Entrepreneurs share their success stories

Influencing Generation Why is a weekly podcast showcasing members of Generation Y who are invoking change in the world. After graduating from RPI, Brandon Galluppi ’13 started this podcast to share the stories of millennials who are invigorated by their age, not limited by it. These inspired youth spearhead a range of initiatives, such as:

The Food Recovery Network ­— a non-profit organization that organizes leftover food donations from dining halls to homeless shelters.

Student Voice — a non-profit organization providing a weekly forum for students and educators to share their needs and ideas.

Legit Posters — a startup that creates posters for students, while taking the extra step of incorporating the color, culture, and pride of specific universities into each poster’s design.

RPI alum Colleen Costello ’12 and James Peterson ’12 were invited by IGW to discuss their two-year-old startup company: Vital Vio, Inc. These ambitious graduates turned down employment offers to pursue their passion, developing a new form of LED lighting with a built-in disinfection system capable of providing health, safety, and financial benefits to a variety of industries. This system can be applied to overhead light fixtures in healthcare settings to provide environmental decontamination and significantly reduce bacterial infections and illnesses.

In their interview with IGW, Costello and Peterson discussed the calculated risk considered in their decision to launch Vital Vio. As young entrepreneurs with minimal financial obligations, they recognized the opportunity they had to shoot for their dreams without risking it all. The chance to follow their interests, work for themselves, and help others was too good to pass up. As they put it: “worst case scenario, if it fails we could always get a regular job.” This type of confidence and initiative is an admirable quality in today’s youth that should be encouraged and nurtured.

“College is the best time to start an organization,” said Peterson. “No other pursuit will provide as great of an opportunity to create change and leave a positive impact on the world. With enough drive and purpose, there is no obstacle too great to be overcome in this endeavor.” Peterson and Costello are living proof of these words, as their own creation, Vital Vio, continues to survive and flourish. The company has exciting plans to penetrate the healthcare market and push for further innovation in the field of lighting. With their steady growth, they have a number of positions to be filled:

Implementations Engineer (Lighting and Controls) – http://poly.rpi.edu/52780

Production Engineer (Electro-Mechanical/Lighting Assembly Disciplines) – http://poly.rpi.edu/85211

Project Engineer (Mechanical/Electrical/Lighting Disciplines) – http://poly.rpi.edu/19218

Business Development Associate

Find out more online at vitalvio.com.

Learn More about Entrepreneurship at RPI and Join Generation Why Yourself

To listen to IGW’s podcast for yourself, visit http://www.influencinggenerationwhy.com. For more information on local entrepreneurship, look out for meetings of the Foundry-RPI, which take place Tuesdays (4/8, 4/15, 4/22, 4/29) 6­–7:30 pm in the Games Room of the Rensselaer Union. This gathering welcomes all entrepreneurs on campus, providing feedback, mentorship, and free food! Details can be found at http://scte.rpi.edu/foundry.html.