Real Energy makes real connections in Thailand

The following post was written by Rob Woltil (LCE 2013), regarding the trip he took to Thailand with for the Bangkok Business Challenge, with his Real Energy teammates, Joe Wright (LCE 2013) and KaLynn Alley (Law, 2013).

Coming to the University of Oregon to get my MBA, I knew that there would be fun times and extraordinary opportunities awaiting me over the next two years.  However, I did not foresee that I would be in Bangkok, delivering a passionate monologue about an investment vehicle that specializes in energy efficiency retrofits to a room that consisted of over 300 Thais and an assortment of business school professors and students that covered over 20 countries and an equal amount of languages.  This was the elevator pitch.  It was the first formal introduction of the teams that would be competing in the Bangkok Business Challenge.  Ideas ranged from a French bakery chain to floating solar farms for specific use in the mining industry, which was presented by a team of Australian EMBA’s.  The crowd loved every part of the elevator pitch competition from the seamless banter provided by our two hosts Tony and Troy to the big clock counting from 99 to zero on 16 teams from all over the world.  As a Meyers-Briggs identified introvert without an affinity for public speaking, I was content making it through the pitch without freezing or passing out.

Team members Joe Wright, KaLynn Alley, and Rob Woltil tried out some new ideas while in Thailand

The elevator pitch set the table for the competition as it was fast paced, fun, and competitive.  We presented a grand total of three times over the weekend: once as a warm-up round, once for the semi-finals, and once in the wildcard playoff.  Despite receiving positive feedback on our team and idea, we failed to advance to the finals.  This disappointment was quickly quelled by two of our judges giving us contact information to several international investment companies and hedge funds that they believed would be interested in our idea and an opportunity to attend the awards ceremony.

Real Energy Presenting to the judges in Bangkok

And this was no ordinary awards ceremony.  To begin, every team gathered at their venture’s trade show booth, and a representative of the King of Thailand himself came around to every team to get a one minute pitch of what it was that we do.  Thankfully, my teammate Joe Wright took the lead and nailed the explanation.  The King’s representative walked away nodding his head, I’d like to think it was a nod that said, “Well done Oregon, well done.”  The second part of the awards ceremony was held on the Chao Phraya River as part of a river cruise.  Prizes were passed out as we dined, danced, and admired the great city of Bangkok with 200 of our newest friends.

The Real Energy team received a trade show visit from a representative of the King of Thailand.

Words cannot express how amazing this trip was for us.  We owe a debt of gratitude to Sasin Graduate Institute of Chulalongkorn University, the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship, and our vast Oregon network of people who helped, critiqued, and mentored us through this process.  While we missed out on the finals this time, we will be working our tails off to see them in a month at the New Venture Championship in Portland.  Until then…GO DUCKS!!!


Written by Andrew White

Andrew is an MBA Candidate in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. A native of Massachusetts, he came to UO to refine his business skills and build his expertise in the sustainability arena. His primary interest is in helping organizations implement environmentally and socially sustainable strategies for long-term success, and he is a regular participant on many of the MBA intramural sports teams.