Six things execs should know about maintaining stamina and energy after 50

I’m no stranger to obstacles. Setting my goals to run across the nation, I’ve been training and preparing for this journey for years.

Here are six things executives should know about maintaining stamina and energy after the age of 50.

  1. In business and life we have a choice to be average, good or great. As we age we should be working toward greatness when it comes to taking care of our body and overall well-being/fitness. Most people take better care of their cars then they do their bodies. The choice is up to you.
  2. Don’t stop believing that anything is possible and keep dreaming big. 50-years-old and being in our 50s does not mean we need to slow down and take it easy. It means we keep working very hard toward dreams and goals, knowing that with the right work and dedication anything is possible.
  3. Take time to do yoga, meditate and find ways to be peaceful. Recharge your batteries by doing mindful exercises that bring love and energy.
  4. Finding the right form of exercise that raises your heart rate a few times a week. When we raise our heart rate, it helps our overall well-being in many ways. Examples: walk, run, swim, bike, roller blade, hike, elliptical machine or any cardio machine in the gym. There are so many ways and so many choices At least 30 minutes of cardio should be done four to five days a week. Lift weights two-three times a week to stay strong and keep your bone destiny in a good place. Take one to two days off exercise, or on the off days, go to yoga!
  5. Eat well, sleep well. Get off the sugar and all the carbs. There are so many different diets, but you don’t need a diet. You need a healthy lifestyle that works for you. None of us are made to eat lots of sugar and carbs. Try to eat more lean proteins, fresh fruit and vegetables and drink water. We all know this, but are you doing it?
  6. Make time! I hear it all the time: “I just don’t have the time.” You have the time. You are the most important person in your life. Take out your daily and weekly calendar and mark out the time each day that you plan to exercise.

For me, it is a 4 a.m. On my daily calendar at 4 a.m. I have my name across it. If anyone wants to make an appointment with you when you have marked off the time for you, your answer is, “I am sorry but I already have an appointment at that time.” That appointment with you is the most important of your day.

When I set my alarm to go off at 3:30 a.m., I have made a commitment to myself and to my overall health and well-being. I don’t hit the snooze or turn if off; I get up because it is important. If I can do it so can you!

Lisa Smith Batchen, 55, will Run the Nation and raise money for Grammy award winning artist Imagine Dragons’ public charity for pediatric cancer families, The Tyler Robinson Foundation. On April 24, 2016,  Lisa will embark on a transcontinental journey starting in Los Angeles and concluding in New York City. To break the current foot speed record, Lisa will have to average 68 miles per day.

A famous ultramarathon runner, Lisa has competed and won some of the world’s most difficult competitions including the Sahara’s “Marathon Des Sables” and the United States Badwater Ultramarathon twice.

She has competed in 35 ultramarathons, 90 marathons, and has completed five Hawaii Ironman World Championships. Her accomplishments as an endurance runner and ironman athlete have made her one of the most revered athletes in the world.

Learn more about Lisa and her upcoming Run The Nation at

The Great American Energy Boom —Many points to examine

Last year was an amazing year for America’s booming oil and gas industry. The U.S. is now considered a world energy super power. Referred to as “The Great American Energy Boom,” there is an abundance in energy following generations of scarcity, resulting in lower energy costs for consumers and businesses. This has delivered much promise for increased job growth, higher wages and greater economic prosperity.

There are 10 points to examine when looking at the Great American Energy Boom.

  1. U.S. natural gas and crude oil production — The shale revolution was made possible by drilling techniques invented in the U.S. Oil and natural gas output is likely to reach an all-time record high.
  2. U.S. energy self-sufficiency — The U.S. now produces so much oil and natural gas that it was more self-sufficient in 2014 than at any point in the last 25 years.
  3. Crude oil production — Production is also at an all-time record. It rose to 9 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of 2014 and is the highest it has been since March 1986.
  4. Annual change in U.S. oil production — Another energy success story in 2014 was the increase in U.S. crude oil production by 1.2 million bpd. This indicates the largest increase in crude oil output in U.S. history.
  5. S. ability to out-produce Saudi Arabia — The U.S. has led the world in total petroleum production and has consistently out-produced Saudi Arabia since 2012. In September, the U.S. out-produced Saudi Arabia by 2.7 million bpd.
  6. The U.S. is decreasing reliance on foreign sources of petroleum — In 2014, U.S. reliance on foreign sources of petroleum fell to 27 percent of total products supplied (in 2005, America relied on 60.5 percent).
  7. Close to the cheapest gasoline in history — U.S. gas prices are closest to the cheapest in history. Costs dropped $1.52 per gallon to $2.18 per gallon. By today’s standards, it would take 25 minutes of work to buy enough gas to drive 100 miles. That represents half the 51.6 minutes required in 2008.
  8. Texas crude oil output — One of the major American Shale Oil producers is the state of Texas. In 2014, Texas produced more than 37 percent of America’s crude oil. That is up from less than 20 percent in 2009.
  9. S. super oil fields — There are three truly super oil fields in the U.S., two in Texas and one in North Dakota. Daily production in each of those three oil fields is more than one million barrels per day.
  10. More jobs — The oil sector in Texas has helped to drive up employment numbers in the U.S. Without Texas, the U.S. would likely still be at a job deficit.

The U.S. has emerged from energy scarcity to abundance, becoming a world energy superpower. This results in lower energy costs, allows our country to be more self-sufficient and promises more jobs with higher income potential.

Matthew P. Figgie
Clark-Reliance is a global, multi-divisional manufacturing company with sales in more than 80 companies, serving the power generation petroleum, refining and chemical processing industries.
Matthew is also chairman of Figgie Capital and the Figgie Foundation.

Rick Solon
President and CEO, Clark-Reliance
Rick has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing and operating companies.


Matthew Figgie and Rick Solon: Energy and the future

Matthew Figgie, chairman, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Matthew Figgie, Chairman, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Looking to the future, every business can benefit by seeing what the trends are in the energy market and how those trends ultimately may affect business. As societies advance, they will continue to need energy to power homes, business, industry, transportation and other services.

By assessing the trends in energy supply, demand and technology, companies can make strategic plans and long-term investments that underpin their business strategy. Several key findings are relevant for all companies to consider when looking at macroeconomic views of the energy markets. This view must not only look at today, but years in advance.

One basic theme is that the appetite for energy will grow immensely as everything will be more electronic and driven by where we get energy from. Companies need to assess their growth strategy to suit their present needs and future consumption.

Here are some fundamentals:

Population: The population between now and 2040 will grow by 25 percent. In 2040, we will have almost 9 billion people on earth and it is anticipated that 75 percent of the world’s population will reside in the Asia Pacific and Africa. A country’s working age population, people ages 15 to 64, represents the driver for its economic growth and energy demand. After 2030, India will have the largest population, and 70 percent of its population will be in the working age population range.

Rick Solon, President and CEO, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Rick Solon, President and CEO, Clark-Reliance Corp.

Energy: Efficiency will continue to play a key role in solving our energy challenges. Energy demands in developing nations will rise by 65 percent by 2040, reflecting growing prosperity and expanding economies. With all of this growth comes a greater demand for electricity.

Computers, smartphones, air conditioners, microwaves and washing machines — these things all depend on electricity to work. And as the number of homes and businesses across the world grows, so does the need for power. The fuels we use to power our world are also evolving, with natural gas and nuclear power generation in non-OECD countries increasing by 150 percent.

Residential: As economies and populations grow, so will energy needs. By 2040, residential and commercial demand is expected to rise approximately 50 percent.

This is being driven by developing countries. There are about 1.3 billion people today who do not have access to electricity, and while demand is anticipated to increase by 50 percent, energy use per person is actually declining thanks to energy-efficient buildings and appliances.

Transportation: Transportation-related energy demand will increase by more than 40 percent from 2010 to 2040. Most of this demand is driven by heavy-duty sources (freight trucks, buses, emergency vehicles and work trucks), but as personal vehicles are becoming significantly more energy-efficient, the demand will rise steadily.

More importantly, mpg will become more attractive, with anticipated mpg to increase from 27 to 47 mpg. The mpg increase is attributed to the use of improved engines and transmissions, along with lighter body and accessory parts, vehicle downsizing and increased use of hybrids.

Industrial: Industrial energy demand will grow by 30 percent. The fastest growing area for industrial demand comes from heavy industries. The most flourishing is the chemical industry.

These global considerations are important as you look to the future to find those things from a macroeconomic basis that should have an impact on your business. It is necessary to find a series of relevant statistics that will help you identify early warning indicators of what you should do in terms of product development and industry growth.


Matthew P. Figgie is chairman of Clark-Reliance, a global, multi-divisional manufacturing company with sales in more than 80 countries, serving the power generation petroleum, refining and chemical processing industries. He is also chairman of Figgie Capital and the Figgie Foundation, a member of the University Hospitals Board of Directors, corporate co-chairman for the 2013 Five Star Sensation and chairman of the National Kidney Walk.

Rick Solon is president and CEO of Clark-Reliance and has more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing and operating companies. He is also the chairman of the National Kidney Foundation Golf Outing.

Building an offshore wind industry in the Great Lakes

Lorry Wagner, President, Lake Erie Energy Development Co.

Lorry Wagner, President, Lake Erie Energy Development Co.

Over and over again, Lorry Wagner has heard Northeast Ohio business and government officials asking, “Why offshore wind and why Ohio?” Wagner and his team at Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. are asking those people, “Why not?”

Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. or LEEDCo, is a regional non-profit and economic development organization building an offshore wind energy industry in Ohio. Offshore wind refers to the construction of wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity. Wagner, a seasoned wind energy engineer and a longstanding member of the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, is president of Cleveland-based LEEDCo, a position he assumed in May 2010.

“The Cleveland Foundation had been looking at expanding their role in the community through economic development and they identified energy as one of the areas that made sense for them to support,” Wagner says. “The particular aspect of the energy industry that fit our skill set the best was offshore wind.”

From 2004 until 2009 when LEEDCo was formed, Cuyahoga County and Lorain County officials were involved in an energy task force to explore whether or not this idea made sense. They concluded that there was no reason not to develop offshore wind in the region.

“LEEDCo was an outgrowth of the task force because they realized they needed a business to push this forward,” Wagner says.

Now Wagner and his team are fighting for federal funding as well as the support of local officials to help people realize the benefits of offshore wind to the Northeast Ohio region.

One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of LEEDCo’s efforts is the standoffish attitude of some key people who could help bring offshore wind to the region.

“The biggest challenge is that many people around here think that if we just work harder and the economy comes back, life will be like it used to be,” Wagner says. “In 1950, we had 914,000 people in Cleveland. Today we’ve got 393,000 and we went from No. 7 to No. 47 in the country because of that thinking.

“We just keep skating where the puck is instead of skating to where the puck is going to be.” That’s the biggest challenge facing LEEDCo — the attitude of people who refuse to see the benefit of a new energy source that is booming in places like Europe.

“We’re trying to do something that’s a $200 billion business around the world,” he says. “Wouldn’t you think that somebody would say, ‘It’s a $200 billion business and all these major companies around the world are doing it, shouldn’t we try it and see if it works?’”

Offshore wind energy is a matter of doing something that this region is going to benefit from.

“It is a proven job generation engine,” he says. “Over 50,000 jobs in Europe have been created and given the pathway Europe is on now, it will probably create upward of 200,000 jobs. If it can be competitive, there is no doubt it will create jobs.”

The kind of jobs offshore wind would create is mostly in the services industry. They are good paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.

“Once you develop the jobs in a region, they stay there,” Wagner says.

Offshore wind energy is also renewable, cleans up the environment, has a stable price for 20 years, and doesn’t have a fuel cost. It’s a game changer in the utility industry.

“It certainly isn’t the earth-shaking industry that the Internet has been, but look at what’s happened to all of the traditional companies who ruled the world 20 years ago,” Wagner says. “Many of those have changed. We’re in a similar situation when it comes to energy, because the major utilities are used to being a monopoly and running the show. That is shifting.”

According to Wagner, most people under the age of 40 understand offshore wind energy and support the idea. Many retired people do as well.

“The challenge is getting people 40 to 65 to do something different and if I had the answer to that, I’d be king of the world,” he says.

To help push their effort forward, LEEDCo has been on a mission to receive federal funding.

“Right now we have about 12 partners working on the first phase of a federal grant,” Wagner says. “Out of 60-some applicants, seven projects were chosen for Department of Energy funding. We were one of those projects and the only one in the Great Lakes.”

LEEDCo has a target of February 12, 2014 to submit its next proposal to the Department of Energy.

“We compete against six other teams for the final round of funding and three projects will be funded,” he says. “That’s what we are focused on.”

How to reach: Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., (216) 241-9201 or

Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo – Unlocking Ohio’s energy assets

Throughout Ohio, there are companies and organizations that are developing a wide range of innovative solutions to meet energy challenges. In turn, the state has many great assets that lend themselves to the energy industry and help create ways to improve energy resources or provide ideas on how to develop new ones.

As a way to bring together companies, researchers and supply chain manufacturers across Ohio to share ideas for developing innovative, advanced energy technologies and capitalize on common synergies for future business opportunities, NorTech held its Advanced Energy B2B 2012 Conference & Expo Oct. 30 and 31.

“The whole reason that we’re interested in holding this event is to promote the idea of building collaborations and partnerships among our cluster companies,” says Dave Karpinski, vice president of NorTech and director of NorTech Energy Enterprise. “That guides our programming, the design of our event and our target audience.”

The event last year was a mix of discussions on energy sectors and potential growth areas within Ohio such as solar, energy storage and fuel cells, smart grid, biomass, waste streams and energy efficiency, as well as trade show exhibit space.

One of the things new this year was a panel of some of the major projects going on in Ohio from a renewable, advanced energy standpoint.

“The purpose was to give the attendees a sense for the breadth of projects that are going on and where they’re being deployed in different parts of the state,” Karpinski says. “It was a good lesson about matching the technologies with the resources in our state to be able to generate renewable and advanced energy based on our renewable portfolio standard.”

What provided an even more exciting opportunity for economic development are all the products and solutions that can be generated, developed, manufactured here and not only used in Ohio but also exported around the country and around the world.

“If you think about energy and advanced energy, all of these systems are massive, large-scale, durable, good processes with lots of manufacturing, materials and components,” he says. “That’s what we are strong at in Ohio.

“We’re coupling our research and development strengths with our ability to make these things and produce these processes, systems, battery solutions, fuel cells, etc., to have an impact here.”

NorTech also tries to generate local demand for these products in the state so the companies developing these solutions have local customers to work with as they develop and perfect them.

“It’s much more productive if your developing, manufacturing and deploying systems are close by,” he says. “That will make you more competitive as you scale up and export around the world.”

This work surrounding collaboration and partnerships with energy companies is part of what NorTech calls road mapping.

“That process helps us identify where we think we have strengths in the region, what the companies are in these clusters and what the competitive picture looks like against other regions,” Karpinski says. “Then we work with these companies to come up with a game plan for cluster growth.”

One cluster NorTech is excited about surrounds two companies that convert waste plastics or waste polymers back into crude oil. The technology, as oil prices have increased over the years, has become more attractive and viable.

“They’re relatively small output … so there is a little bit of a challenge to get the attention from buyers of oil for really small sources like this,” he says.

NorTech is working with a couple of its companies in the cluster on federal advocacy efforts to open up this waste stream to qualify as renewable fuel for the country’s federal renewable fuel standard.

NorTech is also working with Quasar Energy Group, which produces a technology called anaerobic digesters that take biomass waste and, through a biological process, generate methane.

The methane can be compressed, cleaned and used as compressed natural gas for transportation applications as an alternative to gasoline or diesel fuel.

“One of the challenges that they had was getting equipment for these dispensing stations,” Karpinski says.

Because Quasar didn’t want to be experts in CNG dispensing systems but wanted somebody that could work with them that could develop that, NorTech partnered the company with South Shore Controls.

“We identified that need and have a project ongoing with Quasar and South Shore Controls and are working with our partner Magnet to help design the appropriate piece of equipment such that South Shore could be the manufacturer for Quasar,” he says.

Through these kinds of efforts and the information being shared during events such as the Advanced Energy B2B 2012 Conference & Expo, companies are getting help to achieve their growth targets.

“We hope it will stimulate some interest in working in some of these companies and provide chances for collaboration,” Karpinski says. ■

Protect the environment and lower taxes through conservation or renewable energy credits and incentives

Laura Roman, CPA, CMAP, Partner, Tax and Strategic Business Services, Weaver

Not only is Texas a leading provider of crude oil and natural gas, but the state’s abundant sunlight and persistent winds offer businesses yet another opportunity to lead the nation, by tapping renewable energy sources to power manufacturing plants, distribution centers and office buildings.

But despite the fact that Texas companies can leverage more than 80 federal, state and local incentive programs to defray the cost of purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and energy conservation equipment, executives in the Lone Star state are still leaving money on the table.

“Renewable energy and conservation incentives and credits allow companies to demonstrate environmental stewardship, increase operating efficiencies and lower income taxes by defraying the cost of purchasing renewable energy and energy conservation equipment and systems,” says Laura Roman, CPA, CMAP, partner in tax and strategic business services at Weaver. “Unfortunately, the funds often go unused, and the programs won’t last forever.”

Smart Business spoke with Roman about the opportunities to lower taxes and operating expenses and positively impact the environment by taking advantage of underutilized conservation and renewable energy credits and incentives.

Why should companies consider switching to renewable energy or energy efficient building materials?

The benefits include the opportunity to lower energy consumption and utility bills by installing modern, energy-efficient manufacturing equipment, windows or HVAC systems, and the chance to promote a positive public image by launching green initiatives and supporting environmental stewardship. Plus, both tenants and building owners can utilize the incentive programs and reap the financial rewards. For example, the improvements help owners by boosting property values, while tenants benefit from increased energy efficiency, which ultimately reduces operating costs.

What types of incentives are available?

There are more than 54 federal and 28 state and local programs that can be used for equipment purchases or upgrades that reduce energy consumption or utilize solar, wind, ethanol and biodiesel energy. The programs include: tax deductions, credits and exemptions, loans and grants, rebates and performance-based incentives. For example, Texas businesses can qualify for commercial energy efficiency rebates, energy efficient incentive programs, green building corporate tax credits and sales tax exemptions for purchasing energy and water efficient products. While the U.S. Treasury Department offers renewable energy grants for projects involving: solar photovoltaics, landfill gas, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal, municipal solid waste, CHP/cogeneration, solar hybrid lighting, hydrokinetic, tidal/wave energy, and ocean and fuel cells using renewable fuels or micro turbines.

Best of all, executives don’t have to commandeer large amounts of cash to complete the projects because companies can tap different programs to train employees, purchase equipment or pay for installation contractors. So, companies can still invest in that much-needed marketing program or software upgrade if they utilize renewable energy incentives and credits to hire renewable energy specialists, replace inefficient manufacturing equipment or install a new HVAC system.

How do the incentives provide financial benefits?

Essentially there are five areas where companies benefit from renewable energy incentives and tax credits.

  • Gross income exclusions. Companies can deduct the full amount of incentive payments or grant funds they receive for qualified renewable energy or energy conservation projects from gross income.
  • Dollar-for-dollar deductions. There are no sliding scales or phased-out deductions. Companies can use every dollar they invest in qualified renewable energy and energy conservation projects to reduce their tax liability.
  • Accelerated depreciation. Under IRS 179D, companies can depreciate the cost of purchasing new plant and energy equipment at a faster rate than typically allowed. So, instead of taking 39 years to recover the cost of a new lighting, HVAC system or building envelope, the owner of a 100,000-square-foot building can deduct up to $1.80 per square foot, or up to $180,000 in the first year.
  • Ancillary funding and allowances. Funding is available to hire specialized workers or train current employees on the use of renewable energy equipment and processes.
  • Multiple opportunities. Companies can tap multiple incentives for each project including loans, performance-based incentives, deductions, tax exemptions and grants, as well as property and sales tax rebates.

Should executives be aware of any special qualifications or rules?

The incentive plans and tax codes are fairly straightforward, but there’s no need to spend hours interpreting the criteria or deciphering nebulous clauses when a tax professional is intimately familiar with the nuances of each program. At the same time, he or she may help identify additional opportunities to complete the project without tapping cash reserves, and can often share tips and ideas from experience helping other companies navigate the process.

How can executives evaluate the ROI and choose the most advantageous projects?

Companies should discuss ideas and energy needs with architects, contractors and energy professionals so they can create a list of feasible projects and determine the material and labor cost for the various improvements. Review the list with an accountant, since he or she is familiar with the tax code and incentives and can provide an estimate of the cash outlay and ROI. Finally, act now. Remember, it costs virtually nothing to investigate these opportunities, and there’s no sense in waiting when the money to complete renewable energy or energy conservation projects is there for the taking.

Laura Roman, CPA, CMAP, is a partner in tax and strategic business services at Weaver. Reach her at [email protected] or (432) 570-3030.

AEP Retail Energy to acquire BlueStar Energy of Chicago

COLUMBUS  ― American Electric Power and its unregulated subsidiary AEP Retail Energy has reached an agreement to acquire BlueStar Energy Holdings Inc. and its independent retail electric supplier BlueStar Energy Solutions. The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

BlueStar, based in Chicago, provides electric supply for retail customers in Ohio, Illinois and other deregulated electricity markets. BlueStar has been in operation since 2002 and has approximately 21,000 customer accounts.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of March, pending regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and anti-trust review by the Department of Justice under Hart-Scott-Rodino. BlueStar’s operations will continue to be based in Chicago and will remain focused on providing retail electric service for residential, commercial and industrial customers in deregulated states, as well as demand response and energy efficiency services nationwide.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

Coal producer Peabody Energy profit up on higher pricing

ST. LOUIS — Peabody Energy Corp’s quarterly profit beat Wall Street estimates as the largest U.S. coal producer realized higher pricing in all regions and domestic volumes increased.

Third-quarter profit rose to $283.5 million, or $1.01 per share, from $237.6 million, or 83 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding items, it earned 87 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 85 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $2.04 billion, beating estimates of $2.02 billion.

Earlier in the day, ArcelorMittal unexpectedly pulled out of its joint $5 billion bid with Peabody for Australian miner Macarthur Coal , just a day after the buyers said they had secured a majority of shares.

“While we anticipated a positive joint venture with ArcelorMittal, we have always preferred a larger ownership. We partnered with ArcelorMittal to increase the likelihood of achieving control of Macarthur, which has now occurred,” Peabody CEO Gregory Boyce said in a statement on Tuesday.

St Louis-based Peabody’s shares closed at $40.94 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has lost about 36 percent of its value this year, in line with the decline in the Dow Jones coal index.

Collaboration is key in Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy industry

Dave Karpinski, Vice President, NorTech

Advanced energy has gained considerable traction in Northeast Ohio, across the country and around the world as a transformational economic development opportunity. NorTech, a regional, nonprofit, technology-based economic development organization, has been working with public and private sector partners in Northeast Ohio for the past two years to accelerate growth in the advanced energy industry.

According to a recent study published by the Brookings Institution, the size of Ohio’s clean economy ranks sixth among the 50 states. The report also highlights that 26 percent of clean economy jobs in the U.S. are in the manufacturing sector. While this recent news bodes well for our state, how can we continue to leverage Northeast Ohio’s current assets — especially in manufacturing — to develop a thriving advanced energy industry cluster that generates economic opportunity in our region?

The opportunity

In order to build a cluster, you must first know who is on your team and what their strengths are, assess your competition, understand the market, and then devise a game plan to win. Essentially, this is the process NorTech embarked on nine months ago by creating a series of road maps with more than 30 representatives from the region’s advanced energy companies and research organizations. The advanced energy road map process has concluded that there is $30 billion in market opportunities within Northeast Ohio’s energy storage, smart grid and biomass/waste-to-energy sectors alone, which could add approximately 5,000 jobs in our region over the next seven years.

These road maps are based on building upon the core strengths we have today. However, we anticipate that additional opportunities will emerge from this strong base. New companies, collaborations and partnerships will develop from our core strengths, which will generate new ideas, new technologies and new products. In turn, this will attract more funding, companies, resources and opportunities to Northeast Ohio.

Making connections

So how do we continue to spur regional development to grow the advanced energy industry? By building relationships among industry, academia and manufacturing supply chain companies to create new commercial opportunities. This is the focus of the upcoming Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo on Sept. 14-15 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron, Ohio. Co-produced by NorTech and the Summit County Mayors Association, the event will bring together leaders in the advanced energy industry to develop new business prospects, learn about the region’s strengths in advanced energy and explore commercial opportunities. The event will connect existing manufacturers who are interested in advanced energy and want to understand how their business can become part of the supply chain. National and international collaborators who are interested in doing business with companies in Northeast Ohio will also be attending the conference. Throughout the event there will be a unique opportunity to arrange business-to-business (B2B) meetings with conference attendees in order to build upon common synergies that could lead to future collaborative partnerships. In total, the Advanced Energy B2B Conference &Expo is expected to attract more than 300 attendees and 70 exhibitors.

The conference program will include a slate of regional, national and international advanced energy experts and thought leaders with sessions featuring NorTech’s advanced energy road maps and regional industry collaborations. The conference program is designed to explore the most promising sectors in Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy portfolio including: energy storage, smart grid, biomass/waste-to-energy, fuel cells, off-shore wind, nuclear, solar photovoltaic and transportation electrification. These sectors will be discussed within the global perspective of how the conversion to advanced energy solutions is impacting regional economies around the globe. Stephen Crolius, senior director of the Clinton Climate Initiative, will deliver the keynote address and discuss his observations on how clean and renewable energy technologies are impacting regional economies in many of the largest cities around the world.

Power of collaboration

The advanced energy road map process has reinforced the value of collaboration and the exciting opportunities that can be achieved when industry and academia work together. While collaboration is not a new concept, the purpose of the Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo is to take collaboration to the next level and stimulate commercial opportunities in Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy industry. We believe the outcome of these efforts will be new ideas, new technologies and new products, which will accelerate the revitalization of Northeast Ohio’s existing industrial base and create new jobs. On behalf of NorTech and the Summit County Mayors Association, I invite you to join us at the Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo on Sept. 14-15 as we explore new opportunities to accelerate growth in Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy industry.

Dave Karpinski is vice president of NorTech and director of NorTech Energy Enterprise. Reach NorTech at (216) 363-6883 or

How Darron Anderson led Express Energy Services out of bankruptcy

Darron Anderson, CEO, Express Energy Services

Oct. 27, 2009, wasn’t the happiest of days for Darron Anderson.

It was the day his company, Express Energy Services, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

But for Anderson and the employees at Express Energy, it was far from the demise of the company; it was a rebirth of sorts. In just nine weeks, the company emerged from the reorganization prepared to do better than before.

“Emerging out of Chapter 11 on Jan. 1, 2010, I would say by the end of Q1, the Chapter 11 process was pretty far in our rearview mirror,” says Anderson, CEO of the $300 million oilfield services company. “I always tell people I have the greatest job in the world. Since taking over as CEO in the end of 2008 in a very, very depressed market and leading a company into a Chapter 11 process and successfully leading a company out of that process and now watching the company grow and flourish. It has been such a wonderful environment.”

A bankruptcy doesn’t create what most people would consider a wonderful work environment, but Anderson and his 1,475 employees survived the process and have gone on to good results.

Here’s what he learned along the way.