Rick Schwerdtfeger

Rick co-founded ARC Energy in 2007 and is the Company’s Chief Technology Officer. He has over 20 years of industrial research and management experience related to crystal growth, materials characterization, solar energy, vacuum and pressurized furnace design, thermal modeling, and engineering. He has designed, built, operated, and experimented with crystal growth furnaces to grow some of the largest optical, photovoltaic, and scintillation crystals of their type in the world.

Rick worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden Colorado doing photovoltaic materials research for 8 years prior to joining a small private company in Grand Junction Colorado where he designed and built their crystal growth facilities, which then allowed the company to more than triple in size within a few years. In 2000 Rick joined Saint Gobain Crystals in Solon Ohio where he had various managerial, engineering, and research roles.  His hybrid furnace design for large diameter CaF2 crystal growth produced crystals with nearly triple the average yield of previous designs. Rick joined the Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC), a private non-profit organization, in 2006 to help develop alternative energy technologies in Ohio. Rick helped write the grant application to obtain $18M in funding for Ohio’s Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization Center co-located at the University of Toledo and Ohio State University. He enjoys public speaking on energy efficiency, alternative energy, and small business development topics.

Rick holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, Colorado) where he did fundamental materials research on various photovoltaic materials while working full time at NREL. He holds an M.S. degree in Applied Physics from Pittsburg State University (Kansas) where he developed a solar thermal energy model to predict solar heating system performance in residential applications, and he holds a B.S. in Physics and Science Education from the University of Dubuque (Iowa) where he was the Student Body President, MVP of the tennis team, and learned the challenges of teaching physics and chemistry to high school students.