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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 25, 2004

UI Team Places Third In National Entrepreneurship Competition

University of Iowa student Michael Keller of Cedar Falls and UI graduate Bryk Lancaster of LeMars finished third in the 2004 Spirit of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development collegiate business plan competition held Feb. 20 and 21 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Keller and Lancaster, co-founders of Flexon Solutions, L.L.C, won $2,500 for their business plan.

The competition is sponsored by Santa Barbara-based TechKnowledge Point, which provides new venture research. Keller and Lancaster were one of eight teams from universities across the United States who presented their business plans at the competition. The first place team from the University of Georgia received $10,000, while the second place team from the University of Florida won $5,000. The UI team placed ahead of competitors from the University of Colorado, University of Arizona, University of Louisville, Wake Forest University and Columbia University Business School.

Lancaster characterized the questioning from the judges about their business plan as very intense. "This was a no-holds-barred event where any question was fair game. For Flexon to walk away from a competition like this with an award is quite an honor for both Flexon and the university," he said.

Keller, a UI electrical engineering major, and Lancaster, a UI electrical engineering graduate and current MBA student, founded Flexon in August 2003 in Oakdale, Iowa, to identify and develop cost-effective road safety solutions including a pavement marking device called a retroreflectometer. Flexon Solutions formed a partnership with the Iowa Department of Transportation to identify and develop cost-effective road safety solutions. The first wave of products will be delivered in March 2004. Product sales will begin in earnest by the first quarter of 2005.

More information about the semifinalists and profiles on the eventual winners will be published in the May edition of Entrepreneur magazine.

Keller and Lancaster won $5,000 in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition in December. They are also competing in an entrepreneurship competition sponsored by the University of Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,; Program: David Hensley, UI JPEC, 319-335-1023