Janska, Quad Enhance Clothing that Comforts

February 12, 2018

The Quad Innovation Partnership launched two community-focused impact projects this week, with a third launching later this month.

The Quad, a joint initiative between Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado Colorado Springs and the US Air Force Academy, is continuing its mission of serving the immediate needs of area businesses and organizations while offering professional development opportunities to students and recent graduates.

“The Quad Innovation Partnership brings together business, community, higher education and ideas, creating exciting opportunities for students and young grads,” said Jill Tiefenthaler, president of Colorado College. “The Quad is making a tremendous positive impact in the region. Hands-on, real-world projects prepare students and grads for leadership.”

The three projects this semester include working with two local companies, Janska and Altia, and a social services collaboration between the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

Each project has a dedicated team comprised of students and grads from each school, at least one dedicated Quad staff member and a faculty advisor with relevant subject-matter expertise. Teams work closely with business and government executives to build tactically valuable solutions to the specific issues these organizations have asked the Quad to address.

“The purpose and structure of these teams is to guide our students to solutions that provide immediate value to our partners and for the students to gain valuable, market-ready experience,” said Jacob Eichengreen, executive director of the Quad Partnership. “We’re not going to deliver ‘if we had a million dollars’ ideas to our partners. We’re going to deliver solutions that work.”

To oversee the rapidly expanding project base – and number of students engaged in project work – the Quad recently hired Beka Adair as assistant director. Adair, a graduate of Colorado College, joined the Quad from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation where she specialized in economic development, workforce development and talent retention.

“My role is to coach all students engaged in Quad projects, and to ensure the results we deliver meet the needs of the community and our partners,” Adair said. “I believe that the most effective way to move our city forward is by bringing our students and young graduates from our area institutions together to create and implement new, innovative solutions to the issues our community is facing, big and small.”

This spring, the Quad will oversee the following projects:

• Janska, a clothing manufacturer in Southeast Colorado Springs, is working with the Quad to develop a complete product identity and marketing framework for its “Clothing that Comforts” product line. The Quad team will conduct focus groups, interviews and other market research to ultimately deliver refined messaging and a concrete go-to-market strategy to the company to boost sales.

• Altia, a growing graphical user interface company headquartered in Colorado Springs, is working with the Quad to finalize a sales and demonstration package for a new data product it is developing. The Quad team will allow the company to bring the product to market up to six months sooner than originally planned.

• The City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County have partnered to work with a Quad team to improve access to social services in the greater metro area. The Quad team will examine several transportation-based strategies for improving access and will prioritize interventions on the basis of enhanced service delivery and cost efficiency.

Funding for the Janska and Altia projects was provided through the Quad’s partnership with LINKED, a new program piloted out of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. LINKED, a mechanism connecting businesses and students, benefits Colorado businesses by providing access to student teams working on industry-driven projects and building a verified talent pipeline.

“Altia has deep roots in the Colorado Springs community and depends on the technical and creative talent that is drawn to this picturesque city,” said Mike Juran, CEO of Altia. “Our technology is the face of millions of products around the globe – and the innovation that drives our success starts with the people who work here. The Quad Innovation Partnership and LINKED offer a unique way for us to connect with and develop the next generation of talent to keep us on the cutting edge.”

The Quad intends to expand its project portfolio in the coming year in line with the community’s needs.

“The traction we are seeing with the Quad’s project-based model is proving our ability to prepare our students for impactful careers, while also delivering tangible, tactical value to our business community,” said UCCS Chancellor Venkat Reddy. “We hope that our community recognizes the value of the Quad and joins us in strengthening this initiative.”

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