Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Competition Winners Announced
Sioux Falls, SD - As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Business Awards Program, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry President David Owen announced the top winner of the 2014 business and student business competitions during the GOED Conference banquet in Sioux Falls.
After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to 10 qualifying business and 13 qualifying student entries, the competition concluded with day-long judging activities Tuesday, April 15 at the Ramkota in Sioux Falls.  The awards were presented as part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) banquet with Governor Dennis Daugaard presenting the top prizes in both competitions.  The following were selected as the 2014 Governor’s Giant Vision winners.  Each includes the competitor’s “elevator pitch” that explains their business.

The first place $20,000 winner was Nanofiber Separations, Craig Arnold and Dr. Todd Menkhaus, Rapid City
Dr. Todd J. Menkhaus and Dr. Hao Fong co-founded Nanofiber Separations on the South Dakota School of Mines Campus in 2011.  Dr. Menkhaus leads separations analysis and characterization developments. Dr. Hao is a world expert in nanofiber electrospinning.  Craig Arnold joined the company as CEO in 2014.  Mr. Arnold leads the company’s commercialization efforts. 
Nanofiber Separations produces cutting-edge separation media composed of functionalized nanofibers capable of both size-based as well as adsorptive separation mechanisms.   The highly advanced nanofibers provide the opportunity to greatly enhance process efficiencies and economics in the biopharmaceutical, water treatment, desalination, blood products, and air purification industries.
Second ($10,000):  AgriVax, Sue Lancaster, Brookings
Medgene Labs/AgriVax is an animal health company developing diagnostic and therapeutic products that protect and sustain our food animal supply from economically significant infectious diseases.   Our proprietary in vitro vaccine screening system and subunit vaccine production system significantly reduces time and cost to market.  Medgene Labs/AgriVax works closely with food animal producers, global animal health companies, government agencies and universities to establish a market-aligned target pipeline of emerging zoonotic diseases. The company leverages its proprietary in vitro vaccine screening system to rapidly test vaccines, eliminating the need to infect animals reducing the time and cost of animal challenge studies. Further, the company leverages its proprietary vaccine production system to rapidly produce and get vaccines to market.
Third ($4,000) Global Thinking Laboratories, Rick Grann and Chris Chiller, Whitewood
We produce stable isotopes.  Have you heard about the medical test MRI?   Over 100 million MRI’s in the US every year use stable isotopes like ours.  With our new isotope separation process, we will be able to produce isotopes cheaper, faster and safer than current processes allowing us to expand into new markets such as agriculture.  Our financial projections are to surpass the $3 million dollar mark by year three.  
Fourth ($3,000)Antimicrobial Materials Inc., Greg Bertsch, Sioux Falls
To sanitize your home, you reach for the bleach.  What if the bleach was already there?  We’re tackling the global problem of harmful microbes with a brilliant, simple, killer South Dakota solution.  Our brilliant patent-pending technology (developed at USD) bonds chlorine at the molecular level, rendering fabrics, rubbers, and hard surfaces antimicrobial during manufacture.  Simple chlorine bleach is cost-effective and rechargeable—a proven killer of harmful microbes, leaving healthy tissue unharmed.  Beginning with healthcare, food processing, and agriculture, AMI plans to make the world safe from the start.
Fifth ($2,000) Baggster LLC, Chris Malo, Spearfish
At Baggster we don’t just design, manufacture and market industry leading motorcycle parts, we are committed to providing a light weight custom touring experience for our customers. Baggster is pioneering a new market for those in need of custom touring options for their light weight Sportster, Dyna or Softail. Our unique production methods along with our strong industry knowledge and connections give us the marketing edge to take this venture to new heights. This is a fun industry and we strive to enjoy it as much as our customers.     
The remaining qualifiers received $500 each to help with the expenses of participation.  Their business descriptions appear below the Student Competition information.
Sponsors of the Giant Vision business program are Governor Dennis Daugaard; Black Hills Power and Black Hills Corp., Rapid City; Christiansen Land & Cattle Ltd., Kimball; Dacotah Bank, Aberdeen; Daktronics, Inc., Brookings; Toshiba America, Mitchell; US Bank, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen and Rapid City; Wheeler Manufacturing, Lemmon, and Xcel Energy, Sioux Falls. 
“The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future while also expanding South Dakota’s economy.  We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the businesses participating.  While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts and rigor required to be a qualifier will prepare each entrepreneur to advance their business idea” said David Owen, President, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry.