The successful implementation of creatively structured investments in a variety of sectors demands experience, due diligence, and a strong commitment from a management team.
Bernard Zahren, Manager
Bernie Zahren has spent over 40 years in a variety of entrepreneurial and management roles, and brings to CFI a wealth of knowledge in both investment syndications and renewable energy.
CEO of Zahren Financial Co., LLC, Mr. Zahren, structured and managed a variety of successful equipment leasing offerings with attributes similar to CFI. His company Zahren Alternative Power Corp. (ZAPCO), a spin-off of Zahren Financial Co, LLC, was built into a portfolio of 27 landfill gas and co-generation projects through acquisition and development. He sold ZAPCO in a transaction valued at $98 million.
A respected and active consultant, Mr. Zahren has been instrumental in implementing business focused sustainability initiatives. He has testified before Congressional committees on alternative energy issues and has chaired a special committee that worked for extensions of Internal Revenue Code income tax credits for the production of alternative fuels.
Prior to forming his own company, Mr. Zahren developed successful investment syndications for a subsidiary of CIGNA Corp. Early in his career, he held senior management positions in such firms as Angeles Leasing Corp., Architectural Wood Products, Inc. and The Koppers Company.
Mr. Zahren truly believes in reducing his own carbon footprint, not only by managing and investing in CFI, but also by his recent renovation to his home which achieved (award winning) “Net Zero Energy” consumption through multiple deployments including: a 15 kilowatt wind turbine, geothermal heating and air conditioning, and a solar thermal hot water system.
Mr. Zahren holds a BS from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Jigar Shah, Special Manager
As CEO of Jigar Shah Consulting, Mr. Shah works closely with some of the world’s leading influencers, guiding policy makers around the globe on issues to implement profitable solutions to climate change. A renowned visionary and entrepreneur, Mr. Shah is committed to leveraging the next economy by solving the challenging issues of our time.
Former CEO of the Carbon War Room and Founder of SunEdison, Mr. Shah has noted that a global “Impact Economy” is one in which mainstream investors team up with corporations, entrepreneurs and governments at scale to solve the big problems of our time while generating compelling financial returns – not concessionary returns.
Under Mr. Shah's leadership SunEdison to revolutionized the solar industry by introducing a business model which was a recognized catalyst, turning solar PV into a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.
Earlier in his career Mr. Shah managed mergers & acquisitions, corporate strategy, and sales efforts for BP Solar, specializing in national commercial accounts. He also worked as a contractor for the Department of Energy on alternative vehicles and fuel cell programs.
Mr. Shah holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an MBA from The University of Maryland. His new book Creating Climate Wealth is available on Amazon and at http://climatewealth.co/
Rajiv G. Pandya, Special Manager
Rajiv Pandya contributes not only his technical expertise in the solar energy industry, but also his extensive management experience from the national and international corporate world. His passion for and vision of sustainability are respected throughout the industry.
Mr. Pandya spent over 23 years with The Dow Chemical Company prior to his leaving in 2010. His most recent 10 years were served overseas in Shanghai, China, and Bangkok, Thailand, as the company's Chief Procurement Director for the Asia Pacific Region with a spend responsibility of over $2 billion (U.S.) and a staff of 160.
During his first 10 years at Dow, he worked as an Electrical Engineer and Project Manager at their Global Capital Project office in Houston, leading and executing the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) requirements for many multi-purpose manufacturing facilities around the world.
Mr. Pandya is also the owner of an entity known as GreanGrid Solar which identifies renewable energy projects in various areas in the United States.
Mr. Pandya earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Houston and his MBA from the University of St. Thomas, Houston.
Gregory Kats, Special Manager
Greg Kats played important roles in developing the energy efficiency and green building industries, and is a long-time thought leader and innovator in energy efficiency, green buildings, renewable energy and the transition to a low carbon economy.
He is President of Capital E which works with cities, corporations and financial institutions to design, scale and implement clean energy and low carbon strategies and technologies. Capital E invests in early stage cleantech/green firms and has equity stakes in 15 firms with the collective capacity to cost-effectively cut building CO2 by 50% and city CO2 by 40%.
Mr. Kats previously served as Managing Director at Good Energies, a multi-billion dollar global clean energy PE/VC fund, where he led investments in smart grid, energy efficiency, green materials and green buildings. He served for 5 years as the Director of Financing for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. He was the Founding Chairman of IPMVP and built it into the international energy and water efficiency design, measurement and verification standard that has served as the technical basis for ~$50 billion in building efficiency upgrades globally, and has been translated into 10 languages. He was the principal advisor in designing the US national design standard for green affordable housing, and recently helped design the World Bank’s large new green building financing program. Mr. Kats was also a founder of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), and was a founder of the country’s first green bank. He helped design and develop LEED, and in 2011 was the first recipient of the US Green Building Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Mr. Kats serves on the congressionally established board guiding the greening of all US federal buildings, on the Green Ribbon Committee guiding the greening of the District of Columbia, and served on a National Academy of Sciences board on strengthening US global competitiveness.
Mr. Kats earned an MBA from Stanford University and (concurrently) an MPA from Princeton University, a BA from UNC as a Morehead Scholar, and is a Certified Energy Manager. He serves on a half dozen boards, is the author of Greening Our Built World: Costs, Benefits and Strategies, and frequently keynotes conferences and testifies before Congress.
Richard V. Kretz, CPA
Richard Kretz recently retired from CohnReznick LLP. Prior to his retirement he served for 18 years as managing partner of Kostin, Ruffkess and Company, LLC, a 140 person CPA firm. Mr. Kretz was instrumental in executing the merger of Kostin, Ruffkess into JH Cohn, LLP, which then merged with Reznick Group to form the 3,000 person CPA firm based in New York.
Mr. Kretz became a partner in Kostin, Ruffkess in 1987, and became the firm’s managing partner in 1993. During his tenure the firm grew from $4 million in revenues to $19 million. While Mr. Kretz was managing partner, the firm created and sold several other entities prior to the merger including KR Wealth Management in which he was active in building the investment advisory practice and ultimately selling the company to new owners.
Mr. Kretz has performed as account manager and subsequently partner in charge of Zahren Financial and its related entities from 1983 to the present. During that time the Zahren entities grew to be the largest client of Kostin, Ruffkess until the company was sold in 2001.
Mr. Kretz is CPA licensed in Connecticut since 1979 and has assisted and consulted with privately held businesses since his graduation from college in 1975. He continues to hold a Series 7 and Series 65 license. Mr. Kretz lives in Connecticut with his wife and now spends much of his time pursuing his personal hobbies as well as assisting Clean Feet Investors I, LLC.