‘Green Machine’: Alum Creates Cleaner Industry, Straighter Golf Ball
After being impressed with what he researched about UC’s civil and environmental engineering graduate program (particularly in air pollution, his area of specialty), Owens moved his young family to Cincinnati nearly 20 years ago to attend graduate school at UC. “My wife gave birth to our third and fourth children — twins — while I was writing my doctoral dissertation,” said Owens, who earned a PhD in environmental engineering before moving back to the Carolinas.
Owens’ career has been quite literally down-to-earth. With another engineer, he once designed a water treatment system for remote villages in developing countries, then spent more than a year installing the systems in places like Honduras and Mozambique. Currently, he’s a co-owner of Charleston, S.C.-based Meridian Energy & Environment, a full-service environmental engineering firm specializing in managing and recovering energy from industrial waste streams.
“This ‘value-stream engineering’ is a way to cut down on a company’s waste stream and reduce disposal costs, while getting some quick payback from the stream’s energy value,” Owens said.
Seeking Golf Ball Design’s ‘Holy Grail’
While doing a post-doc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1996, the federal government shut down temporarily over a budget dispute between President Clinton and Congress. Not allowed to come to work, Owens and his colleagues decided to apply their engineering know-how and problem-solving skills to their golf games. So they set out to design, manufacture and sell what is perhaps the sporting world’s version of the better mousetrap — a golf ball that resists hooking and slicing.