BRITE Energy Innovators

Being BRITE: A Reflection After One Year

It was one year ago today that we held the inaugural Energy Storage Building Efficiency conference – or ESBE, as we fondly call it. It was somewhat of a coming-of-age for what was then called Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center. It was a chance to assemble the network we were assembling while bringing together the relationships we built. More than that, it was an opportunity to show the Valley what a “BRITEr” future looked like. On the stage of the Packard Music Hall, we shared for all in attendance – including executives from Tesla, Lordstown Motors and Hyperion Inc – our new name: BRITE Energy Innovators. After a year of being a BRITE’s CEO and weaving our brand into everything we do while living our mission every single day, I figured it was time to share a little bit on what being BRITE means to me. 

As a region, we’ve spent a long time looking into the rearview mirror of what we’ve lost. As an organization, BRITE is focused on ensuring that the future of this region, state and country is bright. When we have accepted that we are never going to be what we were, we can be something much better together. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about all of the talented young people I’ve met around the country, who tell me what an amazing place the Mahoning Valley is to be from. Time and time again, they recount to me that the values they learned growing up in the region have lead them to great success elsewhere. I want to make a point to give talented young people the opportunity to grow and thrive here. One way we’ve gone about this since we rebranded is through the creation of a robust internship program. Through internship opportunities, we are educating talented young people of all the amazing things happening here and making them a part of our mission. We’ve also engaged with some of the largest institutions in the country to make sure the Mahoning Valley is on their map, as a place embracing the future of energy. We believe in giving BRITE People opportunities. 

Our research laboratory for battery and sensor technologies has been humming along through the pandemic, thanks to generous support from Wells Fargo and their Innovation Incubator (IN2) program. In the past year we’ve had one of the top 10 battery researchers in the country utilize our lab to make advancements on the emerging technologies he’s developing. We’ve tested sensors for startups and worked on programs for the Department of Defense and Department of Energy. We’ve had companies relocate to Warren, Ohio from Arizona, Texas and California. We believe in using the BRITE Labs to build better technologies. 

Soon after our name change, someone wrote an opinion piece in The Business Journal titled “Here’s to a Brite Future”, and they perfectly encapsulated why we changed the name. They posed the challenge “If it can establish itself as a center for energy-technology research and help build and attract the energy vehicle supply chain… The future looks bright – or BRITE”. We believe our efforts will lead to a BRITE future for everyone.

When you take bright people, give them access to the tools they need to be successful, you will have a bright future. It’s been one year since we decided as a team, and as a community, that our future would be BRITE. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and the board of directors guiding us. Moreover, I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this community and make sure that our kids have the opportunity to have success right here in the Valley. 

BRITE People, BRITE Labs, BRITE Future

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