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Dulas, Willert win Idea Competition

Dylan Dulas and Kesmond Willert win Idea Competition
Dylan Dulas, left, and Kesmond Willert won the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Idea Competition, announced Wednesday afternoon at the Brookings Innovation Center at the Research Park at South Dakota State University.

South Dakota State University sophomores Dylan Dulas and Kesmond Willert won the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Idea Competition, announced Wednesday afternoon at the Brookings Innovation Center at the Research Park at South Dakota State University.

Dulas, who is majoring in civil engineering and is from Marshall, Minnesota, and Willert, a human biology/pre-chiropractic major from Brookings, won the non-STEM division for creating a portable duck blind. Their device, which is still in the prototype phase, can be seen on their YouTube channel, MinnDak Outdoors. It has also received funding from Dux Waterfowl Company.

“We were ice fishing and talking about how we had never seen anything like that,” Dulas said. “We took the sled-based style of an ice house and created a portable duck blind that can be used in field or slough hunts.”

Winning the STEM division were SDSU faculty members Qiquan Qiao and Khalid Emshadi.

The finalists for the competition were:

  • Non-STEM Division: First, Dylan Dulas and Kesmond Willert; Runner-up, Adam Walter; Honorable mention, Dwarika Bhattarai, Reilly Hoefker, Sara Johnson.
  • STEM Division: First, Qiquan Qiao and Khalid Emshadi; Runner-up, Brian Logue and Randy Jackson; Honorable mention, Nolan Peterson and Hunter Heirigs, Nik Medvedev.

Applicants were encouraged to submit an essay describing a business plan, explaining how the venture would work and the market demand. There were 40 applications.

The competition was sponsored by the SDSU Department of Economics and supported by the SDSU Division of Research and Economic Development.