Armen Award for Innovation Final Presentations – Photos and Video


On December 8,, the Armen Awards, given at GRCC’s annual innovation contest, were presented to three of the eight finalist teams for their proposals on how to reduce on-campus parking by 50% by the year 2015.

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The winners were Pam Scott, Leah vanHartesveldt and Doug vanHartesveldt for their idea, “Raiders Ride the Rapid!,” a ride-pass partnership that would allow students to take the bus and also allow GRCC and The Rapid to compile useful information on route usage. For getting first place, the team received a $3,000 cash prize.

Second place, and a $1500 prize, went to Nathaniel Shapiro, Addie Duy Dong and David Friday for “Using Hybrid Classes.” A hybrid class is a combination of online tools and regular class sessions, which require fewer class sessions – so less parking is needed – but doesn’t entirely eliminate the face-to-face meetings most students prefer.

Third place went to Cadence Mercer-Curtis, Laura K. Byers and Mary Beth Beighley for their idea, “Community Involvement,” which seeks alternative parking places and better partnership with The Rapid. The team received $750.

The contest, now in its second year, has been presented by GRCC’s Innovation Team, a subgroup of its Keller Future Center.  The contest has been funded by a long-time donor and college supporter Armen Oumedian.

Last Chance to Enter Your Innovative Idea

There are 2,285 student parking spots on our downtown campus and another 769 for staff.

Think what else we could do with all that space!

This year’s Innovation Challenge is: How might GRCC reduce the need for and use of on-campus parking by 50% by 2015? GRCC employees and students have until October 15 to enter their ideas for the Armen Awards of $3000, $1500, and $500 for the winners.

Think what you could do with all that money!

T Minus 4 Days and Counting for Innovation Challenge

It’s is never too late to be innovative.but it will be too late to win big money for your ideas in just 4 more days. Saturday is the deadline for you – or students – to enter their ideas on our parking puzzle.

The question for this year’s Innovation Challenge/Armen Award is: How might GRCC reduce the need for and use of on-campus parking by 50% by 2015?

There is a free Idea Development session today from 3-4 PM with Bill Fluharty, Design and Innovation Consultant from the Keller Future Center and all you have to do is walk in to room 316 Main and you’ll get free professional assistance. And you’ll still get to keep any money if you are the winner of the $3,000 cash. (Second Place is $1,500 and Third Place is $500.)

Also, if you’ll be in a classroom, please encourage students to look into the Innovation Challenge at

GRCC In The News – 7/1/11

Design-informed Innovation: Human-centered Design the Basis for Innovation at Amway

Monday, June 27, 2011
By Joe Boomgaard | MiBiz

(Editor’s note: The Amway Business Innovations Team, along with the Keller Futures Center of Grand Rapids Community College, sponsored a no-cost, three-day educational session on human-centered design at GRid70 in early June. MiBiz Managing Editor Joe Boomgaard was invited to participate in the event. The interviews with Amway’s Seth Starner for this story took place before the session. )

GRAND RAPIDS — Innovation can be a tough nut to crack. It can be even tougher when you have the title of Manager of Business Innovations at a $9.2 billion private company and your job is to learn new methods of innovating and then spread them throughout the corporate culture

How to Get Help for Those Caring for Aging Parents

Published: Monday, June 27, 2011, 6:29 AM     Updated: Monday, June 27, 2011, 4:53 PM

By Matt Vande Bunde   Grand Rapids Press

After their mother rehabilitated in a nursing home following a stroke in 2004, Linda Engelking and Judy Meulenberg knew they wanted to care for her at home. At the time, that’s about all they knew…

“It’s a very significant trend and, with our aging population, it’s only increasing,” said Mike Faber, director of the Older Learner Center at Grand Rapids Community College. “Adult children aren’t talking to their parents about these issues often enough. We’re kind of an avoidance culture. We stick our head in the sand, and we wait until something so bad happens that we can’t wait anymore.

Tinas Two Minutes – Week 3 (Link Fixed)

Here’s Tina’s Two Minutes – Week 3 the Keller Futures Center project:

Tina’s Two Minutes – Week 3

In this video, Tina Hoxie, Dean of Students, gives an update on the GRCC Career Services project that the Keller Futures Center is currently working on. This week, project participants brought back information from interviews with over 450 end users and created needs statements based on their research. Tina encourages faculty and staff to visit the project’s Facebook page to answer three questions related to career development to further aid in this research. Please visit the Facebook page this week.

Photos – “Armen Award” Innovation Competition


[Updated] After seven months of collaboration, creative thinking, and hard work, the final 7 teams made their pitch on Tuesday, April 19th, to be crowned champions of GRCC’s first ever Innovation Competition! Our judges, representing the Sustainability Council, had their work cut out for them as each team built a strong case for their idea, but in the end 3 teams stood out as those with the best balance of originality, feasibility, alignment to the problem statement, and collaboration among their team.

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In addition to the cash prize of $3,000, the winning team of Sara Yob, Elly Bainbridge, Vicki Hudson, Susan Goeman and Scott Dittenber will see their idea – called “Ride-Share” implemented on campus this Fall.

Our 2nd place team of Renee Fortnam, Jeff Spoelman and Deb Bryde won $1,500 for their idea called “Energy-Mizer ” and the $750 3rd place award went to Mark Dodd and team for a solar-panel retrofit on the 3rd floor of the ATC.

Fast Facts:
The problem: How could GRCC reduce its energy costs, so those savings could be directed towards student success programs?

The process: Each champion submitted an idea and created a team consisting of faculty, students and staff.
There were two rounds of competition. Out of 20 ideas submitted in Round 1, the Top 10 were chosen last December and each team won $100 and a chance to move onto Round 2. In Round 2, teams had to build a case for their idea – and present written, video, and oral support.

The pitch: Each of the 7 teams competed in the final round of judging on Tuesday, April 19.  Full video will be available in GRCC Today tomorrow.

Moss Ingram & Mark Champion on WGVU Morning Show 10 a.m. 6-3-10

Moss Ingram, Director of Sustainability, with Mark Champion, IRP Information Analyst, and Bill Fluharty, Design and Innovation Strategy Consultant, will be interviewed this morning at 10 a.m. on the WGVU Morning Show with Shelly Irwin.  Moss, Mark and Bill will be speaking with Shelly about the Keller Future Center’s origins, relationship with the college, the Urban Agriculture demonstration project, and what’s next. 

Listen at 

Liz McCormick, Director of Innovation (currently in Ireland with a group of GRCC students), Moss Ingram, and Mark Champion are leading the new Keller Future Center, a research and innovation center whose purpose is to help students and community members develop competencies for the 21st century.

The Center brings college students, business professionals, and citizens together to participate in a process that includes future trend analysis, innovation, integrative thinking, research, and design. Using these tools and techniques, participants create possible solutions to a current regional issue that has environmental, economic, and social impacts. The processes used allow for new thinking that leads to new knowledge.

The Keller Future Center’s current project focuses on urban agriculture in West Michigan. A blend of students from GRCC, GVSU, Aquinas, and Kendall – representing the disciplines of finance, health communications, sustainability, visual arts, business, and psychology – are participating on this project team. Along with Liz, Moss and Mark, six GRCC faculty and staff members are participating in this project: Felix Pereiro, Business Professor; Sara Yob, Training Solutions and Sustainability; Nick Antonakis, Visual Arts Professor; Robyn VanRoyen,Visual Arts Professor; Deb Chivas, Business Adjunct Instructor; and Michael Schavey, Academic Service Learning.

Learn more about the Keller Future Center at: