Pitt Senior Micah Toll a Contestant for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year

Issue Date: 
August 23, 2011
Micah TollMicah Toll

With the click of a mouse, the University of Pittsburgh community can support one of its own: Micah Toll, a senior mechanical engineering major in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, who is one of five finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year.

Voting in the College Entrepreneur of the Year contest is open until Sept. 12, and anyone may participate. Visit www.entrepreneur.com/e2011/vote/college, enter a valid e-mail address, and cast a vote.

The contest winner will be the focus of a feature article in the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine.

The mission of Toll’s company, Pulse Motors, is to revolutionize personal urban transportation by building completely electric two-wheeled Personal Electronic Vehicles. The vehicles resemble bicycles but do not require pedaling.

“Our vehicles are designed to be the ideal solution for millions of commuters driving in and around urban centers,” says Toll in his contest video entry on the Entrepreneur Magazine Web site. “Instead of a single person commuting in a two-ton gas guzzler, our vehicles allow drivers to zip effortlessly along using minimal energy and no fossil fuels while producing absolutely zero tailpipe emissions.”

A panel of judges selected the five finalists from among thousands of entries across the country. The selection of the ultimate winner of the College Entrepreneur of the Year now comes down to two components: the online voting process and voting by the panel of judges. The online voting points and panel voting points will be combined for each of the five finalists, and the winner will be the student who receives the highest total.

Toll is no stranger to competition. Among his numerous awards is a first place in Pitt’s 2009 Randall Family Big Idea Competition for a construction beam he invented for quick construction in such locations as refugee camps, disaster areas, and war zones. Big Ideas  is funded by University of Pittsburgh Trustee Bob Randall’s family and coordinated by the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) in Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

“In fact, it was his Randall Family Big Idea win that prompted us here at IEE to connect Micah with the opportunity at Entrepreneur Magazine,” says Michael Lehman, IEE director of marketing and student entrepreneurship.

In 2010, Toll won another first-place Big Idea award for developing a kit to test for toxins in imported Chinese drywall.

In 2009, Toll was part of a team winning a $5,000 first-place prize in the Energy Efficient Building Technologies Challenge hosted by Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. Toll’s team constructed a lightweight plastic wind turbine consisting of a plastic rotor and tower that homeowners could install themselves.