Oregon BEST Hires Director of Research

Oregon BEST (the Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) has hired a veteran of the entrepreneurial business community to grow Oregon’s clean technology research capacity and funding—a move that could lead to national centers of excellence with a cleantech focus located throughout Oregon.

Karl Mundorff has more than 20 years of experience working with industry, including as president and CEO of BioReaction Industries, maker of air pollution control equipment that used microbes as a catalyst. Prior to that he served as vice president of marketing and sales for Gardenburger, where he drove sales of the meatless burger to triple digit growth rates and helped take the company public.

As Director of Research Programs at Oregon BEST, Mundorff will lead the organization's expanded focus on growing research capacity and funding by identifying areas where cleantech markets and Oregon's cleantech research expertise align. These intersections could result in centers of excellence—nationally recognized facilities or collaborations that offer cleantech research, equipment and expertise to both industry and academia.

"We want to influence the pipeline of future clean technologies developed here in Oregon, so growing our state's research capacity is a key function for Oregon BEST," said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of Oregon BEST. "Karl is a great fit because he already has excellent relationships with most of our research partner institutions and a clear vision for the connection between research activities in the near term and commercialization output in the long term."

In the newly-created position, Mundorff will foster new partnerships and help faculty secure research funding by working closely with Oregon BEST's member faculty at its partner universities and shared-user lab facilities, and with university research offices and national labs. 

"It's a privilege to have this opportunity to work with Oregon BEST in developing and expanding its research programs," Mundorff said. "This new position allows Oregon BEST to help our public universities and our national labs develop collaborative research endeavors that create solutions to the environmental, industry, and efficiency problems industry is facing in these times of resource constraint."

Oregon BEST was established in 2007 by the Oregon Legislature and tasked with transforming cleantech research at the state's universities into new technologies, companies and jobs.

For the past year, Mundorff has served as one of Oregon BEST's entrepreneurs-in-residence, helping cleantech startups move technologies toward the marketplace. He has worked with the National Energy Technology Lab in Albany, Oregon to transfer energy innovations into commercial applications, helped Oregon State University commercialize a unique energy storage technology and helped Portland State University create and run its first annual Cleantech Challenge, a Wells Fargo funded prototype design competition.

In this same role, he also mentored an OSU research team developing a microbial fuel cell that cleans wastewater while generating electricity through the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, where the team earned the top mark out of 23 teams from around the country. 

Mundorff holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Oregon State University and an MBA in entrepreneurship from Concordia University, where he is a part-time instructor and serves on the School of Management's Advisory Board.

About Oregon BEST http://oregonbest.org
The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) is the nexus for clean technology innovation, building capability, convening collaborations, and accelerating solutions to environmental challenges that deliver prosperity in all corners of Oregon. Oregon BEST brings together Oregon’s significant R&D strengths in clean technology to support the commercialization of new products and services. Since establishment in 2007, Oregon BEST’s 220-plus Member Faculty have generated more than $83 million in research revenue from federal, industry and foundation sources to Oregon. At its four partner universities (Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, and University of Oregon), Oregon BEST has established a network of seven shared-user research facilities. Oregon BEST Commercialization Grants are awarded to collaborations between entrepreneurs and Oregon BEST member faculty at partner universities.