Maas Energy Works, LLC of Redding
By Jim Powell
By Jim Powell
Photo by Erin Claassen
What do electricity and cow manure have in common? That isn’t a lead-in question for the latest joke. There actually is a relationship of significant worth that few people are aware of.
A three-generation Redding family is building a future around that connection and growing a bio-green industry in the process.
Daryl Maas, founder and CEO of Maas Energy Works, LLC of Redding, says the technology has been around in sewer plants for nearly 100 years. Interest on dairies in the United States began about 15 years ago.
Daryl and his brother Kevin jumped on the potential and powered it into a feasible business plan in 2007 when Kevin was working on his master’s degree.
“Once it looked like it might work out, my wife Christianna and I sat down and prayed and talked and decided we were in,” Daryl says. “That led to the first project. We’ve just not stopped building since then.”
That was the beginning in Washington state. Kevin holds down the fort in Washington and Oregon with Farm Power Northwest, LLC, which he and Daryl co-founded. Daryl brought the technology to Redding in 2009 and be near Christianna’s family. He has completed projects and projects under development near Sacramento, Fresno and Visalia, with interest on the increase because of its success.
Let’s describe what’s churning on the inside.
The system is called an anaerobic manure digester. The system simulates a cow’s stomach by creating a warm, moist, oxygen-free environment that tricks the existing bacteria into thinking that it is still inside the cow. By continuing to break down calories, these bacteria release methane-rich biogas.
The biogas powers engine-driven generators to provide a renewable electricity source. The potential is then sold to the grid or to offsite electrical requirements by farmers and industrial customers.
The move to California started a business relationship with Ted Thompson, who was living in San Diego at the time. Ted is the owner of Electrical Innovations and is married to Michelle, Christianna’s sister.
With Ted’s many years of electrical and contracting experience,
the relationship quickly became a synchronized team effort to put together project designs and get the jobs done. Daryl procures financing and does the administrative coordination. Ted is involved in the actual construction.
The end result of that dovetailing brought Ted and his family to Redding, as well. For the sisters and their children, it meant coming home to roots where the Reed family has a decades-old history and cousins will grow up together.
Family is a big deal in this company, and it captures the heart of those who visit and work at the office at 1670 Market St. in the downtown Promenade, at the homes of both families or in the field at jobsites.
“I’m passionate about taking waste and making it into something useful,” Daryl says. “It’s just such a great picture of what humans
are called to do. But it’s also a business venture. And I love hiring
good people, who can go out and create value while providing for their families.”
Daryl’s feelings regarding family involvement and multi-generational prospective in his business reveal his understanding of the potential of choices and empowerment.
“I deeply enjoy working with my son. It will be fun to work with him as he grows up,” Daryl says. “But at the same time, I don’t want him to just inherit a business. He will have to make his own way in the world and if that brings him back to this business, great. But I’m wary of assigning my children an ‘heir apparent’ role here. I don’t think it’s good for them or good for the business. I also value and love working with my wife in the informal ‘HR’ role of the company.”
To watch parents, children and employees interact with such authenticity can awaken something that closely resembles envy. Yet, a person feels at home, like a grandpa hanging out with the kids while getting some work done around the house.
It’s a result of a stone of preciousness thrown in a still pond of
the power of influence. The ripples simply continue with ever-widening impact.