2016 Startup Weekend Ludington: Unplug and Reconnect!

    Friday, July 29 - 31, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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2016 Startup Weekend Ludington: Unplug and Reconnect!

Friday, July 29 - 31, 2016

Friday, July 29 - 31, 2016
Event starts at 9:00 am

BluSky at Camp Douglas Smith
5515 W. Nurnberg Rd
Freesoil, Michigan 49411

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Where the innovative come to pitch an idea... and a tent.

Calling all entrepreneurs, designers, coders, engineers and creative minds; come descend on BluSky at Camp Douglas Smith located on Hamlin Lake for "Startup Weekend Ludington: Unplugged and Reconnect."   Have a great new business idea?  Have a great skill or talent to share?  Want to engage in West Michigan’s awesome startup community? Feel the need to unplug reconnect and innovate? Then this event is for you!

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a co-founder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. 

Come build something with us! 

See what it's all about

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Friday July 29th

9:00 am
You can arrive anytime between between 9am and 4pm. Park at West Shore Community College Tech parking lot (3000 N Stiles Rd, Ludington, MI 49454). Buses will transport people to and from Camp Douglas Smith between 9am and 4pm every half hour on the hour.

9:00 am
Registration / Setup Camp
Registration will happen between 9am and 4pm. Once at the camp, time to setup your camping arrangements!

4:30 pm
Final Registration
Arrive to Camp Douglas and get setup for a wild weekend!

5:00 pm
Lets Eat!

6:00 pm
Opening Remarks / Icebreaker
Time to hear from the Camp and meet your future co-founder.

7:00 pm
Idea Pitches
Time to pitch your idea to the world. 90 second pitches please!

8:00 pm
Form Teams
Vote on the ideas to move forward. Teams start forming and discussing ideas!

9:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. Begin to setup your workspace for the weekend.

11:00 pm
Double Film Feature
Blair Witch Project & Dirty Dancing Havana Nights

Saturday July 30th

8:00 am
Enjoy breakfast & coffee in the great outdoors! ENDLESS COFFEE!

9:00 am
Begin Work
Gather team and start building!

10:00 am
Lo-Fi Mockups/BMC/Validation
During this 30 minute session we will focus on prototyping, the business model canvas and user adoption.

12:00 pm
Lunch & Lakeside Activities
Food will be there as well as ENDLESS COFFEE! While eating, enjoy the half mile of lakefront property.

1:00 pm
Status Updates
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help.

6:00 pm
Dinner & Lakeside Activities
Eat dinner while watching the sunset! As always, ENDLESS COFFEE!

7:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

7:30 pm
Pitch Like a Pro
Learn what you will need in your final slide deck for Sunday.

10:00 pm
Camp Fire Takeover
Hobo Pies and S'mores over an open fire. Music will be blasting on the tennis courts... Come get down!

Sunday July 31st

8:00 am
Enjoy breakfast & coffee in the great outdoors! ENDLESS COFFEE!

10:00 am
Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm
Lunch & Lakefront Activities
Food will be there as well as ENDLESS COFFEE! While eating, enjoy the half mile of lakefront property.

1:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:00 pm
Final Presentations

4:00 pm
Grab dinner while the judges deliberate.

4:30 pm
Judging & Awards

5:30 pm

6:00 pm
Go Home!
Or camp an extra night at the camp!


Dale Pollak

Dale Pollak is the visionary founder of vAuto, the company that revolutionized used car operations. Now the industry-leading inventory management solution, vAuto was acquired by Cox Automotive in 2010. Dale is a highly sought-after speaker and author of three books, Velocity: From the Front Line to the Bottom LineVelocity 2.0: Paint, Pixels & Profitability and Velocity Overdrive: The Road to Reinvention. He posts regularly on his blog at dalepollak.com. Among his many distinctions, Dale was awarded the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®award. He received his B.S. in business administration from Indiana University. Dale also earned a law degree from DePaul University College of Law.

Event Judges

Monica Schuyler
Executive Director, Pennies from Heaven

Monica Schuyler may be young, but has a vast of experience from being a certified mediator, starting her own law firm, and now to directing a multi-million dollar Foundation. She moved to the beautiful Ludington to work for Western Land Services as a title attorney. She was promoted by the owner of the company to working full time as the Executive Director for his family foundation, the Pennies from Heaven Foundation. In her current position, she has assisted in the development of a Charter School, a Collaborative Food Pantry, a Volunteer Neighborhood Revitalization Program, a low-income housing tax credit development and the Momentum Business Challenge. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in Public Policy and Administration. She also earned a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  

Tom Edwards
Educator and Industrial Designer

Tom Edwards is an educator and industrial designer. A native of Ohio, Edwards received a B.S. in Industrial Design from Kent State University. He completed his M.B.A. degree at Western Michigan University while working for Herman Miller, Inc.   Edwards has taught product design at Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan for over twenty years and is the former Chair of the program. He taught Tim Murphy everything he knows about design.   Edwards is currently a free-lance designer specializing in products for the contract furniture industry. He has designed for Herman Miller, Haworth, Knoll, Teknion, Nucraft and numerous other furniture companies. He has over twenty patents and has won numerous design awards.

Ray Biggs
President and Chief Executive Officer of West Shore Bank

Ray Biggs has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of West Shore Bank since 2009.  West Shore Bank is a $389 million bank with six locations headquartered in Ludington, Michigan.   Ray’s career in banking began at NBD Bank in commercial banking and he now has over 25 years of banking experience.       Ray is currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce as well as their Board of Directors.  He is also serving as President of the West Shore Community College Foundation Board and serves as President of the Lincoln Hills Board of Directors.  In addition, Ray also serves on the Michigan Bankers Association Service Corporation Board of Directors.    Ray has received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Alma College and his MBA in Finance from the University of Detroit.  Ray and his wife, Kristen, and their four children reside in Ludington.    

John Malnor
Chief Development Officer at Skytron

John's life is the result of purposeful design. This has provided him opportunities to live and work in many countries, different markets and balance achievement in business with family experiences and community activities. John finds great joy in solving complex problems in new ways, and then developing a business system to support the delivery of that solution. John has chosen assignments over his whole career to build a broad base of experience. He has led teams in product development, new brand creation, existing brand repositioning, national sales forces in North America and China, and continues to learn new things everyday. John's goals center around continued personal growth, increasing his impact on our community, and getting better at helping teams perform at higher levels. He gets a lot of joy from having responsibility for a business, and for the team of people whose contributions drive the success of that enterprise.

Specialties: New venture creation, talent development, business planning, channel design/management, financial modeling, sales planning and business analysis.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The 2016 Startup Weekend Ludington: Unplug and Reconnect! team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Ludington is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Thomas
  • Crystal
  • Monica
  • Spence
  • Ryan
  • Erica
  • John
  • Samuel
  • Tim


Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

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