Thursday, February 12, 2009

Switzer Green Home Inspires Prize-Winning Green Idea

Building a green home gave me an idea that I thought was worthy of entering the New Ideas for a New Carolina contest. But who would have thought that I would win the grand prize...yeehaw!

Here's the press release from New Carolina, also known as South Carolina's Council on Competitiveness:

Electric Wall Outlet That Saves Energy Wins New Ideas for a New Carolina Business Ideas Contest

Charleston, SC – Electric wall outlets to save energy was the grand prize winner in the New Ideas for a New Carolina business ideas contest, which were announced February 11 at the ThinkTEC Innovation Summit in Charleston. Mike Switzer of Richland County won the grand prize with his idea of installing electric wall outlets in new construction and replacement markets that would eliminate wasted energy. Essentially, if an appliance isn’t in use the outlet would shut off. Switzer won $5,000 seed money, a scholarship to FastTrac entrepreneurial training programs and access to a Dream Team of Mentors to help cultivate his idea.

“We are so pleased to support South Carolina’s up and coming entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas again this year,” said Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA. “SC Launch is proud to be associated with the New Ideas contestants– and we are eager to see them succeed and help build an even stronger knowledge base in South Carolina.”

Winners were chosen in four categories based on the idea’s viability, innovation/vision and profit/revenue potential. There was also a Wildcard category chosen by co-owner of the Charleston RiverDogs Baseball team and “Director of Fun”, comedian Bill Murray and Mike Veeck, President of the RiverDogs. Each category winner received $2,500 to cultivate their idea and a scholarship to FastTrac. The honorable mentions in each category received $1,000.

Winners and Honorable Mentions in each category include:


Winner: Michael S. Kitchen, Charleston County - Minimally invasive placement of orthopedic instrumentation with minimal damage to tissues and structures.

Honorable Mention: Robert J. Wolff, Lexington County - Clean2Touch, antimicrobial products for commercial use in public places.

Software/Information Technology:

Winner: Vickie Waller, Dorchester County - Website that offers search and find functions with ratings and availability of boat captains in the United States.

Honorable Mention: Ron Fulbright, Spartanburg County – EmA is a network appliance for seniors designed for email and photos only.


Winner: Mike Switzer, Richland County - Electric wall outlets for the new construction and replacement markets that eliminate wasted power usage.

Honorable Mention: David E. Witter, Anderson County - Lower cost solar grade silicon for photovoltaic energy systems.

Environmental Sustainability:
Winner: Andrew Epting, Richland County - Palmetto Solar, a solar sail that utilizes the forces generated by photons to turn a turbine within a partial vacuum to produce clean and renewable electricity.

Honorable Mention: Dannie B. Hudson, Dorchester County - A dual fuel homogenization system that reduces residual fuel consumption 2% to 5% and NO, SO2 and CO2 more than 90 percent.

Wild Card category:

Winner: Bryan Pierce Bowers, Jr., Charleston County - BikeBack, small, weatherproof GPS technology to track and retrieve a bicycle if it is stolen.

Honorable Mention: Ron Fulbright, Spartanburg County – Spockets, add pockets to any item of clothing using a magnet backing.

About New Ideas for a New Carolina: In its fourth year, South Carolina’s New Ideas for a New Carolina Business Idea Contest consists of the New Ideas Dream Team, a coalition of representatives from SCRA’s SC Launch!, New Carolina – SC’s Council on Competitiveness, FastTracSC, ThinkTEC and other organizations around the state. Ideas are judged by South Carolina leaders from angel capital groups, businesses, non-profits, government entities and educational institutions. For more information visit:

And here is a short video from WCIV TV4 in Charleston taped before the winner was announced:

Needless to say, I was shocked (no electricity pun intended).

We'll keep you posted!


Wayne said...

Congratulations Mike! You constantly amaze me with your creativity.

Jay Rogers said...

That's great Mike. Are you going to have the prototypes ready for us to install in your house? We can get an innovation point.