Local tech center partners with Kent State for research opportunities

Bryan Webb

Kent State came to an agreement with the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center this month.

TBEIC, pronounced “tee-bike,” is a non-profit center of wngineers and businesspeople in Warren, Ohio that develops new technology, energy and natural resources. T.C. Theofrastous, general counsel and chief innovation officer at TBEIC, wrote in an email that the strategy of TBEIC is to engage top universities in the region to build research collaborations.

Theofrastous said Kent State is particularly valuable for its research in energy and water technologies. He said he had met with William McGimpsey, vice president of research at Kent State, last summer, and an agreement was made between TBEIC and Kent State.

“Vice President McGimpsey really understood our vision,” Theofrastous wrote in an email. “We agreed then and there that we should have a master agreement between TBEIC and Kent State.”

Theofrastous said because Kent State is close to TBEIC’s headquarters, it could also open up internship and job opportunities for students with TBEIC and its other clients.

Dave Nestic, CEO of regional operations at TBEIC, said the agreement with Kent State is significant because it helps to cut down negotiation time and costs that typically happen during any joint research project.

“Getting agreements [with other organizations] in place are necessary to bring resources to the table,” Nestic said. “Agreement makes it easier for us to work with Kent State and increases the possibility of higher value of work in technology in the area.”

Nestic further explained TBEIC’s mission through an energy storage company example.

“Let’s say you have solar panels in your house,” Nestic said, “but you want your toaster to run at midnight. Unless you stored daytime energy to use it at midnight, then it’s not going to work.”

Nestic said TBEIC then connects the energy storage company with resources from other companies, organizations and universities to help to develop a way to get solar energy to work around the clock.

“Once somebody develops an inexpensive energy storage device, it can be the next appliance in households,” he said.

Contact Bryan Webb at [email protected].