Turning Air into Water: Socially-Conscious Business Development

By Jesse Breffle, Guest Writer

Jesse Breffle, courtesy of Thunderbird.

Water: the most precious resource on the planet, and yet also among the most wasted and increasingly scarce. Countless areas around the globe are in circumstances of high water stress, and there are countless methods to combat issues surrounding potable water. Underground aquifers and lakes are drying up, and droughts are affecting millions. As fresh water resources and ground water resources are being depleted, where do you turn to find water? You find it in the air around you. 

This summer I had the privilege of interning for Zero Mass Water, a company out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Using materials sciences, Zero Mass Water designed the SOURCE Hydropanel. SOURCE utilizes solar energy to power a mechanism that pulls humidity from the air and converts it into pure drinking water. The air is an inexhaustible source of water, as it is constantly replenished by the water cycle. 

I had the opportunity of working in business development in the Latin American market.  I utilized my Spanish to generate distribution partner leads and cultivate and develop relationships. I was able to coordinate and direct webinars, with six to twelve months worth of engaging content for global distributor partners. Lastly, I managed a pilot marketing campaign to 200 homes. All these experiences gave me an opportunity to employ the skills I gained from my Thunderbird degree. In addition, I also was able to observe leadership.

Hydropanels. Courtesy of Zero Mass Water.

I appreciated the company’s declared culture, with principles like “lead with love,” and “don’t say ‘no, because…,’ say, ‘yes, if…’” Leading with love created an ambiance where colleagues listened and cooperated with each other. They felt safe to express and discuss their ideas. Saying “yes, if…” created a culture where team members not only listened to the ideas of others, but took time to explore possibilities of implementation instead of writing ideas off quickly. 

SOURCE Hydropanels are a unique and exciting product. I am excited to see how the company develops as they reach economies of scale and expand their reach, from that of a premium product to being able to meet the needs of those who would benefit most from the technology. I believe this product could interest anyone in the renewables, tech, or development fields.

Jesse is a second-year student in the MGM program.

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