People

Mac and Leslie McQuown

Stone Edge Farm Winery’s MicroGrid is an open-source living laboratory and the vision of one couple.

Leslie and Mac McQuown purchased the first of five contiguous parcels that became Stone Edge Farm in 1995. The seven separate electrical services on this property and the family’s wish to route energy efficiently were the genesis of the MicroGrid (see History).

The McQuowns began the MicroGrid with solar panel installations. Resolving to reduce the farm’s carbon footprint by half, they exceeded their goal in one year. Next they decided to explore how far below zero emissions they could go while testing new technologies and business models.

Mac McQuown led a team that created the first stock index fund, and he founded numerous entrepreneurial financial service and winery companies. A former naval officer, he has served on the board of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for 18 years.

Leslie McQuown is by inclination and education an interior and exterior designer. Her aesthetic vision informs the architecture, art installations, and landscaping of Stone Edge Farm. The McQuowns are dedicated to addressing the issue of climate change.

Mac and Leslie McQuown, founding owners of the Stone Edge Farm Microgrid

Contractor

Troy Wooster Troy Wooster, CEO of Omni Energy Solutions (formerly Wooster Energy Engineering), worked on the MicroGrid since its inception and is the current contractor. His background is in engineering, electronics, construction, and management.

Craig Wooster Craig Wooster, late CEO of Wooster Energy Engineering, was general contractor for the MicroGrid for over five years. He assembled and managed the team that created the MicroGrid. His legacy is continued by his son, Troy.


Interns

The Stone Edge Farm MicroGrid is a real world laboratory that deploys diverse technologies to demonstrate the concept of a sub-zero carbon footprint and to introduce a new business model.

Since the project’s inception, the McQuowns paid interns from high school to post-doctoral levels to attack the energy paradigm on many levels. Interns were given broad direction and empowered to seek carbon reduction solutions without fear of failure.

The first intern hired, Jorge Elizondo, then a doctoral student at M.I.T., developed an innovative control system to integrate the MicroGrid’s assets and optimize efficiency. Both Jorge and Ryan Stoltenberg, who joined Wooster in 2014 and earned his MS from Cal State University, Chico, in 2018, now work with the MicroGrid as part of Heila Technologies.

Omni Energy’s (L to R) Michael Charters, Troy Wooster, Michael Del Valle, and Divyam Parmar, intern
Omni Energy’s (L to R) Michael Charters, Troy Wooster, Michael Del Valle, and Divyam Parmar, intern.
Heila Technology’s Jorge Elizondo with Heila IQ Node controller
Dr. Jorge Elizondo at Heila Technologies headquarters.
Omni Energy’s (L to R) Michael Charters, Troy Wooster, Michael Del Valle, and Divyam Parmar, intern
Interns with the late Craig Wooster (far R).

Participating Universities

Arizona State University
Azusa Pacific University
California State University, Chico
California State University, East Bay
California State University, Humboldt
California State University, Maritime Academy
California State University, Sonoma
Cornell University
Eckard University
Gonzaga University
Indus University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Northwestern University
Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University
Presidio University
Santa Clara University
Stanford University
Tufts University
University of Nevada, Reno
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Davis
University of California, Irvine
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Missouri, Kansas City
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of Oregon

 

 

Learn more about our Vision.