The team from Rutgers University – Miles Borgeson, An Cierpial, William Kim and Melissa Lekulitch — took first place in the annual PACK Solutions Challenge competition, presented by the PMMI Foundation ( and sponsored by B&R Industrial Automation. Team members will share $4,000 in scholarship funds.

Winners were announced at the 2014 Packaging Hall of Fame Reception & Induction Ceremony.

The PACK Solutions Challenge is an annual student contest where teams from PMMI Partner Schools research and develop a real-world packaging solution. This year’s contest saw teams from eight programs: Cal Poly, Clemson University, Purdue University – Calumet, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin – Stout and Virginia Tech.

In addition to any prize its students may win, each participating school receives a $2,500 donation from the PMMI Foundation. Clemson University received second place ($2,000 in scholarship funds, to be shared by team members), and University of Wisconsin — Stout took third place ($1,000 in scholarship funds), respectively.

For this year’s challenge, the fictional “Ray’s Premium Pet Food Company,” requested proposals for a dedicated line to package and ship its new retail-ready line of all-beef jerky treats. The students began their research using resources on and followed up with exhibitors on the show floor.

Poster presentations, which students submitted prior to arriving in Chicago, were on display in the Education & Workforce Development Pavilion at PACK EXPO International 2014. Attendees and exhibitors were invited to see the display and vote for a favorite solution as the “People’s Choice” award winner. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced shortly. All voters have been placed in a drawing to win a new iPad.

“Every student and educator who participated in this year’s competition will benefit from the experience. I would like to thank the schools who have participated in this year’s contest,” says Marc Ostertag, president, B&R Industrial Automation.

“We also appreciate the efforts of the judges and the time they gave to be part of this contest,” Ostertag added. “The contest gives students a chance to see what they’ll do with their education. It’s hands-on, real-world experience that is absolutely vital.”

Judges for this year’s event were: Paul Baker, Big Heart Pet Brands; Chris Baker and Jim Powers, Teva Pharmaceuticals; Travis Powell, Schreiber Foods, Inc., and Tony Vandenoever, Pepsico.