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Winners announced in first Entrepreneurs of Erath business competition
Entrepreneurs of Erath Winners Announced Winners of the first Entrepreneurs of Erath business plan competition were announced during an awards luncheon on the campus of Tarleton State University on May 12. Pictured (l-r) are College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Barbara Nemecek, contest judge Barbara Terrell, SBDC director Randy Burch, 1st prize winners April and Colin Thomson (WHRL Solutions), 2nd prize winners Clayton Meurer and Leslie Wood (AJT Compliance LLC), 3rd prize winner Lisa Pack (Texas Twister Cheer & Tumbling), judges Brad Allen and John Moore, and Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Dublin-based WHRL Solutions took the top prize in the first-ever Entrepreneurs of Erath business plan competition during an awards luncheon hosted on the campus of Tarleton State University on Tuesday.

The local business was among three winning companies awarded cash prizes of $45,000, with another $27,000 awarded in free professional services. Winners were chosen based on their business plans, and the prizes are intended to assist in growing the businesses for the economic benefit of Erath County.

WHRL Solutions, owned and operated by April and Colin Thomson, received a $25,000 cash prize and additional in-kind services to aid the business. The company has developed a patent-pending technology that captures heat energy from dairy cattle’s milk and returns the energy in the form of significant quantities of hot water. The WHRLflo™ system recovers heat energy normally released into the atmosphere and transfers it into hot water, saving dairy producers time and money.

AJT Compliance, a transportation service company that aids firms in complying with regulatory agencies for the transportation and pipeline industries, was awarded second place, $15,000 in cash with additional service prizes. AJT Compliance has created a training and web application that is designed to take a driver from the pre-employment phase to maintaining all records during employment and storing the information for the required post-employment period.

Earning third place—$5,000 cash plus in-kind services—is Texas Twisters, a Stephenville-based facility that offers coaching and training in cheer, trampoline, tumbling and gymnastics. Texas Twisters’ services also include camps, general and fitness classes, and competitive cheer and gymnastics teams for more advanced athletes.

Entrepreneurs of Erath (EOErath) is a program designed to help entrepreneurs launch or expand a business in Erath County. The business plan competition and prize monies are intended to serve as a catalyst to develop a new business or expand an existing business.

Sponsored by Tarleton’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and College of Business Administration, the city of Stephenville and the Stephenville Economic Development Corporation (STEDCO), the first-ever business plan competition was created to foster entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation in the greater Erath County area.

A total of 28 entries began the competition. Twelve semifinalists were selected by a panel of local entrepreneurs and, from this group, seven finalists were named on April 24. Finalists were required to give oral presentations as the final step in the journey toward cash prizes and the additional $27,000 of in-kind services.

Other finalists attending the awards luncheon were: Pathways Early Autism Intervention, AA Conversions, EasyFinder Phone & Remote Locator and DmC Design.

In addition to the seven finalists, the semifinalists were: More-Ganics, Soup & More/Goin’ Nuts, Real Deal Rodeo, DFW HR Services LLC and Ingenuity Medical Design LLC.

The program targeted entrepreneurs who are launching or expanding a business in Erath County by helping them prepare a solid business plan, which integrated creativity and innovation. In the first round, entrants submitted an executive summary of their business plan, and an overview of the important facts and concepts.

The formal business plan was presented in the second stage of competition to demonstrate the company overview, management/owners, any products and/or services, target market, strategy and implementation, and financials. From this group, judges chose the finalists who presented oral reviews of their business plan on May 1.

Judges for the inaugural competition were:
• Barbara Terrell, active in volunteerism in Stephenville for the past 50 years. She was the first woman president of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, owned two retail businesses on the downtown square for 20 years, served on the Planning and Zoning committee of the city for 25 years and on the City Council for three terms.

• Joe Huddleston, senior vice president of AgTexas Farm Credit Services where he oversees the association’s capital markets and participation lending portfolio. He is active in the community with membership in Optimist Club, Chamber of Commerce, Tarleton Texan Club, on the board of Texas Health Resources and as an adjunct faculty member of Tarleton State University.

• John Moore, the vice president of Craft Association, a manufacturers’ representative covering a three-state area for 12 companies who participate in the forging, casting and fabrication of high quality precision gearing and machining sectors. He is retired from FMC Technologies as operations manager of the Stephenville Fluid Control facility for 21 years.

• Brad Allen, co-founder of Rock House, Inc., a Texas healthcare corporation delivering services to developmentally disabled persons in eight Texas communities. He and his wife have owned and operated the A+ Cattle Ranch since 1979 and were named Stephenville Chamber of Commerce’s Agricultural Co-Entrepreneurs of the Year.

More details about the contest can be found at www.EoErath.com. To learn more about Tarleton’s Small Business Development Center, contact Randy Burch at 817-573-7681 or visit www.tsusbdc.org.

Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.

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Contact: Kurt Mogonye
254-968-9460
mogonye@tarleton.edu

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Entrepreneurs of Erath Winners Announced

Winners of the first Entrepreneurs of Erath business plan competition were announced during an awards luncheon on the campus of Tarleton State University on May 12. Pictured (l-r) are College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Barbara Nemecek, contest judge Barbara Terrell, SBDC director Randy Burch, 1st prize winners April and Colin Thomson (WHRL Solutions), 2nd prize winners Clayton Meurer and Leslie Wood (AJT Compliance LLC), 3rd prize winner Lisa Pack (Texas Twister Cheer & Tumbling), judges Brad Allen and John Moore, and Tarleton President F. Dominic Dottavio.