Meade Lewis, founder of mIQroTech, is on a mission to make the oil and gas industry greener. Gas leaks are incredibly wasteful: on average, oil and gas companies annually spend $18M to fix 93 leaks. By embracing the power of science, mIQroTech provides an innovative, data-intensive approach to preventing pipeline leaks.
What is your business, and what problem you are solving?
First and foremost, mIQroTech is an innovation firm within the oil and gas industry. We create Internet of Things (IoT) devices for gas pipelines that send longevity and environment data to a cloud-computing system. This “big-data” platform is then analyzed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) modules, time and time again, to allow each data point to speak.
Long story short, we are able to predict oil and gas pipeline leaks before they happen.
The average pipeline company sees 93 oil leaks every year and spends $18 million in damages. We stop that. We save the environment while saving these companies money. It is a win-win.
What inspired you to start your company?
Justin Stewart (my co-founder) and I are both Eagle Scouts. In a way, you could call us environmentalists. Previously leading engineering teams as the Chief Information Technology Officer of multiple firms, I saw how the industry fell behind on modern trends. Both Justin and I had a passion to protect the environment while bettering the industry. The numbers behind what it would take to build mIQroTech made sense and we jumped on the opportunity.
What is your mission?
Our mission is simple: create systems that allow a clean oil and gas industry to emerge. We are doing that through the most advanced technology and trends of modern computing. Research and development is our focus.
Who is in your core team? How did your team come together?
We are a lean, mean innovation machine. Justin Stewart is the brilliant mind behind our data gathering, processing, and access. In other words, he makes sure the data can be stored, understood, and accessed in an efficient manner. This is ever more important when talking about millions or billions of new data points every month. Then, there is me, an eccentric nerd who loves to solve problems by innovating Whether it be electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software, or intelligence systems, I feel right at home when creating.
One day, while at the gym, I heard Justin behind me talking about encryption systems. I was intrigued. We began talking about faith, technology, security, and eventually, I began telling him about huge ideas I had involving IoT. We continued to bounce ideas off of each other for months until he asked me, directly, if we could begin working on big ideas together. After I showed him some prototypes I already developed as well as some accompanying software, Justin wanted to get involved. mIQroTech was born and I found myself a co-founder.
Please explain your edge over your competition?
Our competition relies on approaches that are slow, monitor only one variable, and lack wireless data transmission. To install sensors (some of which are radioactive), you have to tap the pipeline. It’s a long list of problems, compounded by the fact that they don’t have artificial intelligence to actually understand the data they produce.
What we offer is a conclusive system that actually answers what our customers, pipeline companies, want to know. We remove the guesswork and reduce the risk of human error. Our solution is a game-changing innovation.
Do you have any mentors?
Of course. I have more than a dozen whom I eternally thankful for, but I will list my top three:
First, kind of cliché, but my father is the best mentor any man could ask for. He is brilliant, kind-hearted, and above all, honest and moral. A loving husband, and a supportive father, he is everything you could want in a role model.
Second is my former boss, Dean Love. He was the owner of Iron-Pro, an oil and gas company which was acquired by DFW Heavy Duty and exists as a subsidiary of the AW Flow Products. I was formerly the chief information technology officer for Iron-Pro and was so fortunate to work with Dean. He sees things in people and has the ability to bring out your confidence to empower you to be the best you could be.
Finally, Steve Schlotterbeck, the C.E.O. of EQT is what I want to become to this industry. He gained notoriety for his innovation in the upstream (production) side of natural gas. Steve is someone I can count on for incredible insight, experience, and wisdom, and I am grateful to have him as a friend.
By focusing on science, I have always seen immense reward in the steps between progression and completion.
Advice you would give yourself from 10 years ago?
“Focus on science and embrace your inner nerd.”
There are so many distractions in the world. If you don’t fight back, you can let them drag you away from your dreams and your passions. By focusing on science, I have always seen an immense reward in the steps between progression and completion. Also, so many times nerdiness is shamed. You need to brush off the negativity to embrace it and let it shine. It will take you somewhere.
If you were an investor, how would you look at your “company” as an opportunity?
If I were an investor – I am an investor! Justin and I both are. Time, money, and so much more has been put into this company. We see huge return potential within a massive market that is in dire need of innovation. Our firm and the innovation we are working on is the definition of opportunity.
We are getting hundreds of passionate people showing their support for our success and pushing the development of our solutions.
Why equity crowdfunding?
Equity crowdfunding is a partnership of huge proportions. Rather than getting a single investor or small team with venture capital options, we are getting hundreds of passionate people showing their support for our success and pushing the development of our solutions. With this push, the investors are able to voice their insights to create the world of tomorrow. This conglomeration of brain power gives equity crowdfunding its edge.
What three skills do you believe make a good leader?
Really, leadership comes down to three steps:
Listen – Many times people forget that the biggest component of leadership is listening. You listen to employees, listen to reports, listen to mentors. You need to gather your intel before you make a decision.
Understand – Once the information is gathered, it’s important to double check that you understand that data. Miscommunications are all too common and the price can be months of development ruined, thousands of dollars lost, or personal feelings hurt. You must also understand the consequences of what your choices may be. Truly understanding the information given to you is critical.
Choose – Making a choice can freeze people. Whatever it takes, do not freeze. If you have gathered and understood the data presented, then you must make a decision. Decisions are what put things into action and change your surroundings.
What are your interests and passions outside of your company?
As I have mentioned, I am an Eagle Scout. That doesn’t just mean that I tie a wicked squareknot (I do, for the record). I love going into the wilderness to hike some of the most amazing trails this nation has to offer. From hundreds of miles along the Appalachian Trail, to the miles of creeks along the Loyalsock Trail, I have enjoyed a large amount of time in the woods. I have a passion for exploring the edges of civilization and find enjoyment in caving, backpacking, kayaking, and other adventure trips.
I also enjoy a nice glass of whiskey from time to time, compete on a trivia team, play guitar, and enjoy daily trips to the gym.
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? How about Mars?
I’d sail around the coasts in Thailand for a while. It would be amazing to experience Thailand’s culture.
As for Mars, from a scientific perspective, it would be a rhetorical gold mine. Performing studies on an entirely new planet and creating systems to better human-sustaining would offer a treat like no other.
If you take your talents, subject them to your experiences, then add in your passions, success is the result.
What’s the thing you believe to be true that no one else agrees with?
I believe that success is as simple as a formula;
Te + P = S
T = Talents
e = Experience
P = Passions
S = Success
If you take your talents, subject them to your experiences, then add in your passions, success is the result. No matter where you go or what you do, success will accompany if you follow this.