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Students Test Elevator Pitches on Business Leaders

Left to right: Lee Odess of Energy+Light+Control, student Brooke Millis, Yong Kim of Tymak Group, Inc., Rob Finfer of Intergrity Capital, Bill Bailey.

Do you know how long it takes to ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument?

The answer is 140 seconds – a timeframe that sails by for tourists, but not for the more than 30 participants of Kogod's Washington Monument Elevator Pitch Competition.

The participants had exactly 140 seconds to win over the competition’s judges with their elevator pitch – a concise, well-planned description of an idea for a product or service. The term was derived from the idea that a good salesman should be able to recruit an investor in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

The student competitors were striving to impress a panel of local business owners and entrepreneurs, two of whom – Jonathan Aberman and Don Rainey – have previously served as visiting professors at Kogod. Entrepreneurial ideas ranged from the culinary (a barbecue sauce concoction) to the aerobic (a fitness program for moms).

From the graduate side, the winning teams were: 

First Place 

Steppe Cashmere Company   

Matt Weiner (Presenter), Brooke Millis and Imad Benrabah  

Second Place 


Srikrishna Raman (Presenter), Natalia Volkova and Cara Fleck  

Third Place 

Dastardly Brews   

Phil Greiner (Brooke Millis presented in Greiner’s absence due to class)

From the undergraduate side, the winners included:  

First Place 

Two Friends’ Barbecue Sauce 

Naveed Moghadam (Presenter), Caitlyn McElroy, Karsten Smith  

Second Place 

Hot Mama Fitness 

Klaenyza Pritchard (Presenter)  

Third Place 


Dor Yasur (Presenter), Ryan Leonard

Participation in the event drew largely from students in two classes: a management class taught by Professor Richard Linowes and an IT class taught by Professor Lee Miller.

The competition was organized by Professor Stevan Holmberg, chair of the Kogod Management Department.