At the foot of the Unwharrie Mountains in North Carolina lay the communities of Frog Pond, Big Lick, and Locust. The banks of Pee Dee River tributaries wash over the area from time to time, leaving a green environment where seemingly
everything grows. Adam Preslar longed to flourish like his lush surroundings. At the age of 15, he moved to Durham to attend the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. A publicly-funded boarding school for gifted high school students from every walk of life across the state, NCSSM presented the challenges for which Adam had been looking.
Adam pursued his undergraduate degree down the road at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, opting for two concentrations: Chemistry and Chinese. While there, Adam founded the Chinese Language House. A partnership between the Asian Studies department and UNC housing, the program was designed to create a welcoming environment for the international students as well as an immersion opportunity for those learning the language. The program has grown and is still active today, 8 years later.
Adam earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University, researching biologically-inspired materials for medical imaging. The technologies Adam invented enhance imaging technologies at the point of healing to highlight tissue regeneration and growth in living organisms in real-time. While at Northwestern, Adam also found a new passion for agriculture. He co-founded Hazel Technologies to address a giant challenge in the modern food economy. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates conservatively that 9% of the US carbon footprint comes from agricultural activities. In China, estimates are as high as 20%. As much as 30% of picked produce is never eaten, but is wasted along the way from farm to table. In a world of resource strain from population growth and climate change, every bit of those costs count. Hazel Technologies addresses these challenges with in-box freshness extension technology where inserts are designed to slow fungal growth and ripening to deliver fresher produce to the consumer home so nutritious food does not go to waste.
A key inventor of the technology that Hazel Technologies uses, Adam has brought in over $700,000 in grant funding from organizations, including the United States Department of Agriculture. He works with growers, academics, and produce companies to improve shipments and innovate new ways of getting food to the table while using fewer resources along the way. Adam is heading up new directions for international expansion and looking forward to learning more about how food is grown around the world. He lives in London with his wife Jane, but can be found wherever things grow.