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Iowa Public Television program 'Iowa Entrepreneur' profiles Ideal Energy, Fairfield
by Ken Chawkin, special to Global Good News
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30 November 2017
''We are moving to an abundant sustainable world. Every solar panel adds to this movement. The technology makes it possible to move away from fossil fuels. It's our mindset and entrenched vested interest that slow the transition. With that said, we are moving from a system of centralized energy and power to one that is distributed. This opportunity makes it one of the most important liberation movements of human history.'' — Troy Van Beek, co-founder of Ideal Energy, Fairfield, Iowa, USA
Iowa Public Television's (IPTV) Iowa Entrepreneur recently aired a profile of a local sustainability company in Fairfield, Ideal Energy, co-founded by two Maharishi University of Management graduates, Troy Van Beek and his wife Amy Van Beek. The show—''Iowa Entrepreneur: Ideal Energy''—first aired on IPTV July 28, 2017.
The IPTV website describes the program: ''After returning home from active duty, a Navy SEAL sought an education in sustainability at a small Iowa university. Now, he and his wife work together, using renewable energy to sow the seeds of peace.''
The show opens with a description of what makes Fairfield unique and the influence of the local university, Maharishi University of Management (MUM). The university was the first in the country to offer a four-year degree in sustainability. Students and faculty practice Transcendental Meditation.
The video profiles Troy's time as a U.S. Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, . . . part of a team to protect the head of the country. We later see him setting up his own security company in Africa. During this time he was having second thoughts about his chosen profession using guns to create peace. When he found Fairfield and MUM on the Internet, he was inspired to make a life-changing decision and moved to this small Midwest city to become a student. It was there that he would meet his future wife, Amy Greenfield, an eco-developer.
Troy was immediately recognized as someone exceptional and was asked to help with projects to upgrade the university's buildings to greener standards. They supported his ideas and he learned by doing. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability (now a BA in Sustainable Living) and the skills to make a difference.
Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy invited Troy Van Beek and Lonnie Gamble, one of his teachers and a founding faculty member in MUM's Sustainable Living department, to join a select committee to put a Go-Green Strategic Plan 2020 together for Fairfield. Reducing energy usage and making buildings more energy efficient was part of the plan. Companies supported this vision, but there was no one to help implement it.
To fill that void, Amy and Troy started their own sustainability company, Ideal Energy. They became one of the first solar companies in Iowa, installing around two megawatts of solar power on various buildings across the state. Thanks to their efforts, Fairfield has the highest number of solar energy installations per capita in Iowa. They received national and international recognition. In 2014, Troy and Amy were featured in a Huffington Post article and video: ''What the EPA Clean Power Plan Means: More Jobs, Less Carbon''. And they were invited to speak at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. . . .
Troy and Amy were included in Oprah Winfrey's 2012 televised visit to Fairfield, America's Most Unusual Town, which featured an impressive profile of Troy.
In the Iowa Public Television video, this dynamic young couple explain how they started the company with just the two of them doing everything. As the demand for more solar installations increased, they needed to hire staff. Troy feels his experiences as a Navy SEAL prepared him to build a team and inspire them with the vision they were manifesting. Not only were they saving energy costs for local businesses, they were also providing jobs, and improving the local economy.
Troy also describes what he saw overseas—the disparities between the haves and the have-nots—especially when it came to energy and power. He sent a quote for this article. It's a powerful statement that sums up the core value of their company's mission—to offer a proven solar solution that could put an end to wars over oil:
''We are moving to an abundant sustainable world. Every solar panel adds to this movement. The technology makes it possible to move away from fossil fuels. It's our mindset and entrenched vested interest that slow the transition. With that said, we are moving from a system of centralized energy and power to one that is distributed. This opportunity makes it one of the most important liberation movements of human history.''
Watch IPTV's 13-minute video profile of Troy and Amy Van Beek's company, Ideal Energy, in Fairfield, Iowa. Visit their website: www.idealenergysolar.com.
Related News on Fairfield, Maharishi University, and Ideal Energy
The university did build their off-the-grid Sustainable Living Center, the first of its kind. Troy installed a wind-turbine, with the help of students who built it, and added more solar panels on the energy cottage and new SLC classroom building.
Last year the Des Moines Register's Kevin Hardy wrote a profile on Fairfield's entrepreneurial spirit and the University's sustainability efforts, which included a video interview with Troy: ''Why this Iowa town is thriving when so many aren't''. And, while ABC News was in town covering the political campaigning, Josh Haskell dropped by for a live report from MUM's SLC to interview students and learn about sustainability and Transcendental Meditation from Department head David Fisher.
The Smithsonian Magazine rated Fairfield in their top ten list (No. 7) of The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013. Later that year, Des Moines Register columnist Rox Laird featured Fairfield's civic collaboration and Maharishi University's Sustainable Living Center in his Op-Ed piece: ''Fairfield defines community action''.
The following year, BuzzFeed named Fairfield No. 2 of their ''11 Coolest Small Cities It's Time To Road Trip To''. Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott were interviewed on Moving America Forward, a national television show hosted by William Shatner. In 2004, Fairfield was selected Most Entrepreneurial Capital in Iowa, and in 2003, as the Most Entrepreneurial City in America (with a population under 10,000). Read more: Fairfield: The ''Entrepreneurial Capital of Iowa.''
Copyright © 2017 Iowa Public Television and The Uncarved Blog / Ken Chawkin
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