[email protected] celebrates one year

Alan Grimes

This year marks the one year anniversary for [email protected] having been active. Founded by David Ollila, it aids prospective inventors, both NMU students and the community, by helping them if they lack the experience or resources needed to see their products fully realized.

“We want everyone on campus to have a place to explore their ideas, good or bad, because you don’t know there’s an opportunity if you don’t have a critical eye look at it,” Ollila said.

Ollila envisioned a business structure where students and community could seek assistance in order to see their product become marketable.  Students of differing departments work together to assist clients.

Rachel Barra is a project manager working at Invent. She coordinates the planning of projects and deals with the time and budget necessary to meet her client’s expectations.

Barra responds to her client’s questions and checks with the team to make sure everything is in order, ranging from work orders, to metrics and meetings.

Rachel Griep deals in mechanical engineering and has done a lot of speaking on Ollila’s behalf.She has been working since Invent opened its doors.

“Invent has provided me an opportunity well above any other here at NMU,” Griep said.

Scott Fata is a client that went to Invent for assistance. He has been working on inventions for the last five years, but has had difficulty in execution. Fata had trouble moving his work forward, but with Invent, he has been assisted in getting his product the professionalism it needed.

“Fata’s prototype has been developed here 100% of the way,” Ollila said.

Ollila is looking forward in the continuation of Invent, thinking of how to expand on its current impact on prospective innovators.

“I felt that in rural communities, there was an opportunity to relieve the innovator of the entrepreneurial,” Ollila said, “The concept being that everyone has an idea but doesn’t always know what to do next. Our students have the capability to move the product forward.”

Ollila created an innovative platform, and in a year it has exceeded his and NMU’s expectations. Ollila wants to make sure every NMU student knows that Invent is a potential source and that they have scholarships to help move NMU’s student’s ideas forward.

Students interested in seeing their own projects see fruition can contact Invent at 906-227-6253 or in person at 1400 Presque Isle Ave., across the street from Cohodas Hall.