This article (featuring Transcend Innovations) is part of an ongoing series showcasing the diversity of businesses and local nonprofit organizations in Ogden funded by the Ogden CARES Grant Program. Ogden CARES was funded by the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). CRF could only fund, “necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19).” Ogden City used CRF from both Weber County and the State of Utah to fund the Ogden CARES program. Ogden City received three tapered rounds of CRF between Jun. through Nov. 2020 and, consequently, administered three rounds of Ogden CARES. This series highlights four Ogden CARES grantees adversely impacted by COVID-19 and how they received support from Ogden CARES. With help from Ogden CARES funds, Transcend Innovations was able to maintain staff and operations despite COVID-19 impacts, while they pivoted to launch a new, product-based business called Selu Technologies.
Read more about the Ogden CARES program in the first article in the series, the "Final Report."
Read about the first nonprofit featured in the series, "United Way of Northern Utah."
Nonprofits aren’t the only organizations to have received Ogden CARES grants; for-profit, locally owned small businesses were the other primary focus for CARES funding. Transcend Innovations was one of these—owned by Missy Wetzker and her husband, Orlin. Transcend Innovations is an engineering design services business in which clients contact the firm with an idea for a product in need of electronic circuit boards, writing of firmware, etc. Transcend Innovations would design these embedded systems and pass those designs on to a manufacturer who would then produce the physical boards.
Devices designed by the firm have included those used to detect underground water without digging—i.e. wells, damaged pipes, leaking dams—and in assisting organizations with systems for irrigation control, water conservation, moisture levels in the soil, and more.
Orlin Wetzker, a mechanical engineer, started out in project management. Around the end of 2016, however, Orlin Wetzker wanted to tap into the market for system design and, working with former colleagues who worked as electrical engineers, started Transcend Innovations.
More recently, Missy Wetzker said Transcend Innovations has had to pivot due to a loss of over half its clients from COVID-related disruptions.
“It’s hard to have a service-based business,” Missy Wetzker said. “Upkeep of lead generation, the timing of cash flows, and engineers aren’t cheap. We’re still doing some of the design work, but we felt it was smarter to do our own project as well.”
This pivot was to open a product-based business called Selu Technologies. According to Missy Wetzker, the electronics currently being produced by Selu Technologies pull water from the air to not only conduct electricity but to monitor and control temperature and humidity in greenhouses. This system allows more remote locations—places in which water may be much scarcer—to more efficiently grow food.
For Transcend Innovations, and now Selu Technologies, the Ogden CARES grant helped fill the initial gap in transitory funding to maintain staff and operations, as the business worked to develop additional investor funding.
“One of our clients’ investors had a hotel in Wuhan that the Chinese government took over and used as a hospital,” Missy Wetzker said. “He had millions of dollars in damage that had been done and he couldn’t travel to do the surveys with this instrument we designed for him; he pulled out further funding and they [the client] went away overnight.”
Missy Wetzker said Transcend Innovations continues to serve its clients, but she and her husband intend to eventually phase completely out of the service-based business to focus entirely on Selu Technologies.