Noel P. Rahn is the Chairman of Geronimo Energy. His fifty years of successful experience in the investment world and seven years in the wind industry lay the groundwork for the foundation of Geronimo’s success. Noel is Geronimo’s largest shareholder and is the strategic pacesetter for the company.
In 1962, Noel began his investment career at Paine Webber Jackson & Curtis as a Registered Representative. He later became the Sales Manager for the Minneapolis office, then the National Training Director, and finally was promoted to the position of National Sales Manager in New York. In 1974, Noel left Paine Webber to pursue opportunities available in the asset management industry and joined Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI) as its CEO. At the time of Noel’s move to IAI, IAI was an asset management firm with 13 employees and $50 million under management. In the 25 years that Noel led IAI, the firm grew to employ 240 people and to manage over $16 billion in assets.
In 1998, Noel retired from IAI to form his family investment office, The Rahn Group (“TRG”), which invests across several asset classes including venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, real estate and public equity. In 2003, Noel was approached to join a wind farm project in southwestern Minnesota where he owns farm land. After researching the industry and the opportunity, Noel decided to pass on the offer and instead developed a wind farm himself, which became the Odin Wind Farm. This was the genesis of Geronimo Energy.
Blake began his career as an investment analyst with Investment Advisors, Inc. (IAI), an asset management firm that was run by Geronimo’s Founder and Chairman, Noel P. Rahn. In 1998, Blake helped Noel form The Rahn Group to manage the assets of Noel and his family, which included venture capital, private and public equities, and farm land. Blake managed all private investing for The Rahn Group, ran the firm’s hedge fund (TRG), and led the deal and finance negotiations for the early stages of Geronimo Energy. Blake has been instrumental in the formation of Geronimo and is now responsible for all company activities, including overseeing the company’s development portfolio, strategic relationships and financial structuring. Blake holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Washington at Seattle and completed the General Course at The London School of Economics (LSE).
Ben began his work with Geronimo in 2013 as an intern working on the Aurora Solar Project. In 2015, he took on a full-time role with Geronimo as a Solar Development Associate. His previous experience includes work with HDR Engineering and Energy Crossroads Denmark. Ben graduated from the University of St. Thomas Environmental Studies program.
Prior to joining the investing arm of Geronimo, Michelle served as a Consultant in PA’s Global Energy and Utilities Practice. Her power market consulting experience spans mergers and acquisition, finance, and business strategy contexts. Past clients included investment banks, private equity groups, retail electric providers, independent power producers, and other global corporations. Michelle’s responsibilities at Geronimo include financial research, project-based financial modeling, investment analysis and budgeting. Michelle holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.
Kara Bakke joined Geronimo Energy in 2015 as a summer intern. She was later hired as a Junior Permitting Specialist. Kara works with both the wind and solar development departments, performing such duties as tax research and analysis, permitting, site origination, and GIS assistance. Kara graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management, with an Earth Sciences Minor. Kara also studied abroad in Bimini, Bahamas during her time as an undergraduate and completed a Tropical Marine Biology and Shark Ecology Program.
In his role as a Development Associate for Geronimo Energy, Michael Binder fulfills development needs in Geronimo Energy’s North and South Dakota regions. Michael’s professional career began at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission as the Budget/Accounting/Finance and International Affairs Officer at the Fermi National Accelerator research facility near Chicago, Illinois. Michael later took on the the role of Finance and Banking Program Professor at Buena Vista University’s Sieben’s School of Business, where he completed a twenty-five year tenured career in 2000. For more than a decade, Michael operated MR Northern Lakes, a consulting and recruiting firm primarily working with Industrial Manufacturers and a few smaller regional upper Midwest banks. Michael grew up on a farm in Northwest Iowa between Alta and Storm Lake. After earning a B.A. in Business & Economics at Buena Vista University, he completed a M.B.A. degree At Drake University.
Lee Bjerk serves as the Manager, Renewable Energy Solutions for Geronimo Energy. Lee is a highly effective communicator with a strong background in agricultural and equipment sales. In his role with Geronimo Energy, Lee works with the public and commercial sectors, as well as the growing opportunities for Cooperatives and Municipalities for solar energy development. Lee also manages the largest geographic territory for Geronimo’s Community Solar Garden (CSG) portfolio. A native of Benson, Minnesota, Lee has a passion for the success of farming communities and is excited to bring the benefits of renewable energies to rural America. Lee graduated from the University of Minnesota Morris.
Justin Bocanegra is a Financial Analyst at Geronimo Energy. Prior to joining the firm in 2016, Justin was a member of TerraForm Power’s North American Originations group, where he was responsible for conducting due diligence, financial modeling and overall evaluation of investments and M&A deal execution across a spectrum of solar and wind projects. Justin began his career as an Investment Analyst with GE Capital in Chicago. Justin earned a B.B.A. in Finance, Investment and Banking from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Barbara Bolin joined Geronimo Energy in the spring of 2014. She had previously worked with Mainstream Renewable Power in conjunction with their Illinois Green River Wind Farm. At present, she continues to work on the Green River project, as well as the Walnut Ridge Wind Farm, for Geronimo Energy. During her time with Mainstream, Barbara’s duties included project landowner communications, wind project lease processing, mailings, notary services and general office management. She continues her work in these areas in her current role with Geronimo Energy for both the Green River and Walnut Ridge Wind Farms.
Keith Bolin joined Geronimo Energy as a Project Developer in the spring of 2014. Previously, Mr. Bolin was contracted as a Project Developer for the Green River Wind Farm Project with Mainstream Renewable Power. At Mainstream, he was responsible for landowner communications, title investigation assistance and community outreach. In his role with Geronimo, Mr. Bolin is involved in landowner relationships and the general development process for both the Walnut Ridge and Green River Wind Farms in Illinois.
Matt Bresina serves as Geronimo Energy’s Accounting Manager. He previously worked as a Senior Accountant in the Financial Reporting Department of Target. Matt began his accounting career working for Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP, where he earned his CPA certification. Matt graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with an accounting major.
Jenna joined Geronimo in May of 2013. She’s been working in the wind industry since 2006, supporting project development from inception through construction. Previously, she held office management positions in the telecommunications and newspaper industries and worked seasonally for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. She is originally from Wisconsin and holds a B.A. in Sociology for the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. When not at work, Jenna enjoys bicycling, gardening and reading.
Jordan Burmeister joined Geronimo Energy in 2009 as a Development Associate. His primary responsibilities include duties related to new project development in southern Minnesota. Jordan comes to Geronimo with prior wind energy experience, serving on the Land Acquisition and Title team with enXco, Inc. His interests in wind energy, real estate, sustainable practices, and commitment to success have made him an asset to the Geronimo team. Jordan graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a B.A. in Business.
Tiffany serves as Executive Assistant to Geronimo’s President, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer. Tiffany’s prior experience includes executive support for the Executive Vice President of Global Commerce for Digital River, Inc. and both the Chief Finance Officer and Chief Information Officer for Stream Global Services. Tiffany holds an Associate Degree from Inver Hills Community College.
Andrew came to Geronimo in 2014 to support all aspects of solar development. He graduated from St. Olaf College with a double major in Economics and Environmental Studies and the desire to advance clean energy projects. After graduating Andrew worked at the World Resources Institute as part of the Climate Finance team and later moved to SimpleRay, a MN based solar distribution company. Here he honed his interest in the solar industry and gained a diverse understanding of industry players, projects and technology. In his free time you may find him cooking, playing tennis, or fly fishing.
Heather joined the company in January 2008 to manage the accounting of The Rahn Group, TRG Investors and Geronimo but now focuses on managing the company headquarters in Edina, Minnesota. Previously, Heather held accounting roles with increasing responsibility for New Horizon Academy, BoulayHeutmakerZibell& Co., Textron Financial and Dorsey & Whitney.
Betsy Engelking joined Geronimo Energy as Vice President in January 2012 and currently leads the Company’s policy efforts. Betsy developed the regulatory strategy for the Aurora Project and provided expert testimony in the PUC process. She also collaborated with a number of legislators and advocates to achieve passage of the 2013 Minnesota Solar Energy legislation. Previously, Betsy was Director of Resource Planning for Xcel Energy, where she developed and implemented long-range power supply plans, including compliance with Xcel’s wide-ranging renewable energy requirements. She has also held positions with Great River Energy and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
With more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Betsy’s expertise in energy policy, renewable energy, resource planning, utility rates and regulation, and energy markets are invaluable to Geronimo. Since the beginning of her career, Betsy has worked both regionally and nationally to promote the advancement of wind energy and other renewables through participation with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC), the Great Plains Institute’s Power the Plains collaborative, and through an active role in state and national policy development. Betsy holds a MBA in Finance and Economics from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Nathan has over fourteen years of energy development experience, including extensive knowledge in project design, permitting, project finance, interconnection and construction management. He successfully developed some of the first commercial scale solar projects in Minnesota and owns and operates several distributed energy projects. Prior to joining the Geronimo team, Nathan created and led Westwood Professional Services’ Utility Scale Solar Division, which is now one of the nation’s top photovoltaic design firms. In his role as Vice President of Development for Geronimo, Nathan manages the project development team including project origination, permitting, resource assessment, construction and engineering. Nathan has a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Jay joined Geronimo Energy in 2010 as a Development Associate for the regions of North Dakota and South Dakota. He has a passion for business development and experience working in emerging sectors through past employment as a business/IT consultant, medical sales representative, and financial advisor. Jay grew up in central Minnesota, with his extended family in North Dakota, and is driven to provide economic growth to these more rural communities through endeavors such as wind farm development. Jay earned his Bachelor of Science degree with honors from St. Cloud State University, majoring in Business, and has experience working with local individuals all the way up to Fortune 500 companies. Jay’s honesty, work ethic, and communication skills make him a valuable asset to the Geronimo team.
Joe Ibrahim joined Geronimo after six years with Life Time Fitness, a publicly-traded owner operator of high-end fitness clubs. At Lifetime, he managed nine large-scale projects nationwide, and his responsibilities included managing preconstruction design and permitting, budgeting, bidding, contracting and managing project schedules from start of construction to turnover/completion. Prior to Life Time, he spent eight years with the national homebuilder Centex, where he held roles ranging from field operations, to purchasing/estimating management and Director of Operations for one of their largest volume divisions. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s degree in Building Science and Management.
Cody joined Geronimo Energy in 2012 and performs mapping and developing GIS data for Geronimo’s development team. Prior to joining Geronimo, Cody worked in other geographic technology based positions for organizations including the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) with the U.S. Geological Survey, Garmin International, and Xcel Energy. He holds a BS in Geography/Geographic Information Systems from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (2007), a Master’s degree in Geographic Information Systems and a GIS Certificate from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (2014).
Laci joined Geronimo in 2013 as an assistant office manager. She holds a BBA in Music Business from Belmont University. A transplant from Nashville, Tennessee, Laci has enjoyed finding ways to keep warm in the Minnesota cold!
In his role as Director of Strategy and Investor Relations for the investment arm of Geronimo, Kip Knelman leads all capital investment acquisition activities. Prior to joining Geronimo, Kip served as the Senior Managing Partner and CEO of Knelman Asset Management Group, where he focused on providing asset management services to tax exempt and taxable entities.
Previous experience – Kip began his career working for the investment banking firm, Kidder Peabody and Company. In 1979, he was hired by Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI), and in his nearly twenty years with the firm, rose to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer. In his role with IAI, Kip was instrumental in growing IAI’s institutional pension fund management company from $300 million to $17 billion. Prior to serving as IAI’s CEO, Kip held positions of steadily increasing scope, and Kip’s responsibility culminated to include all day-to-day functions of the company, including investment management operations, marketing and sales, client services, mutual fund and trust operations, and administrative, legal and finance.
In 2000, Kip started Knelman Asset Management Group. In 2005, Lazard Asset Management acquired Knelman Asset Management Group. In 2008, Kip reacquired the firm back from Lazard.
Kip has served on several corporate and non-profit boards, including as a member for Lloyd’s Bank/ TSB Asset Management Group (with over $100 billion in assets under management worldwide) and for various Minneapolis/ St. Paul non-profit organizations. Kip currently is Chairman of the Greater YMCA’s Minneapolis & St. Paul Endowment Fund Committee. Kip holds a graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California (1973) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Minnesota (1971).
John Larkey is Geronimo’s Vice President of Origination. Prior to joining the Geronimo team, John served as the Vice President of Power Marketing for Recurrent Energy, where he led Recurrent’s growth with new customers, markets and products. John began his career with Cargill, where he built a long career across a multitude of global industries including energy, commodity and financial markets, food manufacturing, industrial processing, agricultural inputs, all of which culminated in John taking on the role of Director of Power Markets for Cargill.
As an independent consultant, John has worked with investors, asset owners, and project developers across the energy industry – including gas, power, coal, renewables, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil derivatives. He has originated and structured several billion dollars of commercial transactions and has valued, negotiated, and completed transactions with private equity companies, hedge funds, multi-national companies, utilities, co-ops and municipalities, government entities, project developers, and strategic asset owners, primarily in North America and Europe. John has a passion for developing solar and wind renewable energy solutions for customers, executing commercial deals, entrepreneurship, and has co-founded several start-up business ventures for which he continues to act as an advisor.
John is a respected energy industry leader and has been a renewable energy industry representative at the federal, state, and local level, as well as a keynote speaker and panelist at renewable energy industry events including the Clean Energy Dialogue between U.S. Department of Energy and Environment Canada. John holds a MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI and a BSME from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering in Minneapolis, MN.
As Manager of Solar Development, Tena’s responsibilities include supporting all aspects of solar development. Tena holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University and a BA in Economics and Spanish from the College of St. Benedict.
As Geronimo Energy’s Permitting Specialist, Jenny Monson-Miller provides permitting and environmental review support for Geronimo Energy’s wind and solar projects. She previously held positions focused on legal, regulatory, and policy work with an energy-focused nonprofit and a community solar company. Jenny holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College and a J.D. with a concentration in Environmental and Energy Law from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
Michael joined Geronimo in 2010, and as the Director of Resource Analysis, he is responsible for the full spectrum of energy assessment activities – from site origination to final design and performance analysis. Michael works closely with all aspects of the company to maximize project value through ideal siting, technology evaluation and cost-conscious design. Prior to joining Geronimo, Michael worked as a meteorologist at First Wind and Noble Environmental Power, where he sited and assessed over 3,000 megawatts of wind projects. He holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma.
Kyle joined the Geronimo real estate team in the fall of 2011. His responsibilities encompass many of the real estate duties, particularly pulling deeds on land parcels and matching them with their legal descriptions. He is especially suited for this role, as he received a B.S. in Paralegal Studies with a minor in Business Law from Winona State University. Before coming to Geronimo, Kyle interned at the St. Croix District Attorney’s office.
Justin joined Geronimo in 2008. Prior to joining Geronimo, he worked in business development, marketing and human resources for several successful start-up companies, including EHFAR, LLC (his own consulting firm), entero (a consulting firm), and Thrivent Financial. Justin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Advertising from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Growing up in Wimbledon, North Dakota, Justin made the move into the renewable energy business to serve farmers. Justin’s passion for wind energy, as well as his integrity, work ethic and communication skills all serve as a tremendous resource to Geronimo.
As Vice President of Transmission, Randy oversees all transmission and interconnection for the entire Geronimo portfolio. Experience: Executive Consultant for Power System Engineering, multiple positions at Avant Energy, Dahlen, Berg and Company, Inc., Xcel Energy and Northern States Power. Randy is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, and has extensive experience in electric power delivery system planning, power supply resource evaluation and planning, resource portfolio development, and integrated resource planning. He also has experience managing and performing generation interconnection studies involving combined cycle, simple cycle, coal, wind and biomass fueled Electric Generating Stations. Education: Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
Cyndy joined Geronimo Energy in June of 2011. Her responsibilities encompass legal work and real estate. Cyndy’s 24 years of experience as a legal secretary developed her skills in the area of real estate, probate and contract preparation.
A native of Pigeon, Cyndy and her husband Robert, are farmers in the Apple Blossom Wind Farm and are excited to be hosting turbines.
David G. Reamer is the Executive Vice President of Business Development at Geronimo Energy, where he leads origination and M&A activity. David has been involved with Geronimo since its inception in 2007 as both an investor and active Board Member and took an active executive role with the company in 2015. David provides a unique combination of executive management experience and entrepreneurial and investor success. For the past 25 years, he has been involved with multiple renewable energy and technology companies as a founder, CEO, board member, advisor and investor. This experience has built the foundation of David’s customer-first approach to business. After receiving his B.S. Degree from the University of Minnesota (U of M), he started his professional career as a territory manager with Johnson and Johnson. David then moved into the high tech industry by joining Applied Epi, a solar, LED and wireless semiconductor equipment company. At Applied Epi, David ultimately grew to serve as CEO and was instrumental in selling the company to Veeco Instruments (NASD: VECO). At Veeco, he led their worldwide Business Development and Strategic Marketing departments, and today, Veeco is recognized as one of the world’s leading advanced Solar PV and LED equipment companies. Also while at Applied Epi, David co-founded Spectracom, a fiber optic laser company, which was sold to ADC Telecommunications. David remains an Advisor to the U of M’s Venture Center and Office of Technology Commercialization.
Jeff Ringblom is Geronimo’s Vice President of Accounting and Finance. Jeff brings over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting . He has spent the majority of his career in renewable energy ,where he has been instrumental in structuring the sales and negotiations of over 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy projects throughout the Midwest. Jeff’s extensive experience in corporate finance has served Geronimo well in M&A transactions, procurement negotiations, corporate restructurings and general business strategy. Jeff joined Geronimo Energy as Controller in 2010. Prior to joining Geronimo Jeff was at Deloitte & Touche, LLP in Assurance and Advisory services as well as St. Jude Medical, Inc. Jeff holds a degree in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is also a certified public accountant.
Melissa supports the environmental permitting team in the areas of solar and wind development. Prior to joining Geronimo, Melissa held several positions within the environmental consulting industry and has experience conducting biological and cultural resource surveys, as well as experience permitting various energy infrastructure across the Midwest and southwestern United States. Melissa most recently specialized in regulatory review and permitting for the oil and gas industry where she managed the preparation of state and federal permit applications. Melissa holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Geography from Gustavus Adolphus College and a J.D. from Hamline University School of Law.
Briana serves as Land and Title Specialist in Geronimo’s Real Estate department. Prior to joining Geronimo, Briana gained experience in the energy sector through her work as an Environmental Inspection and Construction Compliance Coordinator at Natural Resource Group, LLC. Her experience also includes managing over 500 staff and interpreters at Kim Tong Translations. Briana graduated from Hamline University with a B.A. in Anthropology.
David joined Geronimo Energy LLC in the spring of 2010, originally as a consultant and now serves as the Project Manager for the Eastern Region. Prior to working for Geronimo, David acquired development lands for another utility scale developer in South Dakota. David has 20+ years of real estate development experience, as well as a background in Brownfield re-development and County Government. David and his family live on the beautiful Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan.
In his current role as the Senior Director of Environmental Planning for Geronimo Energy, Patrick Smith manages the areas of environmental analyses, meteorology, GIS and government-permitting aspects. Prior to joining Geronimo, Patrick held positions in several influential industries, including commercial bee-keeping, social research, and community development and organizing. Patrick holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota – Morris, as well as a Master’s degree from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in Urban and Regional Planning, with an emphasis in Environmental Planning.
Lindsay T. Smith’s background in marketing and sales is diverse in both industry and mission. Her early career years led her to marketing and sales roles in several theaters in New York, including the position of Marketing Associate for The Shadow Box Theater, as well as Group Sales Account Executive – and later promoted to Company Manager – for Capital Repertory Theater. In 2010, Lindsay made the move to work in information technology as the Marketing and Sales Programs Manager for Minneapolis-based Genus Technologies. In her current role of Director of Marketing and Communications for Geronimo, Lindsay is responsible for designing and executing all aspects of the company’s marketing department, including campaign design/ management, branding, media relations, external communications, and content creation. Lindsay holds a Bachelors degree in French and a second Bachelors degree in Theater from Skidmore College, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the University of New York.
Drew is the Director of Commercial for Geronimo and is responsible for wind project financial modeling and execution of strategic initiatives within the commercial side of Geronimo. Drew also works very closely with Geronimo’s President, Blake Nixon, on many different commercial aspects of the business such as ad-hoc financial analysis, project sales, power sales and project finance. Before joining Geronimo, Drew worked as a management consultant at eCapital Advisors specializing in financial database construction and optimization. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin — Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Investments, and Banking.
With over 25 years of real estate experience, Laura Vaughan leads Geronimo’s real estate department as Geronimo’s Senior Director of Real Estate. After holding nearly every position within the real estate industry throughout her career, Laura’s vast firsthand knowledge allows her to understand the real estate needs and requirements that come with developing utility-scale wind farms. As a former Title Examiner, Mortgage Closing Manager, and Chief Operations Officer of a title insurance company, Laura made an easy transition into the renewable energy industry as a Land Acquisition Specialist. Her first years in the renewable energy industry provided her the opportunity to work with agents to help them acquire land for wind energy development across the greater Midwest. She joined the Geronimo Energy team in January of 2010 and oversees the real estate documentation process that ensures the insurability and ability to finance each project, from acquisition to closing.
Since joining Geronimo Energy in 2009, Heather Wayne has worked with both the real estate and environmental permitting teams. She currently contributes to the permitting activities for the company. Heather joined Geronimo Energy after working a handful of biological resource jobs in the National Parks of Alaska and Wyoming: she worked with bison in Wyoming and led hikes and naturalist programs in Alaska. Heather grew up in a farming family in Geneva, Minnesota and attended St. Olaf College, where she received a B.A. in Environmental Studies.
In his role as Manager, Renewable Energy Solutions, Doug Wester leads the subscription sales team for the Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program. He also is a part of the greater business development team, with a focus on solar energy sales for small and large power purchasers. Doug has a natural ability to identify and establish creative and strategic partnerships and comes with over ten years of experience in business development, marketing, and project management within various industries, including: financial management consulting, technology, logistics, and a startup strategic business development firm. Doug graduated from Bethel University with Bachelor of Arts degree.