Cassie Schmid with MHTA Tekne Award, Uponor

There’s a special feeling that you get when sitting in a hushed ballroom, holding your breath in electric anticipation and awaiting the conclusion to that hollowed phrase, “And the Tekne Award goes to…”

The explosion of excitement that follows when they say your company’s name has been felt by a fortunate few.

We’ve been lucky enough to speak with some of these winners, to hear their stories and share what celebrating Minnesota’s innovation means to them.

Cassie Schmid is the Sr. Manager of Uponor’s Intelligent Water Marketing. Last November, Uponor took home a Tekne for best building design and infrastructure. Schmid was happy to share her experience and talk with us about some of the developments they’ve been working on since.

Do you have a favorite moment from the Tekne Awards last year? It can be something moving, something funny, or something unforgettable.
The Tekne Awards are a great event, and having the opportunity to attend as a nominee was amazing! My favorite moment was of course hearing the presenter call Uponor as the winner in our category. We were up against some tough competition. While everyone at our table was hoping for a win, we were also realistic that we may end up doing the gracious smile and light clap. However when Uponor was announced, we erupted in cheers and jumped out of our seats. It was a wonderful moment seeing our logo up on the screen and holding that amazing award.

What exciting developments have occurred at your organization since you won your Tekne? Did the event or your win influence this in any way?
Our Phyn Plus business continues to grow. We are proud of the continued expansion of the Uponor Pro Squad and additional enhancements to the product itself. Among the enhancements are the inclusion of Alexa and Google Assistant, which enables homeowners to be better informed of their water consumption by simply saying “How much water have I used today?” Seeing the number of gallons consumed when an irrigation system, for example, runs twice a day really causes people to stop and think. We have also added an early freeze alert that notifies homeowners when ice crystals begin to form in pipes, giving them ample time to warm the plumbing prior to a pipe burst.

Since the Tekne Awards are all about “the state of innovation,” what in your opinion is the greatest innovation to come out of Minnesota and why?
For me, the greatest innovation to come out of Minnesota was the in-ear hearing aid in 1955. My father lost his hearing in the Navy and while he did not start wearing a hearing aid until well after 1955, this invention led to innovations that allowed him to wear something much smaller, hidden and less burdensome today.

What advice would you give to the 2019 Tekne applicants?
Continue to work hard and stay focused on your “why.”

Why are you creating this product/innovation? What problem are you hoping it will solve? Keeping your eye on the “why” will allow you to move forward with purpose.

Schmid’s thrill of attending and winning a Tekne can be replicated. Fill out your application for a Tekne award to get started. Applying is free and there are 14 award categories to choose from.

Chances are, if you’re part of the tech ecosystem in Minnesota, then you’ve got something worth bragging about. Check out the award categories here, craft your application before August 9th and remember, in the words of Cassie Schmid “stay focused on your why.”