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Just months after graduating from Penn State, SCASD alum Hunter Swisher is already making huge waves with Phospholutions, the startup company he founded as an undergrad.

A Plant Sciences major, Hunter was inspired by a promising sustainable turf management technology invented by one of his professors—so inspired that after some thorough researching, he applied for the Happy Valley Launchbox, Penn State Summer Founders Program, and Ben Franklin TechCelerator to help him materialize his vision. All three accelerator programs accepted him.

What resulted was Phospholutions and its flagship product RhizoSorb, a turf maintenance product with a plethora of unique benefits. RhizoSorb provides a more stable source of nutrients for better and deeper root growth. It also soaks up and holds fertilizer in the soil, reducing up to 98% of fertilizer from washing away and causing damage to aquatic ecosystems. Because of this, it even pays for itself over time.

“Fertilizer is the largest expense for turf maintenance behind labor,” Hunter explains. “Being applied once a year and building in the soil over time, RhizoSorb will significantly reduce the amount of fertilizer and water needed. It’s a product that sells itself.”

And sell itself it has. Phospholutions has now officially launched RhizoSorb to the market in the turf industry. It is currently being used on golf courses, athletic fields, and residential and commercial lawns in 13 states. In May, Penn State celebrated RhizoSorb’s first full-course application to none other than the Penn State Golf Courses.

Hunter, who attended Lemont/Houserville Elementary, Park Forest Middle School and State High, has no doubt that State High’s resources were crucial to how his early success has panned out.

“Every time someone asks me how I got involved in my field at such an early age, I always respond that my high school was amazing and offered such a variety of classes that allowed me to discover exactly what I wanted to do with my career,” says Hunter. “When I showed up for orientation at Penn State, I knew exactly what major and minors I wanted to pursue.”

Hunter points out that it’s unique enough to know what you want to do with your life when you first get to college, let alone early in high school.

“It was State High classes, like botany with Mrs. Knight or horticulture with Mr. Heasley, that allowed me to teach elementary students how to grow lettuce in a hydroponic system indoors my senior year,” he says. “It turns out, the next two years I’d spend my mornings in the greenhouses by the Creamery building commercial-sized hydroponic systems.”

Phospholutions is moving full steam ahead, having launched other home and garden products and started the process of getting organic certification. The company recently grew to ten people plus a scientific advisory board, and is in the early stages of working with some large companies on remediation projects in severely polluted bodies of water.

“We are moving much quicker than we’ve ever anticipated,” says Hunter, “and we’re excited to keep the momentum going!”