Meet the Founder, Bruce Kania
Who is Bruce Kania, inventor of BioHaven® floating islands, and President & CEO of Floating Island International and WaterRR?
Floating Island International (FII) was established in 2005 – but the story starts much earlier. Bruce Kania, FII’s founder and visionary, realized that there was a problem with the waterbodies on his property in Shepherd, Montana. A novel solution ensued from the curious mind of an avid outdoorsman and inventor.
Bruce grew up on the outskirts of Milwaukee, WI, and somehow got the fishing and hunting bug as a young kid. His grandmother taught him how to snare rabbits, so he frequently came home from his paper route with food for the family. While a student at the University of Wisconsin, his entrepreneurial tendencies mated with his interest in outdoors journalism to produce the Outdoor News of Marinette County, a tabloid showing all the best places to hunt and fish…. which, of course, involved Bruce in a lot of hands-on research!
His extensive knowledge of the waters of Northern Wisconsin inevitably led to many close encounters with “floating bogs”, which are the bane of marina owners and nirvana for fishermen. If you want to see people fishing in Chippewa Flowage, for example, go and find a floating bog island.
Bruce’s expectation of a basketball scholarship had been derailed when, at the age of sixteen, he lost his leg in an accident. During his recuperation, he gained a strong sense of vocation: he wanted to do good in the world and run a “think tank” – visions he still holds to this day. After graduating college, he moved to Montana, where he became a private inventor, initially in the hunting and fishing arena, where he would conceptualize an idea, prototype it, then license it for commercialization.
His first major success combined his love of the outdoors with his skill in problem-solving to improve the lives of amputees. Being a hefty 6’ 8” himself, and very active by nature, he was utterly frustrated by the lack of a comfortable interface between his residuum (stump) and his prosthetic leg. The discomfort felt on long hikes and fishing trips motivated him to make it easier for all amputees to lead active lives by making a cushioning device that brought together custom-fit comfort in an off-the-shelf package (the series of products known as the Alpha Liner).
Ensuing royalties enabled Bruce to purchase a property where water was the key feature: a 240-acre block overlooking the Yellowstone River in Shepherd, MT, replete with spring creeks and seeps, a mile of river frontage and served by the big irrigation ditch that runs through Billings.
In the summer, his blond-haired hunting dogs would come out red after swimming in a lake on the property that was choked with algae. Finding a solution to this problem gave Bruce the longed-for opportunity to put his innovation talents towards working with water and fish. He drew upon the floating bogs for inspiration. Over time, Bruce developed a man-made floating wetland based on his knowledge of how nature cleans water; he later realized he was practicing biomimicry.
Bruce set out to show that constructed FTWs, FII’s BioHaven Floating Islands, can be placed in virtually any waterbody to solve prolific contamination issues. The property in Shepherd became FII’s research and development facility. Through trial and error and with lots of collected data, Bruce would prove his theory. In fact, many pre-BioHaven beta products are still in use – a testament to his success.
Successfully patenting this technology paved the way for product commercialization. Bruce implemented an operating model based on licensing the BioHaven technology to partner companies aligning themselves with holistic solutions to clean water. These licensees design, manufacture, implement and deploy the technology, which leaves room for FII and Bruce to continue research and development. WaterRR is the result of continued innovation and forward-thinking in fixing water.
Floating Island International’s new subsidiary, WaterRR, generates value from wastewater while cleaning water and protecting our climate.
By any definition, Bruce Kania is living his dream to do good in the world and lead a think-tank. He is the first to deflect attention from his own contribution and acknowledge the success of the entire team, from early collaborators, staff and investors to today’s licensees and distributors worldwide, and the network of champions everywhere. His belief in serving the environment through a for-profit corporation continues to drive the commercialization of FII and WaterRR and leads him to seek not donors, but investment partners.
Check out our offering on StartEngine and invest in WaterRR today!
The WaterRR Team