2010 Early career award: Chad Sorenson

// Mechanical Engineering

Tags: alumni, Chad Sorenson, Engineers' Day, ME E-Day

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2010sorensonchadawardChad M. Sorenson
President and Co-founder
Sologear LLC
Middleton, Wisconsin

Chad Sorenson, a passionate innovator and entrepreneur who converts smart ideas into real products, has received numerous innovation and business planning awards, holds two U.S. patents, and has an active passion for teaching college students about new product development and entrepreneurship.

Born in Blaine, Minnesota, Sorenson now resides in Oregon, Wisconsin. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from UW-Madison. By 2002, he had begun his first of three businesses.

Sorenson founded Fluent Systems, an agricultural technology company based on his invention, a wireless fluid level monitoring system for fertilizer application. He managed all stages of company development from formation through product development, man-ufacturing scale-up, and market introduction.

Fluent Systems founding invention, the TankMate, placed first in both the UW-Madison Schoofs Prize for Creativity and the Tong Prototype Prize and second in the G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan competitions. Sorenson sold Fluent after 18 months for $1.5 million to Raven Industries, a public corporation involved in agricultural flow control technologies.

In 2004, Sorenson started Mendota Research, which consulted on marketing viability of new products. With Bose Corporation as an anchor client, the company focused its market research and technology assessments on active suspension systems for the trucking and agriculture industries meanwhile developing business plans and strategies for other new ventures.

In 2005, Sorenson and his business partners created Sologear, LLC, after inventing its founding product, the FlameDisk, a non-charcoal grilling fuel and eco-friendly, easy-to-use product that emits 92 to 99 percent fewer known air pollutants than charcoal. He is growing his latest business with a new product expected to release soon.

Sorenson is also active in the education community. He shares his experiences and knowledge with a new crop of potential entrepreneurs at UW-Madison. He has served as a judge for the UW-Madison Innovation Days competitions and now teaches a seminar series on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

He enjoys reading non-fiction books and playing tennis and golf. He also experiments with video editing software and works around his house. Following his father’s lead as an engineer, Sorenson still cherishes his favorite childhood hobbies of remote control airplanes, model rocketry and aquariums.