2016 President's Report - page 22-23

Clarkson University
President’s Report
After months of searching out suppliers, Schenck
convinced one to sell him enough polymer to test three
mock-ups. He and his team built one ski without the
polymer and two with varying amounts, and sent them
to their Clarkson friend, Tyler Arsenault, who had a
Ph.D. in vibration mechanics. The ski filled with the
most polymer, at the highest speed tested, showed a
jaw-dropping 300-percent increase in stability.
The results suggested that the skis adjusted — in a flash — to the skier and the snow conditions.
“So the faster you ski or the harder or icier the snow, the stiffer the skis and the less they vibrate; while
the slower you go and the softer the snow, the more flexible the skis,” says Schenck. One pair of all-
mountain skis for any situation you might face on the slopes sure beats wondering which pair out of
your quiver you should take that day.
Schenck got a patent for what he termed Hyper Dampning Technology™ (HDT™) for use in
skis, an industry first. “We also were the first to put the polymer in a hard-goods product,” he says.
Through the 2013-2014 winter, the six partners turned out 30 pairs of skis for friends to try out.
And they worked.
RENOUN was on the move, and all that window-washing played a big financial part. But getting
investors meant going solo. In fall 2014, Schenck bought out the others and turned ski-building over to
a Quebec company. In December, he flew to Japan with a pair of skis and some of the polymer to show
how it glopped off his hand one moment and, when slammed down on a table, turned rock-solid the
next. Retailers’ mouths went agape, but no checkbooks opened up. So Schenck flew to Seattle, bought
a truck and worked the West, including a big Denver trade show. Again, no sales.
“I’ve run out of money more times than I can count. I wanted to quit at every turn, but the
thought of being outsmarted by someone really annoys me. You learn by fire. You learn fast or you’ll
fail. It also takes grit and perseverance. And I’m very lucky to have a network of incredibly helpful
people who are willing to put their energy, time and money into this business. Without them, I
wouldn’t be able to do it.”
In part because of his mother, Schenck won the prestigious ISPO Gold Award 2015-2016, from
the Internationale Fachmesse für Sportartikel und Sportmode, the world’s largest sporting goods and
sportswear trade fair, held annually in Munich. She had sent the organization a pair of his skis without
him knowing. “This really catapulted the company onto the fast track,” says Schenck of the award, which
he accepted at the Munich event. Articles in The New York Times and USA Today followed. And it didn’t
hurt to win First Prize and $30,000 at Launch VT, a business-pitch competition for young entrepreneurs.
By then RENOUN had tripled production, and the numbers have doubled again. For good reason.
“People who use our skis say it’s the best they’ve ever skied, and they can do runs like never before,”
says Schenck, who’s determined to do more skiing himself.
On or off the slopes, “I get to support people who are pushing their bodies, by building better
skis for them.”
He also wants to push and challenge the industry. “My goal has always been to be a catalyst,” says
Schenck, whose plans include expanding beyond skis and the snow-sports industry. “Years from now, I want
people to look back and say, ‘There’s a company that rewrote the rules, and that company is RENOUN.’”
ECE Grad Students Recognized
at IEEE Conference
Research by two electrical & computer
engineering (ECE) graduate students was
recognized at the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Power & Energy
Society 2016 General Meeting.
Ph.D. students Yikui Liu and Chenxi Dai
collaborated with ECE Assistant Professor Jie Li
and Associate Professor Lei Wu on two papers
that were selected as Best Conference Papers.
2016 NSF
Graduate Fellows
The NSF’s highly
competitive Graduate
Research Fellowship
Program recognizes
outstanding students
who are expected to
contribute significantly
to research, teaching
and innovations in
science and engineering
Michael Lee ’16,
Sergio Gallucci ’16 and
Ph.D. student Lindsay Avolio ’15 were among the 2016 recipients.
Alumni Mark Surette ’08 at Oregon State University, and
Ruisheng Wang ’15 at Cornell University, also received the award.
In addition, Skyler Canute ’16, JacobMisch ’16 and SeanMoran ’11,
currently a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University,
received honorable mentions.
Benefits of the award include a three-year annual stipend of $34,000
and opportunities for international research and professional development.
Lindsay Avolio ’15
is a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Bioscience
and Biotechnology Program at Clarkson in Assistant Prof. Shantanu Sur’s
Cell-Material Interactions Lab, where she considers the effects of substrate
characteristics on cell behavior. Her NSF proposal is on the development
of a microparticle based inhalational delivery system to induce an effective
immune response against cancer.
She graduated from Clarkson with a dual degree in biology and
interdisciplinary social sciences, a concentration in women and gender
studies and a minor in chemistry.
Sergio Gallucci ’16 (AE)
is pursuing an M.S. in aerospace engineering
at Penn State University. A member of the Honors program, he modeled
wind energy optimization methods with Associate Professor Ken Visser. In
2014, he worked as an intern for Ras Labs at the Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory on electroactive Synthetic Muscle polymers, which are currently
being tested in the International Space Station.
Michael Lee ’16 (AE)
is pursuing a Ph.D. in theoretical aerodynamics
at Duke University. Lee began researching nonplanar wing aerodynamics
under the guidance of Associate Professor Ken Visser. This research, which
was also the subject of Lee’s NSF proposal, has yielded results that suggest a
new relationship between wing bending and efficiency.
Lindsay Avolio ’15
One paper made mathematical
calculations related to electrical distribution
network and pricing, while the other outlined
ways to strengthen the sustainability of the
power grid by adding more renewable energy.
Student Named
2016 ASCE Scholar
Krissy Govertsen ’18
was named a 2016
Scholar by The American Society of Civil
She also received the ASCE’s Lawrence
W. and Francis W. Cox Scholarship.
A graduate of The Clarkson School,
she is now a junior in the Honors Program
studying civil engineering. Govertsen will
focus her thesis on sustainable building
systems. She plans to eventually earn a
master’s degree in either architecture or
sustainable construction.
(l-r) ECE Ph.D. student Chenxi Dai, Assistant Professor
Jie Li, and Ph.D. student Yikui Liu.
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