California greening

Engineering

- Matt O'Grady

Fyke at home with his son
Aaron Fyke and his son at home in Pasadena. Photo courtesy of Aaron Fyke.

When it comes to California, 移民往往有两种类型:一种是一辈子都知道自己注定要去好莱坞的聚光灯下,另一种是注定要去硅谷的科技圈. 还有一些人发现自己在那里度假,被金州的光芒所吸引.

Tyson Woeste (BEng ’02) falls into that latter category. After graduating from UVic with an engineering degree, Woeste immediately went to work as a product engineer in Maple Ridge, BC, at the North American headquarters of E-One Moli Energy, one of the world’s leading lithium-ion battery manufacturers. Then in March 2004, Woeste and two friends from UVic (Steve Knoke, BA ’01, and Erik Garrett, 她决定去墨西哥的下加利福尼亚进行为期两周的公路旅行. 他们轮流开车沿着海岸行驶,最后在洛杉矶曼哈顿海滩度过了他们的第一晚.

“在世界杯竞猜网站的时候,世界杯竞猜网站都在约旦河和索姆布里奥冲浪,所以世界杯竞猜网站有点幻想自己是冲浪者. 世界杯竞猜网站想出了一个计划:开车从温哥华到卡波圣卢卡斯再回来——一路上露营或冲浪.” 

—Tyson Woeste

“We stayed and surfed for a couple days, 也正是在这里,我被“加州梦”所吸引:你可以住在海滩上,在一个气候宜人的地方追求事业.” When Woeste returned to Vancouver, 那年春天和夏天剩下的时间他都在考虑如何搬到洛杉矶去. He decided the best way was as a student, and so he applied to UCLA and got into its MBA program, moving down in the spring of 2005.

从那以后,伍斯特一直在洛杉矶工作,先后为多家科技公司(包括虚拟现实初创公司运输公司)工作, which he co-founded in 2015). More recently, he joined LA’s Fifth Wall Ventures as a partner, launching the Climate Tech Fund in 2019 to invest in decarbonization, 房地产行业的可持续发展和气候友好型技术. (伍斯特在2021年离开了第五堵墙,但仍在继续投资清洁技术领域.)

他说,他之所以从工程领域转到风险投资领域,是因为他意识到“推动和塑造人类文明向可持续能源未来过渡的真正力量是商业。, capital allocation and politics.” And for him, California was the place where all of that came together; the sunny skies and good surf were a nice bonus.

Clean energy foundations

Still, on reflection, 伍斯特追溯了他职业生涯中所做的一切——尤其是他对清洁技术的关注——回到了世界杯竞猜网站工程学院.

“基本上有两个人对我产生了很大的影响:大卫·桑伯恩·斯科特和格德·麦克莱恩,” says Woeste. 斯科特成立了弗吉尼亚大学综合能源系统研究所(IESVic),专注于燃料电池系统, cryofuel liquefaction and energy-systems analysis, 而麦克莱恩在伍斯特本科期间担任IESVic的执行董事. Scott was also working on a book at the time, called Smelling Land: The Hydrogen Defense Against Climate Catastrophe伍斯特回忆起他如何利用他的课堂来获得早期手稿的反馈.

“So you had this subject matter, which [Scott] specialized in, as well as this passion to design energy systems that were low carbon. Even to this day, 我关于一切如何运作以及世界杯竞猜网站应该如何解决的基本指导假设是他的方向.”

— Tyson Woeste

Over the past 30 years, 世界杯竞猜网站因其在气候科学方面的工作而享有很高的声誉,这也得益于斯科特和麦克莱恩等老师的指导, a generation of graduates have infiltrated technology and venture capital, looking to change the world. And more than one of them have moved to California to make that happen.

Raising capital to lower carbon

Aaron Fyke (BEng ’95) is the founder of Thin Line Capital, 这是一家早期的风险投资公司,总部位于帕萨迪纳,投资于致力于解决能源领域气候挑战的公司, water and food sustainability.

This year, Fyke is celebrating 20 years in Los Angeles. “For what I want to do in clean energy, California has been a long-time world leader, and I’m really proud to be part of that story. However, maintaining my ties to Canada has been important to me. 加拿大一直积极推行更关注气候变化的政策. 在全国范围内,加拿大实施了很多美国没有的措施.”

Still, 洛杉矶的巨大规模让像Fyke和Woeste这样的人(他们的道路偶尔会相交)在清洁技术投资领域开辟出一片天地, right in the heart of car culture. According to data firm Pitchbook, there were $6.2021年前10个月,南加州“气候技术”交易金额达40亿美元,是2020年全年的两倍.

“If Silicon Valley, if the Bay Area, didn’t exist, 洛杉矶被认为是创业活动的巨大灯塔——但因为它就在那里, LA is somewhat in its shadow. 但我不想搬到湾区,成为数百家追逐交易的基金之一.”

— Aaron Fyke

IESVIC’s lasting influence

Originally Fyke planned to pursue a degree in physics at UVic, but after his first year, he realized he didn’t want a career in research. “When I transferred into engineering that fall, one of the second-year classes was thermodynamics, taught by David Scott,” recalls Fyke. “Almost immediately, I was like, ‘This is exactly what I should be doing.’”

Scott became an important mentor to Fyke, 这让他有机会在IESVic工作,作为该组织成立期间的第一个本科生. The result of their collaboration led to a paper in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, and a continued lifelong friendship. Upon graduation, Fyke took a job at BC Research Inc. working on electric vehicle and transportation technologies, followed by three years at Burnaby clean-tech pioneer Ballard Power Systems.

Eventually, Fyke决定接受更大的商业挑战,并于2000年搬到波士顿,在麻省理工学院攻读MBA. He planned to return to Ballard, but when he graduated in 2002, 当时北美正处于经济衰退之中,巴拉德也在苦苦挣扎,所以Fyke去了更远的地方找工作, eventually landing in an LA-based company developing a solar-powered, fuel-cell hybrid airplane. That job, with AeroVironment, launched his clean-tech career in California, which has included stints in management (as co-founder and CEO of Heliogen, a solar-tech company backed by, among others, Bill Gates) as well as venture investments.

Family photo with adults and two kids

Tyson Woeste with his wife, Laura, and children. Photo courtesy of Tyson Woeste.

菲克说,他很自豪能在洛杉矶规模虽小但充满活力的风险投资领域发挥作用. 他喜欢和妻子(他在洛杉矶认识的哥伦比亚émigré)以及两个孩子在那里建立的生活, ages 11 and 13. He embraces the international flavour of the city of 10 million, with its mix of cultures and cuisines, and says he’s even enjoyed the odd brush with celebrity. “I met ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy,’” says Fyke. 他是行星协会的主席,该协会的总部设在帕萨迪纳.”

泰森·伍斯特则表示,他已经习惯了南加州的生活方式. He married a volleyball player from Orange County, 现在和他的妻子以及两个年幼的孩子(一个两岁,一个三岁)住在马里纳德尔雷, 这是一个海滨社区,就在他2004年第一次登陆的地方.

As for the surfing that lured him south? Well—the passion remains, says Woeste, 但他不像以前那样能钓到那么多的浪了:“带着两个孩子,甚至都不亲近. But one day—one day—I’ll get back.”

Photos

In this story

Keywords: alumni, clean energy, sustainability, engineering, research, business, industry partnerships, entrepreneurship

People: Aaron Fyke, Tyson Woeste, Steve Knoke, Erik Garrett, David Sanborn Scott, Ged McLean

Publication: The Torch


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