2 of 6
Look for a greener pasture
Look for a greener pasture

Daniel Gizaw, 53
Founder and CTO
Danotek Motion Technologies
Canton, Mich.

The engineer switched from a shrinking domestic industry, automaking, to a growing global one: wind power.

Growing up on a farm in Ethiopia, Daniel Gizaw had no choice but to get by on his own ingenuity. If his father's tractor broke, they had to fix it themselves. That led to studies in electrical engineering in Poland and Germany, and immigration to the U.S. in the 1980s.

"My forte is finding solutions to the worst problems," Gizaw says.

General Motors saw that quality when the automaker recruited Gizaw to develop its first electric car, the EV1 vehicle, which hit the road briefly in the 1990s.

Gizaw figured he could innovate better outside a giant company, so he recruited two colleagues and founded Danotek to build superefficient wind turbines.

Gizaw took advantage of startup funding available through support networks like metro Detroit's Automation Alley. Now a renewed emphasis on wind power -- especially in Europe -- is giving the company a power surge of growth.

Gizaw's advice to workers downsized by Detroit's woes: "Don't limit yourself to the sector you're in. Look into growing industries and ask, 'What can I offer?'"

NEXT: Learn how to go it alone
Last updated October 21 2010: 8:13 AM ET
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.41%4.44%
15 yr fixed3.33%3.31%
5/1 ARM3.34%3.55%
30 yr refi4.39%4.41%
15 yr refi3.31%3.30%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
More Galleries
8 CEOs who took a pay cut in 2013 Median CEO pay inched up 9% in 2013 to $13.9 million. But not everyone got a bump last year. Here are eight CEOs who missed out. More
10 best convertibles now that spring has sprung It's finally time to put the top down. Here are our 10 favorite rides for the warmer months to come. More
10 best founding teams The most effective co-founders pair vision with fortitude to launch a business. Here are some of the best examples through the years. More
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.