From struggling academically to earning a Ph.D., Calvin Mackie is making millions from biodiesel manufacturing

Stephen Nartey May 22, 2023
Drawing from his entrepreneurial spirit, Calvin founded a company that manufactures biodiesel, a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional fuels. Photo credit: Mackie Calvin via LinkedIn

Growing up, young Calvin Mackie never imagined he would be awarded a Ph.D. someday, as there was no source of academic inspiration in his life. Raised in a low-income community in New Orleans, he did not have an avenue to confront the numerous challenges he struggled with academically. Many considered him a low-performing student, and his future seemed uncertain.

However, Calvin possessed an unyielding spirit and a burning desire to prove himself. After graduating from high school, school authorities in Morehouse College provided him with an option to take remedial classes before offering him an opportunity to study, according to Blackprwire.

Despite his initial struggles, Calvin graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society; he understood education was his ticket to a better life. With unwavering determination, he set out on a journey to rise up the education ladder and sought help from mentors, tutors, and teachers who believed in his potential.

They encouraged him to persevere, instilling in him the belief that he could achieve greatness. This paid off after investing 11 years in his education. He attained four STEM degrees and capped them with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech.

College proved to be a transformative experience for Calvin. He excelled in his classes, absorbing every bit of information like a sponge. His hunger for knowledge was insatiable, and he quickly became a top-performing student. His efforts paid off when he was recognized with a Bennie Award in Achievement from the college.

Determined to make a difference in his community, Calvin decided to take up a job at Tulane University, where he focused his research related to heat transfer, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and fluid dynamics; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002. However, his career in education came to an end in 2007, when Tulane University discontinued the engineering school to cut down on a budget, following the catastrophe brought by Hurricane Katrina.

To engage himself productively, he opted to serve as a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, where he conducted research on fuel cells. Spotting an opportunity in the energy sector, Calvin founded a nonprofit organization, STEM NOLA, dedicated to providing STEM education to students in low-income communities.

His mission was to inspire and train the next generation of scientists and engineers, giving them the tools to succeed in the rapidly evolving world. Under Calvin’s leadership, the nonprofit organization thrived, with over 75,000 students from low-income communities benefiting from the programs and resources offered. His tireless efforts were recognized far and wide, and he became a champion for equal access to quality education.

Drawing from his entrepreneurial spirit, he founded a company that manufactures biodiesel, a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional fuels. He has since partnered with Golden Leaf Energy, which produces clean-burning, petroleum-based diesel made from natural, renewable, and sustainable sources, according to stemnola.

Calvin’s company grew rapidly, and its impact on the environment and local economy was undeniable. By providing an environmentally friendly fuel source, he contributed to reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs in his community. His commitment to sustainability and desire to make a difference was once again evident.

Through his journey from a low-performing student to a Ph.D. holder and successful entrepreneur, Calvin Mackie became an inspiration to many. His unwavering determination, resilience, and commitment to education transformed not only his life but also the lives of countless others. His story serves as a reminder that with perseverance, hard work, and a belief in oneself, anyone can overcome adversity and achieve greatness.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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