A unique Hamilton program that drew participants from around the world is taking a year off

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 @ 8:00 AM


            WaterStep, a non-profit based in Louisville, Ky., was part of the first class of the Pipeline H2O program in which companies worked in Hamilton and southwest Ohio to solve water-related issues. The company has been helping disaster-plagued areas like parts of Florida hit by Hurricane Irma and storm-devastated Puerto Rico. CONTRIBUTED
WaterStep, a non-profit based in Louisville, Ky., was part of the first class of the Pipeline H2O program in which companies worked in Hamilton and southwest Ohio to solve water-related issues. The company has been helping disaster-plagued areas like parts of Florida hit by Hurricane Irma and storm-devastated Puerto Rico. CONTRIBUTED

Hamilton’s Pipeline H2O program, which proponents hope can turn the region into a “Silicon Valley for water,” is taking a year off but will resume in 2020, officials say.

The decision was made after Antony Seppi of the Hamilton Mill business accelerator and director of Pipeline H2O program left city employment to join Hamilton County’s HCDC Business Center as a business coach to its incubator clients. That organization has a business incubator, lends to businesses and works to foster economic development in the county.

Pipeline H2O seeks to harness the region’s significant water expertise to help water-technology companies develop inventions that can solve water and sewage problems, including pollution and efforts to reuse water.

Content Continues Below

RELATED: Hamilton leaders seek fountain of water innovation

The first Pipeline H2O group of companies met in Hamilton, Cincinnati and elsewhere across the region with mentors, utilities, university experts and others to hone their technologies and improve their pitches to help them develop and sell their water-technology ideas. The second was in 2018.

Pipeline classes, which have come from across the country and several other nations, have gathered here the first few months of each year. The Pipeline tagline is, “Pilot Locally and Deploy Globally.”

Hamilton Development Director Jody Gunderson said the program will convene the third class in 2020.

“That’s what our plan is,” Gunderson said. “When Antony Seppi took a position with Hamilton County’s incubator, it left us at a time that was a recruiting period for that program, and we thought we needed to take a year off from that,” and determine who would fill Seppi’s former position.

RELATED — Water revolution: What started in Hamilton is saving lives worldwide

Mayor Pat Moeller said he expects Hamilton to continue its Pipeline H2O work.

“Pipeline H20 is a great program with great partners and energetic, motivated entrepreneurs in the water industry,” Moeller said. “It is a natural that Hamilton remain a partner and I expect the City will remain a partner.”

Hamilton’s city government can help water-tech companies because it has its own utilities, including water, sewer treatment and electric. The region also has a variety of large water and sewage utilities. Cincinnati also is home to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center, the agency’s second-largest research and development facility, a leader in water research, bio-remediation and pollution prevention.

In addition, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Fairborn applies leading-edge aerospace research to water needs. It also has numerous universities, and such large companies as Procter & Gamble.

Some 6,000 scientists in the region are implementing $4 billion worth of research per year, said Melinda Kruyer, executive director of Confluence, a non-profit “water-technology innovation cluster” that covers the region of Dayton, Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.