Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I was born in England and lived in Saudi Arabia for several years as a child before my family moved to Whidbey Island, Washington. I grew up on an organic farm on the island and enjoyed sports and music as a young man. I ultimately earned music scholarships to college and played jazz trombone professionally for a number of years as a young man. Within several years, I embarked on a career in commercial real estate, managing high profile assets across the US, including terminals at JFK and LAX international airports and shopping centers including River Oaks District and The Mall at Short Hills.
In 2018, as the General Manager of The Mall at Short Hills, we completed a 3.5MW solar project on the property. The experience was so impactful I chose to return to university to pursue a graduate degree in sustainability, ultimately graduating with an MBA from Yale in 2021. It was through this process that I launched NPV Solar to remove barriers to entry for commercial real estate owners in their pursuit of solar solutions that help them achieve their financial and ESG goals.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
I would donate a significant portion but I would withhold enough to create a charitable organization that could provide employment and services for those in need. I am interested in this idea of creating a self-sustaining engine that continuously provides jobs and gives back to my communities for years to come.
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
We’re seeing the impact of climate change now more than ever. It is imperative we find new and different ways to live and engage in commerce that reduce our negative impact on the planet to ensure future generations have a chance to live and enjoy this incredible world.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
While sustainability used to be a nice-to-have, it is now a necessity for most companies. I believe solar will similarly follow suit. Solar solutions are not only a way to provide energy, but maximize the value of an asset, increase energy independence and resilience, and reduce the carbon footprint of an operation. In 10 years, I believe a majority of commercial real estate portfolios will participate in solar solutions, whether through on-site arrays or via participation in community solar programs. To get there, I believe more states across the nation will financially incentivize the adoption of solar and will reduce barriers to entry to streamline the process.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Everything and anything. From small daily actions like turning off the lights when leaving a room, recycling, or adjusting the thermostat when away, to much larger decisions like which car to buy or where and how to travel on vacation, we each have the power to collectively make a major impact. Positively impacting the environment is similar to voting. Don’t convince yourself your actions don’t matter. The reality is, they matter a great deal. Focus on the things you can control and do your best everyday. You’ll make a big difference.