Dion’s Teams with UNM innovationAcademy for “Keep It Cool” Challenge

Imagine shipping Dion’s famous Ranch dressing to anyone in the country.

While this longstanding request has been prohibitive in the past due to temperature control challenges and high shipping costs, the wish may soon be a reality.

Dion’s has partnered with the University of New Mexico’s innovationAcademy on a unique contest for students to create a method for shipping its dressings.

The “Keep It Cool” Challenge tasks current students with developing a safe, consistent, and affordable way to send Dion’s salad dressings anywhere in the continental United States.

The contest will launch on Thursday, September 20, with an informational event at the Lobo Rainforest Collaboration Space at 3 p.m. Interested participants will be provided with a detailed overview of the Challenge and materials to aide in prototype creation.

From there, students, who may enter as individuals or teams, will prepare their shipping prototypes to present and demonstrate at a science fair-type expo at the UNM Student Union Building on Thursday, October 11. Local company, NanoPore, which has created a technology to ship vaccines internationally, has also agreed to provide mentorship and technical support to participants during the process.

“We’re thrilled to incentivize innovation from the young talent within the Albuquerque community,” Dion’s CEO Mark Herman said. “We anticipate outside thinking, creativity, and ingenuity in the projects. This is an exceptional opportunity that we are optimistic will produce a design to provide Great Food outside our markets and also support the innovationAcademy’s goals.”

“We are so excited to partner with Dion’s; they are a local legend,” UNM innovationAcademy Executive Director Robert G. DelCampo, Ph.D., said. “Giving our students the opportunity to solve a problem for a brand they are so familiar with is the ideal partnership to get them excited about building real world skills and applying their knowledge.”

Along with the distinction of creating a technique for shipping the dressings, the grand prize winner will be awarded Dion’s for a year and a $1,000 cash prize, while finalists will receive a $100 Dion’s gift card.

About Dion’s

Dion’s was founded in 1978 by Jon Patten and Bill Scott in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Over 40 years, the company has grown to 23 stores, employs over 1,500 employees and has added locations in Colorado and Texas. Dion’s provides great food and a place for people to relax and connect with family and friends. We offer ease, simplicity and connection amidst the hustle and bustle of busy lives. We hold ourselves to an expectation of authenticity and excellence. Our employees, customers, and community members are partners in success. For more information, visit www.dions.com, call 505-858-1010, or find us on Facebook: facebook.com/DionsPizza,  Twitter & Instagram: @dionspizza.

About UNM’s innovationAcademy
The innovationAcademy is the University of New Mexico’s incubator for ideas, business and people and represents the academic component of Innovate ABQ. It is designed to allow students to pursue their interests in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Here they build their enterprise while completing their degree program with world-class support from a research university truly interested in their success.


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