This report highlights 46 North Bay professionals in various fields who have been leading development and implementation of environmentally sustainable technologies, such as solar electric and geothermal energy, erosion control for better stream water quality and energy-efficient construction.
(Listed alphabetically by last name.)
(Click here to see photo gallery.)
Chief executive officer, KriStar Enterprises; 360 Sutton Pl., Santa Rosa 95407; 707-524-8181; www.kristar.com
Doug Allard has been on the forefront of controlling storm water erosion since he started KriStar Enterprises in 1993.
As federal and state regulations related to clean water and endangered species protection have increased, KriStar’s line of products designed to keep washed-away pollutants such as sediment and petrochemicals out of waterways broadened. At the height of the construction boom, KriStar had 40 percent market share for stormwater management products such as fiber roll and fabric bag filters.
In 2008, Mr. Allard formed Cudo Stormwater Systems as more water-quality regulators called for construction sites not only to have slower and cleaner storm water flow offsite but also to mimic the hydrological conditions of the site before construction, called low-impact development. Cudo Cube modular underground water-retention products include a tree-box cistern and a system for improving the sediment-sifting action of bioswales. —Jeff Quackenbush
President, chief executive officer, Deposition Sciences Inc.; 3300 Coffey Ln., Santa Rosa 95403; 707-573-6700; www.depsci.com
Lee Bartolomei and optical coating company Deposition Sciences Inc. have been working on halogen lighting since the company was founded 25 years ago. Now, Philips Lighting and DSI are working together to meet the challenge of a probable ban on traditional incandescent bulbs.
According to Mr. Bartolomei, halogen bulbs give similar light to incandescent, but they last for two years and are twice as efficient. Also, they don’t contain mercury like compact fluorescent bulbs, making them much safer to dispose of.
Regular halogen lights produce 14 to 20 lumens per watt. Energy-saving halogen bulbs produce 24 to 28 lumens per watt currently. DSI is working to increase that number to 45, which is expected to be the mandated minimum in the United States by 2020.
Mr. Bartolomei, who received a master’s of science in mechanical engineering at U.C. Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Santa Clara, is the founder of DSI and has served as DSI’s president, CEO and chairman of the board since the company’s inception in 1985.
Mr. Bartolomei has 43 years of experience in the optical coating industry. He worked for Optical Coating Laboratory Inc. for nearly 20 years, holding the position of senior vice president of operations before he left to found DSI.
Mr. Bartolomei holds several patents for precision optical coatings, optical components and coating deposition processes. —Loralee Stevens
Founder and estate winemaker, Benziger Family Winery; 1883 London Ranch Rd., Glen Ellen, 95442; www.benziger.com; 707-935-3000
Mike Benziger, 58, started the family down a nearly 30-year progression from conventional viticulture — chemical growth, pest and weed control and ample use of fresh water — to agricultural methods that use naturally occurring controls, such as beneficial insects and planetary motion, as well as water recycling and reduction in direct and indirect emissions of gases blamed for climate change. Conversion of vineyards to Biodynamic certification started in 1996 and was completed in 2000, and viticulture methods Benziger uses with its 50 growers were formalized into a sustainability certification program in 2005.
By 2007, all Benziger wines were certified sustainable, organic or Biodynamic. —Jenna V. Loceff
Vice president of sustainability and vice president of production estates, Jackson Family Wines; 1190 Kittyhawk Blvd., Santa Rosa, 95403; www.kj.com; 800-769-3649
Robert Boller has more than 22 years of wine business experience in a broad spectrum of positions split evenly between operations, marketing and sales. The last nine years at Jackson Family Wines include roles as vice president of sustainability, production and marketing. The prior four years were at Southcorp Wines, formally Australia’s largest wine company, as senior marketing manager of North and Latin America.
Over the last two-and-a-half years he’s developed and implemented the corporate responsibility program at Jackson. The platform is based on third party certifications from the LEED, ISO 14001 and Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) standards and uses the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework for accounting. Mr. Robert is a certified auditor for ISO and GRI.
The first phase Jackson’s program has largely focuses on environmental aspects. In the first two years processes and equipment have been modified to conserve the amount of electricity equal to 1,500 home’s usage and emissions from 750,000 gallons of gasoline. —Jenna V. Loceff
Founder, General Hydroponics; P.O. Box 1576; Sebastopol, CA 95473; 800-374-9376; www.generalhydroponics.com
Lawrence Brooke graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1974. Following graduation, Lawrence was employed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a technical scientific coordinator in the mechanical engineering department.
During his tenure at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, Mr. Brooke designed a series of hydroponic systems for home gardening. This led to the founding of General Hydroponics Inc. in 1976. In the years that followed Mr. Brooke collaborated with numerous scientists who came to UC Davis from around the world to work in advanced hydroponic research. This collaboration led to a huge improvement in the quality of hydroponic system and nutrient technology. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, One Sun Solar, P.O. Box 532, Graton 95444, www.solarbydesignllc.com; 707-824-1951
After 30 years in construction, Warren Brown in 2001 began focusing exclusively on design and installation of solar-electric systems for businesses and municipal facilities in Northern California through his company Solar by Design.
Mr. Brown is chairman of the North Coast Builders Exchange’s newly established Green Building Committee. He has been charged with setting up a high-tech green-building education center in Santa Rosa and overseeing training in such materials and methods for the exchange’s about 1,800 members. His local advocacy for renewable energy includes advising on local green-building ordinances.
One Sun Inc. specializes in the design and installation of commercial, industrial, municipal and agricultural grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems. The company is a licensed general and electrical contractor and offers the combination of solar technology expertise, comprehensive construction capability and business management experience. —Jenna V. Loceff
President and chief executive officer, ThermaSource; 3883 Airway Dr. #340, Santa Rosa 95403; www.thermasource.com; 707-523-2960
Starting out in the petroleum drilling industry, Louis Capuano moved into geothermal drilling in the 1980s, first for Hughes Aircraft Corp. and then as CEO of his own geothermal drilling consultancy ThermaSource.
During the past two years, answering the demand for more clean, sustainable geothermal power, Mr. Capuano has taken his company from a three-man operation to the largest geothermal drilling outfit in the world today, with 220 employees and a fleet of 10 drilling rigs. He has raised $93 million in venture and private capital.
“We expect to be a significant force in the exploration and drilling of geothermal wells globally,” he said. —Jenna V. Loceff
Owner and architect, Dwellsol Architecture, Interior Design and Planning; 2280 Bethards Dr. #5, Santa Rosa, 95405; www.dwellsol.com; 707-328-3731
Joshua Carrell is the owner and architect for Santa Rosa-based sustainable building and consulting company, Dwellsol Architecture, Interior Design, and Planning. Mr. Carrell has designed many environmentally friendly projects in the North Bay during nine years of work, including several affordable housing projects.
He has worked in Sonoma County for the past four years after starting his career in Minnesota and San Francisco. He earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture and environmental design from the University of Minnesota and his master‘s of architecture from the University of Oregon, where he was a graduate teaching fellow. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, chief executive officer, HydroPoint; 1720 Corporate Cir.; Petaluma 94954; 800-362-8774; www.hydropoint.com
Paul Ciandrini took the helm at HydroPoint after concluding the company’s technology lowers the cost of irrigation, requires no changes in behavior and is good for the environment as well.
“This is a rare confluence of positives,” he said.
HydroPoint’s automated irrigation control systems pull down a constant stream of satellite weather data and coordinate it with local moisture readings to determine when and how much water to apply to plants.
Mr. Ciandrini served in executive positions for several software companies, including the senior vice presidency of Oracle, before taking the position. He served as president of Plumtree Software Inc., where he facilitated the company’s acquisition by BEA Systems. He has an MBA from Rutgers University.
“Water management and conservation through automation will follow the same trajectory of business automation software once people connect the dots,” he said. —Loralee Stevens
General manager, Sonoma County Water Agency; 404 Aviation Blvd., Santa Rosa, 95403; www.scwa.ca.gov; 707-526-5370
Mr. Davis, as the general manger of the Sonoma County Water Agency, is responsible for management activities related to the Water Agency’s core functions of water delivery, wastewater management, flood protection, and environmental sustainability.
An emerging focus of the Water Agency’s operations is the development of a secure, clean and renewable energy portfolio to insulate the region’s water supply from outside supply and price shocks, ensuring reliability.
In development for water agency power use is Farms 2 Fuel, a biogas plant utilizing chicken manure, a partnership with Sonoma Green Energy and wind power. Lastly, 10-20MW of solar PV are being developed to sell through an enterprise fund.
According to Mr. Davis, “It is incumbent upon the agency to be looking ahead to find innovative solutions to the challenges we face today. Projects the water agency is undertaking are intended to be multi-benefit, providing security to our water supply while supporting broader regional benefits, including the creation of local jobs.”
Prior to joining the agency, Mr. Davis was executive director of The Bay Institute, a science-based nonprofit, dedicated to protecting the San Francisco Bay-Delta Watershed and improving water management in California.
Mr. Davis is currently involved in the University of California President’s Advisory Commission, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Governor of California’s Water Plan Advisory Commission, Bay Area Water Forum, California Utility Executives and Managers Foundation and the Bay Joint Venture. Mr. Davis received his bachelor’s of the arts in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. —Jenna V. Loceff
A fourth-generation winemaker through the Rossi and Concannon families, Paul Dolan, 58, has been a visionary for the future of the wine business as an early promoter of what has come to be known as “sustainable winegrowing.” He joined Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland in 1977 as winemaker and launched the first national organic wine brand, Bonterra, in 1991.
A year later, Brown-Forman Corp. acquired Fetzer and named Mr. Dolan president. He raised the awareness of the benefits of the “triple bottom line” of sustainable business — economic, ecological and social success — even within a cost-sensitive publicly traded company.
He took that message to the greater wine industry by helping to start the Wine Vision strategic think tank in 1999, contributing to the creation of the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing in 2002 and a year later publishing the green-wine manifesto “True to Our Roots,” showing how sustainability can be profitable. In 2004, he retired from Fetzer and joined Tim and Tom Thornhill in forming Mendocino Wine Co. and acquiring Parducci Wine Cellars. —Jenna V. Loceff
Senior green building consultant, Kema Sustainable Buildings and Operations; 8276 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati 94931; www.kemagreen.com; 510-207-2668
Working from Kema Sustainable Buildings and Operations’ Cotati and Oakland offices, Elizabeth Durney, 28, manages rating system development and LEED documentation, and leads seminars on green building, the LEED rating system and climate change.
She managed the update to Build It Green’s Green-Point green-building guidelines for multifamily, single-family and existing homes as well as the group’s Climate Calculator.
Clients include Codding Enterprises, city of Santa Rosa, Redwood Credit Union and Stop-Waste.org. —Jenna V. Loceff
Chief executive officer, Redwood Renewables; 6 Endeavor Dr., Corte Madera 94925; 415-924-8140; www.redwoodrenewables.com
An entrepreneur for 25 years, Tom Faust, 60, started Redwood Renewables in 2003 to produce photovoltaic arrays that look like and are installed like roof tiles rather than on various types of brackets and mounts on top of conventional shingles or tiles.
The company holds four patents on the SolTile technology, which was a finalist in the green building category of the 2007 Clean Tech Open competition.
Redwood Renewables received a $1.4 million grant to develop a complementary “cool roof” tile that reflects 30 percent to half the heat energy. The company has received a purchase order from a roofing company to produce $30 million in SolTile units. —Jeff Quackenbush
Senior vice president, Constellation Wines U.S.; Constellation Brands Inc., 370 Woodcliff Dr., #300 Fairport, NY 14450; 585-218-3600; www.cbrands.com
Greg Fowler is the senior vice president of Constellation Wines United States operations, overseeing production, winemaking and spirits and managing 19 wineries, more than 12,000 acres of vineyards, and an annual production of 48 million cases.
Last year Constellation launched a 4 mega-watt solar project, one of the largest such projects for the wine industry. The multimillion-dollar project includes 17,000 solar panels producing a total of 3.95 megawatts of direct-current power.
During his 30 years in the wine industry Mr. Fowler held winemaking and executive positions at Sterling Vineyards, Firestorne Vineyards in Santa Ynez — where he worked as assistant winemaker to the legendary André Tchelistcheff — Schramsberg Vineyard and Mumm Napa Valley, where he grew the company’s sparkling wine business from 12,000 cases to more than 250,000 cases. Mr.Fowler holds a Bachelor’s degree in fermentation science from University of California, Davis in 1976. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, Marin Sanitary Service; 1050 Andersen Dr., San Rafael 94901; www.marinsanitary.com; 415-456-2601
Patty Garbarino has declared Marin Sanitary’s goal is to add nothing at all to landfills. Under her father’s leadership, the trash collecting company initiated the first curb-side recycling program and built a substantial recycling center.
Ms. Garbarino carries on the pioneering spirit, advocating sweeping changes in the packaging industry and urging consumers across the nation to think about what they throw away.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Marin, she studied special education at U.C. Berkeley and taught for 11 years before going into her father’s business.
Ms. Garbarino was one of the first female members of the California Refuse Removal Council. She’s a board member of the Marin Conservation League and has served on the advisory committee for Marin County for Waste Management and the Hazardous Materials Management Sub-Committee, among many others. —Jenna V. Loceff
Founder and chairman, Clean Concrete Technologies; 555 Fifth St., #300D, Santa Rosa 95401; www.cleanconcrete.com
Jim Glessner, 48, and Richard McCabe started Ekocrete in Santa Rosa in December 2007 to develop strong “green” concrete, and early this year they received a patent for low embodied-energy concrete, called CleanCrete.
Certain traditional concrete now can contain more recycled materials such as flyash and aggregate, but reducing the amount of cement has been a goal. Cement manufacturing involves heat and chemical decomposition that releases carbon dioxide, making cement a source of as much as 7 percent of emissions of human-caused greenhouse gases. The CleanCrete mix uses 7.5 percent Portland cement, compared with 12 percent to 17 percent with common mixes.
More than 20,000 bags of the mix are being sold through Buddy Rhodes Concrete in San Francisco, but Mr. Glessner is scoping the Santa Rosa area for a research facility to develop a version for the mass markets and precast concrete factories. This year he expects to hire five to 15 more workers. —Jeff Quackenbush
Chairman, Sustainable Napa County; 1303 Jefferson St. #100-B, Napa 94559; www.sustainablenapacounty.org; 707-255-5555
Henry Gundling is the visionary that brought Sustainable Napa County into being. He saw the need to bring Napa business, agriculture, nonprofit and government entities into collaboration for long-term sustainability on environmental, economic and social levels.
“We’re on a mission to help people get informed about sustainability and be inspired to do the things they can do to make a difference,” he said.
Mr. Gundling is an investment adviser with UBS Financial Services. He’s currently a board member and vice president of the Gasser Foundation, Sustainable Napa’s founder. Under his leadership the Gasser Foundation installed a solar system on its Napa building and worked out a model to fund solar systems for other nonprofits. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, Codding Steel Frame Solutions; 1300 Valley House Dr., #100, Rohnert Park 94928; 707-665-0800; www.coddingsteel.com
J.R. Gunter, 48, came to Codding Steel Frame as president in September 2009 with 25 years of experience in construction, including owning prebuilt-structure innovator GV Custom Modular of Healdsburg until it closed in 2002.
Codding Steel is part of real estate owner and developer Codding Enterprises. As part of a changing company philosophy toward conservation of resources and energy, Codding Enterprises in 2007 invested $5 million into setting up a 50,000-square-foot factory to produce light-gauge steel panelized framing from recycled metal under a license from Canada-based Genesis Worldwide.
Electricity use at the plant is offset by a photovoltaic array, and steel used in manufacturing contains 35 percent to all recycled material.
Codding Steel started with a focus on providing quick-to-assemble panels for the 1,900 homes and commercial space at the ongoing Sonoma Mountain Village redevelopment project in Rohnert Park. Yet the scope expanded into commercial work and then to design, manufacturing and construction of wall panels and light-steel project components.
Possible benefits of steel construction include fewer indoor allergens, faster construction and little job-site waste. Such a building method is increasingly appearing in affordable-housing, retail and solar carport projects, according to Mr. Gunter. Codding Steel has formed manufacturing partnerships with retail chains for new stores and a major builder of photovoltaic carports. —Jeff Quackenbush
Executive director, Climate Protection Campaign; P.O. Box 3785, Santa Rosa 95402; www.climateprotectioncampaign.org; 707-525-1665 ext. 112
Ann Hancock is the co-founder and executive director for the Climate Protection Campaign, a nonprofit representing Sonoma County seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Through a partnership of local officials, city and county staff, teachers, business leaders and other community members, the group works to reduce the county’s emissions to 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015 through special projects, advocacy, policy and education.
Ms. Hancock founded the campaign in 2001 with her partner Mike Sandler and released a community action plan for reaching sustainability goals in October 2008. The plan can be viewed at www.coolplan.org.
She earned her master’s in public health administration and planning from U.C., Berkeley and her bachelor’s in applied behavioral sciences from U.C., Davis. —Jenna V. Loceff
Founder, chief executive officer, PAX Scientific; 1615 Fifth Ave. and F St.; San Rafael 94901; 415-256-9901; www.paxscientific.com
Jay Harman began his career as a naturalist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in Australia, but soon demonstrated a flair for invention, particularly in the field of fluidics. He built his own lightweight sailboat based on natural design and came to believe that industrial products should imitate the efficiencies of nature.
PAX Scientific is Mr. Harman’s fourth startup, from which he has spun off PAX Streamline, PAX Water Technologies and PAX Fans. His first product was an impeller with a design so elegant — it’s called the Lily — that it’s been featured in an exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Mr. Harman is an avid sailor. In addition to his self-designed and built sloop, he owns a 150-foot minesweeper, sister ship to Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso. —Loralee Stevens
Senior manager, Autodesk Inc.; 111 McInnis Parkway; San Rafael 94903; 415-507-5000; www.autodesk.com
John Kennedy was co-founder, president and COO of Green Building Studio in Santa Rosa, which developed a Web-enabled tool that allows users to assess the carbon footprint of schematic designs in minutes rather than days.
Acquired by Autodesk in 2008, Autodesk Green Building Studio and Green Building XML, used with Autodesk building information management (BIM) tools and Revit software, form the crux of Autodesk’s Sustainable by Design Program.
Aspects analyzed by Green Building Studio include whole building energy use and cost, water usage, wind energy and photovoltaic panel potential, natural ventilation potential, rain capture and low-flow capacity and carbon emissions. —Jenna V. Loceff
Founder and chief executive officer, iReuse LLC, P.O. Box 2358, Sausalito 94966; www.ireuse.com; 888-473-8731
Since founding his environmental consulting company more than five years ago, Ken Kurtzig has helped Autodesk, Delta Dental, Charles Schwab, Adobe, PG&E and Wells Fargo improve sustainability, and he’s more committed than ever. A recent milestone was signing a partnership with Green America to jointly develop a full sustainability tool for businesses. His responsibilities include sales, business development, product development and “anything else that no one else wants to do.” He recently hired an operations manager to handle consulting and marketing. His company, at 15 employees now, continues to grow in both staff and services. A new product is the iReuse tracking and reporting application. —Jenna V. Loceff
Principal and senior plan check engineer, Code Source / Code Green; 7064 Corline Ct., #D, Sebastopol 95472; www.codesourcecodegreen.com; 707-823-8489
Knowing that green building was the future of the construction industry, Rachel Lang, 52, and business partner Hilary Ransom formed Code Source / Code Green. It’s one of a core group of North Bay firms that local governments and builders call on for help in building code compliance, plan check and inspections.
The firm also helps them cope with the evolving realm of green-building rating systems such as Build It Green’s GreenPoint. The firm also tests energy performance according to HERS and PG&E standards.
She is a LEED Accredited Professional, Certified Access Specialist Program; CABEC Certified Energy Plans Examiners; GreenPoint rater for new and existing homes; HERS rater for New Homes, Existing Homes and Alterations, New Solar Homes PV and California Energy Star program; Green Home Energy Upgrade — Level 2. —Jenna V. Loceff
President and chief executive officer, LeDuc & Dexter Inc., Super Service Plumbing; 2833-A Dowd Dr., Santa Rosa 95407; www.leducanddexterplumbing.com; 707-575-1500
Tom LeDuc, 61, has worked in plumbing since 1966. He and Art Dexter incorporated the plumbing, heating and fire-protection contracting company in 1982, formed Super Service Plumbing in 1991 and expanded into commercial plumbing and fire systems in 1993 and into hydronics in 2003.
Mr. LeDuc was an early promoter of the GreenPlumbers program imported from Australia, and his company is one of three North Bay companies to be certified. LeDuc & Dexter is working with a number of companies — including multiple Sonoma County health clubs, a Dry Creek Valley winery and a Sebastopol inn — looking for ways to conserve water, heat domestic and pool water more efficiently and possibly install solar water heating systems.
He is a member of the North Coast Builders Exchange Green Building Committee and The Green Group of Sonoma County. He is a Certified Green Plumber in all five classifications (Caring for Our Water, Climate Care, Solar Hot Water, Water Efficient Technology), Florida Solar Energy Center Certified Solar Heating Professional and is preparing for the Certified Green Building Professional and California Building Performance Contractors Association Level 1 Certification examinations. —Jenna V. Loceff
Hugh Linn and Michael Long
Co-founders, Kantharos Process Water Systems; 1505 Fourth St., Napa 94559; 707-252-3379; www.kantharoswater.com
Hugh Linn, P.E., and Michael Long formed Kantharos as a joint venture to design, install and operate winery wastewater treatment systems.
The system they designed uses reverse osmosis together with a patented fouling-resistant vibratory shear enhanced processing, or VSEP, membrane filter supplied through a partnership with Emeryville-based New Logic Research.
A proof-of-concept test verified by U.C., Davis, the system was be able to safely reuse 90 percent or more of water for rinsing the inside of barrels, tanks and hoses while retaining three-quarters of the water heat used in cleaning and sterilization.
Mr. Linn, 44, is president and one of the partners in Napa-based civil engineering firm Riechers Spence & Associates, which will be analyzing winery needs for a Kantharos system. A LEED accredited professional, Mr. Linn and the 35-employee firm tapped government research-and-development tax credits in the past two years to develop water- and energy-saving technology such as what’s behind the Kantharos system.
Mr. Long, 50, is chief executive officer of Napa-based Heritage Water Systems Inc., which he founded in 1998. Revenue last year exceeded $4 million as more companies are changing water management approaches and outsourcing that task.
Kantharos just completed a horizontal trenches project on a private residence in Calistoga. —Jenna V. Loceff
Founder, chief executive officer, Healthy Buildings; 3432 Valle Verde Dr., Napa, 94558; 707-676-8999; www.healthybuildingsusa.com
Bob Massaro has been in the business of design/build and real estate development since 1981, and has built over 150 projects throughout Northern and Southern California. Since 1999 Bob has been C.E.O. of Healthy Buildings USA, the company he founded.
Throughout his more than 25 years in the industry, Mr. Massaro has successfully directed staffs of architects, engineers, interior designers and construction personnel. In addition to executive management of the company, he frequently makes public presentations about the company and its projects in an effort to expand sustainable and healthy building practices and to encourage and promote green public policy throughout the Napa Valley, and all of California. He’s a member of the board of directors of the Redwood Empire chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, Sustainable Napa County and Napa County Asthma Coalition. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, Soldata Energy Consulting Inc.; 401 College Ave. #C, Santa Rosa 95401; www.soldata.com; 707-545-4440
Soldata has analyzed energy use for 10,000 projects in the North Bay since Bill Mattinson founded the firm in 1978, advising designers, builders and homeowners on energy efficiency and LEED projects, verifying performance and certifying scores of GreenPoint-rated homes.
Mr. Mattinson served two terms on the International Energy Conservation Code Advisory Committee and is serving his second term as a member of the California Green Building Code Advisory Committee. The firm also developed and delivered more than 100 training sessions, introducing high-performance windows to the building industry for a project funded by the California Public Utilities Commission. He is a HERS certified rater, GreenPoint certified rater, Certified Energy Analyst, LEED Accredited Professional and a Certified Green Building Professional —Jenna V. Loceff
President, chief executive officer, Enphase Energy; 201 First St., #300; Petaluma, 94952; 877-797-4743; www.enphaseenergy.com
Paul Nahi’s Enphase Energy is the first to market with a system that includes high-efficiency microinverters, communications and Web-based analytics to maximize energy harvest and simplify design, installation and management of solar projects. The systems increase energy harvest by 5 to 25 percent and reduce labor costs by about 15 percent.
Enphase, which has shipped more than 500,000 microinverters in North America, recently announced it is opening offices in France and Italy and appointment of two country managers there.
Most recently, Mr. Nahi was the CEO of Crimson Microsystems, a fabless semiconductor company specializing in large scale SONET ICs for the telecommunications industry. Prior to Crimson, Mr. Nahi was the CEO and co-founder of Accelerant Networks, a semiconductor company that designed and developed intelligent multi-gigabit transceivers. He also held executive positions with NEC Electronics and Diamond Multimedia. —Loralee Stevens
Chief executive officer, AltaRock Energy; 2320 Marinship Way #300; Sausalito 94965; 415-331-0130; www.altarockenergy.com
Don O’Shei heads up one of the few geothermal companies in the world focused on Engineered Geothermal Systems. EGS involves using high-pressure injection wells to cause fractures in rock 3,000 to 5,000 meters below the surface. Water is circulated through the fractures where it is heated by the earth’s molten core before being pumped to the surface to power turbines.
Unlike traditional geothermal wells that rely on existing sources of water to create steam, closed-system EGS wells can be placed anywhere hot rock can be accessed.
Mr. O’Shei previously served as the co-president and chief operating officer of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., and as vice chairman, president and COO of CalEnergy, which developed and built power plants, including geothermal projects, in the U.S., Asia and Europe. —Loralee Stevens
President, chief executive officer, EDC Technologies; 50 Executive Dr., #A, Rohnert Park 94928; 707-829-8011; www.savegas.com
Terry Pfaff, 56, started EDC in San Jose in 1984 to develop systems that allow companies to manage energy use, primarily of natural gas, across a number of facilities. The company relocated to Sebastopol in 1989 and expanded to Rohnert Park last year.
Though the company has supplied systems to PG&E customers over the years, EDC currently has contracts with San Diego Gas & Electric and Southern California Gas to supply control systems to the lodging and senior housing providers. These installations often lead to installations elsewhere in the end users’ facilities nationwide, according to Mr. Pfaff.
Growth in work has increased steadily, particularly in the past four years, and he expects it to continue for the next two years. The greening of business has propelled demand for EDS’ tools and services, as has the growth of Internet-linked “smart” building management systems. EDS won the smart power category in the 2006 Clean Tech Open competition.
“A lot has been spurred by the economy, but for the most part our customers do not buy into it because it’s green,” he said. “It is a tool to better manage properties and increase property values overall.” —Jeff Quackenbush
President, International Wastewater Solutions Corp.; P.O. Box 157, Sebastopol 95473
In addition to starting the company with partner Victor Harvey in 1999, Bob Rawson, 62, is general manager of the Graton municipal treatment plant and has been a wastewater technology instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College. Mr. Rawson’s consulting work has taken him abroad, including consulting on projects along the Amazon River.
Mr. Rawson, who was involved with the Pirana compact alternative wastewater treatment system, and Mr. Harvey added a self-flushing feature. Mr. Rawson was part of a new patent on wastewater treatment technology received in December 2009.
Called White Knight, the product is marketed in the North Coast via Septic Skeptic and nationwide by Knight Treatment Systems. —Jeff Quackenbush
President, CEO, SPG Solar; 20 Leveroni Ct., Novato, 94949; 800-815-5562; www.spgsolar.com
Chris Robine, who was named president and CEO of SPG Solar in December of 2010, spent over 14 years at General Electric where he most recently was the CFO for GE Renewable Energy. In partnership with the commercial and operations teams, GE Renewable Energy division became recognized as a global industry leader in renewable energy and more than doubled its multi-billion dollar revenue.
Since early 2010, he has made significant contributions to SPG Solar as senior vice president and CFO, where he launched the structured finance group, providing a variety of additional solutions for customers. Mr. Robine holds a degree in Finance and Management from the University of Cincinnati College of Business. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, chief executive officer, Real Goods Solar; 27 Simms St.; San Rafael, 94901; 415-456-2800; www.realgoodssolar.com
John Schaeffer has been exploring renewable energy and sustainable living since graduating from U.C., Berkeley in 1971.
Over the last 32 years, he founded and grew Real Goods Trading Co. as its president from a garage startup to the foremost global source for tools and information on renewable energy and sustainable living.
In 1995, he created the Solar Living Center in Hopland, a 12-acre educational demonstration site. He founded and remains board chair of the educational nonprofit Solar Living Institute dedicated to promoting renewable energy through environmental education.
Under Mr. Schaeffer, Real Goods Solar acquired Marin Solar in San Rafael, certain assets of Hemet-based Carlson Solar, Independent Energy Systems of Santa Cruz, and merged with Regrid Power in Campbell. —Loralee Stevens
Director, CEO, Zap; 501 Fourth St. Santa Rosa, 95401; 707- 525-8658; www.zapworld.com
Steve Schneider has been a director and chief executive officer of ZAP since October 2002.
Mr. Schneider has a 30-year career in the automotive industry and a long-time interest in fun, fuel-efficient cars. He has served as ZAP’s CEO since 2002, when the company acquired Auto Distributors Inc. and Voltage Vehicles, businesses he founded which specialized in the distribution of electric and alternative fuel vehicles including automobiles, motorcycles and bicycles. Mr. Schneider also founded the RAP Group, an automotive liquidator and reseller, which ZAP also acquired. —Jenna V. Loceff
Climate Action Director, Marin Climate & Energy Partnership; 555 Northgate Dr., #230, San Rafael 94903; 415-883-2581
Richard Schorske is founder and climate action director of the Marin Climate & Energy Partnership, a collaboration of Marin’s 11 towns and cities, the county, its transportation authority, municipal water district and general services authority to reduce Marin’s greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with California’s AB 32 targets and local climate action goals.
A 25-year Marin resident and former director of the Workforce Investment Board of Marin County, Mr. Schorske is also a charter school entrepreneur and has founded two high schools focused on sustainability and the built environment. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, Récolte Energy; 3901 Lake County Hwy., Calistoga, 94515; www.recolteenergy.com; 707-480-1960
Gopal Shanker has a business model that puts himself at the bottom of the service chain.
Récolte Energy, a consulting company that emphasizes collaboration over competition and integration over division, serves “society, the environment, my clients, my partners and finally myself,” he said.
He does the research to discover where a client can and needs to save energy, and he facilitates the process for clients like Chapellet Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, Far Niente, Opus One and Trinchero Family Estates.
Mr. Shanker is active in Sacramento, working with the California Public Utilities Commission and legislators to modernize energy policy and expand the possibilities for clean sources of power. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, CEO, Soiland Management Co.; 3450A Regional Pkwy., Santa Rosa, 95403; 707-525-1100; www.soilandrocks.com
Marie Soiland is president and chief executive officer of Soiland Management Co., overseer for a dozen construction-related family partnerships, companies and corporations including Stony Point Rock Quarry, Soils Plus, the 100-acre Northwest Regional Industrial Park near the Sonoma County airport, Shiloh Associates and about $20 million worth of commercial and residential properties.
Upon graduation from University of California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo in 1978, she rejoined the family business as it repositioned itself from a gravel mining operation into a quarry and real estate developer. In 1989, she became chief financial officer of the quarry and oversaw the formation of Soiland Management in 1992. Ms. Soiland has been a trendsetter of environmental stewardship in local construction and active member of the Sonoma County Alliance’s Environmental Committee. —Jenna V. Loceff
President, Straus Family Creamery; P.O. Box 768, Marshall 94940; www.strausfamilycreamery.com; 415-663-5464
In 1993, Albert Straus converted Straus Dairy, started in 1941 by his parents, Bill and Ellen Straus, to organic milk production, the first to do so in the western U.S. The following year, he opened Straus Family Creamery to make organic products with the milk from the farm.
He is a strong advocate of farmland protection and sustainable farming. Toward that goal, the facility uses recycled water to flush manure into enclosed ponds that capture methane. Straus was on the forefront of North Coast biogas power, producing 300,000 kilowatt-hours annually. —Jenna V. Loceff
Chairman, founder, SPG Solar, Thompson Technology Industries; 20 Leveroni Ct.; Novato 94949; 415-883-7657; www.spgsolar.com
Dan Thompson had 20 years in the electrical contracting and construction industry before founding SPG Solar in 2001. He leads the industry in the North Bay and is recognized internationally for his active participation in the photovoltaic industry.
Mr. Thompson is an innovator, spinning off Thompson Technology Industries to manufacture and sell its patented solar products to other installers. One of those products is the first floating voltaic system. The panels sit atop a water-treatment pond at Far Niente Winery, freeing up valuable acreage for vines and actually improving the water by retarding algae growth.
He was the only U.S. representative to speak at the 2004 International Congress on Renewable Energy in Bangalore, India. He contributes his experience and insights to developing state policy and legislation and has helped educate thousands of people at solar industry events and conferences.
Mr. Thompson serves as chairman of the board. Thomas Rooney Jr. is SPG president and CEO. —Loralee Stevens
Alexander von Welczeck
President and chief executive officer, Solar Power Partners; 100 Shoreline Hwy., #210-B, Mill Valley, 94941; www.solarpowerpartners.com; 415-389-8981
Alexander von Welszeck, a co-founder of Solar Power Partners, is a pioneer in the solar energy services business. His company puts together funds to build solar systems for mid-sized commercial buildings.
SPP builds and owns the systems, guaranteeing a rate lower than PG&E’s.
“We’re bringing together investors with a high tax burden and building owners whose appetite for tax breaks is much lighter but who are interested in clean solar energy,” he said.
Although the company is relatively small, it’s raised about $100 million in funds, putting it at the number three spot in the U.S. for similar entities. Mr. von Welczeck has been instrumental in creating the vision, strategies and tactics that have contributed to SPP’s rapid growth.
He served in management and sales capacities at Thyssen-Krupp, Dover Corporation, Dorma and Friendlyway prior to joining SPP. —Jenna V. Loceff
Chief executive officer, chief technical officer, Zep Solar; 161 Mitchell Blvd. #104 San Rafael, 94903; www.zepsolar.com; 415-479-6900
Jack West is the primary inventor of the Zep System patented technology and cofounder of Zep Solar Inc.
Mr. West has been designing PV systems for 20 years and cofounded High Sun Engineering, specializing in PV system design and engineering. He is a recognized expert in the photovoltaics industry, and is often sought out by PV manufacturers for consultation on product development. In addition to regular speaking engagements at conferences, Mr. West is the co-producer and main instructor of High Sun Engineering’s advanced PV design course for engineers.
An avid inventor, he is the holder of two patents and has four patents pending. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 1991 with a customized BS degree in Solar Engineering. —Jenna V. Loceff
Daniel Wickham, Ph.D.
President, SludgeHammer Group; 336 S. Division Road, Petoskey, Mich.,49770; www.sludgehammer.net; 707-874-9298
West Sonoma County resident Daniel Wickham, 64, launched SludgeHammer compact alternative wastewater system with Buzz Jenks in 2003. Company sales, now managed in Michigan, have expanded to the point where half come from international projects, such as a 400,000-gallon-per-day wastewater plant to be installed at a commercial facility in Libya.
However, the increasing number of failing North Bay rural septic systems and limited number of affordable alternatives as well as decreasing funds for municipal systems is widening the local market for alternative treatment systems, according to Mr. Wickham. The device has garnered recent certifications and code listings from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, NSF Foundation and International Maritime Organization.
Dr. Wickham earned his doctorate in marine ecology from U.C. Berkeley in 1979 while working as an ecology researcher for 20 years at the U.C. Bodega Marine Laboratory. During that time, he experimented with bacteria used to clean up petroleum spills. Isolating a strain that works on household sewage led to the creation of the Pirana compact treatment system with a group of Sonoma County partners who have since formed their own companies.
Dr. Wickham’s name is on three patents for on-site wastewater treatment and two more are pending. The SludgeHammer system recently was adapted for wine industry wastewater. —Jenna V. Loceff
Owner and winemaker, Frog’s Leap Winery; 8815 Conn Creek Rd., P.O. Box 189, Rutherford 94573; www.frogsleap.com; 707-944-4704
John Williams, 56, started Frog’s Leap in 1981. He was an early leader in organic farming, with Napa Valley’s first certified vineyards in 1989. He’s a leading proponent of dry farming, with all 200 acres cultivated without irrigation. The winery was among the first to employ photovoltaic power and geo-exchange heating and cooling and had the first LEED-certified building in the California wine industry.
He helped found the Rutherford Dust river restoration project, said to be a contender for the largest privately initiated riparian restoration project in U.S. Mr. Williams was in the first “class” of certified Fish Friendly Farmers. —Jenna V. Loceff
Associate for environmental engineering and sustainability, Carlile Macy; 15 Third St., Santa Rosa 95401; www.carlilemacy.com; 707-542-6451
Bill Wilson is a top national expert in water-wise real estate development, having worked in sustainable development and restoration for 40 years. He joined civil engineering, landscape architecture, planning and surveying firm Carlile Macy of Santa Rosa in 2007.
His background includes design of wastewater recycling plants, regeneration of degraded coral reefs and LEED-certified projects. The latter include the Gold-level-certified Gaia Napa Valley hotel in American Canyon.
He’s taken his know-how in water and energy efficiency and water conservation, harvesting (rainwater collection) and reuse to the wine industry. Mr. Wilson helped gain permission from various agencies for use of water harvesting in Sunset Magazine’s Casa Verde zero-energy demonstration home in San Francisco, efforts that led to the ability of other projects in the city to use rainwater for irrigation and toilets. —Jenna V. Loceff
Owner, Wyatt Irrigation; 747 Yolanda Ave., Santa Rosa, 95404; www.wyattsupply.com; 707-578-3747
Phil Wyatt is a native Californian and a descendent of Salinas Valley farmers whose grandfather settled in Sausalito and father helped build the Golden Gate Bridge.
Mr. Wyatt opened Wyatt Irrigation Supply in Santa Rosa in 1982. Manufacturing interested him from early days, particularly hard plastics and piping, and he sold irrigation supplies for a number of companies before founding his own. Originally a three-employee operation selling landscaping supplies, Wyatt Irrigation has grown to 30 employees and three stores, expanding its inventory for the fields of agriculture, fire protection, and plumbing, as well as leading the industry in design, sustainable living, and erosion control. —Jenna V. Loceff
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