Telecommunications entrepreneur Don Green, co-founder of Advanced Fibre Communications in Petaluma, launched his new self-published book called Defining Moments on Oct. 22.
Green, 85, and his longtime wife Maureen donated some $10 million to the acoustically exquisite Green Music Center in Rohnert Park. The concert hall, which opened in 2012, cost more than $132 million to build, and was supported with a $12 million donation by Sanford Weill, former chairman of Citigroup, and his wife Joan, who live in Sonoma County. A few years ago, Green sang in the Sonoma Bach Choir.
In 1996, AFC held an initial public offering and raised nearly $120 million. Green co-founded telecommunications company Optilink in 1987, and Digital Telephone Systems before that in San Rafael.
“It’s not a technical book,” Green said in an interview with the Business Journal. “It’s a book about family. The family is one thread that weaves through the book. And there’s a thread that deals with technology and my business experience.”
Green invested nearly $5 million in Enphase Energy, a Petaluma-based solar company that produces solar panels with built-in inverters that change the direct current to alternating current, as is used in the electrical grid and in homes and businesses. The company lost $36 million through the second quarter of 2016, had accumulated deficit of $219 million and in September reported that it would cut 11 percent of its workforce, which has a total of about 500 employees. Green recently sold some of the stock. “I haven’t sold all my stock,” he joked, noting that he still has faith in the company’s future.
On his 12,000-square-foot home northeast of Santa Rosa, Green in 2012 installed a gargantuan solar array using 156 Enphase panels. His monthly electric bill plummeted from more than $400 to about $3, he said. He relies on the electric grid at night. Enphase is adding a battery pack to help customers store energy for use when the sun doesn’t shine.
“It will be a minimum of five years” before the solar-electric system up-front cost will be covered by the savings, Green said.
Green suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and his wife Maureen, from Alzheimer’s.
“World War II started for me in September 1939,” Green wrote in his book. “The British government evacuated 800,000 children to the countryside from cities that were possible targets of German bombers. I was one of those children.”
The 400-page hardback book, which sells for $40, will be available at Corrick's in Santa Rosa.