Remembering Corwin Hardham

Corwin Hardham, the late founder and CEO of Makani Power. Photo credit: Makani Power

Today I posted an obituary on Forbes of Corwin Hardham, the founder and CEO of Makani Power. I had been following Makani and Corwin with interest for a few years and was greatly saddened to hear of his passing last month.

Besides his talent as an engineer and business leader, figuring out new ways to convert the power of the wind into electricity, Corwin was a top-class athlete in wind sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. This mixture of the geeky and the adventurous manifested in Makani’s product, the Airborne Wind Turbine. From the blog post:


At the ARPA-E conference outside Washington, D.C. last February, Hardham’s 26-foot-long wing was the centerpiece of the lobby. Clean-energy entrepreneurs are a creative bunch, but their products — black solar panels, smart-grid apps, high R-value windows — aren’t very exciting to look at.

The Makani wing, though, was something else. It brought a dash of swagger, a hint of Howard Hughes romance to a room full of guys in ties. In its presence, the quest to harness the Earth’s renewable energy felt both noble and risky. A fixture by the wing was Hardham himself, who, as a high-tech Bay Area CEO, might have been expected to be bragging and preening. But Hardham pretty much just hung out, earnest and talking warmly to anyone who happened by.

I welcome comments, either here or on the Forbes blog, by anyone who knew Corwin and has a story to share. Or visit his memorial page.

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