Community Collaborative Launches Product Design Competition

Erie, PA, October 09, 2008 --( A collaborative effort among professionals in the science, art, manufacturing, engineering and design industries has spurred the launch of a northwest Pennsylvania product design competition. The competition was kicked off today at a press conference at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

The contest – InnovationErie: Design Competition - allows people in northwest Pennsylvania to showcase their product ideas, with the possibility of taking them to the next level—the marketplace. The competition seeks ideas for products that can be manufactured in the Erie region.

InnovationErie is the creation of “SAM & ED” (Science, Art, Manufacturing, Engineering, Design), a regional, voluntary unincorporated collaborative that serves as a catalyst for interdisciplinary initiatives. The contest was created to share the committee with the public, celebrate these unknown ideas unique to the community, and bring together the creative and business communities in the pursuit of shared, economic goals for the region.

“People are inventing the future everyday, and some of them are in northwest Pennsylvania. We are offering people an opportunity to develop their great idea into a marketable product,” said Gerry Schneggenburger, member of SAM & ED and Innovation Specialist for Penn State Behrend.

According to Schneggenburger, the proposed product design must be able to be held in one hand, have utility, have aesthetic consideration, be original and be able to be manufactured in the Erie region. All eligible submissions will be judged and ranked by an independent panel of judges comprised of qualified business and design experts.

Applications will be juried and semi-finalists’ entries will be exhibited for public display at the Erie Art Museum from May 8 through June 27, 2009.

“One grand prize of $1,000 cash, along with more than $7,000 in-kind InnovationErie partner services, including services from the Penn State Behrend Plastics Technology Center and the Northwest Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center will be awarded. The Best in Show Award (selected by the public during the exhibition) and three first place prizes will be offered in-kind InnovationErie partner services. Even the semifinalists ‘win’, since the exhibit opens the contest up for the public to weigh in on those entries. It’s not unlike a focus group, since this event can install confidence in a given idea’s future acceptance as well as hint at what considerations might add appeal in the marketplace,” said Mike Yurkewicz, SAM & ED member and project engineer for the Plastics Technology Center at Penn State Behrend.

Competiton partners include the Northwest Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, STARTUP Incubator, Edinboro University, Northwestern and Erie Keystone Innovation Zones, MacDonald Illig Jones & Britton, Knox, McLaughlin, Gornall & Sennett, eBizITPA, Erie Times-News,, Erie Art Museum, Penn State Behrend and the Plastics Technology Center at Penn State Behrend. Without their support, this contest would not have been possible.

For an application and contest prospectus, visit online at or call the Erie Art Museum at (814) 459-5477.

Tammy Roche