Task Public Outreach – Developing and Supporting Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth Opportunities That Are Environmentally Sustainable at the PORTS

Based upon the community preference for possible future-uses voting results in the final PORTSfuture Report, this task focused on integrating the results of the public preference voting with the overall plan for the future of the site. These activities were integrated and coordinated with DOE, SSAB, site contractors, and any STEM initiatives that OU executed in relation to the grant.

Under this task, OU:
(1) Identified entrepreneurs who have products/services that address challenges specific to future use of the PORTS site and identified options for business creation and/or expansion.

(2) Worked with entrepreneurs in the region to demonstrate environmentally sustainable options and green technologies for future-use redevelopment with a special focus on technology demonstration and commercialization.

(3) Linked entrepreneurs to university and regional incubation, business support services, and equity financing opportunities and other existing mechanisms and funding opportunities that are available through U.S. DOE and other federal agencies, the State of Ohio (such as Third Frontier), and the local development district, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC).

(4) Explored the option of creating a research and development technology demonstration incubator or center on-site at the PORTS facility with the ultimate goal of commercializing demonstrated technologies.

(5) Conducted business plan workshops/entrepreneurial assistance sessions for the PORTS workforce considered at-risk of losing their jobs due to the D&D project being completed. Through these workshops, participants will have the opportunity to offer environmentally sustainable ideas and approaches for repurposing the site.

(6) Conducted business plan competition(s) for local college students to pitch environmentally sustainable ideas for repurposing of the site.

The program report was provided to DOE for a factual accuracy review prior to public release.

Principal Investigators

Faith Knutsen and Stephanie Howe


  • Draft work plan of site and regional activities
  • Final work plan of site and regional activities
  • Draft program report on activities and results
  • Final program report on activities and results

The program report shall be provided to DOE for a factual accuracy review prior to public release. The final program report shall be available on the project’s website,

2018 Business Pitch Competition

PORTSfuture and TechGROWTH Ohio Business Pitch Competition

Student teams from OU-Chillicothe and Shawnee State University will prepare for and compete in a inter-institutional “enterprise concept pitch” event with a finale in April 2018.  Concept pitches will focus on enterprise and economic opportunities at the US Department of Energy former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (known as PORTS; currently being decommissioned).  Pitches can include a wide variety of opportunities in energy production, supply chain development, and potential services surrounding the PORTS enterprise hub.  Team members need no specific background.  All disciplines are welcome.  Participating teams receive in-class professional enterprise development instruction, a guided tour of the plant by Department of Energy staff, and Skyped pitch prep coaching.  Pitch competition judges will include economic development/business development professionals and representatives from PORTS site contractors. The event is modeled on a similar successful competition completed in 2014 and funded by the US Department of Energy and the State of Ohio.

Pitch competition results: Both participating institutions pledged $300 to the winners, for a total prize pool of $600.  Based on the judges’ results, the following teams emerged as the winners of the competition:

$300      First place team PORTS Plastics from OU-C

$150      Second place tied team Buckeye Solar from OU-C

$150      Second place tied team Atomic Paintball & Nerf from Shawnee

2018 PORTS Pitch PP and Materials.pdf