Doug Buerkle, a senior business executive who has guided the growth of multiple technology companies, has joined High Tech Rochester as Executive Director of New Energy Xcelerator in UpState NY (NEXUS-NY), one of three clean-energy Proof-of-Concept Centers designated and funded by The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
In May 2012, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo first announced funding to create three proof-of-concept centers around the state. In January, a total of $15 million was awarded to HTR, Columbia University and New York University for the creation of the centers.
NEXUS-NY is a new initiative aimed at identifying and commercializing clean energy technologies in the Upstate New York region. The new center is meant to increase the number of scalable clean energy startup companies within the region by specifically addressing the critical phase that occurs between research and commercialization. The goal of the program is to provide early stage support to enable the validation and subsequent commercialization of promising clean energy technologies.
NEXUS-NY will assist start-up teams by helping fund proof-of-concept devices and company formation and by guiding them through an experiential educational process that includes linking teams with experienced start-up mentors and seed-stage investors and employing lean start-up techniques. NEXUS-NY will work to accelerate the commercialization of new innovations in the fields of solar, wind, fuel cell, energy storage, building technology, biomass, transportation, smart grid and other technologies.
As part of these efforts, Buerkle will work closely with a number of academic partners including Alfred University, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Research Foundation, the University of Buffalo and the University of Rochester as well as multiple industry and investor partners.
“With the hiring of Doug Buerkle, HTR’s new Proof of Concept Center is poised to link business experts and early-stage investors with scientists and start-ups making new discoveries,” says HTR president James Senall. “We predict this new NYSERDA-funded service will make a big impact on the development and commercialization of clean energy in New York.”
Prior to joining HTR, Buerkle lead efforts to commercialize novel energy storage materials developed in the research labs at Corning, Inc. He previously served as president and co-founder of Lumella, Inc., a high-technology startup that designed and manufactured novel diffractive optical components for telecommunications switching, laser tuning and spectroscopic applications. For the Newport Corporation, he held multiple roles, including general manager of its diffraction grating business.
Buerkle graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He later earned a master of business administration degree, with an emphasis on marketing and operations management, at the Simon School at the University of Rochester.
Background on PoCC
In January of 2013, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded a total of $15 million to Columbia University, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and High Tech Rochester to create three Proof-of-Concept Centers dedicated to helping inventors and scientists turn their high-tech, clean-energy ideas into successful businesses. NYSERDA will invest $5 million in seed money at each center over a five-year period, with cost-sharing required. The centers are expected to operate on their own after NYSERDA funding ends.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.