RecartPS Energy Calls UND's REAC Its North American Headquarters
By Emily Aasand | August 15, 2014
In February, Kevin Wiles flew from London, to explore options for expanding his engineering and technology company, RecartPS, into western North Dakota. Wiles has decided on a unique N.D.-research lab as it's Bakken and North American headquarters.
In February, Kevin Wiles flew from London, to explore options for expanding his engineering and technology company, RecartPS, into Western North Dakota. With the help of the University of North Dakota's research enterprise and commercialization (REAC) facility and UND's engineering departments, he found the exact location for his company to successfully service the needs of the Bakken.
RecartPS is an energy industry-focused resource, engineering and technology company that services resource management and the supply of project teams on a global basis.
Wiles, the operations and development director of RecartPS, believes that locating outside of the actual oil play can greatly benefit his company. With the resources available at UND and with UND's REAC facility, Recart will be able to service three major issues the team believes exists in the Bakken: including resource (lack of manpower), water and flaring.
"Within our group of companies, we had various elements that could tackle those particular areas, and it made sense for us to do that through the University of North Dakota," says Wiles. "One of the projects we're looking at is a produced water separation unit which is a five phase unit. Another is bringing the resources and expertise here, and the final project we're looking into is assisting UND with the personalization of their intellectual property through our global network."
Kevan Rusk, the director of REAC 1, the University of North Dakota's Technology Accelerator, began conversing with Wiles in November 2013 about potential for company growth within REAC and with UND.
The REAC facility is part of UND's campus, and offers office and laboratory space to private-sector companies that are looking to partner with the University for a variety of research and commercialization purposes.
Recart's internationally experienced company has taken the steps to establish linkage to UND with the Petroleum Engineering department and has begun to work on highly technical conversations and equipment, processes and projects with them, says Rusk.
Rusk and Wiles met when Rusk spent two years in Denmark working with his previous company and has remained in contact with him over the years. Wiles flew to North Dakota in February to attend the Bakken - Three Forks Shale Oil Innovation Conference & Expo and he knew he had found where he wanted to establish his company's North American headquarters.
"It's been quite strategic," says Wiles. "Looking at REAC and the way Kevan has integrated and given us the support needed to come here has been valuable."
"When we began looking to expand our company to North Dakota, we saw the benefits to us and the benefits that would come to REAC—it has ties to UND and we offer various engineering design and construction capabilities," says Wiles. "For us, it makes sense for UND to be more involved in the Bakken—when you look at the core sample library it has and the importance of that along with its premier petroleum engineering department."
Recart has worked with every level of leadership at UND—personnel met with local, state specific leaders and government to really understand if the move to Grand Forks would makes sense. The company also took a very strategic approach to understanding the feasibility of the business, says Rusk.
Recart has invested time, money and energy into doing thorough research and has committed to a lease in REAC on the campus of UND, which, according to Wiles, is exactly where they need to be.
"Everybody is working toward the same goal," says Wiles. "A lot of what we're trying to do will involve more of a link between the university, research, and international focus and how that can ultimately help the state of North Dakota, which is our primary concern and goal."
Recart offers a few different services including resource management, manpower supply, operations, maintenance and training, and commissioning.
Recart is able to put a 20-man team together to facilitate projects for companies, it can help companies relocate facilities, and can conduct consulting on project controls development, project reporting and cost and planning.
The projects Recart plans to facilitate are relatively midterm.
The team is currently working to provide equipment suited to address water use in the Bakken.
The equipment was introduced at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston in May and can concentrate the harmful water produced at well sites and process the water so it can be reused for the next drill on the same pad.
"Specifically, one of Recart's partner companies has a specific piece of equipment that is designed from produced water separation," says Rusk. "That specific piece of equipment is something that we're hoping that Recart can partner with UND to refine and develop and ultimately operate either that service or equipment to operators and disposal sites in Western North Dakota with all the benefits people know about."
Although Recart has just announced the location of its North American headquarters, it has big plans for the future.
"When we look at the technology in the REAC building and the space Kevan has as far as the administration and possibly manpower recruitment sources go, there are a few lines of expansion to investigate," says Wiles. "This building is absolutely perfect for us and Kevan has done a great job."
"We're in such early stages, but there's absolutely room for future growth," says Lee Bown, director of RecartPS Energy. "Because of the nature of what we're doing, this could get really big really quick."
According to Rusk, there are a lot of good opportunities that will be coming out of REAC within the upcoming months, not only as an entity, but as partnerships and with different projects that Recart can bring light to.
"We're really looking forward to building relationships with companies in the Bakken, to understand their needs and focus on those and hopefully offer some worth and serious solutions to the problems" says Wiles. "We're very excited to start engaging with people."
UND's REAC adds 2 tenants
By Anna Burleson
Grand Forks Herald Online
UND's recently acquired research facility, REAC 1, is finally bringing in new business.
Recart PS, an oil-and-gas research company, and the Red River Valley Education Cooperative, is moving into the building, according to the facility's director, Kevan Rusk.
He said that brings the total amount of rentable space that's occupied to 60 percent.
REAC, which provides lab and office space for research companies, has struggled financially for lack of tenants before its purchase by the university, but Rusk is trying to change that.
"We're building a good foundation," he said.
The education cooperative, which coordinates resources among 20 school districts in the region, has been based at the Grand Forks School District's education building. But it will now move to REAC.
Recart, based in the United Kingdom, will work with faculty members and students to develop technology that could be applied in North Dakota's Oil Patch, according to Managing Director Kevin Wiles.
"We're looking specifically at water treatment, water separation, recycle possibilities and that's probably the first piece of technology we're going to try and bring in," he said.
There will only be two employees at the facility to start with, he said, but he hopes to have about six hired and working at REAC by Christmas.
The firm also plans to invest in new research equipment in the building, he said. "We see it as a very long term relationship."
Michael Moore, UND's associate vice president for intellectual property commercialization and economic development, said faculty members and students will benefit from Recart's international ties. Besides offices in the United Kingdom, the firm also has offices in Malaysia and Singapore.
Rusk and Wiles were old acquaintances and once Rusk assumed his position at the REAC, the two discussed the deal for about six months before it came to fruition.
Both are excited about what the future holds.
"It's almost like a two-way street of opportunity based around research, student development and commercialization," Wiles said. "UND as an entity has massive experience and really interesting capabilities, purely from an industry perspective."
With six companies residing in REAC, Rusk said he's optimistic about the future of the building.
"Being here on campus, we can help any company that's coming in to really forge relationships with the correct people at UND and that's what you can't get if you just rent a space on the street," he said.
Trial results promising for curing puppies' parvo
Posted: Jun 01, 2014 10:05 AM CST Updated: Jun 04, 2014 12:40 PM CST
By DAVE KOLPACK
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies.
Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 percent cure rate for canine parvovirus, which spreads through animal waste and direct contact between dogs, usually at kennels, shelters and shows. Some puppies die from the virus and others are euthanized because the antibiotics and other medicine needed to treat it can be too expensive - sometimes up to $2,000 - and take too long.
It isn't clear how many dogs contract parvo annually, since the disease isn't required to be reported. At the Kansas City Pet Project, one of eight test sites and among the largest shelters in the United States, about five cases a month wind up on the "parvo ward." Officials with the Missouri shelter believe the treatment will lead to a dramatic increase in their "parvo graduates."
"When the box arrived we were yelling, 'Woo, the geese antibodies are here!'" shelter spokeswoman Tori Fugate said. "Just the fact that someone is caring out there is pretty remarkable. A lot of open admission shelters choose to not treat parvo because it's considered too much of a resource."
Avianax chief operating officer Richard Glynn hopes to start selling the parvoONE antibody-based treatment - that is harvested from the yokes of goose eggs - for $75 a dose by next spring.
"I think there will be a lot of puppy owners who will be very happy," Glynn said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional permit for the field trials that are taking place in sites in Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina and Arizona. Such permits are normally reserved for outbreaks or other dire situations, but this one passed muster because there's no product specifically targeted for parvovirus, said Jeremy Vrchota, Avianax's sales director and regulatory liaison.
Officials with the USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service did not respond to phone messages left by The Associated Press.
The company's path to puppy love began a decade ago after a mysterious disease - later found to be West Nile virus - spread among flocks at the South Dakota-based Schiltz Goose Farm, the largest goose producer in North America. Farm owners James and Richard Schiltz and Glynn, who was working for them, found researchers at the University of North Dakota who were interested in the project.
The group, led by Dr. David Bradley, the executive director of the Center of Research Excellence for Avian Therapeutics for Infectious Diseases at UND, discovered antibodies in the geese that they could purify and put back into other birds. The treatment worked.
"We went to the Mayo Clinic and they looked at all our work," Glynn said. "They called it a game-changing technology."
Avianax quickly found promising links between goose antibodies and treatments for other diseases, including rabies, dengue fever, avian flu and some cancers. Because they didn't have the money or time to explore testing for human diseases, the group set their sights on the veterinary market and eventually settled on saving puppies.
Treating parvovirus currently can cost, at a minimum, $500 for antibiotics, intravenous fluids, painkillers and stomach medicine and generally takes six days, said Dr. Darin Meulebroeck, chief medical officer for Avianax. The trials have shown the new drug can work quickly as two days, he said.
"We've lost a couple that have been so severe ... there's no drug that is going to treat 100 percent of everything," Meulebroeck said.
The tests run through November.
Glynn said Avianax has "stuck in there" with the help of key researchers and believes it is on the verge of saving human lives with a similar antibody- although it could take more than five years to reach the market. The U.S. Army is interested in using the technology for Andres virus, which has been found to lead to a fatal respiratory disease. Safety trials are scheduled in the next two years.
"We went from being goose herders from South Dakota to an antibody company," Glynn said. "And we're not done yet."