Design Alumnus Named One of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Social Entrepreneurship


Uriel Eisen, a graduate alumnus from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design, along with his team at Rorus, Inc. have been selected for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Social Entrepreneurship. Rorus Inc. makes water filters for disaster relief and developing countries.

Every day, 8,000 people die from drinking contaminated water. Rorus’ focus is on making water filters that continue to work when put in the hands of everyday people. Rorus is to be able to provide people with the basic tools to improve overall life quality. Clean drinking water is an important, basic need that Rorus aims to make more widely available.

“When I found out I had been selected for Forbes 30 Under 30 in their Social Entrepreneur section, I was really excited and humbled,” said Eisen. “Excited for the added awareness it would bring to the issue of safe drinking water and humbled by the huge amount of work that remains to make the change in the world on the scale that it is needed to get everybody access to safe drinking water.”

“The education I received at the School of Design comes up daily,” added Eisen. Uriel’s day-to-day is a combination of ideation, prototyping, design for manufacture, managing supply chain and “putting out fires as things come up.” In one day he will often spend a few hours drawing then take a break to put together some working prototypes for a presentation or user testing, then he’ll jump on the phone with one of Rorus’ suppliers or manufacturers to discuss some detail or arrange shipping. 

“While I was in school I was mostly focused on innovation and making, but neglected the importance of communication,” continued Eisen. “Now that I am working at Rorus, I understand that innovation and prototyping are only the beginning.  I then need to make compelling renderings to show investors and to get feedback on my ideas, make CAD models and spec sheets for manufacturers, and take product shots to populate our website and drive sales.

“Fortunately, these are all skills I learned at the School of Design and I now appreciate how essential they are for working in the context of a team to affect change.” 

Studying Design at Carnegie Mellon University gave Eisen the unique opportunity to work on interdisciplinary projects from robotics to costume design to biomedical engineering.

“The School of Design was a really positive and formative experience,” said Eisen. “When I was applying to college I only applied to CMU because it had a top design school and top engineering schools. This gave me the opportunity to constantly apply design skills on interdisciplinary teams across campus. The feedback on what skills made me valuable to projects, from simulating lunar landings in Earth’s gravity to designing and prototyping assistive robots, was invaluable.” 

The interdisciplinary skills that Eisen learned prepared him for the real world applications he would need to develop for the creation of Rorus Inc.

“The only way to test ideas is to make them tangible and concrete,” said Eisen. “Whether that is through drawing and rendering, modeling, or working prototypes the School of Design gave me the skills to move from ideas to testable prototypes extremely fast. This skill is incredibly valuable for any startup or business. I think that’s why you see graduates getting so many opportunities to choose from.”

“Having this education has put me in a position to shape the future in very real ways.”

Learn more about Rorus, Inc. >>

Read about Forbes' 30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship >>

Date Published: 
Friday, February 24, 2017
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