For the second year in a row, Amplified Wind Solutions competed in the
Ohio Clean Energy Challenge
. This year the company won $10,000 and a trip to Chicago for a chance to win $100,000 in the Midwest competition.
Amplified Wind Solutions has designed a wind amplification system that can produce up to six times more electricity than a typical wind turbine. The company is targeting the telecommunications industry.
AWS CEO and co-founder Niki Zmij had eight minutes to present the company to the competition judges. They were the second company to present, but Zmij felt prepared and that she answered the judges’ questions well. Apparently, she was right.
“The winner was not to be announced until the awards reception at the very end of the day, but during our judges’ feedback session they decided to tell us early that we had won,” says Zmij. “They said our presentation really set the bar for the entire day, and wanted to ask us to present again at the awards ceremony so the other teams could hear our pitch. It was such a huge compliment.”
AWS is a Cleveland State University
company co-founded in February 2012 based on technology invented by Majid Rashidi, chair of CSU’s engineering technology department. Other company members include Terry Thiele, director of sustainable product strategies at Lubrizol Corporation
and Jon Stehura, financial manager at Laird Technologies and former CFO of Park Ohio
The company has prototypes at CSU and Progressive Field
. They have now completed designs for a third prototype, and Zmij is in discussions with several telecom companies about installing the pilot model on their towers. They are also looking for a manufacturing partner. Zmij predicts AWS will be ready for commercial sale in 2014.
If AWS wins the Midwest challenge in Chicago, the company will proceed to the national competition, for a chance to win an additional $100,000.
Zmij will earn her MBA in August and will stay with AWS full-time. “I'm fairly certain the entrepreneurial bug has given me the entrepreneurial virus,” she says. “I don't anticipate it going away any time soon.”
The company anticipates hiring additional staff in the third quarter of this year.
Source: Niki Zmij
Writer: Karin Connelly