PALMETTO LEADERSHIP TEAM
Palmetto has successfully developed and financed more than $450 million in clean energy projects since its inception in 2009; we have an international presence with offices located in Europe and the United States. Our leadership team has originated, structured, financed and developed clean energy projects throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and America. In connection with these projects, the leadership team has provided services related to debt financing, equity financing and commodity structuring.
Chris Kemper, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Kemper founded Palmetto in 2009. Mr. Kemper is responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations. His activities are focused on large customer accounts and expansion strategy.
Mr. Kemper built the North American and European operations with an emphasis on structure finance in the real estate and clean energy industries. The company has expanded from a finance company into a vertically integrated operator under the guidance and management of Mr. Kemper. Mr. Kemper has structured and launched five clean energy and property funds to grow Palmetto’s assets under management above a $50mm threshold. Mr. Kemper has also secured private investment to execute acquisition strategies, which have rapidly expanded Palmetto’s market share since 2009.
After founding Palmetto, Mr. Kemper pioneered the United States expansion plan in 2012; upon relocation, he grew the team to forty-plus team members including a wide range of skill sets to support the Company’s mission — lead the world towards a clean energy future. Palmetto has become a pioneering finance company with on-the-ground operations at the fulcrum of the clean energy and real estate industries, which puts Palmetto in a class of its own. Today, Palmetto is scaling as a technology company with substantial in-house fulfillment capability within the clean energy arena.
Mr. Kemper also secured the merger and acquisition of regulated financial service firms in both Europe and the United States to drive a programmatic clean energy finance agenda. Years later, the respective investment companies were divested upon a strategic decision to eliminate regulatory activity and vertically grow the Company — thus, providing Palmetto more control over its assets and building value in its management companies.
Mr. Kemper also led a wide range of larger structured finance transactions including a large 210MW wind farm in western India, 90MW wind farm in southern India, a 30MW series of run-of-river hydro-electrical projects in Brazil and Chile – all generating annuity income streams for the company. In total, Mr. Kemper has completed more than five hundred clean energy financial related transactions with a majority associated with solar power.
Mr. Kemper built the real estate business, which is focused on clean energy application to company-owned properties; he created the first energy efficient, smart home real estate investment fund for single family residential in the United States. Mr. Kemper manages a series of funds whereby the Company optimizes its assets through energy improvements and, thus, lowering the cost of energy to its tenants.
Prior to Palmetto, Mr. Kemper worked at Tradition Financial Service, a leading international institutional inter-dealer broker where he was based in London, England. He was a senior capital broker and focused on clean energy markets in Asia and Latin America where he was responsible for origination, transaction structuring and investment strategy. Prior to Tradition, Mr. Kemper worked in Thailand with United Nations Environmental Sustainability Division and focused on environmental policy to drive energy parity for clean energy in Southeast Asia. He also worked with the United Nations/World Bank to originate and structure financial models for clean energy projects, putting policy strategies into practice. Prior to that, Mr. Kemper was a consultant for a large consultancy firm whereby he constructed sustainable development policies for governments and large developers.
Trent Hawthorne, Technology Senior Vice President
Brett Kersh, Asset Management Vice President
Mr. Kersh leads the Palmetto Property division's day-to-day operations and oversees all construction, property managers and portfolio build-out implementation. Prior to joining Palmetto, Mr. Kersh was an asset manager and executed operational strategy, acquisitions, housing renovations, tenant leasing and portfolio sales. Mr. Kersh has purchased, renovated, and leased more than 8 thousand homes and has executed more than $500 million in asset dispositions for some of the country's largest residential real estate investment companies.
James ("Jake") Wiley, Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
James Wiley, CPA, Manager — Mr. Wiley is the Manager of the Clean Energy division and oversees project management, technology procurement and implementation of operational processes, including construction. Jake has ten years of extensive experience in the residential solar sector. Mr. Wiley holds many accreditations including a general contractors license and NABCEP certification. Prior to his involvement in solar, Mr. Wiley was a manager at PricewaterhouseCooper.