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Inaugural Tech Challenge Draws Top-Notch Entries

As employees wandered around ESD’s headquarters recently, five sizable boards replete with diagrams, calculations, text, and more grabbed their attention.

The boards — addressing the topic “How do commercial buildings interact with the future of the power grid?” — were created by five teams of employees as part of the company’s first Tech Challenge, developed by ESDi (ESD Innovation), a group dedicated to improving collaboration across the company and promoting a culture that encourages innovation.

After voting by an expert panel along with employees, a winner was announced May 17. In a close contest, the team of Ben Olejniczak, Nishant Thakkar, and Vivek Patel, who created “Smart Grid Integration Utilizing Fuel Cell & Cogeneration Technology”, earned first place.

Four other teams deserve applause for their contributions. Sarah McDowell and Rob Lahue contributed “The Grid: Redefined”; Colin Clark and Julide Demirdoven developed “Smart Design for Building Performance with Grid Technology”; Samantha Davidson and Jeff Kemp crafted “Building-Grid Integration: The Power of the Future”; and Sam Buscemi, Jon Colledge, and Justin Ward offered “Exploring the Electrical Grid”.

The winning team will receive a monetary reward and the chance to attend a baseball game this summer. Teams used a combination of personal and company-sponsored general time to complete the challenge.