IthacaSTEM Supports EDD Classes at IHS

Post date: Oct 10, 2014 1:47:18 PM

We wanted to share some information about a major project that IthacaSTEM is helping to facilitate at Ithaca High School with significant support from local business leaders. You can aid this effort by making a tax-deductible donation to fund student projects (see below).

The Engineering Design & Development senior year course at IHS is offered as part of Project Lead The Way (PLTW), an Associate member of IthacaSTEM Advocates. After developing a product design in the fall, students spend the rest of the year working in small groups building a prototype. Project costs in past years have ranged from minimal to several thousand dollars. This year, with instruction and mentoring from local business leaders, students will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to and request funding from a panel of judges in the format of a Business Plan Competition. IthacaSTEM’s president, Illa Burbank, has coordinated the following aspects of the Business Plan Competition.

First up, from October 6–10, the following local business professionals will be presenting to the EDD classes:

  • Monday: Brad Grainger (Cain Brothers Funding , ICSD BOE): Budgets and samples plans & pitches

  • Tuesday: Eric Eisenhut (Kensa Group, Prendismo): Brainstorming

  • Wednesday: Brad Treat (see below): Identifying needs, customer feedback

  • Thursday: Dan Cohen (CU lecturer, eLab Incubator): Business plans, market research

  • Friday: Tony Eisenhut (Kensa Group, Rheonix President): Pitches

The real meat of the Business Plan Competition takes place from October 20 to December 18, when student groups will be paired one-on-one with a mentor. Groups will define a problem statement, do market and product research, develop initial designs, and create a 3–5 page business plan and a “pitch”.


  • Aaron Proujansky: Greengage, LLC Venture Capital

  • Brad Treat: Mechanical Engineer, co-founder of SightSpeed, Entrepreurship at IC, Cornell

  • Brian Bauer: Chemical Engineer, Former BP Oil executive, current REV Hotspot mentor

  • Bruce Lane: Former COO of CBORD, co-owner of Purity Ice Cream

  • Chris Camadella: Design engineering, owner of Vroom Consulting, Inc.

  • Beth Mielbrecht, P.E.: Previous V.P. of M2 Race Systems, partner at Taitem Engineering

  • Illa Burbank: CFO Incodema Group, president IthacaSTEM

The final event of the Business Plan Competition comes on December 18th, with the Business Idea Challenge Night. Students will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in 5-minute presentations. Judges may award funding to groups to assist with creating their ideas. Criteria will be based on effort, research, and product viability.


  • Zach Shulman: Director of Entrepreneurship @ Cornell

  • Tim McCabe: TC3 Chair of Entrepreneurialsim Department

  • Barbara Howard: Assistant Dean of Business School, Ithaca College

  • Dr. Luvelle Brown: ICSD Superintendent

  • (TBD): Tompkins Trust Co. Commercial Lender

If you or any groups you’re associated with would like to support the Project Lead the Way EDD Business Plan Competition financially, tax-deductible donations can be made through IthacaSTEM.


Via IPEI (Enter the amount in the IthacaSTEM Advocates field, and then select Project Lead The Way from the IthacaSTEM Associates menu.)

Check by mail:

IPEI, PO Box 4268, Ithaca, NY, 14852-4268

(Please enter “IthacaSTEM-PLTW” in memo.)

Thanks for your interest and support of IthacaSTEM and IthacaSTEM Associates like Project Lead The Way!