Business Watch: Check out everything happening downtown, throughout the city

I’m proud to be part of another successful downtown Topeka section this year that took a dive into what’s happening in the city’s core. Additional business stories are found on this page, but also will be in the newspaper this week.

 

As a business reporter, I’m happy to see new business in other Topeka areas too. I live out north and am unreasonably excited about the new IHOP planned there. I also hear another restaurant might find its way to that part of town. You’ll know as soon as I do.

I spent a little over a week filling in for Tim Carpenter covering the Legislature. I walked away from the experience impressed with what he and other statehouse reporters do on a regular basis. I enjoyed the opportunity and embraced a few mistakes, including getting a title wrong for one of our Topeka legislative leaders. I hadn’t felt like a newbie on a beat in years.

It’s good to be humbled, right? Although I have yet to top the error where I placed Topeka west of the Rockies. Thank goodness.

K-State program invites public vote

Eleven business startups in Kansas State University’s Launch a Business program will compete for prizes, including crowd favorite, at the program’s Launch Party at 5 p.m. June 29.

The Launch a Business program is sponsored by KS State Bank and the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship. The program has provided the startups with much-needed resources, including faculty-led courses, hands-on student research teams and access to the university’s world-class alumni mentor network.

At the party, attendees will learn more about the Kansas-based startups vying for prizes.

“It has been a pleasure to work with these passionate entrepreneurs and their inspiring concepts. Each will leave with new knowledge and connections to help them succeed in their venture,” said Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration. “We couldn’t be happier with the outpouring of support from our alumni and friends for these entrepreneurs and this program.”

The following 11 startups are taking part in the 2017 Launch a Business program: Rev-E3, Beloit; Double L Manufacturing, Clay Center; Flint Hills Lavender Farm, Council Grove; Heartland Heritage, Derby; Bridges, Manhattan; Pinnacle Performance, Manhattan; Pip’s Bake Shoppe, Manhattan; Precision Microwave, Manhattan; Embruon, Salina; MperVus, Shawnee; and Print3 Technologies, Shawnee.

More information on the Launch a Business program and the entrepreneurs is available at k-state.edu/lab.

Performance Tire donates $1,260

Performance Tire &Wheel presented a check for $1,260 to Family Service &Guidance Center on June 13.

During Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Performance made a $10 donation to FSGC for every set of tires they sold. The locally owned tire dealer sold 126 sets of tires last month.

“We’re very excited to be able to make this donation to benefit the thousands of kids and families FSGC serves,” said Justin Glasgow, president of Performance Tire &Wheel. “The organization does amazing work, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

“Our need has never been greater, and their gift will make a positive impact on the lives of children and families,” said Brenda Mills, CEO of Family Service &Guidance Center.

K-State engineers receive $400,000

The triboelectric effect, a phenomenon where a material becomes electrically charged after it contacts a different material through friction, has been understood since ancient times. Two Kansas State University engineers are seeking a way to harvest the energy from this effect when produced by mechanical contact between dissimilar surfaces.

With the world’s increasing demand for energy, harvesting of this buildup of electrical charge may hold an opportunity for generation of electricity, a K-State news release said.

Using supercomputers, James Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and lead investigator, and Zayd Leseman, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering, will work to provide a theoretical framework for engineering triboelectric nanogenerators capable of harvesting significant amounts of this power in a controlled way.

The professors were awarded a three-year, $400,000 National Science Foundation award from the foundation’s Mechanics of Materials and Structures Program.

“Harvesting of energy inherent in everyday life is central to this research and very important for the U.S. economy and society,” Chen said. “Our work will involve many disciplines, including contact mechanics, solid mechanics, materials science, electrical engineering and manufacturing.”

“Outcomes of this project will not only unmask lurking mysteries of the triboelectric phenomenon,” he said, “but provide a platform for students, middle-schoolers to college, to understand energy harvesting.”

The project will bolster three centers in the College of Engineering — the SMART Lab, Kansas State Microanalysis Lab and Beocat — while enhancing the research program of the mechanical and nuclear engineering department.

Top Tank: Is Your Idea Worth $100,000?
 

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