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The Passing of DK (Donnie) Foster

Posted by at 1:45 PM, 11/30/2010

It is with a heavy heart that the Cleantech Open announces one of our beloved alumni and excellent mentors has died.  DK (Donnie) Foster died in a kayaking accident during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Donnie entered the competition in 2008 with PowerAssure, a company that won both the Smart Power category and the Sustainability Award that year.  He left PowerAssure in 2009 to consult for cleantech startups.  This year he worked with one of the California semifinalists companies, Amberix. 



“I'm a bit sad to say that I did not Donnie very well or well enough, as we were always going to catch up on things over lunch in the near future. I'm sure he'd say (with that smile) that it was my loss, and I think he would be right. I found him a bright, engaging and personable guy, a kindred spirit who left this big green party way too soon. 

Donnie was the first person I met at the first Cleantech Open event I attended. We quickly got into an animated discussion about some of the geekier aspects of data center efficiency before we both realized we had better see what everyone else was up to. Our encounters thereafter were equally energetic, involving, and all too brief. At the Palace of Fine Arts in 2008, I was very happy to hear that PowerAssure won the Sustainability Award, and then doubly happy hearing that we (GroundSource Geo) would share it with them. Hours later, we also independently developed the Mel's milk shake theory as a dubious cure for hopelessly lost voices.

One of the many benefits of involvement with the Cleantech Open is access to an ever-expanding entrepreneurial social network full of interesting people like Donnie Foster. Do not take them for granted: they inhabit a special place in a special time. We need to pop out of our various silos occasionally and make sure to make good on that lunch.”

~ Dennis Murphy, GroundSource Geo, 2008 Sustainability Winner

“Donnie Foster was one of our true gems. Always ready with good things to say and good advice for others, Donnie was a joy to work with - and to be with.

Donnie, many congratulations on all your successes, many thanks for all you did for all of us at the Cleantech Open as a contestant and as a mentor - and for always coming armed with your inimitable grin. We'll miss you deeply.”

~ Rex Northen, Executive Director, Cleantech Open

“"Donnie was an all-around great guy.  His genuine enthusiasm for cleantech and anyone in it was ever-present.   Donnie led his company Power Assure to win both the Cleantech Open 2008 Smart Power category and the 2008 Sustainability Award, clearly demonstrating his "holistic" approach to doing business.  He took his company on to continued success as a real leader in cleantech.  Donnie will be greatly missed, personally and professionally."  “

~ Annette Walker, Cleantech Open Executive Director during the time Donnie participated in the competition (2008)


“I respected DK as we competed against each other in 2008 Cleantech Open, and loved him as a friend and co-worker when we cooperated in the 2010 Cleantech Open competition.

He never stopped cracking jokes in stressful situations.

The Amberix team will sure miss him.”

~ Behzad Imani, Amberix, co-worker of Donnie



Our condolences to his family and friends.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2011. Contact Carole Christian or 650.967.7000 for details.


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