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"Smart Cities-Smart Futures" Round Two Winners Include Pair from Gateway

Sturtevant---Two entries from Gateway were among the 30 winners in the second round of Foxconn’s “Smart Cities-Smart Futures” competition. The awards were announced Wednesday at the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant.

Don Heckel, an Architectural-Structural Engineering Technician student, pitched a plan to develop what he calls a “tier modal” transportation system that links almost every imaginable forum of transportation, including cars, buses, trains, bikes and scooters, in an organized fashion that’s accessible to the public by an app. Heckel also owns Third Coast Bicycles in Racine.

The second winning proposal from Gateway came from Horticulture Instructor Kate Field. She suggested a renewed emphasis on local food production that relies heavily on hydroponics. A twist would be setting up farms in abandoned or underused buildings, and training inner-city residents to run them. "It's really been fun to be in this competition," Field said afterward. "It's very seldom that someone asks you for your biggest and wildest idea and listens to it," she said., 

The other winners came from schools across the state. The greatest number of awards went to UW-Madison with seven. The Medical College of Wisconsin followed with six. Each of the winners will receive $1,500 to further develop their ideas in the third round of the competition.

Carthage College and UW-Parkside had students and faculty that scored honorable mentions.

The competition was designed to encourage members of Wisconsin's higher education community to generate innovative ideas that would enhance the quality of life, improve working environments, expand transportation networks, inspire creative city planning and promote sustainable energy solutions in the state.

Foxconn announced last year that it planned to spend as much as $1 million to organize and run the competition, fund prizes and help at least some of the finalists bring their ideas to fruition.

As many as 16 winners will be selected in the final round of the competition. Criteria will include clarity and marketability.

Foxconn says the competition is part of its goal of creating a new ecosystem in the state.