Success Story - Curtis Going - T.O.P Tank
An entrepreneur’s journey can often be described as a “roller coaster ride” and Curtis Going of T.O.P. Tank is no exception. The trials and tribulations have been many.
T.O.P. Tank is an energy efficient heavy oil production tank that utilizes the heat generated by the wellhead engine and hydraulics to heat the fluid stored inside the tank. Thus reducing heating costs and emissions by 100% by harnessing all wasted heat/energy created by the engine to heat production and sales oil.
When the concept was first developed the idea had been to incorporate into new tank construction.
However, when the oil industry took a major drop in 2014 Curtis and his shareholders realized they needed to take another look at things. The results were a design that would retrofit existing tanks. The ingenuous solution opened up many more possibilities.
Going was introduced to Kara Johnston, Technology Development Officer (TDA) with Alberta Innovates (AI) who also connected him with Startup Lloydminster. This encounter opened up many new doors for the entrepreneur. Working with Startup, he was able to initiate some basic business planning, as well as application support to receive funding through the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator (AEI) program. This funding allowed him to hire expertise to support more in depth planning, including projections and marketing.
“Startup Lloydminster was excited to work with Curtis Going to further his innovative business plans and thrilled that he was rewarded with funding from the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator program. His passion for clean tech energy and advancing innovation in the energy industry will not only accelerate his companies growth but also support the provinces clean tech initiatives,” says Wendy Plandowski, Entrepreneur in Residence - Startup Lloydminster.
Meanwhile Going also had a “napkin” drawing that needed to be professionally designed in order to get an engineering stamp of approval. Alberta Innovates again supported the company through the voucher and micro-voucher programs and is putting into motion the strategies that had been developed in the previous stage through the AEI funding he had received.
“One of the great things about Curtis’ initiative, is that he has been able to get support from more than one program, through Alberta Innovates,” says Johnston. “This is strong validation that he is on the right track.”
The next step is to hire a company for third party testing and data collection. “We need unbiased testing and a comprehensive report.” Plans are underway for Alberta Innovates to again be involved.
Going is an optimist. He sees that many of the challenges or roadblocks have led to better outcomes. “We never would have spent this time on development of a solid business plan.”
Another door that has opened, that Going previously thought closed, is an invite by the Canadian Environmental Technology Advancement Corp. (CETAC – West) to participate in a workshop. (CETAC-WEST) is a private sector, not-for-profit corporation committed to helping small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in the development and commercialization of new environmental technologies. The motto on their website is “We do not pick winners. We make winners.” The companies that have previously worked with CETAC have an impressive record.
Going is beyond excited about participating in the conference as well as the connections that may come from this. “This is exposing us to a whole other networking group of people that believe in clean technology” he says. Going is receiving support from AI to attend the conference to grow his business.
“Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator and Startup Lloydminster have been awesome. I could not have got this far without their guidance and support. They are definitely helping business people get to the next level.” Flipchart papers from a strategic planning session led by Johnston of AI are still displayed as a constant reminder to Going.
The importance of the long term vision cannot be understated, according to Going. “It is important to now build a solid, solid company and a network of people to support it with a strong foundation,” he says, “We want to build a culture where everyone feels a part of this, creating ownership and being involved together.”
This is no better illustrated than with a picture of him and a buddy on a rig when they were 19. “I am not going back to that,” but the relationship and learning has been an important part of the journey.