Student Finds Path to Success at MHCC
Posted: December 20, 2012
Duncan Meyers: One to Watch
From NASA Scholar to budding entrepreneur to world changer, Duncan Meyers, MHCC Class of ’12, is on a path to success.
Duncan Meyers has always shown exciting potential—and the work ethic to realize it. As an MHCC engineering student he earned a chance to contribute to a project at the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as one of NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars.
From some 300 applicants around the country, Meyers was one of 80 students chosen to travel to JPL. His team designed and presented ideas for a theoretical Mars rover mission to melt bits of the planet’s surface to pave runways for eventual manned landings.
Fast forward to today, to the small town of Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. Meyers is in the thick of building and growing a company, Cycle 6 Technology, to develop and market a chemical-and-pressure process for turning waste polystyrene—the virtually impossible-to-recycle material better known as Styrofoam™—into a material with several potential uses as building products.
The first of those uses will be as a replacement for the sand and rock used to make concrete. He also sees his product as a replacement for wallboard.
“We’re currently mixing batches of concrete with our material, then
testing the compound’s strength. When that’s done, we will begin selling to ready-mix concrete companies,” Meyers says.
What’s the appeal of Meyers’ product, beyond the obvious green benefit of redirecting material from landfills (where it goes by the hundreds of tons)? Imagine concrete that weighs one-quarter to as little as one-sixth as much as rock-based concrete—as little as eight pounds per cubic foot. This means buildings would require less steel and other materials to support the weight of floors, walls, etc. This new concrete would also have improved insulation qualities. And for the companies that make the finished product, shipping a freight car of rock to their factories costs $200 per mile, as opposed to just $17 per mile for Meyers’ compressed polystyrene.
Using All the College Resources
When Meyers arrived at MHCC, he found a fertile ground for his creativity and drive. ”MHCC offers so many tools and mentors to show you how to use them. I’ve done my best to learn from everyone at the college and expand the benefits of my education.”
More recently, MHCC’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has been a great help with the realities of founding and funding a business.
“Duncan has the vision and passion for this product,” says Antonio Paez, SBDC director. “He’s been very persistent since the beginning, and now his challenge is finding the right customers and investors.”
Within five years, Meyers expects to have at least one large facility in the Gorge, employing about 40 people.
You read it here first: Duncan Meyers is another MHCC alum to watch.
For information about MHCC’s engineering program and the SBDC, please visit mhcc.edu.