Published September 18, 2017
Just one year after Adriane Wolfe (BS ’09) founded Quinn Energy, her company had the honor of being named a semifinalist in Energy CIO Insights Magazine’s Top Ten Big Data Providers 2017.
“One of the companies in the top ten has been valued at $500 million dollars,” she says. “So being ranked in the top 35 is really exciting.”
Wolfe’s love of energy systems began when she was studying electrical engineering at UB. “I took power systems classes from Dr. Jennifer Zirnheld, which were influential in my decision to focus on power and energy,” she says. After graduation, Wolfe worked for the U.S. Navy, where she established the Energy Innovation Lab, which focused on the value of energy data and the relationship between IT systems and energy systems.
Following the Navy, she was a consultant engineer for TRC Energy Services, involved in everything from microgrids to clean energy programs. After completing her Masters of Engineering in Energy Systems Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, she noticed a gap in the energy industry. “I had developed my analytical skills, but didn’t see that expertise offered in the market,” she explains. “So it was the pure desire to share my capabilities that led to me founding Quinn Energy.”
In a nutshell, Quinn Energy values data. They collect, use and analyze energy data and optimize system models to help clients—mostly energy companies, multi-family properties, single-family neighborhoods and utilities—make informed decisions about opportunities and investments in the energy industry. But it’s about more than just providing services. Wolfe also wants to share her knowledge with the next generation, so they will be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.
“We can’t go by the rules of thumb of the past because energy dynamics are changing,” says Wolfe. “We need to use more information-driven approaches to be sure that what we’re selecting and investing in is going to meet our future needs, which are much more complex—with renewable energy, trying to be more energy efficient and needing to meet security requirements.”
“UB gave me the confidence to start my own company,” she says. She credits the university with not only an outstanding education, but as a place to improve leadership skills. Wolfe served as president of the IEEE Club and coxswain (essentially a coach/navigator) on the university’s division I rowing team. Both endeavors, she says, helped her develop the leadership traits and self-confidence she needed to launch Quinn Energy.