"Bernstein Award Winner Announced"
SALISBURY, MD---Timothy Keller, a natural tinkerer who loves the outdoors, combined his skills and pleasures to win Salisbury State University’s most prestigious business award.
“This kind of marries my two passions,” Keller, 32, said Friday from his job at Black and Decker in Easton.
Keller won the Bernstein Business Plan Competition’s top prize for designing a stand to hold archery targets. It is the first step in his five-year plan to start a Lower Shore manufacturing plant.
Keller said designing and building the stand, gun slings and other outdoor equipment will “pay the bills until the company grows.”
Acquiring the patents will cost Keller much of the $5,000 prize money, the amount local entrepreneur Richard Bernstein reportedly had to start his first business. The first award was given in 1987.
According to the Innovative Outdoors business plan, Keller will begin assembling parts in his garage this fall and by 2005 have a 10-employee custom-manufacturing company.
“Tim dreamed up an idea, and went and got the patent,” said Ray Nichols, a Bernstein Award judge and chairman of BSC America. “That embraced entrepreneurship—thinking, planning, dreaming, trying and experimenting.”
Armed with an engineering degree from Penn State University, Keller arrived in Salisbury about 10 years ago to work for the Dresser-Wayne company. Besides his job in Easton, Keller also takes economics classes so he can enroll in the master of business administration program at SSU.
Though he enjoys hunting and fishing from his canoe on Johnson’s Pond, Keller said raising two young children with his wife has limited his time outdoors.
“Tim Keller has life experiences,” Nichols said. “We need more Bernsteins and Kellers who want to live a dream.”
· Vinita Magoon won second place and received $1,000 for Overstuffed Deli—a deli offering quality food to health conscious customers
· Sean Ofeldt received an honorable mention and won $500 for Saferide LLC—A transportation service for colleges to shuttle students during late-night hours.
· Phillip Pudwell also received an honorable mention and $500 for Earth Worm Garden Supplies—an indoor-outdoor garden store for organic and hydroponic growers.
Daily Times, Staff Writer