The 'Shark Tank' panel from
left to right: Jim Zaiser, Debbie Seeger, Dawn Tabat
and Suzanne Kelley.
WAUKESHA - The
nonprofit GPS Education Partners recently hosted its annual product
launch competition for high school students, based on the TV show,
from GPS Education Partners played the roles of inventor and
entrepreneur Thursday as they faced a panel of six local business
“sharks” in the board room of Generac Power Systems in Waukesha.
Three teams were
challenged to use knowledge and skills gained by working alongside
business mentors to create an original product and pitch it to the
board. Each shark had $1 million of imaginary money to invest,
totaling $6 million.
Team Chill Grill,
comprising Andreas Rauch of Palmyra and Emmanuel Buck from
Mukwonago, led the competition by attracting $2.45 million. The team
invented a grill that doubles as a cooler and includes a stereo
system, bottle opener, faucet and LED lights, among other features.
Andreas Rauch sells his winning product, the Chill Grill, to
the panel of 'sharks.'
from Mukwonago and Greg Wulf of East Troy represented Team Snapflex.
Their product raised $2.3 million and came in second place. They
created a cellphone case with multiple attachable modules, including
an outdoor utility tool, wallet, reserve battery, and golf tools.
had three members: Kole Bailey from Eagle, Skyler Kron from North
Prairie and Michael Furman of East Troy. They invented a convertible
shoe that transforms into 12 different pairs of women’s shoes and
boots, and features accessories such as flowers and ribbons. Team
Meta-Morphis came in third with $1.25 million.
The panel included
Terry Dolan, executive vice president of global industrial products
at Generac; Jim Zaiser, president at Hydro-Thermal Corp., Waukesha;
Debbie Seeger, co-founder and senior vice president of Patina
Solutions Group, Brookfield; Dawn Tabat, executive vice president of
community and external relations at Generac; Suzanne Kelley,
president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance; and Clement
Fang, senior vice president of marketing at Generac.
Launch Competition is an authentic assignment that creates an
engaging learning experience for students,” teacher Stephanie
Gilmore said. “With the support of mentors from various professional
backgrounds, students cover a variety of content areas with an
opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned by pitching their
product concept and business plan to executives from local
businesses and organizations.”
The product launch
competition aims to prepare high school juniors and seniors for
continued education, meaningful careers and productive lives.