Barry Day, Executive Director
Oklahoma Clean Technology Association
Cleantech is more than clean energy. An interview with Barry Day.
by Dennis Spielman
Barry Day’s journey reflects his adaptability, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for knowledge. Starting as a fracking engineer in the oil fields during the late nineties, he eventually moved into plastics manufacturing, then transitioned to research in the printed circuit board industry. He earned his MBA with a double major in marketing and entrepreneurship. Subsequently, Barry worked for a biotech startup, a Korean oil and chemical company, and gained extensive experience in technology scouting, investment, and mergers and acquisitions in the clean technology sector. He also contributed to the Cleantech Open and launched the Oklahoma Clean Technology Association, demonstrating his dedication to promoting innovation and sustainability in various industries.
Day founded The Oklahoma Clean Technology Association to promote awareness and knowledge of what clean technology is and promote entrepreneurship in clean technology. Day thought he would get pushback against clean technology when he moved to Oklahoma because of the politics involved. However, he’s learned Oklahomans, whether they’re liberal or conservative, they’re not against helping the environment - they just don’t want to be forced to by the government.
“I believe that in entrepreneurship, the free market will push the right goals,” said Barry Day, Founder and Managing Director of Oklahoma Clean Technology Association. “And with the new technologies, that’s what will save us, not government intervention. We’ve seen this in the economy, where most of our clean energy and technology advancements have come from the private sector, not government mandates. It was really important to me to make sure that people knew this was apolitical and that it’s also something we focus on in the entrepreneurial sector, the free market.”
Day is working on inspiring people to create new technologies, including big ideas and game changers, instead of incremental improvements. To accomplish this mission, the Oklahoma Clean Technology Association has a twofold, two-pronged approach. The first is to spread awareness of clean technology and the eight pillars of Cleantech.
“Oklahomans always associate clean tech with clean energy, but there’s so much more than just energy,” said Day. “It’s actually all kinds of different fields, subjects, and topics, including batteries, energy efficiency, energy storage, air quality, water tech, and agricultural technologies.”
For the second approach, Day is helping companies in their entrepreneurial journey. As an investor, Day found that clean technology tends to be the least profitable of all the verticals, but he believes it’s also the most important and that we must find ways to make profitable technologies that are good for businesses. The Oklahoma Clean Technology Association hosts quarterly events to help the community network, with speakers sharing information about clean technology and their journey, either as a startup, an expert in the field, or an investor.
“I found that there are several clean technology experts scattered throughout the state, but there’s no one single community where everyone can get together and discuss clean technology,” said Day.
One Oklahoma-based game-changing company Day is excited about is Utopia Plastix and its plant-based biodegradable polymer that doesn’t use oil. Another company to watch out for is Sci-Lume Labs, which develops biodegradable nylon for fishing lines and clothing. As Day encourages entrepreneurs to think big and aim for game-changing ideas that can revolutionize the world, he believes the Oklahoma Venture Forum is a great platform for connecting with knowledgeable individuals in the entrepreneurial community and fostering collaboration.
“There’s a lot of ways to come up with new technologies that are game changers if they think big and if they connect to the right people,” said Day.
Barry Day will speak at the Oklahoma Venture Forum Power Lunch on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. The event will be open to members and guests in person at Metro Tech Spring Lake Campus (1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City) and via ZOOM. For his presentation, Day wants to help people develop big, game-changing ideas that will revolutionize the world.
“We’ve seen a lot of smaller technologies, incremental technologies,” said Day. “I’ve seen a lot of coffee shops and lifestyle companies, small businesses. I want to get people to start thinking huge picture the unicorns, how they can become the next Microsoft or Apple, and particularly how they can change the world with environmentally safe technologies.”