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Trash talking wins top honors in business-plan competition at JMU

The first-place team at the 2009 James Madison University COB 300 Business Plan Competition took the top prize by talking trash. The Pyrefuse Inc. team presented a plan for turning municipal solid waste into electrical energy at the April 4 competition. For their winning business plan, the team received more than $5,000 in scholarships. The team also won the Accenture Best Idea award.

JMU’s College of Business presented $26,000 in scholarships to five teams, including five individual MVP awards. The competition recognized the best business plans produced in the COB’s 12-credit course that integrates four business disciplines: management, operations, finance and marketing.

Judges weeded through 140 plans prior to the weekend competition. The plans were produced as class projects by teams. The five finalist teams presented their plans to judges Saturday.

Second place went to a team that proposed Greencastle Geothermal; Luau Lagoon won third place; Connected Software won fourth; and Dirty Paws Mobile grooming won fifth place.

MVP awards were presented to Pete Tkachuk, Gina Martellacci, Andrea Bustamante, Alana Dagher and Erik Magnusson.

“There are no losers in today’s competition,” Don Rainey, founder and organizer of the competition, told the group.

Rainey is a general partner at Grotech Capital Group, a venture company that focuses on early stage information technology companies. Rainey said all of the plans presented at Saturday’s competition were of the highest quality and worthy of first place. He also stated that the presentations all equaled or exceeded what he sees in the marketplace on a daily basis.

Rainey was formerly an entrepreneur who started several successful businesses and is a strong supporter of the COB’s efforts to teach students the dynamics of business in an integrated setting. The formation of the plans helps students learn to work in teams and build strong interpersonal skills.

Rainey is a member of the CoB’s Executive Advisory Council, a group of highly successful business executives. The EAC is a co-sponsor of the CoB competition.