The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes a faculty member who has started a company based on research originated at UGA. Marc van Iersel was named the 2019 winner of this prestigious
award. Marc van Iersel is the Vincent J. Dooley Professor of Horticulture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and has spent more than 20 years supporting the horticulture industry through his research examining crop physiology and smart greenhouse production systems. A pioneer in optimizing controlled environment agriculture, van Iersel was elected as a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science in 2018, recognizing his lifetime contributions to the horticulture industry. In 2017, he and colleague Erico Mattos co-founded Candidus Inc., a UGA agtech startup that is delivering customized lighting solutions for greenhouse agriculture, maximizing plant growth while minimizing electricity costs. Candidus’ novel technology creates predictability for growers by providing consistent lighting, which yields stronger, healthier plants. In addition to his role as CTO of Candidus, van Iersel served as mentor and advisor of UGA startup Reservoir LLC, a wireless irrigation company with a patent-pending sensor designed to improve irrigation efficiency.