The CEO and president of OriginOil, Riggs Eckelberry is leading the charge to extract oil from algae to use in commercial fuels as a viable replacement for petroleum. He started the company in 2007 after helping to invent its breakthrough technology, but he's no stranger to corporate America. Before founding OriginOil, Eckelberry worked as president and COO of CyberDefender Corporation, founder and president of TechTransform, and general manager of Panda Software. Earlier this year, he was named to the advisory board of the National Algae Association.
Here, Eckelberry discusses how taking time off to go ski-bumming at the age of 40, a year spent working in the film industry, and even a brief stint as a wine importer have made him a better CEO; why it is that Australia deserves to be recognized in a sustainability Hall of Fame; and why he's amazed to see people ordering wild salmon because they object to salmon farming practices.
What do you say when people ask you, "What do you do?"
I'm working on algae, which is the original oil. Now we're making it again.
What new idea or innovation is having the most significant impact on the sustainability world?
We're now deploying leapfrog technology to create real sustainability. It's no longer a catchword.