WARREN, Ohio — “We believe that climate change is real, and that technology is the only way that we’re going to solve that,” said Rick Stockburger, the President and CEO of BRITE Energy Innovators.
It’s an energy revolution, in the heart of Warren, Ohio. BRITE Energy Innovators is a job-creating non-profit focused on reinventing the energy space. Currently, 100 companies make up their network, with 25,000 workers.
“We can create good paying jobs in the region, as well as solving climate change with great technologies and vehicle electrification, energy storage and grid resiliency,” explained Stockburger.
BRITE helps entrepreneurs move products from concept to the marketplace, including electric motorcycles, vertical farming, and hydrogen-powered sports cars. It does this while utilizing environmentally friendly technology.
“It’s about being forward facing and being able to adapt to change and all of the great things that are happening, that frankly, Ohio in the Midwest can have so many opportunities and putting people back to work and building great things,” Stockburger said.
Like fuel cells created with NASA Glenn technology. The company behind it, Petra Power, recently opened new offices in Solon. Another BRITE company, Czar Power, combines solar, storage and charging in one affordable system.
“Czar exists to make renewable energy technologies less complicated, less expensive, and, most importantly, made right here in the United States,” said Tony Frisone, co-founder and CEO of Czar Power.
Frisone got the idea while deployed in Afghanistan. After seeing how fragile the energy ecosystem was, he set out to streamline it.
“Not that long ago, you had one device to make telephone calls, you had another device to take pictures, and you had another device to get on the internet,” said Frisone. “You know, these were all merged into one physical thing, the smartphone. And that revolutionized telecommunications and we want to do that with energy.”
Czar Power is working on the next generation of the system at Brite and hopes to go to market soon, while keeping production in Northeast Ohio.
“BRITE is a phenomenal organization, obviously, one that speaks to me personally because I’m unapologetically a Rust Belt boy,” remarked Frisone.
“Clean energy is going to impact all of our lives into our children’s lives, and it’s so important that we support them and the great work that they’re doing here,” said Courtney Gras, a Board Member at BRITE Energy Innovators.
Courtney Gras started a company while at the University of Akron. She then set out to help other young founders, first at Techstars and now at Amazon Web Services. Today Gras is giving back as a BRITE board member.
“What an incredible impact to have on a region that, again, has such a deep and rich history of innovation. Right? And now it’s really helping to bring the region forward,” said Gras.
To date, BRITE has raised a quarter of a billion dollars in venture capital to advance tech and create jobs in the energy revolution.
“If we can make good paying jobs for everybody in our region and we can impact climate, that’s a great thing,” said Stckburger.
BRITE Energy says for every dollar they bring in, 25 dollars goes back out into the community. And they are participating in Giving Tuesday. Your donation will be doubled by BRITE’s partners. To learn more, click here.