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DBT40 Honoree: Jo Norris

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Title: Co-founder and CEO

Workplace: Carbon Reform

Age: 28


As a young, queer, female founder in tech, Jo Norris has had a unique career journey.

She started as an artist, selling her first painting at age 16, but began focusing on technology after learning more about climate change and environmental concerns.

She first led the tech development of an autonomous vehicle meant to help dissolve algal blooms in surface water systems, before completing three years of Ph.D. research in materials science and engineering.

Norris dropped out to co-found Carbon Reform with Nick Martin, a 2021 DBT40 recipient. The company is building a carbon dioxide capture device that can be retrofitted with building HVAC units, removing the environmentally harmful gas from the air and storing it.

Norris has spearheaded development on core sorbent technology, built a team, iterated on mechanical design, and raised angel and venture capital.

Carbon Reform is piloting its technology in a local charter school network, and it hopes to implement a hiring program for formerly incarcerated individuals. As a startup it already has a fully-fledged DE&I plan, which includes blind hiring practices for recruitment.

Outside the office, Norris taught free painting classes through the Wilmington community organization, the Teen Warehouse, remotely during the pandemic.

In her free time, Norris paints murals in her home and office, often alongside her three cats: Babs, Thistle, and Cricket.

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