Fluence believes it’s time to create a new way to work together – locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. We believe that we can and will energize global economies, initiate valuable new trading partnerships, use technology to make entire regions smarter and more efficient, and inspire a skilled workforce to fully engage in work for maximum productivity, job satisfaction, and success.
We are a dynamic merging of people, capital, technology, and infrastructure, dedicated to creating bold new ways of working, trading, growing, and thriving in Missouri, throughout the Midwest, and around the world.
Potentially, the work we do will improve the lives of others – make it better. We are intentionally striving to support a segment of our workforce that sometimes struggles to find satisfying, and engaging work. Our focus is to help the employable and those in transition to connect with employers dedicated to make a difference within the communities they serve. We assist military veterans, persons with disabilities and the formerly incarcerated that do not pose a threat of violence to develop job skills, find jobs or create a sustaining business.
Fluence’s holistic approach to global workforce development includes individual case management, job training, and life skills training to every job seeker through Community Hubs.
These efforts will start in St. Louis, with a ten-year plan to rollout across the U.S.
We like to dream big at Fluence and we encourage the communities we serve to dream big, too. So, we stand ready to help big dreams, small dreams or just simple dreams become a reality by funding sustainable business efforts. We will use our unique blend of capital management and global investment strategies as we cast our net around those that need extra financial support. Our own vision will be fueled as we work with investors on high-yield and long-term investment opportunities. We will start in Missouri to reindustrialize the economic engine on our home turf first.
Our vision requires far-reaching infrastructure development and capital-intensive projects in both the U.S. and foreign markets.
How can we support our clients in need of funding?:
Fluence will be supporting early-stage company growth by providing funds and expertise to help companies transition from seeding stage to A-round capital.
Similar to how dot coms were an integral part of the growth and emergence of Silicon Valley, Fluence will play a similar role in the on-going growth of the Silicon Prairie. We will bring it all together through technology. Technology connects our world, homes, businesses and even our communities as people, places and things demand efficiency. As we yearn for instant gratification and knowledge, technology gets smarter to help us make quicker decisions. It expedites our world.
Never heard of Silicon Prairie? Here’s the scope:
Silicon Prairie has considerable educational, technological, manufacturing, and logistics infrastructure; business development momentum; as well as 23 of the nation’s top research universities.
Why does this matter? It is about transformation. St. Louis will be the hub for the Midwest as cities become smarter, more connected. Smarter cities help improve the way we do business through interconnectivity. They help hospitals run more efficiently and allow for more effective transportation flow. The utility companies have already begun with smart grid efforts because reliability is key to keeping all systems working seamlessly and continuously as we become more dependent on big data for quicker insights. As a central hub for high-speed rail, our focus will be on freight. This leads us to infrastructure, one of our core pillars.
A Smarter City integrates multiple information and communication technology (ICT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage city assets such as transportation systems, hospitals, public utilities, and power grid systems. It also uses technology to support the needs of people through social programs, health care, and education.
We have an advantage in Missouri. We are in the top 20 for rail freight using 3,957 miles of rail. The Midwest has 7 other states: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that contribute to 30% of the nations transported items using rail freight. At Fluence, we plan to drive the high-speed rail effort through our International Liaison Group.
St. Louis is the ideal location from which to base Fluence’s Global Logistics & Supply Chain Solutions, which also will use the latest innovations to provide high-tech supply chain management.
The International Liaison Group oversees the Asia Freight Hub, the movement of freight, including air-to-air refueling. To improve logistics and supply chain efforts, Fluence envisions a high-speed freight rail with St. Louis as its hub with connections stretching from California to Raleigh, North Carolina, Orlando, Florida and Toronto, Canada.
More distant plans include the formation of the Eastern European Union centered around the old Silk Road, the high-tech Baltic States and South Caucasus countries in the easternmost part of Europe.
The bold vision of Fluence requires visionary people to lead the organization and inspire partners around the world to move forward with similar boldness. Fluence is honored to have these experienced leaders turning our vision into reality.
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Dr. Kerr is a law and management expert sought after worldwide for his expertise on public higher education. His decade of experience in higher education and 20 years in corporate law, consulting, and university development has given him a strong foundation of knowledge from which to draw as he leads the bold vision of Fluence. Dr. Kerr is an associate professor of business administration, the department chair ISCT and Legal Studies, and the World Wide Technology Endowed Chair at the Anheuser-Busch School of Business, Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis. He recently served on the Coordinating Board of Higher Education’s Steering Committee to assist in the development of a coordinating plan for Missouri higher education in 2016-2021. Dr. Kerr recently was re-elected as president of the Missouri Association of Faculty Senates, working closely with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and the Council on Public Higher Education, as well as multiple lobbyists and liaisons, to advise and recommend on policies affecting public higher education in Missouri. He received a degree in English from Central Methodist University and a law degree from the Texas A&M School of Law.
A seasoned business and marketing professional with 40 years of experience, Connie Risby is a strategic thinker with the ability to see the big picture. That, partnered with the focus and skill to deliver, ensures Connie is able to develop high impact strategies and tactics
Her vast experience encompasses several industries, audiences, and multi-language marketing (French and Spanish). Additionally, Connie’s organization and project management skills, as well as her attention to detail, offers the knowledge and experience to deliver programs on time and on budget. Her experience crosses several industries, including: Retail, Fast Food/Quick Casual/Full-Service Restaurants, Heating and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Employment Recruitment Marketing, Government/Military and Financial Services/Banking
Connie has expertise in identifying problems area(s) and developing key objectives, strategies, and tactics at every level including, budgeting, branding/creative, consumer/trade media (online and offline), sales projections, product mix analysis, promotion evaluations, competitive analysis and measurement. Her work experience includes management and supervision of clients such as Edward Jones (North America), The May Department Stores/Six Store Divisions (U.S.) and Panera Bread (U.S.) at JWTSC; Lennox Industries, Inc., Corporate/Divisions/Dealers (North America) and Carrier/Bryant (North America) at Ross Communications. Her work has been recognized nationally by organizations she has worked with, including Hardee’s and McDonald’s.
As the Chief Financial Officer of Fluence Global, Michael Devereux draws on his extensive experience as an entrepreneur to guide strategic thinking and help Fluence be as profitable as possible. His work at Fluence includes designing and implementing accounting systems, supervising accounting and human resource staff, and managing projects and relationships with vendors including attorneys, real estate lenders, merchant services providers, and external accountants.
Before joining Fluence, Devereux was president of Emerging Businesses Resources Corp., LLC, offering consulting services to small- to medium-sized businesses experiencing significant growth or having significant growth opportunities. He also has served as CFO of several companies including manufacturing firm Industrial Steel Fabricators and National Dealers Warranty, Inc. Devereux started his career in 1978 by opening his own accounting firm – Devereux & Co., PC – which he successfully led for nearly 30 years.
Devereux holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Saint Louis University.
Ben Brink has over 34 years of experience in the leadership of high technology companies, venture capital, and corporate partnering—in Silicon Valley, Southern California, and the Midwest, with extensive global experience and operations in Europe and Asia. As CEO, he has led early-stage, growth-stage, and mid-sized companies, private, venture-backed, and public—in software, defense electronics, medical electronics, health care analytics, environmental, and agricultural biotech market spaces. Brink has served at the senior executive level in the Federal Government; and is a retired US Navy Captain, Intelligence, with 36 years active and reserve service, including several commands and a recent combat tour in Afghanistan. He is an adviser and mentor to emerging technology companies and an adjunct professor in entrepreneurship and management.
Expertise: entrepreneurship—emerging technology companies, capital formation, technology; strategy—corporate, military, government; leadership—effective and ethical enterprises; strategic partnerships; venture capital; organizational development; global enterprises.
Current Professional Activities: McAlester Group—Co-founder, Managing Partner—corporate advisory, strategy, capital formation; Webster University, Adjunct Associate Professor; Lindenwood, Southern New Hampshire and Grantham Universities, Adjunct Instructor—entrepreneurship and management courses.
Academics: Brink holds degrees from: Harvard Business School, MBA; Stanford University, MS (Operations Research) and BS (Mathematics); and US Army War College, MS (Strategic Studies).