Chris is the Chairman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Clean Technology, Inc. He is a mission-oriented leader focused on technology solutions to climate change. Chris’ approach blends capitalism with environmentalism, focusing on re-imagining decentralized energy systems and a decarbonized future. As outlined in his manifesto, the New Utility Revolution, technological advancements and economic advantages created by clean technology are approaching a tipping point in the global energy infrastructure. The need to democratize access to clean energy and the need to reduce global warming and emissions is quickly driving the realization that clean energy now makes good business sense for the planet’s survival.
Chris originally started Palmetto in London after refining his skillset in both policy and finance from organizations including Compagnie Financiere Tradition and the United Nations. In both capacities, he worked primarily with, and in, developing countries to deliver clean technologies in an effort to leapfrog and work outside of an antiquated centralized utility grid structure.
In those early days, Palmetto was focused on sourcing, financing and developing renewable energy projects around the world, but primarily in the least developed countries. Palmetto’s technology offerings ranged from hydroelectric power to bio-gas digestion to wind power. Projects also varied in size/scope, ranging from utility-sized to residential size. With lessons learned, Chris closed the United Kingdom operations and returned to the United States to re-incorporate Palmetto with a focus on a scalable approach to renewable energy - focusing on the homeowner.
In re-incorporating Palmetto in the United States, Chris focused on the residential solar sector through financing activities similar to the UK-based model. Starting in 2010, and over the next eight years, Palmetto grew into a vertically integrated residential solar company. In this emerging market, Chris realized that trust and transparency were needed across the board: consumers, distribution partners, build partners and service providers; a marketplace concept was born. Chris continues to lead the company toward the marketplace, energy-as-a-service model, while ensuring the Company is grounded by two major principles - building trust with our customers and driving as much transparency as is possible.
As a result of Chris’ hard learned experiences and his vision, today, Palmetto is one of the leading clean technology marketplaces and stands as one of the largest job creators (direct and indirect) in the sector. The Company features a rapidly growing customer base that is experiencing the financial and environmental value of clean technology.
Chris has undertaken study in economics and policy at the University of North Carolina, Ball State University and at Rhodes College. With his Masters degree in hand, Chris aspires to complete his doctorate-level coursework in environmental economics, which he plans to use to continue educating populations about the environment and the ramifications of climate change.
From a family farm in Kentucky coal country, Chris witnessed first-hand the impact that coal exacted on the environment. This experience shaped Chris’ environmental views and his passions for a decarbonized future. He also expresses his love for the environment through various collaborative, creative education projects - such as children's books (Grahams’ Adventures), business books (Why The Mission Matters, Leading, Developing and Serving Your Team ) and film (BroMates). Chris is an avid hiker, a struggling fly fisherman and also is active in charitable giving -- primarily related to land conservation and addressing poverty. He is guided by a strong belief that giving back is a critical responsibility and feels it is a duty and imperative to help others in need.
Chris divides his time between San Francisco -- the heartbeat of the clean technology sector -- and Charlotte, NC, where his family now resides.