Computer science major Ben Mesnik ’20 wins prize for entrepreneurship skills

Computer science major Ben Mesnik ’20 says his parents were always being asked by their friends for home repair and improvement business recommendations. They had a hard time keeping track of skilled workers, he says, and would search through their drawers for business cards.

Mesnik saw an opportunity to better connect communities.

Combining his passion for computer science and entrepreneurship (his minor), Mesnik programmed a website called SkillLister that allows homeowners to keep a list of home improvement and repair companies who they believe did a good job. The goal is for people to easily recontact these companies when necessary.

The website led to Mesnik being named one of five 2018 Leonard P. Pool Memorial Prize winners. The prize is awarded to rising Lehigh juniors and seniors who demonstrate entrepreneurship skills while attending classes at Lehigh. The award, which is applied toward the winners’ Lehigh tuition, is based on the entrepreneurial spirit that typified the life and career of Air Products founder Leonard Pool, who died in 1975.

Mesnik says his website has the potential to build a network as the list can be shared with others. Users can refer companies to other people in their community, which Mesnik believes can foster communication within communities.

“It’s your home so you want to trust the person to do a good job,” Mesnik says. “If you can talk to a nearby friend or neighbor, it’s much stronger than any random person’s opinion online.”

Mesnik says he taught himself web design and various programming languages to create the site.

The web application is in the testing phase, but Mesnik says it will be ready in less than a year. He hopes to give login privileges to small communities and groups such as churches and temples before he makes it available to the public.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

Story by: Madison Hoff '19

Ben Mesnik, Lehigh University student

Ben Mesnik ’20 is one of five students awarded the 2018 Leonard P. Pool Memorial Prize. Credit: Christa Neu