Humboldt State Looks for Entrepreneurs to Save Energy & Water

BlueTechValley’s Northern-Most Hub Seeks Innovation

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Humboldt State University is among the northern-most hubs of the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster. It’s part of the interconnection of multiple incubators, or entrepreneurship programs spanning the state serving 39 counties. The solid goal of the BlueTechValley initiative was established at Fresno State, and it’s all about managing water and energy resources in agriculture and other industries.

Lonny Grafman

Lonny Grafman teaches in the Environmental Resources and Engineering Department at Humboldt State, and he’s also the Humboldt State managing director of the BlueTechValley hub there.

“It’s a new program, so that’s pretty exciting,” Grafman said. “BlueTechValley has had a lot of success in Fresno, and what we are is their far northern Californian north coast arm. So, we’re seeking to have the type of success that they’ve had in Fresno,” Grafman said. “Specifically, we’re looking for entrepreneurs, inventors, businesses that are working on agriculture, energy and water efficiency projects.”

The university is looking for entrepreneurs and startups that can address saving water and energy.

“Any start up that has the chance of saving California electric rate payers’ money, we want to talk to them and see if we have resources that could help them to bring their product to market. That is that sweet spot that we’re trying to fill, “Grafman said.

BlueTechValley’s all about entrepreneurs, startups, computer hackers.

“It can be an energy project, it can be an agriculture project, it can be a water project, and it can be something at the nexus of all those things. We love those types of projects,” Grafman said. “As long as we can bring it back to how it saves California rate payers’ money, then we’re excited to explore all types of innovative ideas.


Greg Douhan is New Citrus Farm Advisor

UCCE Tulare Welcomes New Citrus Farm Advisor

By Brian German, Associate Director

The UC Cooperative Extension Program has served Tulare County since 1918 and continues to meet the ever-changing needs of the community. UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County is preparing to welcome their new citrus farm advisor, Greg Douhan, on March 1, 2016. Douhan, who noted his excitement for the opportunity, will be taking the reins from the recently retired Neil O’Connell who gave over 34 years of faithful service advising Tulare County citrus growers.

Douhan shared that his relatives inspired him to focus his career in agriculture. “I had an uncle who was an almond grower when I was a kid. And my grandfather was an avid horticulturalist; he used to graft different trees and I always found that fascinating.”

“As I got older, I decided I was interested in plants, so I went to Humboldt State University. I also got interested in fungi, so I decided to fuse my interests in fungi and in plants and go into plant pathology,” Douhan said.

“I earned my Master’s and Ph.D. at Washington State University, and then completed a post-doc assignment at UC Davis for 3-4 years. I moved to UC Riverside for about 6 years. Now I am here in Tulare County!” 

Cooperative Extension advisors serve as conduits of information from various UC campuses. Subject matter specialists, along with local research centers, collaborate with local advisors to identify and solve local problems through research and educational programs. The mission of the program is to serve California through the creation, development and application of knowledge, in agriculture, natural and human resources. Farm advisors then apply this knowledge to improve our agriculture and food systems along with our natural resources and environment.

“I’ve been working for the UC system basically since I was a post-doc,” Douhan said, “so it has been for many years. I think Cooperative Extension was the best system for working with both the growers and everybody else to better California agriculture,” Douhan said. “This was just an incredible opportunity. I was doing science and looking for another career move, and this was a perfect opportunity to have a next chapter in doing something different.”



Tulare County Cooperative Extension