ecoSPEARS is a cleantech company committed to cost-effective and sustainable solutions for the permanent extraction and destruction of the world’s most widespread cancer-causing environmental toxins. ecoSPEARS utilizes green remediation technology to aid regulatory agencies and our clients in eliminating ongoing environmental cleanup liability, to unlock potential land use and redevelopment value, and protect human health, public safety, wildlife, and the environment.




Waste Management & Remediation Services


Seminole County


500% increase from
2017 – 2020

Sergie Albino


How did ecoSPEARS come to fruition?

Ian Doromal and I co-founded the company in 2017 after having the opportunity to gain access to exclusive intellectual property rights to a NASA Kennedy Space Center environmental technology that was discovered at Kennedy Space Center when I was there. Two years prior to that, I was helping Rollins College Crummer Business School MBA program in developing a Rollins-NASA Scholars of Distinction program. The idea was to marry technology from NASA, which was already developed and had patents, with young MBA student teams. The goal was to collide the two together and create this Silicon Valley effect, fostering startups and ventures that were homegrown in our Central Florida ecosystem.

That started back in 2013 when I got involved with Rollins after I left NASA. The ecoSPEARS technology became part of our program in 2015 and again in 2016, and that’s how it all started.

Can you tell us a bit more about your company?

ecoSPEARS is a clean-tech innovation company focused on green and sustainable solutions to remove some of the most destructive and harmful industrial chemical contaminations in our water and in our soil. We use tech to be able to remove just the toxins from contaminated media without having to burn it or transport the entire contaminated media across the country or overseas. We have this firm belief that we should never sacrifice clean air for clean water and clean soil. That’s the mantra of how we built this company and build tech and hire people who have that same passion.

Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I’ve always had a passion for the stars. I remember my aunts always telling me to stop counting the stars or I’d go crazy. That’s a very common Filipino saying. I’ve always aspired to be an astronomer, but I also had this passion for building things – digging up clay from 2 feet deep into the earth. This was pre-Nintendo and Sega Genesis, when you had to go out and make your own toys.

Back then, I liked to build and explore. I never really thought I was going to be an entrepreneur and start my own business. I did help my grandmother and my aunts run a little store in the back of our house in the Philippines.

When you decided to start the company, was there an “Aha!” moment when you said, “We just have to do this”?

ecoSPEARS is my third endeavor into the startup world. I left NASA in 2012, primarily because the Space Shuttle Program was ending there and I knew things were going to slow down a bit for the foreseeable future. I had just graduated from the Crummer MBA program, with a focus on Operations & Technology Management and Sustainability. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with this. At that point, I had an engineering consulting business and a year or two later I started another company called IROC Tactical, which developed weapons platform technologies that would help prevent hearing loss and tinnitus for servicemen and women, as well as law enforcement.

When the ecoSPEARS technology came about as one of the techs in the Rollins-NASA Scholar of Distinction program, initially I said no to it. I was enjoying my work in the private sector and IROC Tactical, and I was not familiar with the environmental remediation market.

So, I initially said no, and then started getting calls from big oil and gas companies and from state organizations that somehow learned I was interested in licensing the ecoSPEARS technology. They wanted to figure out how we could collaborate and do a pilot study. It was so foreign to us. I’m not a chemist, by any means. I’m an aerospace engineer, and certainly not familiar with the environmental services sector at all. All of that was like “ground zero,” a big learning curve.

What did you do at NASA? What was your role there?

I was a Space Payload Hardware Engineer with a focus on Thermal Management, which basically meant to my wife and kids that I made boxes that went up into space. Technically, I was part of a team that developed plant growth systems that would go to the International Space State on the Space Shuttle. We also developed small satellite payloads as well as participated in a lunar rover program called RESOLVE. For anything that dealt with life sciences going to space and being used for experiments, I worked on the hardware side and also managed some of those projects.

Talk about the value ecoSPEARS brings to the customers.

When it comes to our customers, environmental liability completely weighs down their balance sheet each year. Each year, these Liable/Responsible Parties allocate millions of dollars towards their environmental liabilities. These come in the form of liability management as well as cleanup. Unless they are able to complete a proper cleanup and attain a “No Further Action” letter from either state regulators or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, they must maintain their liabilities forever.

Through ecoSPEARS sustainable environmental solutions, we are able to extract the toxins from their sites and destroy the toxins and environmental liabilities – forever.

How many employees does ecoSPEARS have now?

We currently have 15 to 18 teammates, both full-time and interns. We work with Rollins College Crummer School of Business and the University of Central Florida Engineering and Chemistry programs for our interns – that’s how we “load up our dugout.” I’m happy to say we’ve hired a number of interns that we’ve brought on. I like bringing in folks who are not necessarily jaded by the industry and can think differently because we are approaching this industry very differently, from the tech we develop to the scientific approach to the business development and marketing that we use to go after new opportunities.

Talk about your company’s culture. What’s it like to work there?

There are a lot of dogs in the office. Many of our teammates bring their fur friends to the office. We foster a culture of creativity and hard work. While it may look like a very relaxed office, we are making strides to create impact from Guam to Sweden and innovating tech this industry has never seen before – and that was just in our first four years with limited resources.

We lead people and manage tasks. Our team metrics are binary – 0’s or 1’s. Either you get it done or not. I don’t need to see the back of your head – I just want to see results. Everybody we accept into our culture goes through a very detailed onboarding process. We want folks who are passionate. If you don’t have that passion, this is probably not a good place for you. We drive the entire culture based on our nine core competencies for the company. Those are what we hire and fire by. Our core principles are posted by the main entrance. People see it every single day when they walk in and when they leave.

Talk about your company’s competitive edge. Who do you consider your competition? Is anybody doing what you’re doing?

Not really. There are other companies out there that provide engineering services or environmental services for this industry, but I haven’t seen anyone developing true innovative technology from the ground up. There are a lot of competitors that build “solutions” by assembling commercial off-the-shelf technologies to build a treatment train; however, ecoSPEARS is unique in that we first focus on a big mission, innovate a purpose-built solution from our own creativity, and then challenge the industry to think better! One of my favorite quotes is, “The best way to predict the future is to create (innovate) it.” – Abraham Lincoln.

When we first started ecoSPEARS, pre-funding, Ian and I had an opportunity to attend a global water conference. After perusing through each aisle and booth in the conference, I told Ian, “Hey, I think we’re going to have fun in this industry. I don’t see any real innovation at all. I only see a lot of the same old 1970s and ‘80s technologies and approaches revamped in 2017.” From the aspect of utilizing tech, smart systems and machine learning that we are building and continuing to evolve, I don’t really see anyone else doing it. A better incineration system to burn and destroy contaminated media, to me, is not innovative when you’re just sacrificing clean air for clean water or clean soil.

From a business development perspective, the industry is also not very innovative. They’re still trying to onboard clients the same way they’ve been doing for the past 50 or 60 years and continue to rely on the “Rolodex” means in an industry where a lot of folks are aging out. Our strategy is approaching the industry similar to how the tech and software industries conduct outreach through predictable revenue. Everything has to have a metric and score card for us in order to have a real-time understanding that we are doing the right things. We truly approach things from the triple-bottom-line perspective, a position that’s “built-in” from the leadership down and not just “bolted-on” when it’s convenient.

As a partner or client-partner of ecoSPEARS, you have to be, first and foremost, approaching the solution from human health and safety and the environmental perspective. From there, we’ll work together on how to deploy our propriety purpose-built solutions to treat and solve your environmental liability long-term. Through ecoSPEARS’ onsite solutions and our ability to sustainably destroy the contamination via non-combustion, non-thermal solutions, we not only provide cost-competitive programs but ultimately remove the liability from the client’s balance sheet.

We want partners and client-partners to be the superheroes of their own communities.

Let’s talk about some of the challenges you’ve faced in growing your business. What keeps you up at night as a business owner? And then what challenges have you faced and overcome?

I get asked that question all the time, and I always feel like I’m answering it wrong, but I sleep well at night. I hit a 6 a.m. workout almost every single day. The business doesn’t impact my sleep. I don’t worry about the business. I’ll put it this way: Most business folks just think about what they’re building. For me, I’m just a tool in building this business. I’m doing it because I’m a tool for God’s work. I am just managing this resource that He’s blessed me with to lead, and as long as I can stay true and stay grounded and know he is always in charge, everything works out. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m a believer and that’s just how it is.

As far as challenges we’ve faced and overcome, one of the challenges we’ve had as a startup is having access to serious capital. We were fortunate enough that I met Terrance “Terry” Berland, who was advising me on IROC Tactical when ecoSPEARS came about. He, with David Scalzo through Kirenaga, invested and led our Seed Round on a post-validated and pre-commercialized NASA technology and our mission to make a difference in the world through clean water, the environment, and sustainability.

Before then, access to that size of Seed Round in Central Florida, without hindering the potential value creation the founder can create through a low valuation, was very foreign here. You could maybe get a $50,000 to $150,000 check, but the valuation would be low. As such, you’d often find the CEO continually raising capital instead of running the business and creating value. Terry and Dave really ensured that their founders had ample funding, but also the proper mentorship to help them 1) build the team, 2) secure and build the technologies, and 3) grow the mission.

In our next growth phase, Ian and I sought to raise a $5 million Series A round and again, we continued to seek capital outside of Florida, being careful of course that the new capital didn’t have clauses that forced ecoSPEARS to move out of Central Florida. In Q3 of 2019, we prepared to raise our Series A and kicked off the capital raising campaign at the Katapult Ocean Accelerator Investor Pitch Day. Katapult Ocean, a Norwegian-based accelerator program, is led by former Altamonte Springs native Jonas Skattum Svegaarden, who also has a passion for not just the ocean, but the blue economy. Much like the world, little did we know that COVID-19 would completely shut everything down come March 2020. During that period, we raised a SAFE round and continued to speak with lead investors outside of Florida, including Portland, Norway, Sweden, California, New York, Texas, and Hawaii.

I’m happy to say we have committed to our next round of capital. I can’t say yet, but it’ll be public soon.

This is something we need to do better here in Central Florida. The only way it’s going to get better for our startup community – and Terry, Ian, and I have the same belief – is if the startup community and the founders who are successful pay it forward and invest back into the Central Florida ecosystem. We should not just rely on legacy investors to fund the next generations of ventures here in Central Florida; it’s up to us now. If we fail to do this, then I have nobody else to blame but myself. So I’m taking on that shared responsibility.

What challenges do you foresee in the next few years?

Finding passionate and talented key hires! We have projects as far away as Guam and Hawaii, Washington State, California, Washington D.C., and all the way to Sweden. As we embark on the next stage of our business, we will need folks with industry experience who think outside the box. We will need more diversity on our team, both regionally and culturally. I want to have a well-balanced and diverse leadership team. I want more powerful women in science and tech to be part of our team. Only through diversity can ecoSPEARS serve a global market.

What are your goals for the next few years? Where do you see the business going?

Create global impact. I’m happy to say that we are already starting to operate globally, even with our small team. For us, it’s about solving real-world issues — more specifically, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of clean water and environment that lead to clean food.

I want to focus on impact and continue to build new technology that the industry has never seen before to not only address the legacy contaminants that have already been in our waterways and our environment for the past 50 to 60 years, but also to build technology for emerging contaminations like dioxins, advanced pharmaceuticals, and PFOA/S so that we’re ahead of the curve. If you look up the infrastructure bill, there’s a big portion of that for emerging contaminations.

As part of the expansion plan for 2022, I’d like to find some licensing partners in different regions of the world so we can joint-venture partners to build ecoSPEARS in South America, an ecoSPEARS in Europe, and an ecoSPEARS in Asia. The world needs real solutions. These contaminations and these issues that lead to cancer and other health issues and birth defects don’t just fall within the borders of the U.S. They are  in every single industrialized nation. We live in one world, and we’re affecting one another, and we need a global strategy.

What’s been your proudest moment so far as CEO?

I’m not one for the spotlight. When it comes to awards, I always tell people it’s going to be hard to get me to attend because I’m often on travel, but I’ll make time when it’s about our team. This is not about me; it’s about the ecoSPEARS team. My proudest moment is when we can take interns from UCF or Rollins and groom them from scratch, enrich them and then watch them grow to where they’re leading projects. I’m proud to be able to see a group of individuals who are so passionate and so mission-driven because they want to make a change outside of themselves to be part of ecoSPEARS.

What did it mean to you to be selected as an honoree for the GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch?

I’m honored. It’s God’s grace. Honestly, this honor is really a reflection of my our ecoSPEARS team, not me. It will always be THE TEAM!

And what did your team think about it?

They are super excited. They love the recognition. You’ve really got to celebrate the wins because it’s good for the team. If there’s something that I can improve on in 2022, it’s that: taking time to stop and celebrate. It’s all about the passion. So to be able to see our team recognized and awarded for all their hard work, it’s truly heartwarming.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?


Yes, first and foremost, God. I wouldn’t be here without Him. My wife Kristie and my kids Kai, Teo, and Cru because they keep me grounded. My co-founder, Ian, who has been with me from the beginning and has shared the late nights, long flights, tough decisions and pitches on the same stage. My ecoSPEARS team. I’m blessed to be surrounded by an unbelievable group of young men and women who believe in our mission and are passionate about our environment and helping communities. Last but not least, Terry Berland and David Scalzo from Kirenaga Partners. Before they became our lead investors in our Seed Round, Terry and Dave were first mentors and advisors. They doubled down on Ian and me when others found it hard to see the opportunity. To them, the mission of solving real-world problems and healing our planet from toxins was worth it enough to back us through ecoSPEARS.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is…

"I always tell everybody this: God gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen more, speak less. Find a mentor who will challenge what you’re thinking about and what you’re doing. Leverage mentors who have been in the trenches – especially if they’re startup owners who have succeeded or even have failed but have gone through what you’re experiencing. These are the guys and gals who know what it’s like to figure things out and know how to work the problem(s). You want mentors who won’t just tell you, “You’re the man” and “You’re the best.” Get mentors who wouldn’t mind punching you in the gut to give you a good check on reality."

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