The Portal Entryways team includes Morgen Glessing and Josh Horne, two undergraduate students at Brigham Young University (BYU). Although Morgen and Josh both coincidentally grew up in Washington state and served full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil at the same time, their paths did not cross until they met at BYU in an interdisciplinary innovation fellowship program. While in this program, they began searching for a problem that they could solve, and upon meeting with a friend who uses a wheelchair, they learned that most technologies do not cater to all types of physical abilities. With Josh's skills in hardware and software and Morgen's business acumen, the two developed a solution that makes automatic doors more accessible. Their invention, known as Portal, is a wireless device that opens disabled-accessible doors when a user approaches with the Portal smartphone app. The team was awarded the $10,000 “Move it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their inventive work.
Morgen Glessing grew up in rural Vancouver, WA, and without access to internet or television as a child, he satisfied his hunger for learning by devouring book after book from the school’s library, so much so that he tested at an advanced high school reading level by the third grade. Upon graduating from high school, Morgen worked in information technology at a medical clinic in Vancouver, WA, where he first discovered his passion for technology. Following this, he volunteered on a two-year service mission in southern Brazil, an experience that taught him to appreciate people from all walks of life. Morgen went on to attend college at BYU, but in the middle of his sophomore year, he decided that he needed time away from school to think about what he wanted to accomplish with his life. Shortly after, he hiked the entirety of the 2,700-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border to Canada, learning along the way that a dogged persistence can lead to successfully completing what may seem like an insurmountable task. After finishing the trail in four months, Morgen returned to BYU and entered the undergraduate entrepreneurship program, where he is currently finishing his senior year. Morgen serves as a student advisor in the BYU entrepreneurship center, mentoring students who are looking for entrepreneurial opportunities on campus, and he has been involved in a handful of technology-related startups. His mission is to continue to apply design thinking to problems people face every day, and to build technological solutions that make people happy.
Josh Horne has always been interested in technology and the arts, and while growing up in Maple Valley, WA, could often be found playing with Legos or building items in his garage, ranging from banjos to halfpipes. After high school, Josh served on a two-year service mission in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This was a life-changing experience for him, as he grew to love the people and culture of Brazil. Following his service mission, Josh decided to pursue his passion for technology and entered the electrical engineering program at BYU. He also started taking entrepreneurship classes to learn more about startups and innovation, which led him to spend three summers selling pest control door-to-door, building his interpersonal and sales skills. Stemming from these experiences and his electrical engineering and technical skills, Josh was recruited to work at a medical device startup where he helped the team design and build a vital monitoring system. Josh also serves as a student advisor in the BYU entrepreneurship center, and helps promote student competitions and events to grow the entrepreneurial and innovation culture on campus and in the community. Josh is currently completing his senior year at BYU, but he is a firm believer in lifelong learning and that discipline and personal development has had and will continue to have a tremendous impact on his success.