Lono LLC is a start-up company founded by students from the University of Notre Dame. The founders are Will McLeod (MS '10 -ESTEEM, BS/BA ’09 -Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design), Ryan Tatzel (BS ’09 - Chemical Engineering) and Michael Stacey (MBA ’07). The team won top honors in the McCloskey Business Plan Competition in April of 2007, sponsored by the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame. In June of 2007 the team created Lono LLC, and has continued further research and product development efforts - funded through a grant from the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance. Successes continued to roll for Lono as they gathered state-wide recognition and top honors in the Indiana Collegiate Idol Competition, sponsored by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, held in November of 2007.
In the last year they have developed four additional prototypes focused on the home and RV industries, and have recently received a “patent pending” status for their innovative product design.
William McLeod graduated with dual degrees in product design and in mechanical engineering before getting his Masters of Science in Notre Dame's new interdisciplinary ESTEEM program. Will has received several awards for the concept behind SmarterShade as well as other products.
Mike has over eight years of experience in operations and strategy consulting and project management. He is a recent MBA graduate from the University of Notre Dame where his focus was Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Mike has assisted several entrepreneurs in South Africa in helping them to start their own local businesses. Mike is leading the efforts of business development for SmarterShade, working with suppliers, distributors, end customers, and other partners.
Ryan Tatzel has been coordinating the product development efforts for SmarterShade. Ryan has developed five prototypes for Lono since April of 2007. Ryan has recently been developing SmarterShade’s latest design- the RV Shade. Ryan will play a key role in future research and product development efforts.
Lono, LLC has had several individual advisors since 2007. The following are a few of these individuals and their relationship with the company:
Dave Brenner: Mentor, member of the “Irish Angels” network
Roland Tatzel: Mentor, Founder/ Owner of Matics Hydraulics
Jim Mellott: Mentor, member of the “Irish Angels” network
Neil Drozeski: Mentor, member of the “Irish Angels” network
Theresa Sedlack: Mentor, Executive Director at Fish Taco Ventures
Matt Connors: Intellectual Property Attorney, member of the “Irish Angels” network
Jeffrey Miller: General Counsel Attorney, Johnson Miller & Schmitz LLP
Dr. Robert Dunn: Faculty Advisor, Director of the Integrated Engineering and Business Practices
Tom Longcor: Engineering Consultant, PT Services