SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University finished second among seven teams in its 10th annual Innovation Encounter competition, in which students solve real-world engineering and business problems for a corporate client.

This year, Eaton Corp. provided the business problem to be tackled for the competition.

The University of Toledo finished first in the event, while one of three teams sent by the University of Michigan-Dearborn finished third. Other universities participating were Rowan University and Ohio Northern University. Participants are pictured above.

Members of the LTU Innovation Encounter team discuss the problem submitted by Eaton Corp. (LTU photo / Kimberly Henderson)

“Our team offered a thoughtful and innovative solution to the real-world problem posed by our wonderful corporate sponsor, Eaton Corporation,” said Heidi Morano, director of LTU’s entrepreneurial engineering design curriculum. “It was a wonderful event and we are extremely proud of our LTU team.”

The event also included a four-hour creativity and innovation workshop presented by LTU mechanical engineering professor Andrew Gerhart.

“This is an outstanding event,” said Larry Bennett, director, Vehicle Technologies and Innovation, Vehicle Group, Eaton. “The students receive training and experience being innovators on real problems. The sponsor gets a diverse look at potential solutions and a peek at bright and talented students who will be graduating in the coming years. LTU’s innovation focus in its engineering curriculum really addresses a need in business today.”

Innovation Encounter was founded by LTU Professor Don Reimer, who noted that “What started out as an idea has now become an event that is recognized nationally as a truly unique learning experience for students. I am so proud of the impact Innovation Encounter has had on students and industry sponsors.”

Prior years’ sponsors have included Ford Motor Co., Visteon Corp., Dürr Systems Inc., Masco Corp., Faurecia North America, Reverie, Leon Speakers Inc., ElringKlinger Automotive Manufacturing Inc., and Carhartt Inc. For more information on becoming a sponsor of a future Innovation Encounter, contact Ross Sanders at [email protected] or 248.204.2221. Colleges and universities interested in fielding teams to participate in future Innovation Encounter events should contact Morano at [email protected] or visit

Innovation Encounter participants listen to a presentation on innovation by LTU Professor Andrew Gerhart. (LTU photo / Kimberly Henderson)

This story was published by Technology Century.