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Engineers Take Top Awards on Pitch Day 2021

Meyer ICE Student Grand Prize winner Aldo Pierini ’21 CE and Faculty Award winner Hasshi Sudler.
Meyer ICE Student Grand Prize winner Aldo Pierini ’21 CE and Faculty Award winner Hasshi Sudler.

Though this year’s event took place virtually, the results of Pitch Day 2021 did not disappoint Villanova Engineers who took the top Meyer ICE Awards and were represented on winning teams in the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC).

Meyer ICE Awards

The Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence (ICE) Awards were created and endowed in 2009 by Patrick Meyer ’74 VSB in honor of the Meyer family to recognize Villanova student, faculty and staff creators and innovators. One award is presented to a graduating student in each school/college and the 2021 College of Engineering awardee, Aldo Pierini ’21 CE, also took home the grand prize worth $5,000. With a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship, Aldo worked with his classmates to build Feastimate, a tool to help curb food waste in university dining halls. His team was accepted into the L3Harris INNOVATE program to advance their concept over one summer during which they collaborated with Villanova Dining Services and secured a pilot in one of the dining halls. The testing alone helped better forecast production needs leading to reduced food waste.

The Meyer ICE Faculty Award and $2,500 prize was presented to Hasshi Sudler ’92 EE, an adjunct in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and founder and CEO of Internet Think Tank. Sudler was nominated by several Villanova faculty and staff for his innovative work using blockchain technology to conduct contact tracing for COVID-19, resulting in the COVIDblocked app. He also launched Villanova’s first blockchain hackathon in 2019 to give students an opportunity to learn how to apply blockchain technology for social good.


The Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition is a semester-long, interdisciplinary entrepreneurship competition for Villanova student-founded new ventures. Those who reach the final round work with outside judges and mentors to refine and enhance their ideas and then progress to deliver their final pitch. As part of the competition process, students are tasked with completing a business model canvas and a short elevator pitch video. Several weeks later, finalists submit a pitch deck with fundamental design details, logistics and justifications for their ventures. Finalists then give a longer format pitch of their validated idea to a (virtual) room of judges who select the teams with the most viable venture ideas.

In addition to first, second and third prizes, a number of VSEC specialty awards are presented. Recognizing the team that makes the greatest strides toward incorporating Villanova’s core value of Unitas through a cross-campus perspective, the $500 Klingler Unitas Prize was awarded to L-EVATE. This innovative patient moving device increases safety for emergency workers and patients. Team members included Villanova Engineering graduates Richard Annan ’20 ME and Christopher Bowers ’20 ME, and Lauren Bonomi ’21 CLAS. L-EVATE also took third prize overall.

The Crowd Choice Award and $1,000 went to Recycled Glass Concrete, with team members Jordan Murray '22 ME, Nikita Morozov '22 CE, Nicholas Pagano '22 CLAS and William Komenda '21 VSB. They created a new formula for concrete to be used in large building projects to address current market shortcomings in the areas of sustainability, quality and longevity.