I am inclined to clone Mike Hess many times over, as he is doing exactly what I believe will get this country out of our current economic mess. He is his own stimulus plan, and in my opinion, if we cloned Mike 25,000 times, and invested $100B more or less, in the same number of start-up companies, with a focus on Angel investing, we could create jobs for just about all the currently unemployed!
Mike, who is the founder and CEO of Mariah Power, will soon be employing 100 people in new jobs: now that’s really significant, because in the US over 60 percent of new job growth in the last two decades has been generated by companies with 100 or less employees!
Another plus, Mariah Power is hiring employees laid off from the automotive sector (and we all know whats happening there), and has set up the Windspire manufacturing operations in Manistee, Michigan, in a vacant plant that used to make steel conveyer systems for the automotive industry. So, are you seeing the synergies here……?
MADE IN AMERICA
The first Windspire is scheduled off the assembly line in March, with a celebration planned for sometime in April, and President Obama is invited!
The Windspire is a low cost, attractive, plug-n-produce wind power appliance, that provides a safe and attractive method for harnessing power from the wind.
In facilities resembling Steve Jobs’ old garage, Mike and 2 inventors, worked 24/7 for almost 3 years perfecting and proving the Windspire technology; successfully raising funds (not easy in 2008 the worst fund raising year for starts-ups ever), and all this without real compensation or benefits. That’s what entrepreneurs do. Today Mariah Power is providing jobs with respectable pay and company-paid benefits. The Mariah Power company headquarters are in Reno, Nevada (and that’s another 10 employees!)
When I finally caught up with Mike (and that’s not easy!); this is what he told me about his all-consuming focus leading to the first Windspire off the production line….
“We took a lot of time proving the innovative Windspire technology, as after all it’s not a software product you can send to the customer to beta test!
We tested to industry standards, and really had to understand what is required. When something didn’t come out right the first time, we went back again and again until we got it right.
We worked with sales and marketing to make sure that this is the product the market wants, and I feel really confident with our product intro. It will sell. We already have over 3000 interested buyers! I attribute these orders to the fact we can deliver a low cost, easy to install product that the customer wants. What’s more, we have proven that Windspire can be Made in America, at a competitive price; we don’t need to manufacture off-shore!
As you very well know, I never underestimate the value of good PR. We have already created a National Platform, which is a good investment early on in a start up if you can do it, and Chris Goddard of CGPR has been instrumental in creating the buzz about us and gaining acceptance by the industry, and more importantly, by potential customers.”
I have been working with entrepreneurs for well over 20 years. This entrepreneurial scenario is quite typical of successful entrepreneurs (this is Mike’s 6th start-up company). In the face of these facts, I find it difficult to understand why our politicians in Washington are spending billions to save the status-quo of the automotive industry, rather than, at probably far less cost; invest in innovation, and new products. Why not re-purpose the old facilities, and generate lots of new jobs, just as Mike Hess & his team has done with Mariah Power.
I have suggested on several occasions that much of the automotive production infrastructure could be repurposed to build a nationwide infrastructure for rail; from light rail for commuting, to high speed trains as in Europe for interstate travel, to Maglev trains for trans-continental travel. Perhaps replaying the prosperity that resulted from building the railroads in the 1800’s. The implementation is probably in the realm of dreams, yet this is the kind of thinking we need.
With all the high-powered, far reaching marketers, PR and social networking “experts” on a network like twitter, are there any ideas on how to promote funding for the entrepreneurs? With many creative and innovative individuals laid off, there will be many more entrepreneurs starting new business and new companies, which if successful can create new jobs which will sustain them, their employees, and the country, long term.
I found a very timely article by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times; this popped up just as I finished this post. In my opinion he should focus on Angels! And how about tax incentives for Angel investors?
Caroline Di Diego
INCLINED TO DESIGN