Craig Hill & Adam Witt | Co-founders of TextRA

[607] – Social Entrepreneurship

Craig Hill is a co-founder of TextRA and has a background in both geology and civil engineering water resources. After growing up in Illinois, he came to St. Paul, MN and attended the University of St. Thomas where he completed a degree in geology. During this time, Craig traveled abroad to study in Christchurch, NZ and later conducted research in southern Chile and Argentina. After periods of working in both Alaska and Utah, Craig returned to Minneapolis to work at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, an Environmental Engineering and Fluid dynamics research laboratory associated with the University of Minnesota. While an employee of SAFL, he attended graduate school part-time and recently completed his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. He continues to work at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory as a Research Engineer, mostly focusing his efforts in the area of marine and hydrokinetic energy research. At the end of his graduate studies, Craig was involved in the Acara Institute’s social entrepreneur design course from which TextRA found its roots. International social aid and development has been an interest of Craig’s for quite some time, so involvement in this program was a great way to lay the foundation in developing sustainable ideas that will help many of the poorest communities around the world. Craig continues to work on developing TextRA as a side project in addition to his full-time job at SAFL.

Adam Witt is a co-founder of TextRA and a current PhD student in Water Resources Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He received a BS in Physics from Carleton College with a minor in French and Francophone Studies. Upon graduation he took a position with Travelers Insurance as a business and technology analyst, working one year in St. Paul and three years in San Francisco. The desire to tackle water problems in the U.S. and abroad inspired him to make a career change. In 2010 he received a fellowship through the Hydro Research Foundation to pursue PhD research related to hydro power at the University of Minnesota. In spring of 2011, he took a course on designing sustainable business practices in developing countries, from which the TextRA business plan was born. As part of the course, his team won the Acara Challenge and received a grant to study sustainable businesses in India. Adam recently returned from a trip to India, where he worked with TextRA teammates to refine and launch their pilot phase.