Science Friction

By March 20, 2017Local News

Hoowaki’s surfacing technology is making strides by zooming in on the micron level

Hoowaki knows friction. In fact, Hoowaki knows more about friction than any other company in the world, according to co-founder Ralph Hulseman. The Greenville-based tech firm didn’t start out that way. It started with ice.

Hulseman is an MIT-educated Nebraskan who spent 25 years as a scientist with Michelin, after meeting his wife working for MIT at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A lifelong executive at a large corporation, Hulseman always wanted to be an entrepreneur. “At MIT, we all talked about how we were going to found companies and change the world,” Hulseman said. “It is a part of the MIT culture.”

In 2002, Hulseman started talking to John “Swampfox” Warner, a Greenville entrepreneur and business advisor, about founding a company together. Hulseman’s job at the time was looking out for new technologies for Michelin. “We talked about a lot of different ideas,” Hulseman said. “We thought about licensing technology to make wheels for a lunar rover, but it turns out you need to be located in Los Angeles to do that.” In 2006, the right technology came along, in the form of Dr. William King.

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