Erie Hack 2021: Meet Our Finalists!

November 9, 2021

Photo by Kevin Bluer on Unsplash.

Since 2017, Erie Hack has cultivated and accelerated exciting ideas, forged lasting partnerships, and driven the conversation around the value of our precious freshwater resource. It has fortified a powerful innovation ecosystem throughout the Lake Erie Basin that promises ecological and economic advancement for all of our communities.

Now, after months of meetups, hacking days, and virtual pitching events across our region, we are excited to have reached the final round of the third iteration of Erie Hack where six teams remain!

Keep reading to learn more about their innovative solutions for our Great Lake’s biggest challenges around issues like surface water quality, infrastructure, and community water resources.

Representing Detroit

Team Life Magnetics consists of members Kevin Hagedorn and Kayla Wells and has developed a RNA shipping, storage, and manufacturing process based on a laser-generated carbon to enhance remote testing for RNA analytes and improve synthetic RNA manufacturing.

Representing Cleveland

John Higley, Marité Ball, Gary Andersen, and Erika Schwarz Taylor make up Team RNA Power. Their novel RNA technologies capture and preserve genetic materials of live organisms in aquatic systems so they can be analyzed to detect toxicity levels earlier than legacy technologies.

“It's exciting to see so many teams come together offering innovative solutions to ongoing issues within Lake Erie. Not only is it fun to see all of the ideas offered up, but it's also fun to bring our solution for aquatic monitoring to the table as part of this large offering,” said Erika Schwartz Taylor.

TeamAgri-Tech Ohio is constituted by Joe James and Jomin Thomas. They are using a patented Combined Remediation Biomass and Bio-Product Production (CRBBP) process to plant special bio-crops to cost-effectively capture large amounts of CO2 and remediate air, soil, and water, ultimately contributing to the circular economy by creating bio-products from the harvested material.  

Representing Buffalo

Team Blue Lion Labs, consisting of members Jason Deglint, Katie Thomas, Hamid Aghamohammadi, and Mahla Poudineh form, are using a microfluidic chip for toxin detection.

“Water is coming to the forefront of society as it becomes increasingly contaminated and/or scarce. Within the water space, innovation is needed to improve the quality of the water we do have and improve the sustainability of our water use,” said Katie Thomas.

Representing Toledo

Team Curbing Sediment consists of members Halina Steiner, Ryan Winston, and Alec Grimm. This team is working to redesign our curb, gutter, and apron systems to perform as a magnet, to bring about small scale changes of design standards that will have regional impacts and communicate relationships that exist between our cities and their environments.

“Erie hack is a great platform to showcase local innovations and it provides fantastic opportunities to young students, professionals, small businesses, and local academia all to come together and create something beautiful,” said Sakib Pathan.

John Gradek, Steve Chamberland, and Bob Sopko make up Team Water Warriors. Their Poseidon pellets absorb phosphorus and ammonia from water upon contact and can be used as a slow-release fertilizer, returning the valuable nutrients back to the land.

Cleveland Water Alliance is proud to host Finals on Thursday, November 18 at 2:00 p.m. ET., where our six finalists will compete for $45,000 of funding and support services to develop their innovation and further their impact. This virtual pitch event will be emceed by a local fan of Lake Erie and familiar voice: Cleveland Monsters’s broadcaster, Tony Brown. Who will win it all? Register today to find out!

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