DDC was proud to sponsor a class at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for the second time and bring in employees with specialized knowledge in various topics to encourage students to work on interprofessional projects relevant to their class topic. 

Joe Ricker, our employee and IIT alum, served as a mentor to the Power over Ethernet IPRO class, guiding the students with leadership, teamwork, and engineering advice. Throughout the course, the students work on their projects and apply their knowledge and skills for new solutions to help society. At the end of the semester, the students present their work at Innovation Day, a biannual celebration of creativity and innovation. The event brings together students, faculty, and members of the Illinois Tech and Chicago communities to showcase the incredible work of the IIT students.


DDC also brought our engineers Mark Timko and Andrew Newman to Innovation Day as judges for the student contest. This was an excellent opportunity for students to get valuable engineering advice that would stick with them for their whole careers.

At the Innovation Day event, the students compete against other IPRO classes at IIT for cash prizes. They are assessed based on an established set of criteria, which includes problem/solution fit and uniqueness, evidence of market and tech validation, quantification of market and social impact, description of the implementation plan, and overall ability to communicate ideas.

The team mentored by the DDC team and led by Jack Mallett, presented their project: a smart fire evacuation system that uses a network of sensors to provide an optimal, real-time evacuation path. As a result of their efforts and critical thinking, the project was recognized with an Innovation Day award!

Since many of our team members come from IIT, we are proud to share that the winning team included a past intern, Preston Bare, who is returning this summer. We are also thrilled to have one more new employee joining our software team soon – Andrew Haines, a student out of the IPRO. This is a testament to the outstanding talent and expertise that IIT fosters among its students, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for these brilliant minds.