As the old saying goes: if it swims like a loon, lives on a lake like a loon and doesn't produce any greenhouse gas-forming emissions like a loon, then it's probably a Loon. Montgomery Gisborne, president of the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company and inventor of the Loon solar boat, couldn't agree more as popularity of his company's 8-passenger ecreational innovation takes like, well, ducks to water.
In December, he and Tamarack partner Ray Hirani's newest version of their innovative solar-powered boat product line took a first place finish at the "Future of Electric Vehicles" conference and exhibition in San Jose, California. Innovators from around the world found their way to the conference, which focused on land-, water- and airborne vehicles powered by efficient batteries and electric motors.
Buoyed by this formidable nod from the nascent "green vehicle" industry, the two men had reason to be optimistic - a deal had been struck which would bring the assembly production and general operations of their Canadian start-up firm, to produce the boat as shown here, to the banks of the Erie Canal in Rome, NY.
"I knew from the first time I saw Monte and his invention in August 2007 that his product had not only incredible vision but could serve a great niche in the marketplace," Rome Mayor James F. Brown said. During a stopover at Bellamy Harbor Park on Gisborne's 12-stop, 200+-mile solar-powered journey on the Erie Canal, Brown touted Rome as a potential production location for Tamarack.
"We have an ideal location, skilled workforce and have worked hard to make this community truly business-friendly," Brown added. "Entrepreneurs such as Monte and Ray and concepts like his are vital not just to the economic future of Rome but of our entire nation. The potential and the need for this product is tremendous, we are excited to be involved with the project."
Brown wasn't the only one who identified the commercial prospects of this new realm in boating. So did the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) in Albany. Upon completion of the Erie Canal solar journey in Waterford, Gisborne met with NYSERDA officials to explore potential for relocation from Ontario to New York.
"The NYSERDA component was a critical piece for us," Hirani said. "We identified with the natural advantages of being alongside the canal and the location of Rome as a transportation hub from which to ship our products, but the opportunity and assistance NYSERDA brought forward was a real deal-maker. That put New York ahead of other states we explored, such as Georgia and Maine."
Carmella Mantello, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation adds: "The Tamarack solar boat enterprise taking root in Rome reinforces the notion that New York is still a place where big ideas can lead to untold success and economic development, especially at the very site where New York's biggest idea, the Erie Canal, began in 1817".
Gisborne tries to contain his enthusiasm: "I really feel strong synergy with this region and had hoped we could make this happen in Rome" he continues "it's a dream come true for me and Ray and it fits in so perfectly with the City's progressive waterfront plans. We are delighted to be a part of the renaissance along the shore of the historic old canal".
Production is scheduled to commence in spring 2011. A facility has been located near the Rod Mill Site.
For information about the Tamarack Lake Electric Boat Company, please contact:
Montgomery Gisborne, President