The Rist Family donation is a significant step forward in the development and growth of the DifferenceMaker® Program. Through the Rist DifferenceMaker® Institute, we will increase the participation and recognition of UMass Lowell student innovation and creativity across the northeast and the country. We are very grateful to Kim and Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business, for this generous contribution, and for their past support of the program.
Thank you to Kim and Brian Rist for supporting the DifferenceMaker® Program and UMass Lowell
students in the following ways:
Establishment of the Rist DifferenceMaker® Graduate student fellowship.
Funding to support DifferenceMaker® student team participation in regional and
Naming of the Rist Campus-wide DifferenceMaker® award.
Support of the Rist DifferenceMaker® co-op student award.
Brian Rist is the Founder, President, and CEO of
Storm Smart Industries. He is also
the President & CEO of Storm Smart’s parent company The Smart Companies.
Brian Rist is considered an expert in the field
of innovative hurricane protection.
Since founding Storm Smart in 1996, Brian has
dedicated his energies to customer service, product development, company growth
A Massachusetts native, he had the idea for
hurricane protection after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 revealed how garage-door
failures destroyed homes. Initially focused on helping homeowners protect their
homes from storms, Storm Smart’s business jumped more than 300% after Hurricane
Charley struck the Gulf Coast in 2004.
On Wednesday, April 24, from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., we held our
7th annual $50,000 Idea Challenge in Moloney Hall, University
Crossing. As people began to arrive they
had a chance to vote for one of our nine semi-finalist teams to win the Fan
Favorite award. There was great turnout
of faculty, professors, students, and others to see our ten finalist teams
pitch-off for a chance to win a piece of the $50,000!
Congratulations to all of our winning teams!
Fan Favorite –
Bar Scene- Thomas
Kiley, Senior, Computer Science; Hannah Wright, Alumni, Marketing and
Entrepreneurship; & Owen Hunter, Senior, Finance.
“The Bar Scene app
will act as a one-stop shop for nightlife information in Lowell, including
prices, events, and how crowded each bar is in real time.”
EV Smart (EV 2 EV)-
Omkar Bhandakkar, Alumni, Energy Engineering; Hamza Ehsan, Junior, Computer
Science; & Rajvi Shah, Senior, Computer Science.
“We want to solve the
problem of EV owners worrying about range and charging. By creating an app to
connect nearby EV owners with people in need of charging we solve exactly that.
With the hardware in place for Vehicle-2-vehicle communications as well we can
have short range and long range communications either between mobile phones and
users or cars between cars.”
“As a scuba diver here
in New England it is always a challenge to haul your gear over the extremely
uneven terrain that is associated with the best dive sites. This also keeps a
lot of disabled divers from being able to enjoy a sport that they love. For a
disabled scuba diver, this terrain makes it even more of a challenge. I have
developed a device that would either assist the diver by moving the diver’s
gear to the water or even move a disabled diver to the water or even into the
Projected Pin/ ATM
Fast App- Conrad Nelson, Junior, Chemical Engineering; Jenna Olander,
Senior, Art (BFA); Tatiana Tompkins, Sophomore, Business; & Mohammad
Musawear, Freshman, Computer Engineering.
“A faster and safer
method to withdraw from an ATM that will save Americans and ATM companies
millions of dollars per year. Our method
requires a minor integration to the ATM user interface that will help prevent
potentially all card skimming and PIN theft that occurs at ATMs.”
RE-VIVE (NextStep)- Nicholas
Lydon, Senior, Chemical Engineering (BSE); Allison Michell, Senior, Chemical
Engineering (BSE); & Derek Jamieson, Freshman, Undeclared.
“This project aims to
address the opioid epidemic by preventing fatal overdose. The project consists
of a wearable auto-injection system to administer Naloxone to those suffering
from a drug overdose. This will help decrease the number of fatal overdoses
that tragically occur, and hopefully combat the overall epidemic.”
The CAT Mat (Outside
In – An outdoor simulation mat)- Michelle Mailloux, Graduate, Physical
Therapy; & Katherine Muise, Graduate, Physical Therapy.
“Our product is a mat
that will allow physical therapists to treat their patients’ deficits
throughout the body, from the musculoskeletal system to sensory systems. It
will simulate walking outdoors to help patients prepare for community
ambulation. Our mat will have a sturdy structure underneath that allows it to
be slip-free and be buildable. The pieces will be sized so that they can fit in
parallel bars, making them usable to even the most dependent of patients. It
will be a great alternative to walking outside when an outdoor environment is
not suitable for a patient.”
Contribution to a
Healthier Lifestyle – $4,500
ECG for Me (Electro
Cardio Athletic Patch)- Rachel Harrington, Graduate, Biotechnology; Taylor
Mellen, Graduate, Biotechnology; & William Bizilj, Graduate,
electro cardio patches that work with the Apple Series 4 watch to display an
ECG capable of detecting underlying heart conditions.”
Jack. M. Wilson
First Product to Market Award – $4,500
Jamfuze (Music Web
Platform)- Stephen Wahome, Alumni, MBA; Christopher Sinclair, Junior, BBA;
Michael Adrien, Senior, Sound Recording Technology (BM).
“We are aiming to
create a music website/market place connects local artist with the services
they need to build and accelerate their music careers. These services will
range from finding local studios, engineers, videographers, beats, and much
more. The key is eliminating the search cost for these artists by providing a
one stop shop platform.”
USe Cart- Max
Ushakov, Graduate, Electrical Engineering; Daniel Falcone, Senior, Business;
Moya Alhayek, Junior, Electrical Engineering; & Shanice Kelly, Junior,
“The future shopping
cart that makes the shopping faster, easier for customers, pushing the
self-checking to the new level. The smart shopping cart will create the better
experience of doing your grocery, and it will reduce the time that you spend in
a store. Technology inside will help a customer to navigate through the piles
and have a shopping list on a screen connected to theirs accounts. Let’s make the future of shopping enjoyable.”
Impact – $4,500
Middlesex Community College: Michael Dignan, Sophomore, Business
Administration; Gillian Inglis, Sophomore, Business Administration; &
Olivia Reposa, Sophomore, Business Administration.
“A voting education app. It
informs voters about what is on their ballot in the upcoming election and will
notify them when there is an upcoming election.
They can also decide if they want to learn about town meeting and other
political events in their town.”
DifferenceMaker – $6,000
Benji Ball- Benjamin
McEvoy, Sophomore, Business; Gavin Donohue, Sophomore, Engineering; Tristan
Naboicheck, Freshman, English; & Edward Morante, Sophomore, Education.
“This is a Baseball
training tool that will be composed of a bat and ball with the ball having multiple
sides, each side showing the different outcome of an at bat. The bat has a
bigger barrel since this game/training tool is designed for children and
special needs kids to be able to learn the game of baseball in a fun and
simplistic way. I already have the first prototype made from a manufacturer in
We would like to extend a special thanks to all of our
judges for doing an amazing job!
Jim Barry ’88, Kennedy College of Sciences,
President and CEO of InspireMD, Inc.
Lorna Boucher ’86, Manning School of Business,
Chief Marketing Officer of Instinet
Mary Burns ’84, College of Fine Arts, Humanities
& Social Sciences, Principal of Splash Media Group Boston, LLC
Jim Regan ’88, Manning School of Business,
President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union
Brian Rist ’77, Manning School of Business,
President and CEO of The Smart Companies
Mark Saab ’81, ’13 (H), Francis College of
Engineering, Chief Technology Officer of Vention Medical
Jack M. Wilson, President Emeritus UMass System and Distinguished Professor of Higher
Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation at UMass Lowell
Also, a huge thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting
the DifferenceMaker program over the years and helping us get to where we are
C. Day Chancellors’ Fund
Federal Credit Union
and Lardner, LLP
P. Donahue ‘13 (H) Charitable Foundation
L. Donahue Endowed Fellowship in Values and Ethics
Kertzman ‘96 (H) Endowed Discretionary Fund
J. Manning ‘84 Endowment Fund (Robert and Donna Manning)
L. McKone ‘56 ‘00 (H) Chancellor’s Discretionary Endowment Fund
Chancellor’s Endowed Discretionary Fund
Rist ‘77, Manning School of Business
Angel Investment Fund for Entrepreneurship
Wilson Endowed Presidential Entrepreneurship Award Fund