BRITE at the Consumer Electronics Show

Rick Stockburger Uncategorized 1 Comment

As President and CEO of BRITE Energy Innovators I consider myself lucky every day. I see our organization as a movement of small movements and my hopes lie in the fact that each one of those movements lead to a more prosperous City of Warren, Trumbull County, Mahoning Valley, State of Ohio and Nation in that order. We find ourselves at the intersection of extremely future facing technologies and a community that has the grit and determination to dream, build and execute on those technologies to not only change the fabric of our community but our nation. No one has ever accused me of having small dreams. 

This week, I find myself at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada which I will follow with a trip to Los Angeles to visit a few counter parts at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and our friends at Hyperion Motors in Orange. When making decisions on these types of trips you always have to consider your budget and potential outcomes. I consistently ask my team when a new idea is brought to me, “What is the idea? What is the cost? What is the expected outcome? How are we going to measure its success?” I hold myself to these standards as well. 

  1. What is the idea? I was asked by the CEO of GM Ventures, the Director of LG Chem’s battery technologies, the Director of Collegiate Operations at TechStars, and three other high profile organizations to set meetings at CES to discuss how BRITE and our companies could partner with them. As we look at branding this area as the Voltage Valley, I wanted to see what is on the forefront of electrification. Whether it’s energy storage or the future of mobility, the technology is present at CES.
  2. Thanks to a lot of partnerships & goodwill, and with my usual startup mentality of keeping costs down, I’m keeping the cost of the entire trip under $1500, including air fare, hotels and food. As a kid growing up in the Mahoning Valley, I learned how to get the most for my dollar and that’s a practice I still use when I’m exploring new opportunities for BRITE. 
  3. The expected outcome of this event is multi layered. There is the less tangible brand recognition. As many of you know, I almost exclusively wear Warren, Ohio swag while I’m at these events partnered with some good old-fashioned Orange to make sure BRITE’s brand is visible. Beyond that, I am making connections for accelerator programming, potential lab sales, and looking at a lot of new startups at the Eureka area at CES that I could draw to Warren, Ohio so they can grow their company alongside our community. In Los Angeles, I hope to continue building our partnership with Hyperion Motors, and close a partnership on some federal legislation with Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. I intend to get a return on investment of at least ten times the money we invested on this incredible opportunity. 
  4. We will measure the outcome in direct funds to our programming, enhancing our ability to help energy companies in our community innovate and grow. This includes sales for innovation and services in the BRITE Energy Lab, as well as donations matching funds to our entrepreneurial  services program which is backed by the Ohio Third Frontier Program. We will also look at general name recognition and increase of digital traffic to our website, social media channel growth and interest in our services. All of this is intended to improve our place among the top energy incubator programs in the country (admittedly, a softer and harder metric to measure). 

So, at CES, I’ll be recording some live video, I’ll be updating you on what I saw and did, and why it’s important to the Voltage Valley. I hope you’ll follow me on this trip. I am extremely hopeful that you’ll ask questions including the hard ones to make sure that we are looking at these new technologies from every angle, and that we make sure that every dollar we bring back, comes to making our Mahoning Valley the best place in the country to start a new energy company. And in six months’ time, I’ll let you know just how much this trip gave back to the Valley.

I’ll end these quick looks with a quote that is on the walls of BRITE. Today’s will be this:

“There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” George Bernard Shaw

BRITE Announces Call for Participants for 2020 BRITEhack

Daniel Sylak Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Problem solving civic energy hackathon set for January 31 in Warren

WARREN, OHIO – December 31, 2019Ohio’s only energy incubator, BRITE Energy Innovators today announced its call for participant applications for 2020 BRITEhack, the civic energy hackathon on Friday, January 31, 2020 in Downtown Warren. Engineers, designers, developers and students are encouraged to join in creating solutions for energy-related problems faced by two of the city’s important community organizations: St. Joseph Warren Hospital and the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority. Information on the free registration is available at brite.org/2020britehack.
Made popular in Silicon Valley and other Tech Hubs around the nation, “hackathons” are efficient, low risk way to encourage innovation, catalyze startups and engage talent. Participants are motivated by the mixed groups, challenging problems, tight deadlines and cash prizes. BRITEhack is focused on using this model to solve energy-related problems and initiate positive outcomes for the community.
This year’s challenges are:
– St. Joseph Warren Hospital, a Mercy Health facility, has been burdened by rising utility costs, reliability issues and the delivery of energy. Hospital staff are seeking solutions that will reduce their reliance on the energy grid while optimizing efficiency.
– The Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority is troubled by tenants vacating properties without notifying facilities managers. As a result, TMHA staff discover the change in status when the pipes at the abandoned properties burst – requiring thousands of dollars in repairs. They are seeking a sensor-based solution that allows them to track occupancy and determine when tenants have left.
“BRITE was created to offer a place where creative minds can come together to solve energy challenges, so this is a perfect fit for us,” said Rick Stockburger, President/CEO of BRITE. Stockburger notes that in 2018, BRITE’s civic energy hackathon partnered with the City of Warren’s Wastewater Department to tackle their energy issues. Team’s proposals resulted in more than $400,000 of cost savings for the City of Warrenwhich amounts to 10 years of energy savings. “We are excited to bring together this wide variety of skill and talent to benefit the community. We have received such an outpouring of support that we feel this is one way we can give some of that back.”
Registrants are organized into mixed teams by BRITE in advance of the event based on their skills and experience. These small mixed groups will then convene for a day to engage with experts and “hack” or create proposed solutions for the presented challenges. Group presentations are made to assembled judges at the end of the day and the best solutions are awarded a $1000!
2020 BRITEhack is presented by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation with support from Mercy Health and the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Sharing thoughts from moderating the panel “Supporting Your Peers”

Sara Daugherty Uncategorized 2 Comments

Written by Rick Stockburger

First off, it was a lot of fun, considering the amount of time that we as founders spend alone and depressed. I always make sure that when you do spend that 1% of your time building community (99% should be focused on your product and customers) that it’s fun.  

Guiding Premise: This community is for Founders. Our focus is helping Founders. Our success depends on the success of our Founders and our Founders will be more successful if the community supports them.  

Ryan Frederick is a rockstar. I don’t know how else to say it. He’s a guy who’s been successful, failed, but pours himself into his startup community in Columbus. He really is one of the biggest catalysts of that ecosystem, and the fact that he drove 4+ hours to spend 45 minutes chatting and laughing with us is a true testament to that. The more Ryan’s we can grow in Northeast Ohio the better off we will be, of that I’m sure.  

Anna Bucholz gets it done. She’s always looking for opportunities to help. She really is what we can rely on as the fabric of our community.  She epitomizes the qualities that we all should be aspiring to have in our little corner of the ecosystem. 

Courtney Gras is a true champion of Northeast Ohio. She now works remotely for TechStars. While she could literally choose to live anywhere in the world, she’s stayed right here because of you, for this community.  

When I think about what community is about, what it means to give without expectation, or to be willing to ask for help, I think a lot about the people and communities that have supported me. While sitting on this panel, I could see a lot of you that have poured into me and made me the man that I am today. It’s odd to think how much I really owe to my community; how many times I asked for help and was never turned down, how many times I needed to talk through something late at night and someone from the community was there for me. Ya’ll inspire me every day.  

When I think about supporting peers, I think about that cup of sugar I borrowed, and I always remember to share the cookies I make not just with the person that gave me the sugar, but with the rest of our neighbors too. Onward.  

Why should you attend ESBE?

Rick Stockburger Uncategorized Leave a Comment

ESBEArtboard 12Newsletter Insert

I’m very fortunate that I get to go to a lot of conferences around the country, but the chief complaint I always hear is being stuck in a hotel and not getting an  opportunity to experience the city. The Energy Storage Building Efficiency Conference could be held in a hotel but we wanted you to have some adventure and show off a city that you might have never thought of coming to before. We believe  that place is important. We’ve had companies relocate to Warren from across the country because the value the city offered them, not just our incubator.

Our conference is going to be held on Courthouse Square in Downtown Warren, our breakouts will be at cool local venues and you will get to walk, navigate, and adventure through our cool little city. We’re inviting you to learn and be a part of and share our city for two days and we believe this will make the conversations, and the connections even more powerful.

Also, if that wasn’t cool enough, the closing reception will be at the National Packard Museum, so you’ll close out your experience listening to gangster era jazz music surrounded by one of the most innovative cars to ever hit the market. The first Packard rolled off the line in Warren, Ohio in 1899. Innovation isn’t just about the people you surround yourself with, it’s about the inspiration a place can have on the experience.

If you’re a startup in the energy sector, you must be here. Did you want to meet first customers like AEP, Dominion, First Energy, Rockwell and Others? Join us. I promise your company will be better for it.

Manufacturer’s send your plant managers and Chief Technology Officers. Do you want to learn about cutting edge technology that can lower your bottom line significantly, and make your buildings run cheaper and more efficiently? This conference will give you more than something to think about it, it’ll give you the connections to act on those projects you’ve been dreaming about.

Investor’s, do you want to learn about Opportunity Zone investing? We have John Lettieri from the Economic Innovation Group, the guy who partnered with Sean Parker of Facebook fame, here to tell you how to make good deals better and how to invest in companies and projects in places that your money can not only earn a return for you, but make a real impact in communities you care about. Beyond that, meet a plethora of investable startups and learn what they are doing to get your attention. Listen to early stage investors on how they make decisions, and what opportunities are out there. We consistently talk about how important it is to get our companies more access to capital, we need to talk more about how important it is for you to make sound investments into companies and projects that have a real impact. We’re excited to have you.

Testing AC Power with a Regenerative Grid Simulator

Zachary Mazur Uncategorized 1 Comment

TBEIC can help you test PV inverters and other AC power and frequency products with its regenerative grid simulator located in the Energy Integration Lab.

NHR

So, what’s all the hype about? Why are startups along with small and large companies interesting in the NH Research 9410 Regenerative Grid Simulator? We’re glad you asked.

This machine will help companies of all scales validate their product with peace of mind. Newly released advanced output control features, improved manual control interface, and comprehensive drivers are among the most popular tweaks to the new model. The 9410 can simulate several abnormal AC-grad conditions including: sags and swells, full cycles, sub-cycles, multi-cycle disturbances, and voltage harmonics. Three programmable channels that allow for any combination of DC as well as 1, 2, and 3 phase AC outputs make it perfect for level 1 and level 2 EV chargers, V2G, UPS testing, grid-tied inverter testing, and EVSE systems. The modular design allows for power increase in 12kW increments to simplify compliance testing such as IEEE 1547, UL 1734, CA Rule-21, and LVRT through elite integration and programming adaptability. While the machine is in the regenerative (sink) mode it will send return power back to facility mains rather than being dissipated as heat. NH Research hit the nail on the head with their 4-quadrant, regenerative, rack-mountable grid simulator.