Exec praises Warren center

YOUNGSTOWN – Despite the series of delays the Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center has had when it comes to its building project, one of the center’s executives said on Tuesday that the program is “robust” and moving in the right direction.

Dave Nestic, chief executive of regional operations, provided an update on TBEIC on Tuesday during the fifth annual Sustainable Energy Forum at Youngstown State University.

“We’re doing exactly what we should be,” Nestic said. “We’re connecting the people who need to be connected. The program is advancing and working. We’ve had a few snags when it comes to our building, but we’ll get through it and get our building done and be able to do even more.”

Warren-based TBEIC, an energy-based business incubator, is waiting on approval from the Department of Energy, which has invested $2.2 million in the center, to move forward with its building project. The center is temporarily housed in the downtown Wean Building but plans to set up shop in Warren’s Kresge Building, also downtown.

Late last year, the Ohio Development Services Agency announced $35.9 million worth of state historic preservation tax credits, including the $983,750 awarded to the Kresge Building. Nestic said work on the building has been delayed because of personnel changes at the energy department.

Earlier this year, TBEIC and Kent State University announced a Master Research Agreement for energy-related research.

“We’re moving forward,” Nestic said. “Again, we’re doing what we’re suppose to. We’re connecting the people who need to be connected.”

The federally funded center aimed at the development and commercialization of early-stage clean technologies, connects universities, industry and government agencies with emerging ventures engaged in the process of bringing new technology to market.

TBEIC is designed to be a mixed-used facility aimed at accelerating the development of early stage energy technologies.

In addition to providing the update on TBEIC, Nestic also served as moderator for the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition Planning Session, one of several break-out sessions held Tuesday afternoon. Ted Theofrastou, also of TBEIC, spoke at the event as well.

Event organizers explained that this year’s forum focused on sustainable and clean energy, natural gas and water resources, and additive manufacturing and its impact on energy technology. Also included was an “energy expo” in which companies could display products.

Keynote speaker, Eric Marquis, Quebec Government Representative in the Midwest, discussed the importance of the working relationship between the United States and Canada, specifically the impact Ohio has in the sustainable energy market.

Marquis pointed out that the largest source of all forms of energy to the United States is Canada.

“It’s important that we continue to work together if we are going to compete more effectively as a region in the global economy,” he said.