Jay Murray is the Entrepreneurial Program Manager at Idea Foundry as well as CEO of Solinius, a public benefit corporation developing and distributing energy management and solar technologies in sub-Saharan Africa. He joined the Idea Foundry team in December 2018, after originally meeting Mike in early 2016 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Randall Family Big Idea Competition. Shortly thereafter, Idea Foundry became Solinius’ first investor, funding initial prototype and technology development. Why did Jay want to see more of us by joining the team? He enjoys working for Idea Foundry because we don’t operate with a typical corporate hierarchy. He adds, “The amount of responsibility one takes on is entirely controlled by how much they can handle, and the ability to have input on what one works on from day to day. I am able to simultaneously keep my position at my own company, Solinius, while at Idea Foundry.”
At Idea Foundry, Jay works with hardware-based or internationally-focused startups, currently working with Lean Med and SmArch. Lean Med, a startup, is creating diagnostic and therapeutic oxygen solutions for sub-Saharan Africa and other resource deprived areas. SmArch has a two fold strategy for the design and implementation of eco-friendly architectural design using advanced simulation and additive manufacturing technologies. Additionally, Jay leads efforts with Economic Development Board Mauritius (EDBM) to bring innovative textile manufacturing technologies to Mauritius’ domestic industry. Last month, Jay spent a week in Mauritius meeting with fifteen manufacturers ranging from small fifty person cut and sew facilities to 5000 employee vertically integrated behemoths. “I had an opportunity to speak with the entrepreneurs and operators at the helm of each company and get their input on what keeps them up at night, the state of the textile economy as they see it, and where they think their industry is going in the next five years,” remarks Jay of his trip. See more about Idea Foundry’s project in Mauritius here: https://www.ideafoundry.org/post/idea-foundry-kicks-off-textile-industry-innovation-project-with-economic-development-board-mauritius
Jay graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering with a B.S. in Engineering Science and a Certificate in Nuclear Engineering. He began working on Solinius in his sophomore year with his co-founder Ben Stutz, and have since worked in Uganda, DR Congo, and South Africa, increasing access to energy where availability is otherwise limited. He spends about 6 weeks of the year in Africa to further Solinius’s mission. If you don’t know about the great work Solinius is doing, be sure to check out their website here: http://www.solinius.com
Outside of his two professional roles, you can often find him at the Carnegie Library browsing the new nonfiction arrivals or weekly publications. He is passionate about staying up to date on the current state of affairs in the US and abroad, particularly focusing on the Middle East and Africa. You can also find him at Noodlehead in Shadyside (fav dish: Pad Thai!) or walking Jupiter, his rescued bichon frise, in Frick Park with his partner. Jay is originally from upstate New York and enjoys skiing and hiking up there. Jay’s love of travel will be taking him to Paris and Vienna this December and, of course, back to Africa in the near future as well. Between his technical experience and deep-rooted interest in business for good and global affairs, you are sure to see more news about Jay’s work both in Idea Foundry and Solinius in the future.
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