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Product Design Competition Announces Judges

Erie, PA, January 28, 2009 --( Organizers of InnovationErie: Design Competition released today the names of the independent panel of judges that will select the semi-finalists and finalists of the product design competition.

Jonathan D’Silva is a registered patent attorney with MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton, LLP. He is a member of the intellectual property practice group and has experience prosecuting patent, trademark and copyright applications, drafting agreements for the sale or licensing of intellectual property and enforcing intellectual property rights. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Buffalo School of Law.

Kurt Duska is president/owner of Engineered Plastics Inc. Kurt Duska Sales & Consulting and part-owner of Our Own Candle Company. He received his Bachelor of Science from Gannon University and has 25 years of experience in tooling, molding and assembly. He is a board member for the Mercyhurst College Institute for Ethics and Society and regional advisor for Northwest Savings Bank.

Dana Groemminger is an artist that has exhibited her work in over three dozen juried and invitational shows across the nation. Her career in academia includes teaching Ceramics and 3D Design at IUPUI Herron School of Art and Design, the University of Texas Pan-American and Dutchess Community College. Groemminger received her MFA from Edinboro University and is teaching there this spring. Her work has been featured in many publications including Ceramics: Art and Perception and Ceramics Monthly.

Deane Patterson is a partner at Decision Associates of Erie, a consulting firm specializing in strategy, marketing, succession planning, and organizational development. He has more than 20 years of business expertise that includes senior management and executive positions at Volvo Cars North American and London Taxis of North America.

Bob Smith is a development associate at RSB International, a design and development firm specializing in the practical application of design and engineering to produce appealing and innovative product opportunities. Smith has held positions at GE Plastics, The Dow Chemical Company and Erie Plastics.

David Wedzik is a 15- year entrepreneur and the founder and president of Alivan's, Inc., an Internet company specializing in direct to consumer retail sales. Alivan's, Inc. has had its products featured on The NBC Today Show, MTV, and Saturday Night Live and, still in its first six years of existence, has an average yearly sales volume of more than 1M. He is the Founder of three different profitable companies and is also a long-time professional real estate investor.

Mike Yurkewicz is a project engineer with the Plastics Technology Center, an outreach group for Penn State Erie - The Behrend College and an operating arm of the NWIRC. He received his Masters, Business Administration from Penn State University and is a founding member of SAM & ED. Yurkiewicz’s ideas have been patented and added value to others’ creations, resulting in increased marketability and profitability.

About InnovationErie
A collaborative effort among professionals in the science, art, manufacturing, engineering and design industries, InnovationErie: Design Competition is a product design competition allowing people in northwest Pennsylvania to showcase their product ideas, with the possibility of taking the them to the next level: the marketplace. The competition seeks ideas for products that can be manufactured in the Erie region.

One grand prize of $10,000 cash to be used for equipment and services to begin an art-based business at the StARTup Incubator, along with more than $7,000 in in-kind InnovationErie partner services, including services from the Penn State Erie, The Behrend College's Plastics Technology Center and the Northwest Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center will be awarded. The $10,000 cash prize is the result of a grant awarded to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. As an extra bonus, the grand prize winner will have their design submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office to apply for an official design patent. The submission of the application for the design patent is courtesy of Erie law firm MacDonald Illig Jones & Britton. One Best in Show Award (selected by the public during the exhibition) and three first place prizes will offered in-kind InnovationErie partner services.

Entries must be received by midnight March 2, 2009.

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 Erie - the Behrend College and the Plastics Technology Center at Penn State Behrend.

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

Contact Information
Tammy Roche

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