To affect change, sometimes you have to move halfway around the world to do it.
In the case of Charles Blaschke the move has proven to pay dividends.
Blaschke is managing director of Dubai-based Taka Solutions, an engineering and technology company.
According to Blaschke, a Lee’s Summit native, Taka Solutions aims to address the waste of energy in the region caused by the poor and unhealthy construction of buildings in the United Arab Emirates.
The company uses energy performance contracts to reduce the waste of energy in existing buildings while getting paid a portion of the savings, Blaschke said.
“We offer an innovative business model,” Blaschke said in a recent phone interview from Dubai. “It’s all performance based. We only get paid if the owners save money.”
Taka Solutions recently won a chance to compete for a share of a $1 million fund and represent the region at a global competition for social entrepreneurs this summer.
Blaschke and Chris Burkhardt, the company’s commercial director, will join 26 social entrepreneurs from around the world at a week-long training on entrepreneurship at Oxford University in London in March, followed by the global final competition in New York in July.
The company was chosen as the most promising social entrepreneurs of the Gulf final of The Venture, a global competition for social enterprise start-ups.
The judging panel chose Taka Solutions among four other regional finalists.
“It’s been very flattering and very honoring to represent the Gulf Region,” Blaschke said. “It’s a big task and we don’t want to let them down.”
Blaschke left the area in 2007 for Dubai and has not returned since. He said he wanted to do something out of the ordinary after receiving an engineering degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Blaschke is a 2003 graduate of Lee’s Summit High School.
“I had a lot of offers to stay in Kansas City, St. Louis, Detroit and I always knew I could come back,” Blaschke said. “I decided to take advantage of an opportunity to learn different cultures and be around different people and have kind of a jumping off point to travel the world.”
Blaschke said life in Dubai is not that much different than life in America, although he added a caveat.
“The summers here are hell,” Blaschke said. “It’s unbearable. It’s crazy how hot and humid it gets here. It’s similar to the winter back home; you just stay inside unless you need to go somewhere.”