Grove City College’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation is bringing Jake Loosararian ’13, co-founder and chief executive officer of Gecko Robotics Inc., back to campus for the Richard G. Staley ’62 Visionary Entrepreneur Speaker Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 in Sticht Lecture Hall in the Hall of Arts and Letters on campus.
The lecture series connects Grove City College students with entrepreneurs who share their stories and experience. It is part of the College’s entrepreneurial infrastructure, which fostered Gecko Robotics’ development from a senior electrical engineering project by Loosararian, Ian Miller ’13, Andrew Wilson ’13 and Orion Correa ’13 into a successful, Pittsburgh-based business.
"I am beyond excited to bring Jake back to Grove City College. Having worked with him since VentureLab in 2012-13 and having incubated the company after graduation, I have been in the unique position to see Gecko Robotics grow from an idea into a real-world company. Jake has had some amazing experiences and has grown immensely as an entrepreneur in a relatively short period of time, and he will bring unique insight to our students," Yvonne English ’97, executive director the Center of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, said.
Gecko Robotics builds and deploys robots that can climb the interior walls of large boilers and other tight and dangerous spaces to conduct safety inspections. The primary customer for the company is the power-generation industry.
Gecko’s mission comes from a desire to eliminate the danger that human safety inspectors face in the power industry. Most power plants must shut down at least once a year to check for damage to their boilers. These inspections involve crews setting up and climbing massive scaffolds to manually check infrastructure for wear and damage. It’s dangerous work that ends up costing the industry billions. Gecko’s solution saves lives and drastically reduces costs.
Loosararian and original partners developed robots and the company during the 2012-13 academic year under the College-sponsored VentureLab program. Miller serves as the company’s chief technology officer and Gecko has added two more Grove City College alumni to the team: Troy Demmer ’11 as chief operating officer and Josh Moore ’13.
“Grove City College honed a foundation centered on values, work ethic and purpose. A startup demands this from its founders,” Loosararian said. “Through supporting things like VentureLab and Team GCC, the college has enabled and heightened the entrepreneurial spirit of me and my co-founders. The key to the College's success is top-tier professors with experience and aptitude. They just have a knack for believing in you. Team GCC lit a fire of entrepreneurship for me and gave me the confidence to start my own company.”
The Richard G. Staley ’62 Visionary Entrepreneur Speaker Series brings successful entrepreneurs – and the lessons they learned – to Grove City College to share stories of success, experience and advice with students. Staley, a chemical engineering major during his time at Grove City College, pursued his entrepreneurial dream in 1977 when he founded Flavor House, a leading flavoring and extract manufacturer.
For more about the Entrepreneurship Program at Grove City College, including the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, visit www.gccentrepreneurship.com.