A look at Lake Quivira resident Ray Ansari’s Hybrid Cube innovation

Ray Ansari, founder and CEO of Hybrid Energy
Ray Ansari, founder and CEO of
HCI Energy

By Dawn Gabel
With contributions from Lee Stiegemeier, Co-Founder, Circle Sideways
What do you get when you combine a used shipping container, a wind turbine, solar panels and a hydrogen fuel cell? You have a portable containerized power solution that is poised to meet a variety of critical human needs around the globe.
“While I did not invent those things, I came up with the idea of putting them together in a proprietary combination,” said Ray Ansari, founder and CEO of HCI Energy, LLC. “My goal is to use this product to help communities solve common problems more cost-effectively and efficiently in everything from disaster relief to telecommunications to military operations.”
The Hybrid Cube, as it’s called, was developed by Quivira resident Ray Ansari and is now being put into production for use worldwide. In fact, Clay County, Missouri, will be one of the first locations to benefit from the renewable power generated by a Cube. The county plans to use it to provide reliable backup to the

This Cube installation, solar panels deployed, sits north of Liberty, MO
This Cube installation, solar panels deployed, sits north of Liberty, MO

telecom infrastructure used by its police force. Ultimately, by ensuring officers have the ability to receive and monitor calls, dispatch radio communications to those in the field and communicate with constant up-time, the region will benefit from improved public safety.
In addition to local interest in the Hybrid Cube, service providers, companies, non-profit organizations and even governments have expressed the desire to leverage the benefits this innovation has to offer.
The evolution of the solution
Armed with an electrical engineering degree and an MBA, Ray spent more than two decades traveling the world as an energy industry executive. During those travels, he recognized that while energy was generally available in developed cities, reliable power was rare in remote areas. This is frequently due to a combination of scarce resources, unreliable transportation and complex environmental conditions. Having worked on various wastewater, power and fuel cell-related issues, Ray put his knowledge and experience to work to develop a reliable, reusable energy source that could be self-contained and distributed to even the most remote location for dozens of applications.
“For the last 12 years I have been designing hydrogen fuel cells. Prior to that, I designed skid-mounted wastewater treatment solutions. With those experiences under my belt, designing the Cube was a logical transition for me. After working to get the initial design just right, I filed a patent for our product and in 2016 the patent was granted,” Ray said.
During the much anticipated wait for that exciting news, Ray began building the HCI Energy team and working on a prototype.
Historically, when remote, off-grid users needed reliable power, they installed an environmentally hostile diesel generator, which required a continuous supply of diesel fuel and consistent technical support. This ongoing requirement for fuel and technical support presented inherent problems with system reliability and greatly increased total cost of ownership. Perhaps most significantly, when fuel or support was compromised, power ceased.
Therefore, Ray designed the Hybrid Cube to utilize readily available renewable wind and solar energy to feed the onboard battery storage. Additionally, it can combine components from a variety of manufacturers and run on natural gas, hydrogen, methanol or methane, depending on what is most readily available to the customer and the installation location’s fuel infrastructure. By housing the components in a standard ISO shipping container, the Cube is highly portable via standard international transportation channels and protocols.
In his travels around the globe, Ray spent a great deal of time in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, China, India and the Philippines. While there he realized the Cube would have even broader appeal if it could be modified to address needs beyond power production. Utilizing his background in the wastewater industry, he designed a drinking water and wastewater package that could be integrated within the Cube’s footprint. This flexibility is part of its desirability from a broad array of potential customers.
Ray noted, “What we have created is called a hybrid package, and it is really nothing new. However, we utilize off-the-shelf products and integrate them into a package that can provide reliable power, clean drinking water and sewage treatment to end users, all while reducing fuel consumption, capital costs and the need for ongoing technical support. Our specialty is truly the integration of components in a controlled environment.”
An added benefit of this controlled environment is the Cube’s ability to retract its wind turbine and solar panels during inclement weather, while the fuel cell and generator provide continuous power. This automation protects the solution from potential damage by storms or high winds. The containerized design also minimizes the potential for theft.
In addition to reliable clean energy, the Hybrid Cube has another byproduct–American jobs. HCI Energy is working to develop strategic partnerships with U.S. companies to create manufacturing jobs that take care of every step of the process, from design and development to installation and operation.

Ray stands next to a Cube under construction
Ray stands next to a Cube under construction

A fit for numerous situations
To say that the applications for this product are vast is an understatement. First, the shipping container design ensures the Hybrid Cube can be transported via truck, rail, ship or even helicopter. That makes remote locations a non-issue for the solution. If disaster hits, and even the most accessible location becomes inaccessible due to destruction, the Hybrid Cube can literally be a lifesaver.
“In Greensburg, Kansas, when the EF5 tornado ripped through the town in 2007, rescue workers and townspeople had to drive for hours for hotel stays. In a similar instance, a Hybrid Cube energy package would allow cleanup crews to remain close by, using portable housing,” Ray explained.
Insurance companies and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Association) are interested in this solution for its many applications. FEMA, for example, could choose to install and secure these units prior to a hurricane coming ashore. After the storm passes, the units would automatically open up and start providing power and drinking water for the people whose lives are affected. Similarly, if natural gas and diesel lines are shut down due to an earthquake, the Hybrid Cube could have a major impact in a population’s ability to quickly recover.
Meanwhile, government officials in Canada have connected with Ray to address excess spending required to deliver water to native populations in remotely located communities in the Yukon. Many of the locations have been using gas wells that have gone dry, so now they have very few diesel-powered generators running to make do. In fact, the lack of power has made it so that about 180 communities in North America don’t have a wastewater treatment plant that runs consistently, thereby creating health issues.
Groups like Asia Development Bank and World Bank also see the Hybrid Cube as a solution to water purity and scarcity issues, in addition to the need for reliable, clean power in remote locations and small villages.
Currently, several models of the Cube exist for use “out of the box” to address various needs, but the HCI Energy team can completely tailor an energy package for a specific customer as needed.
“All of my life I have looked at simplifying products for simplifying life,” Ray shared. “After working on projects to address the aftermath of natural disasters or improve conditions in unreliable grid or off-grid regions, I’m proud that HCI Energy stands to make a positive global impact in the lives of so many. This is truly a dream come true.”
To follow Ray and the HCI Energy team’s journey, visit hcienergy.com.

A Summary of the April 25, 2017 Board Meeting

President Sestak opened the meeting and invited attending members to share comments or ask questions.
Mayor Mike Olson reminded the Board that July 4th is quickly approaching, and the City will once again provide an outstanding fireworks presentation for the community. Last year, the dam was closed from noon through the evening, and he will seek the same assistance from Safety & Security this year. Mayor Olson thanked the approximately sixty volunteers who participated in the Fred Braun cleanup day held last weekend.
Finally, Mayor Olson applauded the Board for developing and enforcing the quarantine policies for the lake. He shared that one of his customers has a small lake which recently became infected with zebra mussels, and he was shocked at how quickly they impacted the lake. The City strongly supports the efforts with their ordinance, and he expressed appreciation for the sustained attention gate personnel provide in controlling this potential problem.
Presidents Report
President Sestak provided an update on the search for the new General Manager. Three very strong candidates were identified, and the conclusion by the Search Committee was each of them had the requisite skills to do the job. The Board selected its top candidate; unfortunately, he declined the offer. The other candidates have been interviewed by the Board, including one that was interviewed just prior to tonight’s Board meeting. Feedback on this candidate from the Board was very positive.
Ms. Bowker made the following motion: “I move that the Board approve Geary Goss as the selection of the next General Manager of Quivira, Inc. and authorize President Sestak to negotiate an employment agreement with Mr. Goss.” Motion approved unanimously.
Safety & Security Committee
Ms. Walker updated the Board on a request by Chris Neuer, who is building a home on Apache, to obtain approval to hire a security company to work the west gate during initial stages of construction. The personnel working the gate would be reimbursed by Mr. Neuer and trained by our security staff to ensure that rules related to construction traffic are followed. The General Manager approved the initial agreement based on his belief that using the west gate would save a considerable amount of truck traffic from driving on the streets around the lake. Additionally, using the west gate for construction traffic for this specific project will provide relief from the daily heavy traffic at the main gate. Ms. Walker and other committee members met with Dennis for clarification on his initial approval of using the gate. Following a discussion, they agreed with his assessed value of limiting construction traffic.
Mayor Olson spoke of his concern over the possible backup of truck traffic on Renner Road. He requested Mr. Neuer to provide a third-party traffic study. Additionally, the Board felt it would be important for members to understand that access and regress through this gate would only be allowed by trucks servicing this project. The gate will be shut when construction traffic is absent.
Mr. Braun made a motion “to approve use of the west gate for the Neuer project pending an acceptable safety plan approved by the City of Lake Quivira”. Motion approved
Ms. Walker advised the Board that committee-approved safety signs will be placed in front of the Preschool Center and Pro Shop. This is being done in an effort to enhance the safety awareness of individuals driving on this street during preschool hours and summer recreation season.
Marketing Committee
Ms. Bowker reported on a recent open house event held in an effort to recruit new members. The new member count for 2017 now stands at five, and members are encouraged to refer friends or family interested in membership to contact Lisa Phlegar.
Golf Committee
Mr. Markley reminded the Board the water feature on Hole #15 is not repairable. The plan is to fill the pond with water this summer and begin accepting design bids from contractors to replace the existing feature. Once a design is agreed upon by the committee, the plan and cost estimate will be presented to the membership.
Lake & Residential Committee
Mr. Nelson reminded the Board that last November, the committee adopted a rule limiting the type of sand allowed to be used near the lake and dock sites. The sand must be cured by a kiln-dried process and procured from an approved vendor. Currently, Kaw Valley is the only approved vendor. The purpose for this procedure is to ensure sand is cleared of any possible zebra mussel larvae infestation. The notice of this proposed rule change was published in The Quiviran in December 2016; however, the Board never officially voted on this rule following the notice period. Motion made and approved.
Mr. Nelson informed the Board on the committee’s goal to specifically review the roads and storm water infrastructure at Lake Quivira. Within three months, he hopes to provide a report of the issues and associated actions. He mentioned the committee unanimously agreed to using an impact fee to help fund these projects. President Sestak asked Mr. Nelson and Mr. Braun to prepare and approve a recommendation to present at the Board meeting.
Mr. Nelson reported tat the committee has preliminary proposals from several engineering firms and will recommend the preferred firm at the next Board meeting. He spoke about potential funding sources including the Army Corp of Engineers and Johnson County Water Fund.
Tennis Committee
Ms. Walker introduced Jon Renberger as the new Tennis Professional. Mr. Renberger is currently an English teacher and tennis coach at Olathe South High School. His duties with the Lake Quivira tennis program will begin in mid May.
Restrictions Committee
Mr. Braun spoke about a growing community trend of building out-shelters, i.e. sheds, playhouses, tree houses, and noted we may want to consider what and how many may be allowed.
Mr. Braun spoke about an issue with getting information to newer homeowners and others planning to build or remodel as they seemed to be confused on the steps in the process. There is a discussion on possibly changing meeting dates of the BZA Meeting and the Restrictions Committee Meeting, so there would be a week or two in between the two meetings. There have also been complaints about dumpsters used on these projects. Mr. Braun noted there are no rules on dumpsters, and the committee will discuss this topic at a future meeting.
Mr. French spoke about the difficulty committees have when dealing with an issue and having to rely on old and antiquated rules. Committees can request a change in our rules; however, the change must be posted in The Quiviran for thirty days of member notice prior to Board approval.
House Committee
Ms. Boling stated a proposed rule change increasing the cancellation notice period was published in The Quiviran last month and no comments were received. Ms. Boling made a motion, “to institute a 48-hour cancellation notice for events at the Clubhouse that require reservations.” Motion approved.
Strategic Planning Committee
President Sestak announced the committee is working to schedule member review sessions to obtain feedback on the options presented at the Annual Meeting. These sessions will be at the Clubhouse, with separate sessions for community infrastructure, member amenities, and golf amenities. The committee is also working on a member survey to send to all members after these sessions are completed to get some indication of member support. President Sestak mentioned they are working closely with the City on evaluating options for the front entrance.
New Business
Committees were asked by President Sestak to submit new committee member appointments.
Finance and Administration – Dave Starr
Marketing – two open spots
Golf – Mike Lutz and Jack Carson
Tennis – Robin Kistler, Geof Gehring and Lisa Vedock
Safety and Security – Susan Wiens
Restrictions – Greg Prieb
Lake and Residential – Thomas Brown
House – Kem Anderson (one open spot)
Strategic Planning – Jon Stewart
Associate – Don Resch and Chris Rone (one open spot)
Motion made and unanimously approved to appoint all new members to their respective committees. President Sestak asked that remaining open committee positions be filled within the next few weeks.
General Manager’s Report
Mr. Nighswonger previewed the events booked in May. Currently, there are eight golf tournaments and 22 weddings booked this year.
In March, revenue was under plan by $3,000, but expenses were lower by $16,500, or a net positive variance of $13,500. A significant portion of the lower expenses was Golf Maintenance which was $9,800 lower than budget. Through March, financial results are better than plan. Clubhouse revenue is lower than last year, but most of that is due to Easter falling in April this year. Strong Easter Brunch results will be reflected in the April statements. Net Operating Income through March is $12,400 better than plan compared to the shortfall of nearly $2,000 at the end of February.

Rule Change (Sand used at Docksites)

All sand used for dock site construction, including but not limited to wall and deck construction, beaches, landscaping, etc., must be kiln dried (heat treated) and purchased from a Quivira, Inc. approved vendor.
Proof of purchase, including type, quantity, and vendor must be provided to Quivira, Inc. Security personnel prior to entrance into the community. Any deviation from this procedure can be subject to a fine up to $2000 as determined by the Quivira, Inc. Board of Directors.

President’s Report – May 2017

By Steve Sestak, President, LQ Board of Directors

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has selected Geary Goss to serve as our next General Manager. Geary has accepted and is scheduled to start on Monday, May 15. A Welcome Reception will be organized soon to formally introduce Geary to the membership. Please take the time to introduce yourselves and help him feel welcome to our community.
Dennis Nighswonger will be retiring at the end of May. A retirement reception is scheduled on Friday, May 26, to give him some well-deserved recognition. As you know, Dennis came out of retirement three years ago to assume our General Manager position. He has worked extremely hard to improve our country club operations, upgrade staff performance and member experience and increase our financial results. On the latter, our operating revenues have increased more than 12 percent during Dennis’s tenure, and we made an operating profit (or very close) each and every year. Lake Quivira is a better place because of Dennis, and I would appreciate you taking the time to thank him as he winds down his time with us.
The next step in the Strategic Planning process is to obtain member feedback on the various strategic options that have been presented. It is up to you to decide which options are included, changed or discarded as we work to develop a Master Plan to guide us into the future. Nothing gets done at Lake Quivira without member support. To facilitate this feedback process, member review sessions will be scheduled in May, and a member survey will be sent in June to all members to determine the level of support of each option. Please take the time to contribute to this very important process.
Busy season is rapidly approaching. As the weather warms up, the vibrancy of our active community has come back to life. We received some much-needed rain which has refilled the lake. Summer programs are actively being planned and the beautification efforts in our community have been impressive. Through March, our financial results are running better than plan thanks in large part to an uptick in banquet revenue and diligent expense management. The best thing about our community is there is not enough time in the day to enjoy all of things you like to do. I guess this is a good problem to have!

From the Clubhouse Manager and Chef. . .

Happy May to everyone! May is one of my favorite months of the year. One can still get spring-like weather, but summer always gets in there with much warmer temps. There are so many events in the month, where do I start?
Our new menu we rolled out in early April, which features our Chophouse options, has been extremely well received. I have heard so many compliments about the salmon and steak options and how well they are prepared. Everyone has really liked the option of making their own meals within the Chophouse menu. If you haven’t been up to the Clubhouse for lunch or dinner in a while, please make the effort to come up and see what everyone is raving about.
We will also be offering a new breakfast menu beginning the first Saturday in May. We have not made a change in the breakfast menu in quite some time, and we felt it needed some freshening up. Please come up and have breakfast or brunch with us.
Mother’s Day brunch is approaching fast. We will be offering an extensive buffet menu for all of the mothers and their families. Please make sure to make your reservation with Shannon so you do not miss out on treating mom to the best brunch in town.
In the event sector of the Clubhouse we have a very busy month with three weddings and a very large Kentucky Derby charity event. Two of the weddings will be using the patio for their ceremonies. I know this can cause some dissatisfaction with some members who would like to use the patio for dining on Saturday nights. Weddings are an important part of keeping the Clubhouse operating throughout the year, and we ask for your understanding while we showcase our beautiful venue to those who are not members of Lake Quivira.
On Fri., May 19, the Catfish Café/Beach Grill will be opening for the seasoning. The menu has been paired down slightly from last year, but all of the heavy hitters will still be available. Always know you can order whatever you would like from the main kitchen, but it may take a few minutes extra for it to be prepared and delivered down to the café.
At the end of the month we will have our annual Memorial Day cookout on the patio–Mon., May 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please make sure to stop by and enjoy some food from the grill for lunch.
Wow, so much activity, not to mention all of the golf and club events going on. Please make sure to stop by and see us; we would be happy to hold a table for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our retiring General Manager, Dennis Nighswonger. I have known Dennis for many years, and I feel very lucky to be able to call him a friend. Dennis gave me the opportunity to come to Lake Quivira to continue my career in private clubs, and I can’t thank him enough for allowing me to serve this wonderful membership. I wish Dennis all the best in his retirement, and I know he will enjoy having the free time to explore all of his many interests. Thank you, Dennis, for all you have done for the many memberships you have served, and for all of the employees you have mentored and have made better by passing along your wisdom.
Cheers,
~Mark Allen, Clubhouse Manager, and Chef Michael Lamping, Executive Chef