Richard Gruber Joins Georgia Tech Venture Lab and the Strategic Energy Institute as Clean Energy Commercialization Lead
Jul 06, 2023 — Atlanta, GA
The Strategic Energy Institute and the Venture Lab are excited to welcome Richard Gruber to lead the clean tech commercialization efforts at Georgia Tech. Gruber will be working closely with Georgia Tech researchers helping them convert their ground-breaking research into impactful companies. His role includes cultivating relationships with constituents of the broader Atlanta area, officials in the Georgia department of economic development, the national community of business leaders, angel investors, attorneys, and venture capitalists.
Gruber will identify and grow commercialization of technology innovation in key areas of business strategy, fundraising, team development, and assist with startup efforts in close coordination with the director of Venture Lab and the broader activities of the Office of Commercialization, led by Raghupathy Sivakumar.
“With the state of Georgia emerging as a hub for clean energy, Gruber will play an integral role in coaching, creating, and growing startups related to energy, manufacturing, smart cities, and associated industry clusters,” said, Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute.
Throughout his career, Gruber has been focused on the development of energy, including infrastructure, markets, policy, stakeholder processes, structured transactions, joint ventures, energy system planning and operations, and startups. Investors in Gruber’s startups include two-time investor Ted Turner through Turner Renewable Energy.
Since 2007, he has been dedicated to clean energy power plant and technology development. As the vice president of project development at First Solar, Richard spearheaded the company’s initial buildout of a multi-gigawatt solar project platform, making First Solar one of the largest solar developers in North America.
In 2017, Gruber co-founded and served as the chief commercial officer for Merit Sustainable Infrastructure (Merit SI). Merit SI develops solar microgrids for infrastructure clients and utility scale renewable projects, and, through its subsidiary Merit Controls, develops advanced power system controls for solar, battery storage, and solar-hydrogen hybrid plants.
In his role at Georgia Tech, Gruber will support commercialization efforts across the entire energy and sustainability innovation space, from energy sources to energy carriers to consumers, and the necessary supporting supply chain and software innovations required to deliver cleaner, more affordable, and reliable, central, and distributed energy solutions. Georgia Tech researchers are encouraged to reach out to Richard Gruber with questions or ideas.
“We are so excited to have someone of Richard’s caliber on board. We believe such efforts that target a specific domain for commercialization are crucial to make Georgia Tech the #1 startup campus in the world,” said, Raghupathy Sivakumar, vice president of Commercialization and Chief Commercialization Officer at Georgia Tech.
Previously an “Executive in Residence” at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center, Gruber lives in Atlanta with his wife of 37 years. They have two daughters also in Atlanta, one a recent ISyE graduate of Georgia Tech, and one working with Delta.
Priya Devarajan || SEI Communications Program Manager