From Collaboration to Partnership

In 2010, Cole was completing his final semester of a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). Participating in a Technology Entrepreneurship program matching graduating students with seasoned mentors, Cole was paired with Bill, a tech executive and former engineer. As Bill worked with Cole on his project, an electric motorcycle, each found a kindred spirit. The project was a winning entry in the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) $100K Startup Competition.

The “eureka moment” leading to CoWatt and, ultimately, PowerFunnel came as Cole explored installing solar units on his own ranch. That process revealed the niche for a company specializing in rural solar and helped him define the unique needs and opportunities of that market. Reconnecting with his former mentor, Bill and Cole realized they had the drive and know-how to create a unique solar solution for rural customers.

William A. (Bill) Tolhurst

William A. (Bill) Tolhurst is President and co-founder of CoWatt Energy LLC. In this role Bill  provides both operational and strategic direction for the company and has primary responsibility  for financial matters, revenue and partner ecosystem development. His key objective is finding  and implementing innovative ways to deliver differentiating value to buyers of solar power  generation products.

Bill’s experiences over 25 years include entrepreneurial start-up creation and funding, small  business operation and development, strategic selling and “intrapreneurial” efforts within  established firms. Bill has held senior leadership positions in business development, program  management and technology, as well as general management roles with P&L responsibility at  companies including Agero, Spoken Communications, Wingcast, Rockwell International, and  the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

Bill is a published author of both books and magazines articles, and recipient of the International  Award of Achievement from the Society of Technical Communications. He also received  Hewlett Packard’s Bravo Leadership Award for achievement in Enterprise Computing, and has  been a customer council member for both HP and Cisco. He is a named inventor for ten US  patents.

Bill is a San Antonio native and received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering  from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s  General Management Program.

Bill is past president of the Harvard Business School Club of San Antonio and founding  chairman of the San Antonio TechBoosters.

Cole Brady

Cole Brady is Founder and Chief Technology Officer of CoWatt Energy LLC. He is a Mechanical Engineer with expertise in program managing the design and deployment of large-scale industrial systems.

As CTO of CoWatt Energy, project field experience was initially gained by embedding with a leading solar construction and development business based in San Antonio. Project experience includes residential installations, commercial deployment at the San Antonio College Scobe Center, and a dual tracking array at the Mission Solar factory.

Cole is also in pursuit of NABCEP PV professional certification. As part of this certification program, Cole has designed CoWatt Energy’s R&D facility currently operating within the territory of Pedernales Electric Cooperative, the nation’s largest rural electric coop.

Prior to CoWatt, Cole was a Research Engineer at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) leading multimillion dollar research and development projects for the oil, gas, and nuclear industries. His proven capability to manage multiple staff members and project budgets while maintaining project deliverable schedules led to rapid promotion and responsibility increases.

Prior to SwRI, Cole was a technical team member of CMC Steel Texas. While employed at CMC, Cole gained experience in managing projects of varying scope and technical difficulty. Starting as a machine programmer, mechanic, and drafter, he steadily increased his technical and managerial capability, ultimately leading critical path projects in equipment shutdown schedules.

Cole graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Texas San Antonio in 2010. During his senior year at UTSA, Cole led a team of fellow students to design and develop a working electric motorcycle which was a winning entry in the UTSA Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship (CITE) $100K Startup Competition.