by Dan Chow, MEM/MBA ’15
Dan Chow is a Duke graduate student pursuing dual Master’s degrees in Environmental Management and Business Administration. In this column, Dan shares his experiences pursuing environment-related entrepreneurial ventures at Duke.
I first became interested in energy entrepreneurship while working on a geothermal-based start-up as an undergraduate at Middlebury College. When I arrived at Duke to pursue my graduate studies, I first attempted to repackage the idea of using old oil and gas infrastructure for geothermal power, and recruited a team to participate in the Program for Entrepreneurs (P4E) at The Fuqua School of Business. While that idea fell through after several conversations, I was still keen to gain additional entrepreneurial experience.
Through a serendipitous meeting, I teamed up with Judy Winglee, a PhD student at the Pratt School of Engineering, Mark Panny (MEM-WRM), and Victor Smith (MEM-EE) to compete in the Duke Start-Up Challenge (DSC), a Duke-wide competition for new business ideas across a broad spectrum of industries. Our proposed venture, Refrackt, built on Judy’s research to tackle water consumption and wastewater production in the hydraulic fracturing industry. Continue reading