Brookings Innovation Center names Company and Student of the Year awards

Query.AI received the Company of the Year Award while Ellen Schlechter was selected as the Student of the Year Award winner during the Dec. 8 annual Innovation Celebration at the Brookings Innovation Center. The event marked the 10th year for the Research Park at South Dakota State University.

“The Research Park at SDSU is the power of place for innovative technologies and ideas to grow and succeed.” said Melissa Werner, director of operations at the Brookings Innovation Center. “We provide the space, resources, and connections to create value for our clients.”

Sen. Mike Rounds was the event’s keynote speaker. As governor, Rounds played a major role in the research park’s early years.

He said the biggest challenge he faced as governor and for several of the governors before him was keeping young people in the state.

“Today is a special day because it is a chance to get the opportunity to say thanks to all of those people who participated in making the dream of a research park a reality,” Rounds said. “Now, our young people, such as those who are with us here today, can stay in our state longer, even perhaps for their entire careers, and make our state a better place.

“In partnerships, individual organizations created this research park and this innovation center. You have created a space where thoughtful analysis happens and an atmosphere where new ideas thrive,” he continued. “Our young people, our state and our people will have a better future because of what you have done. Thank you for what you have done.”

Company of the Year

Dhiraj Sharan with Query.AI accepted the award for commercializing an innovative technology. Assisted Investigations (AI) Console product will be used by enterprise IT and security teams.

“AI Console will allow users to get answers and insights out of their log data toward solving their IT/security investigations use-cases,” Sharan said. “One important milestone in our journey so far was when the Brookings Innovation Center accepted us in their program and started incubating us.

“With the Innovation Center’s help, we got in touch with the GOED (South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development) and were awarded the Dakota Seeds Fund and the Proof of Concept Fund. We raised angel funding from cybersecurity industry executives and that helped us build a small engineering team at our Research Park office,” he continued. “My experience in three cybersecurity startups led me to define the current market need and product that we started developing with the local talent graduating from SDSU. The Research Park has been focal in providing us the facilities, networking opportunities, access to talent, and developing relationships with investors and prospective customers in the region. It would have been difficult to get this kind of help and opportunity anywhere else.”

Query.AI’s AI Console product will add value to customers with existing IT log data repositories such as Splunk, ELK, SIEMs and Loggers. Query.AI’s growth would allow it to hire local computer science and data science talent to build a strong engineering team. Query.AI plans to continue working with its partners to validate the product, create customer success and reach out to prospective customers.

Student of the Year

Schlechter won for The Calving Book app. Schlechter, from Orient, is a sophomore majoring in agricultural business and business economics at South Dakota State. She was recently recognized by Cattle Business Weekly as a Top 10 Industry Leader Under the age of 40.

“I would like to thank the Brookings Innovation Center for all of the resources it has provided. Whether it is just bouncing ideas off each other or using the services they provide, this award really means a lot,” she said. “This spring will be The Calving Book app’s fifth calving season on the market. The original version is a skeleton of what the app is today thanks to the feedback of its users.

“The app allows users to keep track of your calving records right from their smartphone or tablet. Since everything is cloud-based, users can access records from any device at any time. Additionally, all records are searchable, so users no longer have to flip through countless pages of records,” Schlechter continued. “In the next few weeks, we will be releasing the first big update of the season and we will be highlighting some of the newer features on our Facebook page. At this point, the users have created over 10,000 accounts and the app has been featured on RFD-TV, KELO-TV, KSFY and in publications like Cattle Business Weekly, Tri-State Neighbor, The Farm Forum and USA Today.”

By: SDSU Marketing & Communications

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