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Greg McPartlin

Gregory McPartlin wasn't too eager Andrew Niemczyk at first. It turned out to be a meeting that changed both men’s lives.

A friend of McPartlin first floated the idea of meeting Niemczyk at first. McPartlin blew off the meetings. Then that friend insisted McPartlin meet the mechanical engineer from Hamtramck in 2004 or risk their friendship. McPartlin consented and Parjana Distribution came from it.

"When I met Andrew and saw the magnitude and ramifications of his technology, I knew I had to focus 100 percent of my time on it," McPartlin says. "I walk through life with my eyes wide open."

Parjana Distribution is commercializing a filtration technology that cleans contaminated water through the earth’s natural ground filtration system. Water in underground aquifers ends up there after gravity takes it through the different layers of ground. The dirt filters out contaminates and creates potable water, similar to how a Brita filter works.

The downtown Detroit-based startup's technology, Energy-Passive Groundwater Recharge Parjana, speeds the rate of infiltration by first utilizing waters properties of adhesion and cohesion to attract the water into the pumps chambers, filling the chambers. It utilizes negative pressure to accelerate the process of cleaning water.

"It's a suitable solution to an immense problem that is not disruptive to other things," McPartlin says.

The technology is now employed at 150 sites around the world, including Detroit, Ohio, New York, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. But it got there because McPartlin knew he had found the right partner in Niemczyk.

McPartlin is a serial entrepreneur who has helped build a number of business that specialize in water technology. He knows that each person on a executive team has a role to play. Usually they break down to inventors handling the technical aspects and the MBAs handling the business side.

More often than not finding a winning startup needs a inventor willing to relinquish control of the company to someone who can scale it rapidly. That's easier said than done when a favorite comparison of business founders to what it takes to build a company is what it takes to raise a child.

"You have to find somebody who is willing to let go," McPartlin says. "When you think about this, you’re asking someone else for permission to raise their child."

Niemczyk was able to let go. He know serves as a technical lead in the executive team, focusing on research & development and engineering. McPartlin now serves as the CEO of Parjana Distribution.

"Overall he is the best you can be," McPartlin says. "He is the best I have ever found."

Which might explain why the company is growing so quickly. It recently crosse the $1 million revenue mark, and it has eyes on bigger prizes.

"One year from now we want to be at $10 million," McPartlin says. “Three years from now I want to be at $25 million."

- Written by Jon Zemke

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