Two West Virginia natives make Forbes 30 under 30 list


MORGANTOWN, WV (WTRF)- Two local West Virginians are making big strides after graduating from WVU’s engineering department.

What started off as a college project has developed into a successful startup, landing the pair on this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Ohio Valley natives Kyle Gillis and James Carnes had no idea they would one day make the Forbes 30 under 30 list for their new startup, Iconic Air.

They were just following their passion.

These two may have grown up just miles apart, but they never actually met until college.

“A comment that we get a lot now is how much of a yin and yang we are. I’d say that him and I have a very similar life philosophy and general principles but when it comes to tactical skillsets and even just how we think of things day in, and day out, they’re so opposite ends of the spectrum, it ends up balancing things out for the company,” said Kyle Gillis, Co-Founder of Iconic Air.

Iconic Air is one of the world’s fastest-growing startups in the energy sector. It uses software to monitor emissions and data reporting for the oil and gas industry.

“We both were at a networking event for internships and stuff and at the time, Kyle had a pretty cool Youtube channel, doing a lot of videos around engineering, what it’s like being an engineering student and he invited me on his podcast,” said James Carnes, Co-Founder of Iconic Air.

The dynamic duo believes sustainability is the future in a time where the world is calling for higher standards due to climate change. The startup allows organizations to reach their emissions reduction goals.

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“We work with different companies that have all these pieces of technology that are collecting the data and our platform, we analyze the data and create kind of beautiful results or insights to help these businesses make decisions,” said Carnes.

And while they’re out saving the planet, the two will never forget their West Virgnia roots.

“Shout out to Mozart. Shout out to Bishop Donahue, rest in peace. That’s where I went to school and it is literally who I am today,” said Gillis.

Both Kyle and James would like to thank West Virginia University for helping them to gain the skills and knowledge needed for the foundation of their company.

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