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 Nixon is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Geronimo Energy. Since 2008, Blake has led Geronimo’s growth into a leading independent North American renewable energy project development company. Prior to Geronimo Energy, Blake served as a Principal at The Rahn Group, the family investment office of Geronimo founder and Chairman Noel P. Rahn, where he managed the venture capital and private equity portfolio of the family office, as well as the firm’s hedge fund. In the private investment portfolio, Blake was responsible for deal flow generation, due diligence, deal negotiation, portfolio management, active assistance for portfolio companies on operational and strategic issues, and investment divestitures. Blake was also responsible for the majority of the portfolio company oversight and board relationships for the firm’s private equity investments. Prior to The Rahn Group, Blake worked as an equity analyst for money management firm Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI). 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).
David G. Reamer is the President of Geronimo Energy. 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.
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.
Sidney joined Geronimo Energy in 2016 as a Development Associate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Southwest Minnesota State University and also has her Minnesota Real Estate License. Sidney grew up in a rural farming community in Minnesota and as such, has an appreciation for farmers and the rural way of life. When she’s not working she enjoys spending time with her husband and children.
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. Her main focus since 2015 has been working on Geronimo Energy’s distributed generation solar portfolios, performing such duties as community outreach, obtaining land use permits, obtaining environmental permits, environmental due diligence, 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. During her time as an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Bimini, Bahamas 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.
Jim Bjork serves as Geronimo Energy’s Operations Manager, where he develops and executes asset management processes. In particular, Jim oversees all aspects of the Nordic Solar Portfolio revenue cycle, including the on-boarding of new Community Solar Garden subscribers, on-going subscriber support functions, performance analysis and performance reporting. Jim also assists with the core teams involved with Geronimo’s membership in the various power markets.
Jim is a well-rounded professional who offers a diverse portfolio of skills from his senior management positions in Finance, Sales & Marketing, Operations, and General Management. Additionally, Jim has more than 15 years of full profit and loss responsibility while working in the U.S. for two European-based manufacturing enterprises. Jim holds a BA in Business Administration from Gustavus Adolphus College and a MBA from the University of Miami, Florida.
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 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 all of Geronimo’s 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 Geronimo’s Illinois wind farms.
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.
Sarah Casper serves as an Associate Solar Developer for Geronimo Energy. Past experience: Project Manager and Market Manager for Clean Energy Collective, Residential Sales for SunShare, Organizing Director for Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (worked on environmental legislation across the state of Minnesota). Sarah holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, hiking and being in the great outdoors.
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.
Rachel is a Land and Title Specialist for Geronimo Energy. Her previous experience includes over 15 years in the real estate industry. She has a deep passion for renewable energy and has studied and researched real estate for wind farm development for years. Rachel holds a B.A. from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Political Science, as well as a post-baccalaureate ABA approved paralegal certificate.
Elle joined Geronimo Energy in 2017 as a Solar Development Intern and was later hired in 2018 as a Development Associate for the Distributed Generation team. Elle is native to Minnesota and enjoys traveling, playing sports and spending time at the lake. Elle graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a B.A. in Global Business Leadership and a minor in Environmental Studies.
Heather serves as Geronimo’s Director of Human Resources. 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, Boulay, Heutmaker, Zibell & Co., Textron Financial and Dorsey & Whitney. Heather holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in Human Resource Management.
Kent joined Geronimo Energy as a Contractor in Accounts Payable in 2017 and was later hired as a full-time employee. In his role of Accounting Analyst, Kent is responsible for reconciling accounts and creating journal entries. Kent has had the opportunity to work in non-profits, start-ups and small CPA firms. Kent graduated from Saint John’s University with a B.A. in Accounting and a concentration in Finance.
Barry Fladeboe is Geronimo’s Director of Utility Scale Development. He has over 10 years of experience in renewable energy development and power generation. Prior to Geronimo, Barry served as a Director of Development for Element Power. As Director of Development, he oversaw renewable development for the North American marketplace and worked to complete the successful sale of Element’s North American business platform and development assets to Capital Power Corporation of Edmonton (further assisting Capital Power in the business transition as a consultant). Prior to Element, Barry was a Director of Business Development for Invenergy LLC. Barry holds a Bachelor’s of Art in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas.
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.
As Geronimo’s Director of Origination, Denise brings customized energy solutions to meet power client off-taker needs across C&I, utility, and coop market segments. Denise has over 12 years of renewable energy experience in both the United States and Europe, having held strategic roles in areas of management, business development, sales, and marketing. Prior to joining Geronimo, Denise was the Director of Marketing at Array Technologies, the leader in reliable solar tracking technology, where she created the company’s marketing group and spearheaded global marketing strategy. Prior to that, Denise was the Managing Director at Energés Gestión Medioambiental SL, a solar developer and EPC located in Spain. Denise has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University and an Executive MBA from the EOI Business School (Spain).
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.
Marta joined Geronimo Energy in April of 2017 as a member of the commercial team. In that role, she assisted the Minnesota Community Solar Garden Program by managing subscription data for the portfolio’s 140+ megawatts. In January 2018, Marta joined the permitting team to support the development efforts of distributed generation solar projects. Marta holds a B.S. in Geology from Iowa State University.
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 and was later promoted to Accounting Associate. 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!
Dave joined Geronimo in 2018 and serves as a Senior Portfolio Investment Accountant. Prior to Geronimo, Dave worked as a Vice President of Financial Reporting at Pine River Capital Management. At Pine River, Dave focused primarily on the monthly financial statement process for a variety of funds, as well as served as a key client contact during the annual audit. Prior to Pine River, Dave worked at Ernst & Young where he served as an Assurance Manager within the firm’s financial services practice, focusing primarily on the audits of asset management clients. Dave received a degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and is a Certified Public Accountant.
In 2016, Chip LaCasse joined Geronimo Energy as the Construction Manager to drive the safe and efficient development of the company’s community solar garden portfolio. Prior to joining Geronimo Energy, Chip worked in Central Africa, North America, and Indonesia as a field engineer and petroleum engineering consultant in the oilfield exploration and development sector, specializing in offshore data acquisition operations. In addition, he worked as a project manager on several carbon capture and sequestration developments in Canada and as a construction manager on a utility-scale distributed solar PV project in Minnesota. In 2001, Chip graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering, and in 2011 he completed the requirements for a Project Management Professional (PMP) license from the Project Management Institute.
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.
Amy Malek joined Geronimo Energy in July of 2016 as a contractor. She now serves as a Document Specialist for Geronimo full-time. Before coming to Geronimo, Amy worked in Multifamily Housing at Moss and Barnett. Additionally, she worked in contract and internship positions at Dorsey & Whitney, Robins Kaplan and Target Corporation. Amy also worked at Community Mediation & Restorative Services, where she earned her Rule 114 Mediator Certification. Amy graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Business with a BS in Paralegal Studies.
Tena Monson is Geronimo’s Director of Distributed Generation Development. Tena manages a multi-functional team that oversees distributed generation development activities, such as land acquisition, permitting, layout, and design. Tena holds a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor’s of Art in Economics and Spanish from the College of St. Benedict.
Christopher Morgan serves as Geronimo Energy’s Controller. In his role as Controller, Christopher is responsible for oversight and execution of Geronimo Energy’s accounting policies and procedures. Christopher has over 10 years of experience in financial reporting, auditing and accounting. Previously, Christopher was Controller at Pine River Capital Management, where he developed and managed the external reporting function for the firm, including annual audits, global regulatory compliance, and investor reporting functions. At Pine River, Christopher was also responsible for leading back office initiatives for domestic and international illiquid investment operations, accounting and finance, and he played a key role in numerous technology and automation initiatives. Prior to Pine River, Christopher held several positions with a variety of responsibilities in the fund administration, public accounting and banking industries. Christopher is a registered Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Minnesota and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level III Candidate. Christopher received his B.A. in Accounting from Augustana University.
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.
Trish Peters serves as Geronimo Energy’s Office Manager. Her previous experience includes administrative support at a brokerage firm. In her spare time, Trish enjoys spending time with family and in the great outdoors. Trish holds a Bachelors in Organizational Management & Communication from Concordia University, as well as a Masters of Science Management in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University.
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 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.
Devon began working at Geronimo during the Spring of 2018 as an Electrical Engineer. In this role, he is responsible for technical details and operations pertaining to interconnection of Geronimo’s projects. Devon was born and raised in small town-Minnesota, in the city of Deer River. Upon graduating high school, Devon began his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. The following year, Devon joined the Air Force where he is now working towards becoming an Officer. In his spare time, Devon enjoys fitness, music, riding his motorcycle and spending time at his property in Northome, Minnesota.
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.
Justin Renken serves as an Associate Developer for Geronimo Energy. Prior to his start, Justin served for four and a half years as an active duty Army Field Artillery Officer. He has also spent time working in Operations Management for both profit and non-profit business settings. Justin holds a Bachelor of Science in Management from the United States Military Academy – West Point and a MBA in Leadership & Managing Organizational Change from Pepperdine University in California.
Jeff Ringblom is Geronimo’s Chief Financial Officer. 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.
Matt joined Geronimo Energy as a Marketing intern during the Fall of 2017. He was later hired as a Development Associate for Geronimo’s Utility Scale team. In that role, he facilitates and supports efforts pertaining to community outreach, project operation and environmental due diligence. Matt graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in May of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing & Business Management.
Melissa manages the permitting team and supports all aspects of regulatory compliance including environmental permitting and due diligence review for Geronimo’s wind and solar portfolio. Melissa has 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. In Melissa’s most recent role prior to joining Geronimo, she 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.
Brett Schneider serves as Geronimo’s Construction Manager. His past experience includes working as a designer in Xcel Energy’s Distribution and Transmission groups and in construction for Wanzek Construction, where he worked on multiple wind farms located in New Mexico, Kansas, Idaho and Iowa. Brett also worked on the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline terminal in Cushing, Oklahoma. Brett is PMP certified from the Project Management Institute (PMI), holds a MBA from the University of Mary and a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management from North Dakota State University.
Briana serves as Senior 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.
Craig Swenson performs site acquisition for Geronimo Energy. Prior to joining Geronimo, since 2011, Craig’s private company specialized in land acquisition services throughout several states. Beginning in 2007, Craig assembled land for a North Dakota wind project that accrued over 135,000 acres. Craig’s past positions include those in industries such as real estate, personal banking, and higher education recruitment. Craig holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business with an emphasis in Management and Marketing from Bemidji State University. Having grown up in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Craig made the move into the renewable energy business to serve farmers and the rural economy. Craig’s passion for wind energy, as well as his integrity, work ethic and communication skills, all serve as a tremendous resource to Geronimo.
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 Senior Director of Business Development 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.
Eric is Geronimo Energy’s New York State Area Manager responsible for leading the company’s initiative in this large and rapidly expanding renewable energy market. He began his career in sales with Xerox Corporation followed by many years in the equipment leasing and finance sector as both a senior sales and marketing executive with CIS Corporation and president of his own company, Rainier Funding Services. In 2006, he decided to move in a new direction and led the Northeast Biofuels initiative in Central New York, which resulted in raising over $200 million to convert an abandoned Miller Brewing Plant into a bio refinery that today, is owned and operated by Sunoco. It was that endeavor that led to Eric’s commitment to renewable energy project development.
As a sixth-generation Central New Yorker, he has made a lifetime commitment to this region. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University in Northern New York and attended the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. He has devoted over 50 combined years of board and fund raising service to a number of area organizations including: as an Eagle Scout, the Central New York Boy Scout Council, Hospice of Central New York, the SUNY ESF Foundation, and Woodlawn Cemetery. In 2005, he was recognized as the Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year by the Central New York Association of Fundraising Professionals. He is also a longtime member of CenterState CEO, the regional economic development strategy and business leadership corporation in Central Upstate New York.