GreenAtom’s mission is to recruit world-class operating executives, directors and investors into the CleanTech sector, ensuring that renewable technologies and infrastructure become a reality.
GreenAtom was founded by Partners who bring a proven track record in Search and Investing, extensive domain knowledge and an unwavering commitment to the success of the CleanTech sector. Individually, the Partners have built deep relationships with a rapidly growing community of world class Executives, Investors and Portfolio Companies; collectively, we become a potent force in CleanTech Executive Search, deploying all our skills, energy and passion to this critical mission. We invite you to get to know us better.
Todd's green-roots date back to the solar assisted house in which he was raised-in Rhode Island. With entrepreneurial lineage through several generations, his passion for company building is truly in his DNA. Todd believes that building a renewable infrastructure is the most important challenge of our generation and he is committed to engaging the world’s best leaders to advance the industry’s success.
Todd's Executive Search experience spans 19 years and includes successfully completing over 500 assignments across North America, Europe and Asia. Exclusively dedicated to CleanTech, Todd has built a reputation among the sector's leading investors of bringing world class operating executives into their portfolio companies. Prior to Search, Todd spent 5 years with GE in commercial leadership roles. He is continuously on the hunt for compelling leaders, those who can turn a vision into a reality transcending the company and achieving the CleanTech mission.
Fueled by a scientific curiosity, Todd studied Chemistry at Fairfield University. Organic cooking feeds his outdoor lifestyle that includes competitive cycling, running, triathlons, marathons and alpine skiing. Todd and his wife Marisha are currently building a grid-neutral, solar house in Lake Tahoe, one of the first of its kind in the area.
Raised on Galveston Island off the coast of Texas, with family members in both the oil and fishing industries, Ashley grew up with a deep appreciation for the environmental impact of the energy industry. She believes that the gradual exposure of the fallacy of "cheap energy" will drive the creation of a renewable infrastructure to fulfill our insatiable demand for energy.
Ashley has built her career in the financial services side of the technology world, spending 5+ years as an investment banker and investor in the Technology Group of Morgan Stanley and later as head of International Strategy for a public software company called Ariba. Most recently, Ashley was a Principal with General Atlantic LLC, helping them build and expand their West Coast investment presence. As an entrepreneur and former investor in technology companies, Ashley understands the critical importance of the executive team to the success of a fast-growing company in a dynamic market environment.
Ashley earned both her Masters in International Policy and Bachelors with Honors in International Relations at Stanford University. Committed to recycling, composting and taking public transportation, Ashley has also built an environmentally-friendly surf and yoga resort in Costa Rica, enabling visitors to more deeply appreciate the beauty of the country through surfing, nature hikes and immersion in a culture deeply rooted in preserving the environment.
Leslie, a Founding Partner of GreenAtom, has enjoyed over 17 years in executive search, and manages engagements for clients in need of venture capital and private equity investors, as well as Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Marketing Officers and Business Development leaders.
Most recently, Leslie co-founded HNCL Partners, a San Francisco-based executive search boutique. Leslie also was a Senior Partner with Heidrick & Struggles, where she spent eight years in the firm’s global CFO and Private Equity, Venture Capital & Alternative Financing Practices. Prior to joining Heidrick & Struggles, Leslie spent three years with Spencer Stuart.
Before her career in executive search, Leslie was a member of the International Equities team at Bear Stearns, with responsibility for coverage of Italian and Swiss clients. A graduate of UCLA, Leslie earned her B.A. in History.
Leslie is passionate about the work she does with her clients, and is equally motivated by the diverse beauty of San Francisco and Northern California, and ensuring its preservation. When she is away from the office, Leslie is most likely found exploring the city, trying new recipes and hosting dinner parties.
Jo McKinlay is the nucleus of GreenAtom’s operations. Jo was raised in Cornwall, Great Britain, a region with the ideal geography and climate for sustainable energy resources, particularly wind energy. Growing up in this environment had a profound impact on her.
Jo has spent nearly 15 years in operational and marketing roles within the recruitment industry working for public and private retail, legal and financial services clients in both the U.S. and U.K. Her passion for engaging in the Clean Tech mission is driven by the potency of ideas, intellect and ability generated by those dedicated to making renewable energy and clean technologies a standard feature in our lives.
Jo enjoys shopping at local organic farmers’ markets on the weekends, she composts and recycles. Once an avid golfer, her free time is now dedicated to her young daughter, Scarlett, whom she teaches the value and sources in nature of all of our energy and food resources through gardening, cooking and hiking.
Agile, Strategic and Results oriented: GreenAtom’s Partner-led, Partner-executed business model and emphasis on quality and speed is designed to deliver an exceptional search experience for our clients and candidates. Our collaborative methodology enables us to quickly identify and reach the targeted spectrum of candidates, capture market intelligence, adapt to feedback and most importantly deliver outstanding results.
Representative assignments include:
CEO, CFO, COO, CTO, SVP Sales, Marketing and
Investment Partner, Principal, Managing Partner
Board of Directors
Our search process begins by consulting with our client and key stakeholders to gain a thorough understanding of the company, culture, competitive landscape, stage and key differentiators. We define the critical skills, attributes and experience requirements for the position, and develop the sourcing strategy custom tailored to incorporate direct and tangential source companies
- Write the position description
- Develop the market communication strategy that presents a compelling vision about our clients and the role
- Establish the specific goals, objectives, and timeline
Leveraging our global network and database to identify and initiate contact with the first 200 candidates: 100 new through original research and 100 known contacts.
- Launch the customized communication employing peer-to-peer marketing techniques
- Initiate sourcing calls and engage in discussion with high potential prospects
- Measure response, gather market intelligence and share data with client
Weeks 3 to 5
GreenAtom begins candidate interviews: telephone, video conference and face-to-face. We continue to source and screen new prospects, while presenting the strongest short-listed candidates to our client.
- Initiate weekly search status calls with the Search committee
- Expand target companies and adapt strategy based on initial feedback
Weeks 5 to 9
We arrange client meetings with the top candidates, who have been thoroughly vetted by the GreenAtom Partners.
- Continue to present new prospects, while moving top candidates through additional interviews
- Gather requirements from candidates regarding relocation, compensation and other factors
Weeks 9 to 11
We begin the closing the process for the candidate(s) who best fit the requirements of our client. Ensuring a successful completion of the search, we continue to reach out to potential new candidates, while simultaneously moving the finalist(s) forward.
- Complete candidate references
- Validate education
- Begin to discuss terms and requirements with both our client and the final candidate(s)
GreenAtom and our client work together to extend an offer to the top finalist and negotiate any final terms.
GreenAtom continues to communicate with our placement and clients to make sure the transition process is going smoothly.
GreenAtom views each client and each candidate as a long-term partner and works to maintain the relationship as we all execute on the CleanTech mission.
Why We're Different
Dedicated exclusively to CleanTech, GreenAtom's Partners possess deep executive search and investing expertise, global reach, sector knowledge and an extensive track record of success recruiting in direct and related industries. GreenAtom’s collaborative approach ensures that each of our clients receives the full benefit of our collective capabilities.
GreenAtom has developed a high-tech/high-touch approach to executive search, using proprietary tools and technology while maintaining a highly personalized approach. We continuously cultivate and expand our network of world-class executives who possess the specialized skills and attributes to succeed in CleanTech.
GreenAtom’s passion about the success of the CleanTech sector fuels our enthusiasm to persevere. We settle for nothing short of excellence even through the most challenging searches.
The CleanTech Challenge
The CleanTech sector demands exceptional, purpose-driven leaders who envision their work as impacting the companies they lead, the sectors in which they compete and the greater purpose of building a renewable infrastructure. CleanTech demands endurance and the ability to maintain momentum from technology concept to pilot validation through product commercialization, while managing the:
- Complexities of scaling infrastructure
- Massive capital requirements
- Evolving governmental policy
- Fluctuating costs of energy and the supply chain
- Emergence of disruptive technologies
There are a limited number of highly experienced professionals in this rapidly evolving sector, who are capable of executing in such a demanding environment. Premier talent must be selectively sourced from tangential industries to build robust teams with the right combination of skills, background and personal attributes to succeed in CleanTech.
CleanTech is the term used to describe the broad spectrum of vertical sub-sectors and technologies that contribute towards renewable power generation, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and eliminating carbon emissions. Each CleanTech sub-sector faces unique and complex challenges including incumbent technologies and competitors, government policy, and substantial capital requirements to commercialization and scale. This section of our site is dedicated to the aggregation of resources to provide our growing community a glimpse into the sectors which make up CleanTech.
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. Although wind produces only about 1.5% of worldwide electricity use, it is growing rapidly, having doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008. In several countries it has achieved relatively high levels of penetration, accounting for approximately 19% of electricity production in Denmark, 11% in Spain and Portugal, and 7% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland in 2008.
Wind energy as a power source is favored by many as an alternative to fossil fuels. Wind is predictable, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces lower greenhouse gas emissions. Wind can be more easily deployed at utility scale with modern wind farms developments reaching 500 to 1000 MW of capacity.
The challenges to the industry have included turbine shortages, access to the transmission grid from key wind farms, and concerns about intermittency issues (wind blows hardest at night when demand is lowest).
- American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
- British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) Briefing Sheets
- Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA)
- European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
- Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)
- Pickens Plan
- The Energy Story, California Energy Commission: Wind Energy
- Wind Power in the United States: Technology, Economic, and Policy Issues
- Wind Project Community Organizing
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive or active depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute sunlight. Active solar techniques use photovoltaic panels, pumps, and fans to convert sunlight into useful outputs. Passive solar techniques include selecting materials with favorable thermal properties, designing spaces that naturally circulate air, and referencing the position of a building to the Sun.
While traditional crystalline silicon PV has been the dominant technology through the end of last year, emerging technologies such as thin-film, solar thermal (CSP) and concentrating solar (CPV) have created disruptions in the market, enabling utility-scale deployments at lower cost.
The key to the success of the solar industry lies primarily enabling a path for grid parity, the ability to affect cost reductions across the supply chain and access to project financing. Currently the market for solar installations is highly dependent on government subsidies, as has been seen in Spain and Germany.
- American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
- Canadian Solar Industries Association (CanSIA)
- International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
- Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)
- Solar Energy Industries Associations (SEIA)
- US Government: EIA Renewable Energy - Solar Photovoltaics
- US Government: EIA Renewable Energy - Solar Thermal Data
- Union of Concerned Scientists: How Solar Energy Works
- The Energy Story, California Energy Commission: Solar Energy
There are a number of important themes around the subject of water, from scarcity and distribution issues, climate change, population growth, and rising consumption per capita. In the US alone, water consumption increased 10x per capita in the 20th century, according to a 2008 research report by Jeffries & Company. The EPA estimates $170 - $500 Billion of investment needs in water infrastructure in the U.S. over the next 15 - 20 years. The EPA estimates global water and wastewater infrastructure needs could run as high as $3 trillion over the next 20 years.
A number of companies exist to address the increasing problems around water consumption, scarcity and pollution issues, from pipe companies working to improve an aging infrastructure to water treatment companies looking to repurpose waste water, clean existing water sources or employ desalinization technologies. Other companies are focused on increasing the efficiency of water usage through advanced metering and monitoring technologies in industries such as farming, energy, hospitality or residential utilities, or decreasing water pollution across multiple industries.
Hydropower, hydraulic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of moving water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Hydroelectric power now supplies about 19% of the world’s electricity.
Water is currently the leading renewable energy source used by electric utilities to generate electric power, the major advantage is that water is a source of cheap power. There is a common notion among developed nations that most of their hydropower resources have been harnessed, however in 2004, an extensive survey was conducted by the US-DOE which found that only 40% of the total hydropower potential had been developed.
- Food and Agriculture Organization: AQUASTAT
- American Water Works Association
- The World’s Water (Dr. Peter Gleick)
- International Hydropower Association (IHA)
- EPA - Hydroelectricity
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Hydropower
- National Hydropower Association
- The Energy Story, California Energy Commission: Hydro Power
- US Government: EIA Renewable Energy - Hydro
- US Department of Energy - Hydropower
Biofuel is defined as solid, liquid or gaseous fuel obtained from relatively recently lifeless biological material. Biomass is made from many types of waste organic matter (both animal and vegetable) such as crop stalks, tree thinning, wooden pallets, construction waste, chicken and pig waste, agricultural waste and lawn trimmings. Recently the focus of the industry has shifted from corn ethanol to cellulosic ethanol, biobutanol, and biomass-to-liquids, in an effort to avoid the "food versus fuel" debate sparked by the surge in corn ethanol production in the U.S.
Cellulosic ethanol commercial projects will be focused primarily around sugarcane and energy cane (switchgrass, algae or trees). Biodiesel waste from feedstocks has a significant advantage in its ability to be used in the existing petrochemical infrastructure (versus needed to be blended downstream like ethanol).
A recent publication by the European Union highlighted the potential for waste-derived bioenergy to contribute to the reduction of global warming. The report concluded that the equivalent of 19 million tons of oil is available from biomass by 2020, 46% from bio-wastes: municipal solid waste (MSW), agricultural residues, farm waste and other biodegradable waste streams.
The key to the success of the biofuels industry will be in the ability to keep the supply chain costs low and also seeing an increase in the price of oil and natural gas. Brazil, the world’s largest producer of ethanol, has seen the most success (and made the most effort) in using ethanol as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Our current energy grid is inadequate for the electric power demands, and our system of transporting and storing energy is antiquated and far from peak efficiency. A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability. It builds on many of the technologies already used by electric utilities but adds communication and control capabilities that will optimize the operation of the entire electrical grid.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides $4.5 billion for the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability for activities to modernize the nation's electrical grid, integrate demand-response equipment, and analyze, develop, and implement smart grid technologies. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) will also be getting into the act, as it will receive $300 million to research, develop, test, and evaluate energy technologies, including improvements in energy generation and efficiency, transmission, regulation, and storage.
- US Department of Energy: SmartGrid
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Smart Grid
- GridWise Architecture Council
- IRED-cluster: Integration of Renewable Energy Sources and Distributed Generation into European Electricity Grid
- North American Electric Reliability Corporation
- SmartGrid News
- SmartGrid: European Technology Platform
A number of new advances have been made in energy storage over the last decade, driven by the growth in consumer electronics, hybrid vehicles and the need to make the electric grid more efficient and reliable. According to an article in Newsweek magazine, the venture capital market invested over $200 million into the energy storage market in 2008, up from $4.3 million in 2002.
Large scale energy storage (100MW and above) is critical to making renewable energy economically viable, storing energy generated during off-peak hours for use during peak hours, and currently represents only 2.7% of energy generated in the US. The current electric power system is built under the model of using electricity as it is generated. Thus the transmission and distribution system must be built out to manage peak-capacity, regardless of how short that peak window is. Advanced energy storage technologies promise to increase the efficiency and reliability of the existing power grid and enable renewable power generation.
Current mass storage systems require significant upfront investment. CAES is a gas turbine power plant that consumes less than 40% of the gas of a traditional gas turbine by pre-compressing air using lost cost electricity from the power grid at night and then using that compressed air later, combined with gas fuel, to generate energy later. Pumped Hydro Storage is based on a two-tiered reservoir system. During off-peak hours, water is pumped from the lower reservoir up to the higher reservoir, and then reversed as needed to generate power. There is approximately 90 GW of pumped storage in operation worldwide, about 3% of global generation capacity.
The global market for rechargeable battery technologies is estimated to be close to $50Bn and expanding rapidly, driven by the strong growth in consumer electronics, wireless technologies, industrial applications and hybrid vehicles. Higher capacity, lighter weight solutions, such as Li-ion and NiMH, are expected to grow at faster rates than some of their less expensive, lower density counterparts, such as lead-acid.
Li-ion (Lithium-Ion) battery technology is the newest technology, used in consumer electronics, cellphones, laptops and increasingly in hybrid vehicles, but tend to be significantly (up to 5x) more expensive than other technologies and have had a number of safety issues over the years related to overheating. NiMH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride) batteries are used both in hybrid vehicles and consumer electronics and have been improving in terms of cycle life, which is shorter than Ni-Cd. Ni-Cd (Nickel-Cadmium) batteries are used in a number of consumer electronics and power tools because of their higher density, but are less environmentally friendly than Li-ion and NiMH because of the Cadmium (which is a carcinogen, like lead). Lead-acid batteries are the lowest cost solution and are therefore used in a number of industrial applications, such as forklifts and telecom base station reserve power.
Recycling involves processing used materials into new products in order to reduce the consumption of raw materials and the associated pollution from virgin production, reduce air pollution from the incineration of used products, and decrease the pollution and cost of landfills. While historically recycling has been criticized for the energy and water used for the recycling process, modern technologies are enabling closed-loop recycling systems that use little to no water and are more energy efficient.
New legislation is also driving the market for recycling processes and technologies, including minimum recycled content mandates, recycling utilization credits, price preference programs for recycled products and product labeling regulations. Steel is the most recycled material, with an average recycle rate of over 60% since 1970. Last year, over 67 million tons of steel scrap was recycled in the U.S. alone.
Vehicles with electric motors have low emissions, cost significantly less to operate than fuel vehicles, and lower the nation’s dependence on oil. As such, the electrification of vehicles is starting to take hold across all vehicles, from passenger cars through off-road vehicles, such as wheelchairs, golf carts, lawn mowers and industrial equipment, military vehicles and public transportation. Passenger vehicles have led the recent upswing with both parallel hybrids, like the Prius, as well as series hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars.
Hybrid vehicles use both internal combustion or diesel engines and electric motors. Plug-in hybrids use larger battery packs and external charging to improve the range but still get all the benefits of electric vehicles. Fuel-cell vehicles generate their own electricity using hydrogen or other fuel convertible to hydrogen.
Although fuel-cell vehicles (“FCV”) are not expected to reach the market before 2010, FCVs are expected to revolutionize the auto industry and completely reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Like other electric cars and hybrids, FCVs are fueled by electric motors. However, FCVs generate their own electricity through a chemical process using hydrogen fuel and oxygen from the air. Currently FCVs are too expensive, have too many safety concerns and lack the performance to be commercially viable, but significant research is going into this market to improve the technology in the near future.
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