Technology entrepreneurs will take center stage in Morgantown next week to convince a panel of judges and audience that they’ve got start-ups that will help create jobs and a diverse, sustainable economy in West Virginia and our multistate region.

A few will walk away with $10,000 to advance their businesses. Some will win technical services to take their work to the next level. Others will network with potential investors and key government officials to discuss new ways to generate technology employment in the state and region.

The Fifth Annual TransTech Energy Business Development Conference is slated for Oct. 26 and 27 at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. TransTech Energy will award more than $60,000 in cash and technical assistance prizes to winners in categories such as top ranked company, best innovation and best West Virginia startup.

“Entrepreneurial passion seasoned with expert mentoring, investment and strategic partnerships is key to creating good jobs and a vibrant economy,” said Carl Irwin, director of TransTech Energy Research and Business Development at West Virginia University. “And that’s what this conference is about.”

The two-day conference is devoted to bringing new environmental technology ideas and start-up companies together with investors, strategic partners and others who can help them achieve commercial success. The meeting generates networking opportunities in manufacturing, materials technology, energy efficiency and sustainability.

“Six of the 24 pitches will be by TransTech Energy alumni representing some of the most promising and successful start-ups from the first four conferences,” Irwin said.

Technology companies are competing in areas including power and carbon reduction technologies, biofuels, energy harvesting, robotics, building and engine efficiency, water treatment, electric vehicles, and carbon capture.

Topics include:

  • “TransTech Energy Game Changers” – Features emerging technologies from government, industry and academic labs that are changing what’s possible for U.S. energy and manufacturing. WVU Associate Vice President for Transformation Matt Harbaugh will lead the discussion.
  • “Productive Uses of CO2/Low-Carbon Transportation Fuels” – This panel discussion is led by Brian Anderson, director of WVU’s Energy Institute.
  • “Creating Competitive Companies, Good Jobs and Prosperous Communities for America Business” – Deborah Wince-Smith, will lead this discussion with industry leaders Jim Porter, global leader in innovation and sustainability and former chief engineer for DuPont chief, and Chuck Brant, vice president for technology programs at Innovation Works.

“Business Opportunities with NETL” – Grace Bochenek, director, of the National Energy Technology Laboratory will moderate a discussion on how companies and agencies can work with NETL through partnership mechanisms, cooperative research, and potential funding opportunities.

“We are very happy that this year NETL and WVU’s Research Office are partner-level co-sponsors,” Irwin said. “Entrepreneurial researchers from NETL and WVU can be our secret weapon for innovations that could become tomorrow’s exciting new companies.”

The “Link-Up and Learn! Conference Reception” and “Matchmaking Session” are opportunities for meeting attendees to connect with key organizations, pitch presenters, speakers and colleagues.

The keynote session Wednesday evening honors the leadership of Morgantown native and WVU engineering graduate Charles M. Vest. Vest went on to become the 15th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the 10th president of the National Academy of Engineering and an advocate of “Making Value for America” through understanding customers, research-based innovations, design, advanced manufacturing and service.

Registration is still open and the general public is invited. Go to to register.



CONTACT: Tracy Novak, TransTech Energy Research and Business Development

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