university of wisconsin - madison

Steve Faulkner University of Wisconsin-Madison


November 2010:

  • Organizing an Invention to Venture workshop for early December.
  • Organzing a pitch competition for student entrepreneurs, and looking to set up ongoing meetings for students interested in starting their own businesses.


Steve Faulkner is a currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Steve completed his undergraduate degree from UW-Madison in December 2008 and graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. After graduation, Steve travelled to the South Pole, Antarctica to work on the construction of the IceCube neutrino detector. Since returning, he started his own engineering consultancy, Red Frame Engineering. Through Red Frame, Steve has consulted for several local companies and now consults exclusively for SolidWorks Corporation's education and marketing divisions. In 2009, Steve also briefly lived in Kuwait where he was working on military vehicle suspensions with Oshkosh Defense Corporation. In 2010, Steve co-founded GeoHuddle, a start up building a platform for community scale ground source heat pump systems.

Steve's vision

As the NCIIA student ambassador to University of Wisconsin, I hope to help create a bridge between on-campus and off-campus entrepreneurship. Many students find making the change from student to full-time entrepreneur a challenge. I hope to leverage the resources and programs of NCIIA to make the transition much easier for student on our campus.

Fluent Systems

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001 - $11,600

The Fluent Systems E-Team received funding to develop a wireless NH3 monitor to help farmers apply ammonia nitrate fertilizer to fields more efficiently. US farmers annually apply fifteen million tons of anhydrous ammonia to their crops using a field tractor and an implement to pull a large tank, creating a long, train-like configuration of machinery. Partly because of this configuration, tractor drivers can’t see the tank fluid level, so they must periodically stop application to read the tank’s levels.

Fluent’s NH3 monitor solves the problem with a two-module system composed of a tank module that sits atop the field tank and a display module within the tractor cab. The tank module continuously monitors fluid levels and communicates them to the cab using wireless technology. The cab module allows the farmer to track how much product is in the tank without getting out of the tractor to check the tank gauge.

The product sold well in its first year of commercial availability, but Fluent’s big news came in late 2004, when Raven Industries LLC acquired the company for $1 million. Raven, a diversified manufacturer of plastics, electronics and special apparel products, bought Fluent to help grow its Flow Controls Division.

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