Two UND Engineering Students Win Top Innovate ND Honors


Deb Austreng

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Engineering & Mines


Two students form UND's School of Engineering and Mines whose idea to use remotely piloted aircraft to help farmers improve crop yields received $15,000 in cash and statewide recognition Tuesday at the fifth annual Innovate ND awards.

David Dvorak, St. Cloud, Minn., and Jonathan Alme, Eden Prairie, Minn., are 2011 graduates of the UND School of Engineering and Mines with master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. The plan for their company, Field of View, LLC, is to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to take high-resolution images of crops in the field, information that could help farmers increase yields and profits.

Innovate ND is a statewide North Dakota economic development initiative designed to assist entrepreneurs with turning business ideas into successful businesses. It is coordinated by the North Dakota Department of Commerce, UND’s Center for Innovation and NDSU’s Research and Technology Park.

"This is an exciting program because it demonstrates that innovation and entrepreneurship are alive and well and hard at work in North Dakota," said Alan Anderson, North Dakota Department of Commerce commissioner. "Business development drives our economic growth and it all starts with innovative people who have a promising business idea and the desire to build that venture right here in our state."

Innovate ND brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and educators. Entrants in the program receive advice from experienced entrepreneurs and can also receive additional help in setting up their businesses. This year’s Innovate ND drew 58 applicants.

Five winners for the fifth statewide Innovate ND program were announced Tuesday evening during a ceremony at Ralph Engelstad Arena. A panel of 12 private sector judges made the final selections out of a field of 20 finalists. Winners each received $15,000 in cash and a valuable package of in-kind professional services to help them launch and grow their business.

"These businesses have strong potential for creating jobs and economic development in our state," said Bruce Gjovig, entrepreneur coach and director of the UND Center for Innovation.

Innovate ND was launched in November 2006 by then North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven and is coordinated by the governor's office. Forum Communications is the program’s lead sponsor. The program was made possible by more than $200,000 in private-sector contributions and in-kind professional services donations, as well as appropriated funds from the Department of Commerce.