Board of Directors
Michael J. Ahearn founded True North Venture Partners based on a belief that early stage companies in socially disruptive business sectors require a fundamentally unique approach to funding, growth and market expansion. His perspective is based on his experience with First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), the company he co-founded in 1999. Mike served as CEO of First Solar from 2000-2009 and currently serves as its Chairman. After an initial public offering in 2006, First Solar became a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ and later became the first pure play renewable energy company to be listed on the S&P 500.
Mike also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Cox Enterprises, Inc.; a member of the Board of Trustees of Thunderbird School of Global Management; a member of the Board of Trustees of The German Marshall Fund; a member of the Board of Directors of Endeavor; a member of the Global Advisory Board of Beijing Climate Policy Initiative.
Prior to First Solar, Mike was Partner and President of an early stage equity investment firm known as True North Partners, L.L.C. (later renamed JWMA, LLC), which was the majority stockholder of First Solar prior to its initial public offering. Mike graduated magna cum laude with B.S. and J.D. degrees from Arizona State University.
David Blood, Generation Investment Management
David Blood is Senior Partner of Generation Investment Management, a fund management business dedicated to long term investment and integrated sustainability research. Previously, David served as co-CEO and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. His responsibilities included all aspects of the global business including portfolio management, sales and client service, risk management and infrastructure. David received a B.A. from Hamilton College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He is on the Board of Hamilton College, Social Finance, The Nature Conservancy, Harvest Power, SHINE and New Forests; the Advisory Board of Bridges Ventures and the Harvard Business School Visiting Committee.
Amol Deshpande, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Amol joined KPCB in April 2008 and focuses on opportunities in green technology with specific emphasis on fuels, chemicals, water, waste and environmental technologies.
While at KPCB Amol has been involved with the firm’s first water investment and also incubated Harvest Power, a venture focused on next generation organics recycling.
Prior to KPCB, Amol spent three years as a director and associate at Black River and Cargill Ventures, both investment oriented business units of the private agribusiness, Cargill, Inc. While at Cargill, Amol focused on Greentech investment throughout the energy, water and agricultural supply chain. Amol was directly involved with investments and initiatives in multiple Greentech verticals including solar, next generation fuels, sustainable agriculture, industrial biotech, waste/environmental sciences and carbon markets. Amol was also responsible for maintaining relationships with key innovative business units within Cargill and tracking innovation in Greentech both inside and outside of the organization. Prior to Cargill, Amol was an entrepreneur having founded an agricultural biotechnology company focused on novel germplasm in high value vegetable crops as well as companies in the water sector and educational services sector. In this, Amol has experience in writing business plans, fundraising and guiding strategy for new enterprises at all stages of development.
Amol has a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. Amol also has an MBA from Cornell University where he was a Park Fellow, receiving a full tuition merit based scholarship based on future leadership potential in business world.
Betty Jane (BJ) Hess
BJ Hess was Senior Vice President of Global Operations for Arrow Electronics, Inc. (NYSE) until her retirement in mid-2004. She had been a Corporate Vice President since 1989. Arrow is the world’s largest distributor of electronic components, with 11,000 employees and global sales of more than $16 billion.
BJ joined the company in 1967, when Arrow acquired a small electronics distributor where she was working as an inventory control clerk. For 37 years, BJ served in a variety of field and corporate operations management and information technology positions, and participated in or directed all of Arrow’s system conversion, mergers and acquisitions. She currently serves on the Boards of COTT Beverages (NYSE) and Philadelphia Biblical University, and is Chairman of the Board for Opportunity International, a microfinance organization.
Victor is a Managing Director at Industry Ventures, an investment fund focused on secondary and primary investments in leading venture-backed companies and venture capital funds. Prior to joining Industry Ventures, Victor was the founder of Agile Capital Partners, where he focused on opportunistic investments in growth stage companies. Prior to that he was with Internet Capital Group, where he was CEO and Chairman of ICG Asia and a Managing Director, Acquisitions. He began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs where he helped build the Internet investment banking business by leading the IPOs of eBay and Yahoo!. Victor received his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he was an Arjay Miller scholar, and his BA from Stanford University.
Paul Sellew, Harvest Power
Paul Sellew is the Co-founder and CEO of Harvest Power, Inc. and its group of companies. Harvest is the leading manager of organics in North America with a focus on maximizing the value through production of renewable energy, high quality fertilizer and compost based soil and mulch products. Paul has been a leader in the organics industry for more than 25 years. In 1982 he founded Earthgro, Inc., which grew to be the second largest producer of compost-based lawn and garden products in North America. Paul has also been a senior executive with Synagro, Inc. and also founded and led International Process Systems, Inc. (composting technology provider), Allgro, Inc. (compost marketing firm), Environmental Credit Corp. (carbon credit creation and trading), and Backyard Farms (hydroponic greenhouse tomato producer). Paul serves on the Board of Directors of the United States Composting Council and is a graduate of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Bob Simpson comes to Harvest Power with a strong financial background. Before retiring in late 2011, Simpson served as both Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Waste Management. He was responsible for the Company’s accounting, strategy, business improvement, internal audit, investor relations, tax, treasury, risk management, real estate and financial analysis functions. Prior to being elected CFO in March 2004, Simpson was Waste Management’s Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer.