BWR Innovations LLC is focusing on the problems that have yet to be solved. The Fargo-based technology start-up has targeted the Internet of Things and energy solutions with a goal to revolutionize approaches to everyday problems. They’ve created products with multiple uses and are partnering with manufacturers abroad to export their solutions to markets worldwide. While all that may sound somewhat ambiguous, that’s kind of the point. They’re interested in the undefined, what hasn’t been done yet and using their meritocracy approach and cutting-edge technology to make it happen.
Founded in 2018, BWR Innovations is a team of seven with a bevy of experience in manufacturing and technology that’s using it towards ‘blue ocean’ markets. These markets are described by the authors of the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” as markets that don’t currently exist and are free of competition. On the flip side of ‘blue oceans’ are so-called ‘red oceans,’ which are saturated with competition and ‘bloody’ from cut-throat tactics. The BWR portion of their company name is short for Blue Water Resolute and champions this concept of unexplored solutions.
The team came together after having successful careers in other industries and ventures but felt a pull to create their own unique company.
“It just made sense to start our own business,” said Brian Messerschmidt, BWR Innovations’ sales and marketing manager. “We had so many ideas and it was time to do our own thing and do it right.”
Their first focus has been on telemetry and adding intelligence to legacy products, such as large-scale refrigerators, freezers and other HVAC systems. In one project, the team has designed and built a small electronics product that monitors the power and temperature of cooling systems of varying sizes, from grocery stores’ walk-in coolers to the slushy machines inside of convenience stores. The data is monitored and controlled via computer, cell phone or tablet and lets a user know how to optimize their cooling system to save money. It also alerts them if there’s a problem. This product and its telemetry software is designed in such a way to use minimal power and is able to run years on one battery.
“In grocery stores all over North Dakota, someone leaves at 10 p.m. and there’s no one around until 6 a.m.,” said Joel Jorgenson, BWR Innovations’ CEO and president. “Stores owners are often hit with large energy bills unnecessarily or there’s potential to lose thousands of dollars worth of product if an HVAC component stops working.”
They’ve tailored the product with small businesses in mind that need something inexpensive, simple to use and easy to install on the equipment that they already own. The idea is that grocery and convenience store managers can rest easy while they’re away from the store and there will be no product loss due to spoilage, inadequate temperature control or power surges.
A second area of focus is fuel cell technology. They’re building and testing fuel cells in series within a generator that will be able to seamlessly back up the power in large buildings and hotels. Another application is bed bug remediation where a heater, powered by fuel cell technology, will discretely heat a room to the appropriate temperature for bug extermination, without the conspicuousness of an exterminator truck and chemical processes.
With fuel cells, which use hydrogen and oxygen to produce energy, there is less noise, very little maintenance and zero emissions. Such a power source can solve an unlimited number of issues and the team is continuously identifying on new applications.
Messerschmidt and Jorgenson are both experienced exporters and are in discussions with potential partners in Norway and Taiwan to provide technology and manufacturing support. The global side of BWR Innovations will involve exporting their designs to a partner abroad who will manufacture the product at the point of sale to BWR’s specifications and quality standards. In this way, they can tailor the product to the specific market and cut down on shipping costs. Such a collaboration also takes advantage of the best ideas and practices from each side in order to create the most valuable product for the customer.
But the larger focus of BWR Innovations is on their team. Jorgenson and Messerschmidt have assembled a group that genuinely likes each other and enjoys working together. Jorgenson’s son Adam writes the software code, Tom Wohl is the Manufacturing Liaison and M State instructor Travis DeJong is their HVAC specialist. The group recently added Executive Director Sylvan Melroe, of Melroe skid steer and Steiger Tractor fame, to round out the team’s experience. They’re always on the look-out for additional talent.
“Culture and synergy are key,” said Jorgenson. “This is a really productive team, we enjoy what we do and we’re on track to accomplishing our goals.”