Meet the Judges

WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge is a 3-month challenge run by Entrepreneur Club, College of Business and sponsored by the WSU Foundation.

At WarriorsINNOVATE Challenge, we want to help students turn their ideas into reality. We provide the resources, mentors, and funds to aid students in engaged learning and exploration of business development.

Students have the freedom to create a product, learn from each other, and have fun working on an idea with friends from cross disciplines. Moreover, we offer the opportunity for students to network with other creators and professionals.

 Kris Blanchard
Sr. Project Manager at Logistics Health Incorporated
Kris Blanchard (class of 1992) is a board member of the WSU Alumni Society. Currently a Sr. Project Manager at Logistics Health Incorporated, Blanchard is responsible for advanced project management and leads cross-functional teams to success. Prior role: Business Development Director – Riverside Electronics Blanchard is active in many communities organizations including The Great River Shakespeare Festival, and Big Brothers/Sisters of the Seven Rivers Region.
 Deb Peters
Executive Coach and Master Facilitator of Leadership Summits, Strategic Planning Leader
Deb Peters is an alumnus (class of 1976) of Winona State University. Peters founded Morgan McGuire Leadership to help CEOs and their teams leverage collaboration and collective wisdom to accelerate results. With an MBA and a 25 year track record, she's helped Global 1000 leaders achieve results that include double digit growth in retention, optimized payroll costs & efficiencies of scale in sales. Clients see her as a catalyst who helps leaders grow their business, their people, their competitive lead and themselves.
 Tim Penny
President / CEO at Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation since 2007
Tim Penny is an alumnus (class of 1974) of Winona State University. Penny’s extensive background complements many of the Foundation’s key interests, including the areas of early childhood development and economic development. Penny represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 – 1994. Previously, he was a member of the Minnesota State Senate from 1976-1982. Most recently, he was a Senior Counselor at Himle Horner, a Twin Cities-based public affairs firm, and a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute. Penny is co-chair of the Economic Club of Minnesota, co-chair of The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and serves on the Board of Parent Aware for School Readiness. Penny has co-authored three books: Common Cents; The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics; and Payment Due. Born and raised on a family farm in southeastern Minnesota, Tim received his B.A. in political science from Winona State University.
Chris Thrune 
Mortgage Lender at Merchants Bank
Chris Thrune is an alumnus (Class of 2016) of Winona State University. Experienced Mortgage Banking Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the banking industry. Skilled in Customer Service, Banking, Loans, Internet Banking, and Mortgage Lending with Merchants Bank since 2013. Strong finance professional with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from Winona State University. While attending Winona State University Chris was involved in the Financial Management Association. Born and raised in Winona, moved to the southeast Metro after graduating from Winona State and then recently relocated back to the Winona area.