is the founder of Ponix MicroAg LLC. Chris has over 30 years of multidisciplinary engineering experience providing mechanical, analytical, and electronics support and services to manufacturers, universities and national labs. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering (with a minor in Materials Science) from Washington State University where his graduate work focused on thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and combustion.
For the past 17 years, Chris has focused his efforts on the development and promotion of technical solutions for the built environment. In 2002, Chris established SHADE Consulting/Green Roof Innovations with his wife Wendy. With GRI, Chris developed and marketed several innovative modular eco-roof systems, one of which was manufactured and delivered to a prominent green roof designer in California. The goals of the GRI design efforts were similar to those for the pPods: a system providing a healthy, stable base for plants on rooftops that is versatile and economical while protecting the building. Many of the concepts developed during that time found their way into the pPod prototypes.
In 2009, Chris designed a modular planting system in partnership with Guiyang Chuangjia High-Tech Accelerator Co. LTD in Guiyang, China. In Guiyang, he saw how most of the apartment balconies and rooftops were filled with vegetable gardens. The idea of growing your own food on a few square feet of elevated concrete was commonplace in this large and rapidly growing city. The idea of providing an improved environment for maximizing food production and quality on balconies was a key aspect of this project and directly influenced the development of the pPods.
It was when Chris and Wendy moved to New York City later that year that the need to design and build a serious plant enclosure literally hit home. They had moved into a 35th floor apartment with a balcony overlooking the Hudson River. The view was stunning, but so was the wind which dehydrated plants during temperature extremes and damaged some of them during storms. That balcony became a test bed for cold frame and mini-greenhouse concepts leading to the pPod.
Chris is currently Principal of Wark Energy Consulting. He has provided building energy analysis, CFD modeling, and LEED consulting services for several companies, including three global engineering firms based in New York, subsidiaries of the Integral Group in California, and as Technical Sales Manager for Mentor Graphics Mechanical Analysis Division. Chris has also been involved in other thermodynamics related work, including advanced engine research and fuel cell system development at Caterpillar Inc. and laser development at Lawrence Livermore National Lab and two private research laser development companies. He has presented at numerous conferences, has several articles published on a wide variety of engineering topics, and has had the privilege of working directly with several universities, including Stanford’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) program.