June 21, 2006

Today the Electronic Retailing
Association (ERA), Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda
(FBLA- PBL) and the program's sponsor, Koeppel Direct, announced the winner
of a nationwide contest to find America's best young inventors. The Grand
Prize of $20,000 was awarded to Julia and Caroline La Roche, a sister team
from Fugua High School in Farmville, Virginia for their invention called
"Flea Tea," a natural herb remedy that kills fleas on cats and dogs without
any harmful side effects.
    "ERA's inventor showcase has been bringing together the newest
inventors with the biggest players in direct retailing since 1999 when the
program was launched," said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of the
Electronic Retailing Association. "Our industry is hopeful that this
competition has encouraged participation among future business leaders in
celebration of America's entrepreneurship."
    The National Invention Showcase was a competition open exclusively to
FBLA-PBL's 250,000 members nationwide and was sponsored by Koeppel Direct,
an ERA member and a leading direct response media buying company. To ensure
protection to the inventor, all submissions were required to have a patent-
secured or a patent-pending on the invention idea and/or the product
itself. ERA provided detailed information on the process and offered
assistance if needed.
    "This program seemed a natural fit for our student membership," said
Jean Buckley, President and CEO of FBLA-PBL. "Today, they impressed us all
with their innovative ideas produced by America's most creative minds."
    The six finalists were also given the opportunity to spend time with
contest sponsor Peter Koeppel of Koeppel Direct, who provided tips to
success in product selection, effective direct marketing and promotion.
    "As an entrepreneur who started my own business, I am honored to be the
sponsor of this incredible program and to contribute to the future success
of these young inventors," said Peter Koeppel, Founder and CEO of Koeppel
    Inventions were judged by pre-qualified ERA members, who are actively
involved in the Invention Showcase and experts in product marketing and
distribution. Determinations were based on many characteristics, including
best product idea, best potential for production, and most ingenuity and
    Among other finalists were:

2nd Place winner Mitchell James Duffy (16 years old) from Inglemoor High
    School of Redmond, Washington for "Butter Blaster," a device that evenly
    distributes butter throughout an entire container of popcorn.

3rd Place winner Tyson Williams (18 years old) from Fruita Monument High
    School of Grand Junction, Colorado for the "Floating Gaming Table," a
    floating table top with built-in drink holders and chip tray for game
    playing in the pool or spa.

4th Place Winner Christopher Dean Messick (16 years old) from Sargent High
    School of Monte Vista, Colorado for the "Gesture System for Computer
    Interface," a device consisting of two gloves, worn by a computer user,
    which read all the movements of the hands.  Based on a gesturing system, a
    user is able to flex the hands in different manners in order to type, move
    the pointer, and input entire phrases without ever touching the keyboard
    or mouse.

Runner-Up Julia (18 years old) and Caroline (16 years old) LaRoche from
    Fugua High School of Farmville, Virginia for "Doggy Den/Kitty Cave," a
    cozy resting spot for your pet that looks like a landscape boulder with
    heated floors.

Runner-Up James Toles (15 years old) from Savannah Arts Academy of
    Savannah, Georgia for "Photosynthelect," an educational board game
    designed to teach students about the process of photosynthesis.  Students
    sharpen their intellect while having fun.  The game includes three
    different boards, each designed to focus on the three stages of

Second, third and fourth-place winners each received $2,500.

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