Knoxville, Tenn. – Steven W. Pierson, creator of PipeFighters Square, took home the grand prize for the What’s the Big Idea?! business plan competition, sponsored by Rodefer Moss & Company, supported by Knowledge Launch and STC Staffing, and produced by The Development Corporation of Knox County, the Knoxville Chamber and Tech 2020. The event was held at Relix Variety Theatre on June 21.
Pierson’s Big Idea, PipeFighters Square, is an innovative pipe cutting tool that saves time and energy. The tool allows pipe fitters to cut the pipe on any angle degree, which is an important part of pipe fabrication.
“I’m shocked,” Pierson said. “I knew I had the greatest product, but I’m not the best public speaker. I just hoped my product would pull me through, because it’s something that’s been needed for a long time.”
Pierson and the other two finalists – Jian Huang and Charles Chin – had 10 minutes to pitch their Big Ideas to a panel of five judges. Huang’s company, Survature, offered a cutting edge way to conduct online surveys, while Chin’s Neural Energy Games reimagined how college freshmen learn introductory level biology, chemistry, and physics, by creating educational video games. Ultimately, it was Pierson who came out on top.
Jimmy Rodefer, CEO and president of Rodefer Moss & Company PLLC. was Pierson’s coach through the contest. He said the moment he heard Pierson’s pitch at Team Selection Night in May he knew he had a unique product and wanted him on his team.
“I’m really happy we were able to take his idea and communicate it,” Rodefer said. “(As the engineer of PipeFighters Square) he needed the business consulting to perfect and solidify his company. I thought we could help out by putting this idea with some administration, financing and marketing ideas. It seems like it took and he’s going to go a long way.”
Pierson will receive a Big Idea Launch Package that includes up to $10,000 in start-up reimbursement costs, one year of free rent at the Fairview Technology Center, and complimentary business services.