Former Fort Wayne mayor Graham Richard has been named the CEO of a national organization promoting American companies supplying 'smart energy' products and services. The announcement was made during a meeting of the organization which began yesterday in Washington, DC.
The organization was founded last year by Thomas Steyer, a hedge fund manager on the Forbes 400 list with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion. A Forbes article described Mr. Steyer's entry into energy advocacy:
Hedge fund manager Thomas Steyer was peeved. It was May 2010, and out-of-state oil refiners and the conservative Koch brothers were backing a California ballot measure designed to quash the state’s ambitious law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Steyer, a Manhattan native and Democratic donor, was convinced passage would damage California’s economy and environment. “I just got pissed because no one was stepping up,” he says.
The former mayor has long had an interest in alternate energy sources. After his term in the Indiana State Senate ended in 1978 Mr. Richard was engaged in a number of enterprises. One of those efforts was promoting the production of hydroelectric generation from small dams in the Midwest.
From the Advanced Energy Economy release:
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national business organization promoting U.S. companies as global suppliers of innovative energy technologies and services, today announced the appointment of Graham Richard as Chief Executive Officer. A former Indiana state senator and two-term mayor of Fort Wayne, Richard, 65, is a recognized technology leader, entrepreneur, and innovator.
“Graham Richard is a proven leader in both the private and public sectors,” said Hemant Taneja, co-founder of AEE and co-chair of the AEE board of directors, who has been serving as interim CEO. “AEE is lucky to have him take charge of the talented and accomplished executive team we have put together. Under his leadership, AEE will become the platform this industry needs for growth and success. ”
“With Graham Richard, AEE will be in good hands,” said AEE co-founder Tom Steyer, Senior Managing Member of Farallon Capital Management. Steyer co-chairs the board of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, a nonprofit educational organization promoting greater public understanding of advanced energy and its economic potential for the U.S. “Advanced energy is the global market opportunity of our lifetimes, and with Graham Richard at the helm, AEE will work to ensure that U.S. companies and U.S. workers make the most of that opportunity.”
“I am thrilled to assume the role of C.E.O. for Advanced Energy Economy,” said Richard. “This growing industry is in need of a unified voice to help the U.S. capitalize on the global transition to a smarter energy future. With the executive team assembled by Hemant and Tom, AEE will be that voice. I am proud to be a part of it.”
A description of the organization from its website:
Rather than favoring specific technologies, advanced energy is inclusive in nature and characterized by the benefits it provides in the field and in the marketplace. Electric and plug-in hybrid cars, lightweight composites for airplane bodies, natural gas fueled trucks, high-performance buildings, more efficient industrial processes, and the latest wind, solar, and nuclear technologies – these are all advanced energy, as they use energy more productively, diversify energy sources, and reduce health and environmental costs.
AEE’s mission is to create a positive business environment that will ensure U.S. leadership in meeting growing global energy needs with advanced energy solutions – a market opportunity of historic proportions. To that end, AEE provides a platform for business leadership to promote the growth and expansion of advanced energy by creating a unified industry voice, establishing a national network of businesses and business organizations, and leveraging the unique assets of regions across the country.