The February 15th edition of the WSSI newsletter included a notice of a $97,000 NIH Phase I SBIR grant award to Pronghorn Engineering of Casper. Dr. Charlotte Gruner, founder and president of Pronghorn Engineering, is building a remarkable record in the SBIR program – she is four for four in winning awards. The recently announced NIH award is the latest of two WSSI Phase 0 awards and two NIH Phase I awards.
Her entry into the SBIR program resulted from a suggestion by her father that she look into the program as a source of seed capital to develop a software product for use by researchers in the neurosciences. That she took this bit of fatherly advice is instructive.
After acquiring her BS in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Charlotte entered the electrical engineering graduate program at Rice University in Houston, receiving M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering. The Pronghorn Engineering development program is a continuation of her thesis research into understanding how neurons code and process information. The product Pronghorn is developing is a software toolbox for the analysis of single and ensemble neural spike-train data based on advanced signal processing methods.
After learning the above, your correspondent was curious about why such an enterprise would be located in Casper, Wyoming. Interestingly, the story is connected to the nationally ranked Casper Troopers drum and bugle corps. Charlotte came to Casper to be a member of this award-winning group and, while learning the intricacies of the Trooper’s maneuvers, met Daron, her future husband. Charlotte, Daron and their now three-year-old daughter returned to Casper so that he could pursue his energy-related business interests. Subsequently, Charlotte founded Pronghorn Engineering. Casper and Wyoming are pleased that she did. Her determination and success in the SBIR program is an inspiration to us all. Congratulations Charlotte!