Lakeland, FL — In conjunction with IBM, Lenovo and Flagship Solutions Group, Florida Polytechnic University hosted its first ever hackathon April 15, 16, and 17, 2015.

Hackathons are events in which programmers work in teams to produce inventive applications for computers, mobile devices or the Web – some of which could be further developed for consumers. After hours of “hacking” at their computers, the teams showcase their ideas to a panel of judges and participants.

Tom Hull, Vice President and CIO of Florida Poly, led the hackathon, which hosted over 100 students forming 20 teams. “This hackathon was a great experience for our students,” said Hull. “It gave them hands-on experience with technology being used in industry today, and it allowed them to apply the programming skills they’ve learned this year at Florida Poly to create applications with immediate real-world potential.”

The teams in this competition were asked to design and build interesting and unique software applications (apps) that solve common problems. Students were required to use the IBM Bluemix platform for development. Bluemix is an implementation of IBM’s Open Cloud Architecture, leveraging Cloud Foundry to enable developers to rapidly build, deploy and manage their cloud applications while tapping into a growing ecosystem of available services and runtime frameworks.

IBM provided the university with a staff of approximately 10 Bluemix programming and design experts who were available throughout the event to train students on the Bluemix platform, as well as help them brainstorm, design, develop, deploy and present their apps in the competition.

Flagship Solutions group, an IBM premier business partner and the solution provider responsible for deploying the campus’ supercomputer in July of 2014, provided catering for the event, as well as prizes for social media involvement and contest winners. Flagship also helped to document the event via photos and took the lead in planning the event from a logistics perspective. “Flagship was honored to be part of such an exciting event. The energy that these students brought to their projects was contagious. Our goal was to teach the students something new. We never expected they would teach us just as much,” explained Tom Mitchell, VP of Sales at Flagship Solutions Group.

Lenovo was also in attendance to support the event, providing giveaways and two guest judges – Carl Wanamaker, Enterprise Server Technical Specialist and Jamie Johnston, Director of High Performance Computing Sales – to view the final product presentations. Lenovo also provided Yoga Tablet 2 Windows devices for the first place team. The Yoga Tablet 2 is a unique multimode tablet that allows students to be productive while mobile. Its flexibility allows for four different ways to view and use the tablet for everything from web surfing to blogging to socializing with friends.

“We were overwhelmingly impressed with the students’ applications today,” said Matt Johnson, Lenovo Sr. Channel Account Executive. “We saw everything from role playing games to travel applications to an app that delivers pizza on demand. It was beyond expectation to see the countless hours and efforts come to conclusion in a real-life application. The future is bright, and these students are ahead of the curve. We were thrilled to be part of the hackathon and look forward to participating in the next.”

“I’ve never competed in a hackathon before or anything similar. However, I’m definitely competing again. I had a lot of fun,” said Jake Schlinkmann, a student at Florida Polytechnic University and part of the winning team, “Travel Mate.”

A video summary of the event is available at:

About Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University is the state’s 12th public university and a member of the State University System of Florida. Dedicated exclusively to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), the University blends applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. The campus, located in Lakeland, FL along the I-4 High Tech Corridor, opened for classes on August 25, 2014. Contact Florida Polytechnic at

About Flagship Solutions Group

Flagship Solutions Group provides IBM solutions, managed services and cloud solutions worldwide. These include cutting-edge hardware and software products, data center strategic planning and hybrid cloud implementations based on a wide range of assessments that look at virtualization, server consolidation, security, and infrastructure-focused integration. With over 30 years in the industry, Flagship’s expert staff take the time to understand and assess each customer’s specific needs and requirements. To learn more or to find a solution that best fits your needs, contact Flagship Solutions Group at or call (561) 208-FYI1 (3941).