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Alaska Airlines Sponsors Environmental Entrepreneurship Competition at University of Washington

SEATTLE, WA —The University of Washington Foster School of Business recently announced Alaska Airlines as the naming sponsor of its annual Environmental Innovation Challenge.

In the Environmental Innovation Challenge, approaching its seventh year, student teams must define an environmental problem, develop a solution, produce a prototype and create a business summary that demonstrates the commercial viability of their product, process or service. Teams are judged on their prototypes, the market opportunity, and their pitch to an audience of nearly 200 industry experts from the Seattle environmental and entrepreneurship communities.

“We're thrilled that Alaska Airlines has chosen to sponsor the Environmental Innovation Challenge. With their history of innovation, Northwest roots and steadfast support of education, Alaska Airlines is a perfect sponsor for one of the region's most elite student challenges,” says Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the Foster School’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. “Their commitment to environmental responsibility aligns perfectly with the spirit of the competition.”

Alaska’s 10-year sponsorship commitment includes a reduced travel rate for out-of-state teams to Seattle to participate in the April competition and flying guest faculty instructors from other universities in the Pacific Northwest to observe or judge the challenge. The airline will also host the challenge at the Seattle Center House next April. More information about the 2015 Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge can be found at

“As a proud supporter of the University of Washington and industry leader in environmental stewardship, we're thrilled to support the next generation of innovators whose ideas and concepts will no doubt improve our communities for years to come,” says Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines.

To date, the chance to compete in the Environmental Innovation Challenge has attracted hundreds of student teams from Washington and Oregon. Prize money is one draw; so are the opportunities to hone an idea through interaction with peers, prototype development and conversations with industry experts.

A number of teams have gone on to launch their companies. One such example is HydroSense. The team won the inaugural Environmental Innovation Challenge with a water-usage monitoring technology that screws onto a single valve in a home and can detect water use down to each specific toilet, shower and faucet. Belkin acquired HydroSense in 2010.

Alaska Airlines has supported the state's largest university in various ways for more than five decades. The UW's on-campus basketball arena, the “Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion,” is named after the carrier and is part of a multi-year agreement to sponsor the UW Athletics program. Last year Alaska Airlines donated nearly $1.4 million in cash and in-kind contributions to almost 100 youth and educational programs and schools in the greater Puget Sound area and throughout Washington.

About Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK), together with its partner regional airlines, serves more than 100 cities through an expansive network in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico. Alaska Airlines ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Traditional Network Carriers” in the J.D. Power and Associates for seven consecutive years from 2008 to 2014. Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan also ranked highest in the 2014 Airline Loyalty/Rewards Program Satisfaction Report.

About the Foster School of Business
Founded at the University of Washington in 1917 and named for entrepreneur and alumnus Michael G. Foster in 2007, the Foster School of Business consistently ranks among the top business schools in the world. The Foster School serves more than 2,500 students annually and has more than 50,000 alumni. For more information about the Foster School of Business, visit