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Youthful Energy

Youthful EnergyJunior Greg Hering (E'10), founder of Emergent Energy Group, discusses life as a young entrepreneur.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.15.08] If you ask junior Greg Hering (E'10) his plans for the next 10 years, his answer may seem quite bold.

"In 10 years I want to have helped one million people," the mechanical engineering student proclaims.

So how does he plan to do this? By helping communities realize the benefits of renewable energy.

Hering is the founder and director of strategy for Emergent Energy Group LLC, a renewable energy development and consulting company focusing on the Northeast.

"What this means is that we go to a property owner, be it a forest owner, a town, municipality, library or school, and tell them that we don't support any specific renewable energy technology, but that we will analyze the resources available on your property and look at how you can not only conserve, but utilize your energy resources and make the most of what is available."

Formed over the last year, Emergent Energy evolved from research Hering began as a senior in high school.

"I looked at a wind energy map, thought I could make a better one, and that was basically it," Herring says. "I had Googled 'windmills' one day and thought, these are kind of cool and would probably make a good business."

Since arriving on campus in the fall of 2006, Hering looked to Tufts as a resource for his talent pool, bringing on recent graduates Jesse Gossett (A'08), Jared Rodriguez (E'08) and Jayson Uppal (E'08) to create a company of young entrepreneurs all under the age of 25. The three share Hering's interest in promoting renewable energy, having attended a conference this past January in the United Arab Emirates that focused on the intersection of fossil fuels and renewable energy.

Hering says that while still in school he focuses mainly on the research and networking end of the business. He uses what knowledge he gains to continue building on the company's resources, and states that they pride themselves on being "cutting edge."

Over the past year, Hering has taught himself the ins and outs of the renewable energy field, trading the improved wind maps he created to developer Jim Sweeney of Cost Containment Energy for shared knowledge, reading through thousands of pages of documents and attending conferences all over the country.

Now finished with the research and development phase, the company has already completed seven projects in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. Currently the company is working on several new projects, including the assessment of a three-town patch of farmland in New York and a project with Graham Waste Services in Cohasset, Mass., for which they are doing all the consulting on the installation of two wind turbines.

Hering says that his age and the ages of his team members gives some clients pause, and for a while he brought along his mentor, Sweeney, to assuage any fear about their lack of experience.

"I can impress as many people as I want and I can motivate people and get them on board, but the problem comes when it's time to write checks-I can always tell they are a little leery," Hering says. With Sweeney present, however, Hering says that, "When they lean across the table and ask what we've done, I could talk about wind mapping and he talks about his 40 years of experience. We got a lot of contracts from him chaperoning our discussions."

That support helped Emergent gain more clients-and thus more credibility.

"Now we have experience doing projects and we can lean across the table and hand them our nicely decorated project sheet and reference site maps and they can see we're legit."

Though some may view their age as a con, Hering hopes that people will soon come to perceive it as an asset.

"See our young age as a benefit," Hering urges. "We are so new at this, we can give people the most innovative and creative solutions, and our age is actually our biggest ally when it comes to product development and helping people."

Hering adds, "The best thing in the world can be teaching a brand new dog a new trick, but do you know what's even better than that? Letting the brand new dog teach the trick to himself."

Profile by Kaitlin Melanson, Web Communications.

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