How TradeWind Energy executives are innovating the renewable energy industry Featured

8:00pm EDT June 30, 2013
Rob Freeman, CEO, TradeWind Energy, Inc. Rob Freeman, CEO, TradeWind Energy, Inc.

STL Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year



Rob Freeman


TradeWind Energy, Inc.


Matt Gilhousen

chief development officer

TradeWind Energy, Inc.


Geoff Coventry


TradeWind Energy, Inc.


What do a technology entrepreneur, a musician turned engineer and a corporate attorney have in common? They lead TradeWind Energy, Inc., one of the largest developers of wind energy projects in the U.S. However, the company hasn’t always been in that position.

In the early years, TradeWind positioned itself to be a wind power development company headquartered in the Midwest. The development process began by identifying key locations and then negotiating leases on the locations in order to build site inventory. Although Rob Freeman, Matt Gilhousen and Geoff Coventry had the drive necessary to succeed, TradeWind had an uphill battle from the beginning.

One early setback stemmed from the actions of a founding member who, having left the company, criticized the traditional sources of energy such as coal and nuclear. Unfortunately, TradeWinds’ customer base at the time comprised these same utility companies, and the local utility companies saw hostility in the gesture.

It was evident that a change was necessary in order for the company to survive. As TradeWind reached an inevitable breaking point, Gilousen, chief development officer, and Coventry, COO, met with Freeman and determined that the business had a future with Freeman at the helm as CEO.

TradeWind made a strategic decision to focus its efforts on getting control of some of the highest wind resource sites in the country. The strategy has been to focus on developing the lowest possible delivered cost of electricity from wind rather than focusing on markets that have had policy directives for wind power. This strategy has proved to be a key to TradeWind’s success.

TradeWind also secured transmission rights for physical delivery of wind power from Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska to the southeast U.S. The company expects growth will come from innovative combinations of technologies in natural gas, wind and solar.

How to reach: TradeWind Energy, Inc.,