February 23, 2021

E-Week Innovation: Process Design Innovation Wins Dysruptek’s Inaugural ‘Big Pitch’ Contest


Editor’s note: Haskell is proud to join its more than 650 design professionals in celebrating Engineers Week. Founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), Engineers Week brings together a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, educational, and cultural societies, as well as more than 50 corporations and government agencies, to ensure a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing awareness of and interest in engineering and technology careers. This year’s theme is “Imagining Tomorrow,” which we commemorate by putting our young engineers and innovation front and center.

Software applications have revolutionized and digitized how process engineers design production facilities, but data entry on the hundreds of documents required for each design has remained an analog, fingers-and-keyboard task.

That will change soon, thanks to Ramon Ramirez, Orvin Lozada and their winning entry in ‘The Big Pitch.’

Staged by Dysruptek, Haskell’s venture arm dedicated to scouting, piloting and investing in emerging technologies, ‘The Big Pitch’ is a Shark Tank-like contest that invited Haskell employees to submit proposals that would use existing solutions to enhance efficiencies, create new solutions and explore new markets and business opportunities.

Ramon Ramirez

Ramirez, Design Director in Haskell’s Mexico City office, and Lozada, Mexico City Project Coordinator, took first place from among 36 entries in the first annual innovation contest with their proposal for Process Design Automation that would eliminate the repetitive entry of basic information.

“We thought that if we could automate that work and make it more efficient, engineers and designers could use their time to develop better things and put their minds on better designs,” Ramirez said. “So that's the intention, and that's how the ideas started.”

From five virtual finalists, a panel of company and innovation leaders chose the top three Big Pitch projects based on a concise set of questions and criteria:

  • Does the idea fulfill Haskell's mission of creating things that matter?
  • How does the idea take Haskell's work in the AEC industry to new heights?
  • Fulfill a costly need in the market and showcase your product or service differentiation
  • Proposals must include great ideas, but also produce sustainable business value
  • Thoroughly research the risks and provide details on how they might be addressed
  • What are the resources needed to make the idea/opportunity happen?

Thirty-six entries were screened and the field winnowed to five finalists, each of which presented their pitch decks – virtually, because of the coronavirus pandemic – to a panel of four judges comprising Jim O’Leary, Haskell President and CEO; John-Paul Saenz, Haskell Executive Vice President and COO; Andrea Inserra, Haskell board member and EVP of Booze Allen Hamilton; and Kaustubh Pandya, Principal of Brick and Mortar Ventures.

Second place went to Gary Weiler, Senior Quality Subject Matter Expert in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office, for his proposal for a Pneumatic Testing Application; and third place was awarded to Ryan Camer, Director of Virtual Construction, for his Trend Analysis Dashboarding project.

"We saw so many bright ideas from representatives from all the offices,” Ramirez said. “It was indeed encouraging and motivating, and it reinforces our feelings about contributing to such a remarkable team of collaborators.”

Orvin Lozada

Each of the top three places received cash awards, and as the overall winners, Ramirez and Lozada received support for the implementation of their idea. The Process Design Automation project is now in development.

“The Big Pitch has been a great experience,” Ramirez said. “This is an opportunity to present the ideas that you may have had for several years. Now we have the opportunity to put them on the table and make them come true.”

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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