TAEBC founding board member, Dan Hurst of Strata-G, sells company to employees

Dan Hurst, CEO and Founder of Knoxville-based Strata-G, has sold his company to two of his longtime vice presidents. Elliott Barnett will assume the position of CEO, and John Patterson will serve as president. Strata-G is a valued member of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council, while Hurst is a founding board member.

“These guys that have been with us 15 years are natural leaders, they know our business, they’ve built and are committed to our culture,” Hurst told the Knoxville News Sentinel. “We just had to figure out the right financial mechanism and details of business to make it work, and we did. I think we’ve done it in a way that we’re proud of each other for and thankful a lot for.”

Hurst founded the small business with senior engineer Darrell Daugherty in 2002. The engineering firm now has 250 employees and is ranked as the largest veteran-owned business in East Tennessee by the Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Book of Lists. Last year, Strata-G was named the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Small Business of the Year

This sale has been a couple years in the making and will allow Hurst to focus most of his time on long-term strategy and outreach, while Daugherty will still serve as lead engineer until a new successor is appointed. 

“Succession is a fun word,” Hurst said. “We’re all succeeding together, and we’re doing it by them not kicking us over the hill; that’s in our benefit and theirs. The fact that we’ve got a path that lets all that ‘juice’ stay in the company, I think, is useful.”

TAEBC awarded Hurst the annual Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award during the Annual Meeting on March 5, 2020, at Schneider Electric’s Nashville Hub. The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

“As a founding board member of TAEBC, Dan Hurst embodies the qualities of a servant leader,” said Cortney Piper, Executive Director of TAEBC. “His dedication and commitment to building a new organization that represents an entire industry that makes Tennessee a better state in which to live, work and play is truly admirable. That same vision and devotion have enabled Dan to lead and grow a successful business in East Tennessee that embraces energy innovation, environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

To learn more about Strata-G and its commitment to pursuing advanced energy projects that improve Tennessee’s communities, contribute to the state’s advanced energy economy, and ensure the wellbeing of Tennesseans, click here.

Schneider Electric hosts TAEBC Annual Meeting featuring Thomas B Ballard award, TVA DER progress

Another successful Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council Annual Meeting is in the books thanks to Schneider Electric.

In Franklin, TAEBC members, stakeholders and supporters gathered at Schneider Electric’s newest Nashville Hub and while there witnessed renowned Tennessee collaborator and partnerships builder Tom Ballard receive the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award named in his honor.

The Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award honors exemplary leadership and success in championing, connecting, and strengthening Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council champions the state’s advanced energy economy as an economic development and job creation strategy through sharing information, connecting stakeholders, and strengthening the industry. These pillars are personally exemplified by the tireless work of Tom Ballard, an unparalleled leader, educator, mentor, and advocate of Tennessee’s advanced energy economy.

TAEBC also announced the Thomas B. Ballard Advanced Energy Leadership Award will be an annual award, accepting nominations every year and presenting the winner with the honor at future annual meetings.

Ballard stepped down as long time board member for TAEBC, and Ameresco’s own Steve Seifried was appointed by the board to fill Ballard’s vacancy.

Schneider Electric’s Vice President of Utility & Microgrid Solutions Don Wingate, touched on the new energy landscape emerging with more microgrid implementation happening across the United States and how Schneider Electric came up with a new line of business after assisting Montgomery County, Maryland in successfully completing two advanced public safety microgrids dubbing it ‘Microgrid as a Service.’

Wingate explained the approach Schneider Electric took is very different from a purchase power agreement. “We gave them a price per kilowatt hour less than what they were paying,” said Wingate.

He also underscored the innovative approaches that the corporation is taking by describing Schneider Electric Ventures. “It’s a new way to harvest ideas,” Wingate said, adding that it “is far more than a typical venture capitalist.” The fund made five investments in 2018.

Attendees also heard from Chris Hansen, TVA’s Director of Pricing Strategy & Origination, who spotlighted the energy company’s efforts to meet renewable energy expectations of Google and Facebook for new data centers the companies were constructing in the Valley. Both global giants are known for their commitments to sustainability and clean energy.

Working together, the corporations and TVA developed something called the “Renewable Investment Agreement” that is a new model for TVA. It met all parties’ key requirements and also uncovered a more than expected availability of renewable energy sources to help ensure that the region does not miss out on these types of projects in the future.

At the end of the event, Schneider Electric hosted a technology showcase highlighting the company’s microgrid solutions, energy automation & control systems, and smart home technologies.

Credit: Teknovation.biz for parts of this blog post.