About Us

Long Story Short

SAROS began as a Senior Design Project at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, with a goal to prove it was possible to pressurize water sufficiently to perform Reverse Osmosis (RO) using only wave energy. After graduation, Mechanical Engineers Chris Matthews and Justin Sonnett were given the opportunity to advance the SAROS technology and provide a solution for the water scarcity problem plaguing several island and coastal communities.

Laura Smailes joined the team to coordinate, manage and execute day-to-day activities of the company and together we formed a company, EcoH2O Innovations to oversee SAROS Desalination.

We have dedicated the past three years to 1) developing a simple design and implementation for end users 2) developing key partnerships with pump companies for our technology and with non profits for pilot studies and implementation and 3) maintaining our strong mission of developing a technology to provide clean water for those in need.

Meet The Team

Chris Matthews Co-Founder, Dir. of EngineeringCo-Creator, SAROS

Chris’ main engineering focus centers on mathematical and computer modeling as well as analysis of system characteristics and performance. Additionally, he focuses on the design and implementation of instrumentation and data acquisition methods for testing.

Justin Sonnett
Co-Founder, Dir. of R&DCo-Creator, SAROS

Justin’s role spans engineering and design in order to optimize unit performance and maximize customer value. This includes fabrication, implementation and testing of system improvements. He also keeps track of technological advancements throughout the industry and explores ways to incorporate these advancements into the development of the SAROS technology.

Laura Smailes
Co-Founder, Dir. of OperationsProject Manager, SAROS

While coordinating, managing and executing day-to-day activities of the company, Laura works with Senior Management staff on operational and R&D strategic plans for maximum output. She leads efforts in market research, customer discovery & development and maintaining key relationships with partners.

Karl Froelich
New Business DevelopmentOwner, Convergent Resources

As a business development consultant to SAROS, Karl brings many years of engineering, manufacturing, marketing, sales and business experience in the successful launch of new products into diverse markets including environmentally green products. He has been brought on the team to identify initial feasible markets and then create a strategy and plan to launch by creating partnerships with key customers and end users.

Fred Wagner
SAROS Concept Creator, Project SupporterPartner, Enventys

By being born into a family of inventors in California, innovation and product starts were an everyday occurrence, Fred started his first metal arts business in 1976 and hasn’t slowed down since. Today he is involved in multiple businesses and start-ups from women’s clothing to parking equipment, with SAROS Desalination being a major focus. By supporting SAROS, he is hoping to hoping to change the world’s water paradigm.

Fred is a long time member of Rotary International and active on the UNC Charlotte Board of Advisors for the College of Liberal Arts. He and his wife, Dale Halton, split their time between Colorado and Charlotte, NC.

Sherri Walker
SAROS Communication Specialist

Sherri joined the SAROS Team in May 2015 to focus on social media and blog content to promote the issues surrounding water scarcity and how SAROS is assisting with a solution. She has a M.A. in Communication Studies and served as an adjunct professor at UNC Charlotte. Sherri will be blogging regularly about current issues within the water sector.

Awards and Honors

Ocean Exchange
Savannah, GA
Finalist- 2016

Charlotte Venture Challenge 2015
Charlotte, NC
Top Charlotte Hauser Award
Hello Tomorrow
Paris, France
Semi-Finalist 2015
Thomas Edison Award 2014
Charlotte, NC
US Green Build Council North Carolina
St. Andrews Prize for the Environment
St. Andrews
Semi-Finalist- 2015

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Charlotte Office

3120 Latrobe Dr. Suite 279

Charlotte, NC 28211

Wilmington Office

311 Judges Road, Unit 13D

Wilmington, NC 28405