Nick Hennen
It has been two years in the making, but through the hard work and tenacious leadership of Nick Hennen, Univerdant is now a reality.  Several years ago, Nick began to circulate the idea of a consortium of companies, civic organizations and educational institutions that could create a green energy and sustainability think-tank of sorts.  For the for-profit members this might look like a tight collaboration, or "virtual firm" as Nick often called it, that would allow smaller regional companies and emerging start-ups to work with bigger companies to compete for large projects.  Through strenuous networking, recruiting and endless presentations and discussions, Nick brought together a broad selection of companies and institutions with hundreds of years of collective experience.

A critical ally in his quest for an organization that would encourage development and synergize sustainability technologies throughout the Midwest and around the nation was Jim Curran, Executive Vice President of Electrical Connection.  The Electrical Connection, in and of itself is a remarkable collaboration between the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International  Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  Its purpose is to create a platform for management and labor to work together to open new economic opportunities in the emerging energy conservation and new energy generation markets.  Jim is also a member of the board of directors of the Hawthorn Foundation and has been a driving force on the Missouri economic development scene for many years.  The Hawthorn Foundation is a nonprofit organization of corporations and business leaders who are working to make Missouri’s future brighter by encouraging the economic success across the state.

Recently, Univerdant found support for its vision from two of Missouri's most important academic institutions.  Missouri S&T was the first academic institution to join Univerdant and has established itself as a model for university participation.  Tony Arnold, the Assistant Director of the university's OSE3 program has recently been elected to the board of directors of Univerdant.  The University of Missouri at Columbia has also joined the Univerdant membership and is represented by Dr. Robert Reed who is also the director of the Midwest  Energy Efficiency Research Consortium.  Other major universities have applications for membership pending.

Univerdant members offer a broad range of services and products from solar heating units that reduce energy consumption in commercial boiler systems from Engineered Solar Solutions, to top-end engineering services offered by two of Missouri's premier engineering firms, EDM, Inc. and FDH, Inc.  Nick Hennan's own company, Exergonix, is one of Univerdant's best examples of high-tech product development.  Exergonix makes lithium batteries that can store up to a megawatt of electricity and can be used to capture energy produced by wind generators for release into the grid at times of peak need.

Univerdant offers to the region and nation a "one-stop" energy and sustainability management resource that can offer any company, institution, or even individuals, access to top-flight expertise, services and products to meet virtually any need.  As the organization grows, it intends to broaden its offerings into all aspects of sustainability including the government and community development sectors.

And to think, this all became possible through an idea shared by an enterprising electrical engineer.  Thanks, Nick!  

Univerdant members unanimously agreed to the terms of a proposed operating agreement that will create the foundation of the organization.  Over the next few weeks, Univerdant will be filing its organizational documents with the state of Missouri as a non-profit limited liability company.  Two years in the making, the organization has launched with twenty-two charter members that include the following companies and institutions:
  • EDM Inc.
  • Electrical Connection
  • Energy Performance Solutions
  • Engineered Solar Solutions LLC
  • Evaporcool Inc.
  • Exergonix, Inc.
  • FDH Engineering
  • H & H Industries
  • Kirkwood Stair & Millwork Inc.
  • Langton Associates
  • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • New Wind
  • Pizzo & Associates
  • Sachs Electric Inc.
  • Syndicated Solar
  • Syntropy Building Systems
  • The Productivity Team
  • Thomas D. Wilson Consulting Inc. (TPT)
  • Unico System
  • University of Missouri--Columbia
  • Warehouse of Fixtures TNG

Univerdant's unique mix of companies make it one of the premier sustainability brain trusts not only in the region, but in the nation.  The resources of the organization are available to anyone seeking expertise in the energy conservation and sustainability area and can seek the help of Univerdant members on nearly any project.