Dr. Martin Gross, the CEO and co-founder of Gross-Wen Technologies (GWT), recently concluded his term as Chair of the Algae Biomass Organization’s (ABO) Board of Directors. This latest leadership role is a testament to the power of the connections and opportunities that the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) offers to its members. Dr. Gross’ journey from a student-level ABO membership to a successful business leader began at the 2013 Algae Biomass Summit, where he showcased his research as a Ph.D. student at Iowa State University.
At that event, Dr. Gross not only discovered a global community of researchers working on complementary topics in algae and seaweed science but also encountered a diverse group of entrepreneurs, executives from Fortune 500 companies, and federal agency experts. All these individuals were united by a common goal: to transform scientific progress into viable solutions that also have extraordinary environmental benefits.
As subsequent Summits unfolded, Dr. Gross’s connections within the ABO community continued to grow. One of the defining moments came when he met Dr. Kuldip Kumar of MWRD Chicago in the exhibit hall. Their discussion sparked the idea of using Dr. Gross’s research innovation for the treatment of wastewater. Leveraging his newly expanding network and expertise, Dr. Gross founded Gross-Wen Technologies and, with the support of Dr. Kumar, successfully deployed a proof-of-concept demonstration at MWRD Chicago.
The impact of this demonstration was profound; it provided GWT with the validation needed to showcase their capabilities to potential clients. Dr. Gross attributes much of GWT’s subsequent success in the wastewater treatment industry to the connections he made within the ABO community.
“It’s hard to believe this all started with a friendly chat at an Algae Biomass Summit,” he says. “But I see now how that sort of thing can lead to big things. You never know where a new connection can lead.”
GWT utilizes cutting-edge technology developed in Iowa State University laboratories to treat wastewater using algae. The result is a clean water stream and a valuable crop of algae biomass that can be marketed for various applications, such as soil-enhancing fertilizers, biofuels and more.
Today, GWT stands tall as a market leader in the wastewater treatment industry, with 35 demonstrations and full-scale installations of their technology in operation. The company has raised an impressive $13.1 million in venture capital and employs more than 20 dedicated professionals. Dr. Gross’s vision and hard work, combined with the support and expertise of the ABO community, have driven GWT’s innovation and growth in this challenging field.
“It was also a lot of work and we had a lot of support from investors, partners and colleagues,” he notes. “But the foothold I gained and the expertise from the ABO community were, and continue to be, invaluable.”
Looking ahead, Dr. Gross extends an open invitation to anyone with an interest in algae and seaweed solutions for global challenges to connect with the ABO. He encourages aspiring entrepreneurs, scientists, and business leaders to explore ABO membership and to participate in the upcoming 2023 Algae Biomass Summit in Madison, Wisconsin, scheduled from October 9th to 11th.
As the story of Dr. Martin Gross exemplifies, ABO offers not only access to a wide range of experts in algae and seaweed science but also opportunities for aspiring visionaries to transform their innovative ideas into successful businesses with profound environmental benefits. Learn more how ABO can play a role in your own journey in the world of algae and seaweed. Reach out to ABO executive director Jon Kallen at firstname.lastname@example.org.