Making wonders out of wastes

UW-Green Bay graduates, graduate students and even some undergraduates don’t have to travel far to get on-the-job training at “green” companies.

FEECO International and the ENCAP Corporation are just down the road from campus near the intersection of Highways 54/57 and Algoma Road.

That’s there where new technologies are developed to take otherwise waste material—from manure to metal shavings—and make it into something usable and profitable for corporations worldwide.

FEECO International makes industrial equipment to agglomerate, or pelletize, materials that may once have been destined for the landfills.

ENCAP, a spin-off company developed by FEECO, mixes waste from paper mills and other sources with polymers to promote grass and flower growth while at the same time preventing excessive runoff.

Both companies have used UW-Green Bay students, and have hired UW-Green Bay alumni, to help keep the Earth a greener place to live.

“It’s very good to know that I am at a company that’s trying to be green, and that’s trying to do all things environmentally friendly,” said FEECO research specialist Adam Baldwin, a 2008 master’s grad in Environmental Science and Policy. “I’m very proud of that fact. That’s something that’s very important to me.”

Classmate and colleague Nick Reckinger is a sales consultant for FEECO. He, too, wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t a greener company.

“I’d find it very hard to work for a company that I felt wasn’t working toward a good cause, or a cause that is improving our environment for the next generation,” said Reckinger, also a 2008 Environmental Science and Policy master’s grad. “Coming here, it’s been very exciting to work on a number of different projects that I can get very passionate about… and know that my contribution to the projects will really be making a difference.”

The two companies work closely with UW-Green Bay professors, seeking advice on projects and finding the best students to provide research help and ideas for the next great products.

“We have a tremendous respect for, and a great relationship with, the faculty at UW-Green Bay, particularly in the Environmental Sciences,” said Jeff Rindfleisch, ENCAP vice president of operations and research and development. “They’re a great resource for us and a wealth of information for us in helping develop our technology.

“Secondly, they also serve as a source for students for us and we’ve had a number of students come through ENCAP in doing their master’s thesis and providing long-term potential for opportunities for employment.”

Green companies and green technologies could be the wave of the future, and training in environmental and business issues should bode well in the working world, both Baldwin and Reckinger said.

“The sky is the limit for any company that’s going into this arena—the environmental aspect—because there are so many problems out there now and the solutions are not always there,” Baldwin said. “It’s the old tried-and-true right now. But if some company comes up with a very good process or idea for environmental problems, I think it’s all the better for the world in general.”

And UW-Green Bay is the place where solutions to some of those problems were, are, and will be developed.

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