Kraig Clark '91 (Business Administration)
The business of technology
Kraig Clark sees a future where catching the wind in just the right way can help both long-haul truckers and small business owners reduce their fuel costs with simple, clean-energy products.
In fact, that future is now, says Clark.
“We develop clean energy technologies that help companies save money,” Clark says of his company, JLM Energy, Inc. “We’re also in the process of purchasing a couple of companies that will expand our product offerings and give our customers additional opportunity to save money.”
JLM produces a product called TurboStak that attaches to the tip of an exposed semi-truck exhaust stack. By stabilizing the wind pattern at the top of the stack known by scientists as the von karman vortex, the device can reduce fuel consumption by 3 percent annually. For a typical long-haul driver paying $3.50 per gallon for diesel fuel, the device will pay for itself within three to six months, Clark says.
The company also produces small, engineered micro-wind turbines for commercial buildings that are 20 to 30 percent more efficient than others on the market.
“They are attractive turbines that easily incorporate into the design and look of buildings. These wind turbines are more environmentally friendly in that they are not in the normal flight pattern of bird life,” Clark says.
It’s not the first time Clark has introduced technology to provide a business solution. He has a noteworthy resume that includes building and selling one million-dollar company, launching another and creating a community hub in the town of Ione.
Clark teamed up with fellow Sac State alumnus Steve Schroeder to create CoreLogic, a data analytics firm for the mortgage banking industry. The dynamic duo built the company into a financial powerhouse, selling CoreLogic to First American in 2007 for a reported $100 million in cash and stock.
“This was a great move for both companies,” Clark says. It was the largest in a series of analytic company acquisitions and minority investments completed by First American, and allowed the firm to split off title insurance and settlement services from information services, analytics, and legal and marketing services,” he says.
“When they spun off the company as a new public company, they kept CoreLogic as the name of the information services company, which was a great compliment to the business we built in Sacramento. This spinoff immediately created a $2 billion company,” Clark says.
While CoreLogic was high-tech, Clark’s Corner in the small California town of Ione is a high-touch venture for Clark, who grew up in Amador County and wanted to give back with a café, restaurant and meeting place to offer conversation, classes and community. On any given day, you’ll find business people, artists and ranchers enjoying food—and each other, Clark says.
In 2009, Clark started Auqeo! to provide entrepreneurs with strategic management and sales consultation, and under the right circumstances, access to capital to grow and expand. What he learned at Sac State, and CoreLogic, comes into play with each client, he says.
“These companies have finished their products and may just be starting to produce revenue. We’re interested in helping build those companies using some of the techniques that were successful in building CoreLogic,” Clark says. “We’ve recently expanded into helping more-established companies reach their goals.”
Clark credits Sac State for teaching him skills—strategic and critical thinking, focus, follow-through and business application—that led to his success with CoreLogic and his other ventures. For current students and fellow alumni interested in merging business and technology, he urges them to harness the power of repetition and consistent improvement.
“Don’t be afraid to be iterative in your approach,” he says. “You’re not going to create a 777 when you are trying to build your first airplane. Sometimes fulfilling the pain points of your customers or potential customers is the first step in getting validation of what you are trying to create.
“Constantly learn and listen,” Clark adds. “Your fountain of knowledge can come from unlikely sources.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2012 edition of Sac State Magazine.