapup
Platinum Sponsors

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke

Mayor of Evansville, IN

Gold Sponsors

Dr. Joe Trendowski

Assistant Professor of Management at U of E.

Jason Kellams

VP Operations & Business Development at ARC Industries

Kent Parker

Business Executive, Entrepreneur, Investor

Walter Valiant

Owner and President of Signarama Evansville

Walter Valiant is a long time small business owner and president of Signarama Evansville, a full service sign and graphics company operating in the Evansville, IN area since 1957.

Walter has served in the United States Army as a Russian linguist and attended Lockyear Business College studying Business Management and Accounting.

He was a Senior Business Systems Analyst at McDonnell Douglas and has headed the IT Department for a large national grocery store chain before moving back to Evansville to resume responsibilities in the family business.

He serves on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of Evansville, Right To Life of Southwestern Indiana and is a member of Evansville Morning Rotary Club.

Shance Sizemore

Program Manager G.A.G.E.

Silver Sponsors

Dr. Kevin Celuch

USI Faculty

Blair Chair of Business Science and a Professor of Marketing at the University of Southern Indiana. His teaching interests relate to entrepreneurship and marketing research and strategy. Research interests focus on entrepreneurial and consumer cognition and business-to-business relational strategies.

Dr. Jack Smothers

USI Faculty

Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Southern Indiana. Before working at USI, Jack obtained a Ph.D. in Management at the University of Mississippi, an MBA from the University of Tennessee at Martin, a BSBA from Union University, and worked in higher academic administration at Union University. His research interests include entrepreneurship, innovation, business history, leadership, personnel selection, and business education. Jack has published various peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, the Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and the Journal of Management History.

Drew Peyronnin

Executive Vice President

Drew Peyronnin is co-owner and executive vice president of Peyronnin Construction Company, Inc., a general construction, mechanical construction and construction management firm operating in the Evansville, IN area since 1947.

Drew has been an active Angel investor since 2005. In the past seven years he has completed due diligence on over 25 early stage companies and expects to have made eight investments in six companies through 2012. His investment focus is on near revenue Indiana companies in Life Sciences and Information Technologies.

He also is the organizer of the Evansville Tech on Tap meetup and has participated as a mentor, judge and speaker at several Indiana Startup Weekends.

Debbie Dewey

President of G.A.G.E.

Directors for Grow Southwest Indiana Workforce. Has been a small business owner and has worked as a business consultant for large corporations and angel investor groups developing strategic plans and new business plans for energy and transportation related businesses.

For 5 years, was President of Western Kentucky Energy, a non-regulated power generation subsidiary of LG&E Energy with three coal-fired power plants and over 500 employees. Prior to that, was recruited by GE with personal invitation from Jack Welch to become product General Manager of GE’s Large Electrical Generator business with annual sales of over $500 million. In addition to this role, assumed the role of General Manger for GE’s generator manufacturing operations in Schenectady, NY, leading a manufacturing workforce of over 1,100.

At Westinghouse Electric Corporation, held positions of increasing responsibility, from Turbine Design Engineer to Technical Field Service Manager to Manager of Strategic Planning for the Power Systems Business Unit. Has served on the Boards of the Western Kentucky Coal Association, the Western Kentucky Contractor’s Association, and Ohio Valley National Bank. Holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Central Florida.

Mark A. Harper, PhD

Intellectual Property Attorney

Mark Harper earned his B.S. and M.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and his Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering in 1992 from Ohio State University. He also received his Juris Doctor degree from Northern Illinois University (NIU) in 2005. During his studies at Ohio State, Mark was selected as a B.F. Goodrich Young Inventor and issued one patent for his graduate research. Following graduation he was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Before returning to school to pursue his law degree, Mark worked as a research engineer in the metals industry where his research interests included high temperature corrosion and alloy development. In addition, he served as principal investigator on two government funded alloy development programs, one involving a large collaboration between two universities and a national laboratory. Mark has over thirty publications and one patent in the material science field.

Mark is a shareholder at Gifford Krass -- an intellectual property law firm -- and his clients range from individuals to start-ups to Fortune 500 companies in a variety of technical fields such a materials, mechanical, chemical and medical devices. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the State Courts of Michigan, and the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Dr. Gongjun Yan

USI Faculty

Gongjun Yan, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at University of Southern Indiana, Romain College of Business. He has worked for years in the areas of smart phone design/development, Internet technologies, Business Intelligence, and Machine Learning. He has published Android games currently on the market and is co-owner of a machining/prototyping plant in China.

David Hill

Content and Community Manager, Singularity University

David Hill is content and community manager for Singularity University, a Silicon Valley-based institution focused on utilizing emerging, disruptive technologies to solve humanity's grand challenges. As a sci/tech writer for Singularity Hub. he also brings a broad background in technology, education, and publishing industries to deliver high-quality articles that provide perspective and insights into the rapid advances transforming the world. He is actively engaged in empowering regional entrepreneurs and developing an innovation ecosystem in Southwestern Indiana.

Serina Kelly

Owner: Relevate

Business owner for five years, marketing experience (relationship marketing specifically – keeping in touch with your database), Indianapolis connections in the start-up world (Verge, Centric, PitchFeast, attorneys)

Andrew Epperson

Director of Web Services, Lieberman Technologies   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Andrew has over 12 years of experience in designing and developing websites, web-based applications, and Apps for business and personal consumption. As a Director of Web Services, he works with our clients to deliver project management and business strategy concepts in the online arena. Throughout his experiences, Andrew has developed specific expertise in WordPress development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Responsive Web Design, website hosting, cross browser compatibility, and Social Media / Content Marketing. Andrew's technical skill set includes: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Mobile, Responsive, WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PHP, ASP, ASP.Net, jQuery, CMS, Photoshop, Illustrator.

Andrew is a graduate from the University of Evansville, a founding member of the Social Media Club of Evansville, and is a volunteer web administrator for several community and non-profit organizations.

Andrew is considered one of the leading local experts on Search Engine Optimization, and analytical measurement of website effectiveness. He has conducted presentations and workshops on website development, search engine optimization, and social media and for organizations like:

* Social Media Club of Evansville
* The Chamber of Commerce of Southwestern Indiana
* Evansville area Technology clubs (i.e. GETIT)
* University of Evansville
* Kiwanis

Rick Culiver

Director of Business Development, Lieberman Technologies   |   LinkedIn

Prior to joining Lieberman, Rick held positions in technical sales, voice and data solutions management. As an account manager for Southwestern Bell Communications and Matrix Integration, he designed complex solutions and collaborated with clients on a wide array of IT solutions to fit their needs. He has extensive professional experience in providing technical solutions and a strong reputation of quality service.

Rick’s broad technical expertise, with an eye for detail and follow up, make him an excellent solutions consultant.

Zac Parsons

Digital Marketing Architect, Lieberman Technologies   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Zac Parsons serves as the Digital Marketing Architect for Lieberman Technologies. Professionally, Zac has worked in sales, training, and educational settings, having earned his master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University in 2011. By combining his educational background and his experience in social media engagement, Zac works with clients to create a blueprint for their digital marketing strategy.

With his psychological approach to digital technology, Zac offers a unique perspective on how people behave with and respond to the digital tools of today. His analysis of websites and social media profiles focuses on user experience (UX), and how to optimize that experience in light of a client’s overall business goals. Zac is a big believer in the importance of metrics and analytics to illustrate the engagement level that a website or social media channel generates.

Sherry Wright

CEO at Sherry Wright   |   LinkedIn

Entrepreneur, registered nurse, mom, community advocate, Sherry is a master of self-reinvention, and has had successful careers in healthcare, leadership and sales. Her tenure with a major direct selling company resulted in her rank of #1 in personal sales volume and leader development. Her true passion is guiding her clients to live a life of fun, focus, fulfillment and freedom. She holds a bachelors degree in nursing and a coaching certificate at the Mastery level from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching.

Robert W. Scales

President of Max Productivity, Inc.

Bob is founder and President of Max Productivity, Inc., a company dedicated to helping businesses achieve break-through performance. He has over 37 years experience in the Manufacturing Industry most recently as Director of Manufacturing Operations at the Whirlpool Corporation Evansville Indiana Plant. He was responsible for 1500 hourly and 120 salaried employees in Engineering, Maintenance and Material Control. Bob also worked at the Fort Smith Arkansas Whirlpool Plant as Director of Operations and Director of Design Technology. Prior to his director roles he held positions as Manager of Design Technology, Manager of Midline Refrigerator and Manager of Tool & Process Engineering.

Bob serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, is an Advisory Board Member for Banterra Bank, is a member of GAGE’s Technology Transfer Committee and volunteers as an area coordinator for Community One.

Media Sponsors
Dana M. Nelson
Bryan K. Bourdeau
Doug Briody
Janet Laane Effron
Andrew Heil
Mark Elliott

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