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Reaching New Heights: Student-led Business Makes Going to the Beyond a Reality

With aspirations of one day opening a donut food truck on campus, second-year MBA student Shane McGuire is no stranger to profitable endeavors.

From a young age, McGuire had an eye for building and business. He knew he wanted to own his own company and was always “taking things apart and putting them back together.” Such interests correlated strongly with his decision to major in Mechanical Engineering during his undergraduate studies and ultimately pursue his MBA at Krannert.Shane McGuire_Purdue Krannert

Nine months ago, McGuire was referred by a classmate to apply for a business consultant position with an aeronautical engineering startup on Purdue’s campus called Adranos Energetics LLC. Having an interest and background in engineering and sales, McGuire interviewed and accepted a role as Director of Business Development. McGuire’s team consists of Brandon Terry, a Purdue doctoral graduate in aeronautics and astronautics, and Lafayette attorney Chris Stoker.

Adranos Energetics is a company that develops rocket fuel for aviation and aerospace industries that could minimize HCl aerosol formation and increase total propulsion. McGuire describes Adranos’ product as stronger, cleaner, and safer than what is currently on the market.

The Problem: Traditional rocket fuel produces hydrochloric acid, which contaminates water and soil while destroying the ozone. Furthermore, environmental remediation is a huge expense for manufacturers of solid fuel. It is also toxic to humans and damages launch equipment, which requires increased funding and additional maintenance for users. Specifically, the military spends millions of dollars every year preventing corrosion and inspecting launch equipment. In turn, this hinders military funds which could be more strategically utilized elsewhere.

The Solution: Adranos’ proposed solution prevents HCl from ever forming. This directly eliminates the threat of toxicity to humans and animals. McGuire sees great potential for product launch and adoption.

Expected results? Out of this world.

So far Adranos has been contacted by the U.S. Navy, the Army, the Missile Defense Agency, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, who recently requested Adranos to write the solicitation for a research grant. Not only will U.S. soldiers have a direct competitive advantage with less maintenance and safer launches, the only byproduct produced by this new fuel is lithium salt, a common ingredient found in most depression medications, which does not negatively impact the soldiers or environment.

McGuire credits his success to Purdue, explaining that the university fosters a great sense of innovation, which is not typically available at other institutions.

"We are really lucky to have one of the best engineering schools on the planet. There’s always new research and technology being thrown in. The best part of being a business student here is that you can partner with these awesome startups on campus. Purdue helps with commercialization, incentivizing [you] to be an entrepreneur.”

McGuire also attributes his success to his classmates and peers.

“Everyone is open to helping and promoting your idea…or critiquing it. It’s the perfect place- amazing technology and awesome faculty with university resources. The people are super smart."

Having recently won Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition, McGuire was asked how he and his team are going to allocate funds.

“Disneyland, for sure.”

When asked again, he changed his response:

"Most of the funding will go into business development- we are in the process of finishing propellant characterization. We also plan on using this for travel expenses associated with upcoming business plan competitions.”

Interested in becoming an entrepreneur? McGuire recommends one solid piece of advice:

“Never take ‘no’ for an answer. If [an investor] says no, it just means they don’t know enough.”

 

 

By: Rachel Cooper

Published: 3/15/16