Michael Nicklas graduated from NC State University with a Bachelor of Architecture and has been the President of Innovative Design, www.innovativedesign.net , since the firm was established in 1977.
Mr. Nicklas, while a founding member and later Chair of North Carolina Solar Energy Association, twice Chair of American Solar Energy Society and President of International Solar Energy Society, led many of these societies’ most significant efforts – from solar tax credits in the NC Legislature to having language supportive of energy-efficiency and solar energy included within the United Nations Earth Summit’s Agenda 21. To promote solar energy, Nicklas has met with the Heads-of-State of eight countries. He has presented or organized over 350 lectures and conferences attended by 75,000 people in 27 countries and 32 states to promote sustainable development.
Mr. Nicklas’ extensive knowledge of solar and architectural design has led him to become a valued resource in these areas. He has been appointed to the United Nations Development Programme Advisory Committee, NC Energy Policy Council, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Advisory Board, NC Solar Center Chair, US Office of Technology Assessment Renewable Energy Advisory Board, AIA Committee on the Environment Steering Committee, NC Governor’s Task Force on Solar Law, NC Department of Public Instruction Solar Advisory Committee, AIA’s representative on ASHRAE’s Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 Schools and lead a United Nations Earth Summit Delegation promoting solar energy.
Innovative Design is responsible for over 4,750 energy-efficient, environmentally sound solar buildings, saving the equivalent of 130 megawatts of peak electricity and total energy savings in excess of $196 million.
Bill Mann is senior vice president of products and marketing at Centrify, where he is responsible for product strategy and marketing.
Prior to Centrify, Mann held various management and product management positions across the software security spectrum at Computer Associates Technologies, as well as senior executive positions at Volera, Novell, Juston and Worldtalk. Mr. Mann has also played a lead role in M&A activities, spearheading multiple acquisitions, product introductions and funding drives.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Computer Science from Aston University in England.
President & CEO Sundance Power Systems
Dave brings over 27 years experience to the Koolbridge Solar Board of Advisor’s position in solar, environmental sciences and other sustainable design – most notably in solar systems design. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology from Fort Lewis College. Dave served as the National Action Coordinator for Greenpeace for 9-years and was instrumental in the development and execution of their Direct Action campaign strategy. He has served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Appalachian State University’s Appropriate Technology Program. Since 1995 Dave, along with his wife, Sierra, have been building Sundance Power into one of the most trusted renewable energy service companies in the Southeastern United States. He is a renowned speaker at regional conferences and has been a prime mover in raising energy consciousness among policy makers and the general public.
Sundance Power Systems, Inc. has been in business for over 20 years and is committed to participating in the healing of the planet and creating a sustainable quality of life for humanity through the introduction of renewable energy into society at large. The Company provides a full-range of solutions that includes – Renewable Energy for the Home, Commercial and Large Scale Energy Projects, PVC Panels and Systems, Solar Hot Water Thermal Systems, Radiant Floor Heating, Wind Power, Micro Hydroelectric, Service and Maintenance Programs.
John P. Donoghue
After an extensive international career in the aerospace industry abroad, John has returned to Wilmington, NC to apply his passion for alternative energy in the solar industry. In 2007 he established Cape Fear Solar Systems, LLC providing solar solutions for residential and commercial clients from the initial design to final installation.
John obtained his MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Bridgeport and Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University. Throughout his professional training and education, he has obtained multiple certifications related to renewable energy systems and is a North Carolina Licensed General Contractor. John is one of the few people in the United States to have achieved triple NABCEP® Certification in Solar PV, Solar Thermal and Solar PV Technical Sales.
As one of the most qualified solar specialist in the state, John regularly interacts with local and national organizations giving lectures and providing information and consultation with respect to the solar industry in Southeastern North Carolina in an effort to promote and increase educational awareness of renewable energy technologies.
Over 30 years experience in product development and manufacturing, with expertise in mechanical design, structural analysis and optimization using finite element analysis (FEA), design for manufacturing (DFM), rapid prototyping, parts fabrication, and injection molding.
Over 25 years the medical device industry with working knowledge of compliance regulations, design controls, validation, and failure analysis. Held technical and project leadership roles for multiple medical device product development programs, and $1M+ automated manufacturing systems.
Have three issued patents and multiple active patent applications. BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from Appalachian State University.
Dr. Ken Varner
With a PhD in Electrical Engineering, Dr. Varner brings to the Koolbridge Solar Board of Advisors a wealth of hands-on experience in business development and technical consulting in the fields of solar project development, energy management, and energy data software development. Presently he is Co-Founder and Operating Manager for vaireco GmbH of Konstanz, Germany. The Company focuses on aerial inspection technology, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in Germany and Switzerland, 3D business development of calibration survey systems, development of AI-driven thermal cameras for automated UAV applications, UAV data analysis services in Germany, Switzerland, USA and Holland; and, a UAV pilot trainer for fly-to measure -techniques. Dr. Varner was also a start-up consultant for one of Europe’s largest utility innovation hubs.
Prior to moving to Germany in 2016, Dr. Varner was the Co-Founder and Operating Manager for Viridis.iQ LLC based in Wilmington, NC. At Viridis, Dr. Varner’s responsibilities included software development for automated proposal-to-execution pipeline, installation of web-based multiple load monitoring systems, sales, design, and project management of commercial gridtied PV in USA, 3D drawings, engineering, and permitting documents for PV projects. He also lead negotiations with local utilities in the USA for grid-tied PV projects and design and installation of residential grid-tied PV & battery systems.
Dr. Varner was an Energy Data Analyst and Consultant for Cape Fear Solar Systems in Wilmington, NC USA from Feb 2013 – Dec 2015. In this position he developed intelligence solutions for streamlining operations, sales, engineering and designs of solar installations. He developed calibrated kWh production models based on 30-years of weather data with >99 % accuracy for use in financial guarantees. He integrated models into proposal tools for rapid customer acquisition with scientific precision and automated engineering documents for utility and local permitting authorities. Dr. Varner trained Project Managers, Solar Engineers, Designers, and the Cape Fear Solar sales team. He was project manager for commercial PV projects and oversaw monitoring and troubleshooting for operations and setup PV monitoring systems.
Dr. Varner has certifications for OSHA 10, Outback Power, and is a LabVIEW Associate Developer. He is highly proficient as an R&D Engineer in the area of characterization and simulation programs including: Centrotherm photovoltaics, turnkey equipment product development in the global PV market, and was responsible for TCAD numerical simulations. He is highly proficient working with the calibration of measurement systems, including spectral response, minority carrier lifetime, I-V curve testing and PECVD layer characterization. Additionally, Dr. Varner spearheaded the PV / thermal hybrid module concept, DOE and measurement methodology planning, customer site characterization ramp-up, and was on the research team investigating cutting edge advancements in solar cell technology and development of silicon solar cells and the design and development of custom semiconductor measurement systems.
In addition to being an Eagle Scout, he has extensive education credentials with a BS Physics and Astronomy at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA, from 1999 – 2004 and attended the Instituto de Technology Microelectrónica Bilbao, Spain, September 2004 – Nov. 2009. Dr. Varner was the first person at the institute to develop back contact solar cells, and he has a PHD in Electrical Engineering from the Universidad del País Vasco Bilbao, Spain 2009.
James H. Black, Jr.
Jim has started and sold 3 technology companies to large corporations. Most recently, he was a founding investor in several privately held, new enterprises including Air Quality Sciences (AQS), an indoor building environment and product testing business. He served on the board of AQS until the company was acquired by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Earlier, he was Chairman and CEO of AvData Systems, acquired by ITC^DeltaCom (NASDAQ: ITCD). Before that, Jim co-founded VideoStar Connections, which pioneered corporate television via satellite networks. VideoStar was acquired by Electronic Data Systems (NYSE: EDS, now HPE). Jim was also the senior advisor to the founder of the non-profit, Greenguard Environmental Institute, which certified products to be safe for the indoor environment. Greenguard included over 350 participating manufacturers worldwide and approximately 100,000 certified products. He has served as Chairman of Norelli & Co, a strategic consulting firm and currently serves as Vice-chairman of Learn.net, an e-learning services provider. Prior to his entrepreneurial activities, Jim held positions in sales and marketing for Scientific Atlanta. His career began with the Apollo program, and he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era. Jim earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School” said Bill Griffin, President and CEO of Koolbridge Solar.
“I have long been an advocate of renewable energy, and I’m impressed with not only the cost savings that energy management and solar provide, but with the long-term effect the combination contributes to reducing emissions to the atmosphere. Having first learned about Koolbridge Solar several years ago, I am continually impressed with their innovative and first-of-its-kind smart load center for residential homes, simplified resilient electrical inverters and software controls. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the growth of Koolbridge Solar by being elected to their Board of Advisors.” said Jim.