Chris is the Chairman, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Climate Educator of Palmetto Clean Technology, Inc. Chris is a mission-oriented leader focused on technology solutions to climate change. Chris’s approach is a blend of both capitalism and environmentalism with a view to re-imagine 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 global energy infrastructure.
Chris originally started Palmetto in London, United Kingdom after crafting his skillset in both policy and finance from organizations such as Compagnie Financiere Tradition and United Nations. In those days, Palmetto was focused on sourcing, financing and developing renewable energy projects around the world, but primarily in developing and least developed countries. The technology types ranged from hydroelectric power to biogas digestion to wind power. Projects also ranged from utility-size to small-size. Financing was sourced primarily from utility offtakers who purchased emission instruments (required by law for compliance purposes per the EU ETS) and equity via purpose vehicle investment. Not all projects and initiatives were successful but many were and, with those lessons, Chris closed down the United Kingdom operations and returned to the United States to reincorporate Palmetto, but focus on a more scalable approach to renewable energy - the homeowner.
In building Palmetto, post reincorporation, in the United States, Chris fell into the residential solar sector through financing activities, very similar to the UK-based model. Over the next eight years, Chris built a vertically integrated residential solar company where it became clear that trust and transparency was needed across the board: consumers, distribution partners, build partners and service providers. A marketplace concept was born. Since then, Chris has led the Company to be grounded into two major principles - build trust with our consumers and drive as much transparency as possible.
As a result of the hard earned experiences since 2010, today, Palmetto is the leading clean technology marketplace with one of the largest job creators (direct and indirect) in the sector and a rapidly growing consumer base that are experiencing the value of clean technology.
Chris has an educational background in economics and policy at University of North Carolina, Ball State University and Rhodes College. A majority of Chris’s education and professional career was spent overseas and, mostly, in developing countries. Chris completed his Masters degrees, but still aspires to continue his graduate studies to complete his doctorate-level coursework in environmental economics and become a teacher, someday.
Chris grew up in a socially-oriented family where he was surrounded by teachers and physicians - always focusing on how to help the community and one another. From Kentucky and a family farm in coal country, he witnessed first-hand the impact of coal on the environment. These experiences shaped Chris’s environmental views and passions about a decarbonized future. An avid hiker and struggling fly fisherman, Chris also expresses his love for the environment by building an educational platform to better help bring awareness to climate change through various collaborative creative projects such as children's book (Grahams’ Adventures), Book projects (Why The Mission Matters, Leading, Developing and Serving Your Team ) and film (BroMates). Chris is active in charitable giving, primarily related to land conservation and poverty with a strong belief that giving back is a responsibility and it’s critical to help others in need. Chris splits his time between San Francisco, which is the heartbeat of the clean technology sector, and Charlotte, NC, where his family now resides.
"In both a professional and personal capacity, I have an appreciation for the environment. At a conceptual level, I believe that the ecosystem must be balanced and that among the largest issues facing the world. Climate change is among the largest issue that our generation faces. I believe that if I can make even the smallest of an impact by the end of my life then it was a life worth living." ~ Chris