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Start-up company plans to be easy breezy: Father-daughter team brings wind energy to Carrollton
For Alicia and Mike Berdan, working together comes naturally.
The father-daughter team has been working together for years at Mike's Carrollton-based BE-Technologies - a custom aerospace manufacturing company. Mike, alongside his daughter, is launching a new business - BE-Wind.
BE-Wind, LLC, which is also located in Carrollton, is a small company that has designed and engineered a wind turbine for urban communities. Owner Mike Berdan has lived in Coppell for more than 15 years and through his first company, BE-Technologies, has contributed to the community in more ways than one.
"My family and I have been in the DFW area since the late 90s," he said. "My kids have grown up here, gone to school, and been a part of many community activities. My company has been a part of promoting their schools, sports teams, local school charities, drug and alcohol awareness campaigns, and other activities. We are hoping that with BE-Wind we can be more involved in our community in different ways."
Mike said he decided to go into business for himself so he could do what he loves, while taking on the challenge of working on products to help future generations. The manufacturing industry is full of ideas and concepts that can help the present and future for our communities and children, he said.
The idea behind starting a wind energy company came to Mike about four years ago when Tom Carbone of Renewable Energy asked him to help engineer and manufacture the EOW2 wind turbine.
The pair tested the turbine on two separate buildings in Fort Worth - the only turbine ever allowed in the city's limits.
"I was introduced to wind turbines by a customer who brought in a project for my company," Mike said. "I helped him design and build the structure of the wind turbine we have today. As it progressed we enjoyed watching and hearing about the results and capabilities of the turbine. I felt there was a market and a good reason to get involved in the urban wind energy business."
Last June, after designing, testing, filing patents and receiving ownership rights to manufacture the EOW2 urban wind turbine, Mike established BE-Wind.
"My hope is to be one of the No. 1 small urban wind companies in the nation," Mike said. "We want to take on the opportunity of helping to reduce energy costs and promote green energy throughout our country and hopefully the world. We want to be able to help in our community's economy by providing jobs and clean energy. It would be great to help our community set a standard of promoting clean renewable energy."
Right now, the price point is around $10,000 to $12,000 depending on the generator. Mike plans to reduce the cost of the turbine over time, eventually selling it below $10,000. BE-Wind does not sell any turbine pieces separately, everything comes as an assembly package, but Mike said future plans include supplying replacement parts bought directly from the manufacturer.
In regard to installation, BE-Wind is working with local installers who have knowledge of architecture and development of homes and businesses, allowing them to make each installation customizable to the buyer.
The company is still in its early stages with only family members employed and is currently operating under Mike's BE-Technologies roof.
"Working with my daughter is like working with my wife - she's the boss," Mike said. "It is actually one of the greatest pleasures of being a parent. I get to watch my daughter excel in the world and be a part of it. We don't currently have any other employees at BE-Wind, but BE-Technologies [employees] lend their help whenever we need it. Our hopes are to grow and be able to offer new job positions to people in our community in the near future."
Alicia said working for her father has been great and has allowed her to continue sharpening her business skills.
"He's brilliant at what he does, and it's always neat when he takes the time to explain the way things are designed and manufactured to me," she said. "Having your father as your boss can come with many perks, but it also comes with a heavier burden. I care about my family so I want to see him succeed, so when times get rough it can become very personal. But it's nice to know that we are working together to make things better."
The Berden's are hoping that having their goals and needs listed on Kickstarter, a fundraising website, they will be able to meet the financial needs associated with starting their business. For information, visit kickstarter.com/projects/bewind/urban-wind-turbine-eow2.
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