UC Merced Update

Alumni Highlights
Trio Starts Solar Company in Merced


AlumniThree UC Merced alumni are working toward starting a business and making a difference in the San Joaquin Valley. Heather Poiry, Kevin Balkoski and Kevin Rico have started a new company called SunTherm Energy, with the goal of providing solar thermal technology and service to companies in the Valley and beyond.

The trio met at UC Merced while studying under Professor Roland Winston, a founding faculty member and a pioneer in non-imaging optics, a science concerned with collecting, concentrating, transporting and distributing light energy.

SunTherm will focus on designing and creating industrial heating systems that use solar energy rather than natural gas — a more cost-effective solution that also reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s only natural that the company has sprouted from UC Merced, which is establishing itself as a leader in solar technology and sustainability while also making a significant economic impact on the Valley in both research and job creation. And the company’s makeup is a testament to the interdisciplinary nature of studies at UC Merced, where students from different fields work collaboratively in an entrepreneurial, hands-on educational environment.
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