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Great Ideas
2020 - Judges

Meet the Finalist Judges and Speakers for Great Ideas 2020

Eric Smith

Serial Entrepreneur

Eric is an influential innovator and founder of several successful technology companies. Eric was the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Control4 (NASDAQ: CTRL). During his tenure at Control4, Eric was instrumental in introducing a new paradigm to the business of home control and helped redefine the term “smart home.” Eric helped take the company public in 2013 and it was merged with SnapAV just last year for $680M. Eric is also the co-founder of iBAHN, a global provider of digital information for the hospitality and meeting industries. The company has serviced more than 3,000 hotels in 40+ countries around the world.

Melanie Raney

Supply Chain Expert

Melanie currently serves as the US Supply Chain Manager for Transmission & Distribution and Renewables for the AES Corporation. She leads a team accountable for Direct Spend Transmission & Distribution Materials which includes tactical sourcing initiatives, procurement, supplier relationship management and administration. Prior to serving at the AES Corporation, Melanie worked at AEP’s Nuclear Plant as a Nuclear Engineer, Procurement Engineer, and Senior Nuclear Project Manager. Melanie received her Bachelor of Science from BYUI. She also serves as Chairperson for the Supplier Diversity & Development Committee of the Indiana Energy Association and a Council Member for the Central Indiana Chamber Women’s Business Center.

Jonas Otsuji


Jonas was born and raised on Oahu and has lived the life of an entrepreneur in almost every sense of the word. He has had multiple successful careers as an award winning photographer and Sushi chef. In 2012, Jonas was picked out of 40,000 plus candidates to be on the longest running reality TV show Survivor. Jonas lasted 19 out of 39 days before getting voted off the island for being “too likable.” Jonas is currently running his own real estate business in Utah and has been ranked number one as listing agent and buying agent. He served in the Japan Tokyo Mission and attended BYU Hawaii before and after his mission. Jonas loves to spend time with his wife and three children.

Tiffany Robins

Founder of The Sewing Kit

Tiffany is the Founder and Owner of The Sewing Kit where she works in the bridal industry and creates alterations and items that clients need for large wedding events. Tiffany graduated from BYU-Idaho with a degree in Business Management and an emphasis in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. While taking classes at BYU-Idaho, Tiffany did consulting work with Beehive Clothing Distribution and helped with patterns and layouts for new stores. Over the last few years Tiffany has become more involved with family law and criminal defense. Currently, she is a Victim Service Coordinator for the District Attorney. Tiffany is married with two children and she loves to spend time with her family while running her own business on the side.

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