Just imagine that you are Don Eby, visionary inventor who has been working on ideas for using soy products as cleansers and lubricants rather than the petroleum-based variety, and then you meet another guy, Ken Budke, who knows all about turning ideas into products. Ken was in the right place and time to take what Don had done and run with it.

And run he did, creating a broad array of (72) products that leverage the unique properties of soy. Of course, creating product is of little use if it sits around in a warehouse, so he started looking for some marketing support.



Cliff Rose, CTMI Director

Then imagine that you are Cliff Rose, and you have years of experience taking product ideas in their infancy and making them happen, all the way to the infomercial and product fulfillment stage. The only problem with that sort of career is that when you tell people what you do there is a sort of pause while a light goes on on their heads and then they say “Hey, I have a great product idea, but I just don’t know how to market it.”

Some of those ideas have now hit the market, but rather than have every conversation turn into a business discussion, Cliff decided to team up with MUM and create an academic program in order to formally hand off what he knows to the next generation, and so he can just tell people “It’s okay, I teach a class on that.”


ctmi-logo-768x310Then consider the story of Alden Rowe, who has an interest in green products, spent some time working at Genetic-ID, an eco-conscious Fairfield company, and is finishing up an MBA at MUM, when he hears that in the next semester a guy named Cliff Rose is going to head up a course and a semester-long entrepreneurship and product/business launch project called the Concept to Market Institute.

After signing up and taking an exciting class or two, you decide that you may launch your own company, but in any case, you want three things in a work situation:

  • Autonomy
  • Doing something good
  • A company that encourages employee growth and empowerment


So what brought all these parties together in one fortuitous moment? Ken Budke went to Iowa State University looking for marketing support, perhaps working with students, and they suggested the University of Iowa. At the U. Iowa they said that they didn’t do that sort of thing, but had Ken heard of the CTMI at MUM in Fairfield?

Alden Rowe and Cliff Rose outside of the Best Green Answers showroom

Alden Rowe and Cliff Rose outside of the Best Green Answers showroom

And that, after Ken contacted the CTMI in the form of Cliff Rose,  was where Alden Rowe’s right place at the right time moment happened, since Alden is now the Operation Manager of Best Green Answers, which now has a storefront/showroom right here in Fairfield.

Alden is excited about the vast marketing opportunities that exist for many of the Best Green Answers products, including:

  • A soy based “5th wheel” lubricant for the round connector plates that hook semitrailer trucks to their trailing loads – a far more efficient and clean, non-polluting solution
  • An enzyme-based product that converts what would normally be considered dirty substances into cleaning agents so they as  if clean themselves
  • A soy based lubricant to improve lubrication and significantly reduce hotbox events in railroad wheel structures
Alden Rowe

Alden Rowe

Alden explains that the standard for labelling a product as biodegradable is only 70%, but the Best Green Answers target is at least 96.8%, and that the 5th wheel lubricant alone can have enormous effects globally in reducing water-table pollution from leaking truck lubricants.

In any case, Alden’s moment in the right place at the right time was a good thing, since Alden now enjoys the autonomy of growing with a company that is doing a lot of good for Alden, for the CTMI, for Fairfield, and for the environment.