Talking Top Gun with DownEast Turbines
As Earth day just passed us by, the time is just perfect to introduce our Top Gunner – George McBride of DownEast Turbines. George, with many years of experience in manufacturing, has patented a technology for tidal turbines to help generate electricity. What better way to use Maine’s ample renewable resources to produce energy!
What was your inspiration for starting your company?
I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. After moving to Maine, I joined a boat school where I learnt about wood and composite materials. A chance encounter with ORPC at the boat school, led to the idea for my technology for a tidal turbine. A seed grant from the Maine Technology Institute helped me develop the process and get it to the stage it is now.
What is the most important thing you are working on right now?
The idea is beyond the proof of concept stage. I’m currently working with an engineering student from University of Rochester who will undertake modeling my design and proving the concept using computer simulation. This idea has been 9 years in the making with few unknowns with respect to the technology aspect and is at a very early business stage.
What do you see as next step?
My next step is to explore multiple market applications for the idea to decide which one to start with. I envision various product lines using my technology to adapt to different markets. For example, one of the products is a lateral effluent discharge apparatus which reenergizes fluid that comes out of a turbine or any other machine that harvests flowing water power. Another product based on my research could be a tidal upweller used in marine aquaculture which uses flowing water more efficiently to feed sea clams.
As the current Top Gun is coming to an end soon,what did you expect to get out out of Top Gun and what are your takeways?
When I was invited to apply for Top Gun, I had hesitated as I had previously attended few business trainings. At the same time, I was planning to onboard a new partner and decided to use Top Gun as a way to bond and explore various business models. The partnership did not work out, but I realize now that Top Gun has really helped me prioritize my goals. It has embarked me on a path to explore different markets and talk to customers to help align my focus market and end product.
If you would like to hear more about the Top Gun Entrepreneurship Accelerator, visit our program page here.
Thank you to our Top Gun sponsors!