Noel P. Rahn is the Chairman of Geronimo Energy. His fifty years of successful experience in the investment world and seven years in the wind industry lay the groundwork for the foundation of Geronimo’s success. Noel is Geronimo’s largest shareholder and is the strategic pacesetter for the company.
In 1962, Noel began his investment career at Paine Webber Jackson & Curtis as a Registered Representative. He later became the Sales Manager for the Minneapolis office, then the National Training Director, and finally was promoted to the position of National Sales Manager in New York. In 1974, Noel left Paine Webber to pursue opportunities available in the asset management industry and joined Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI) as its CEO. At the time of Noel’s move to IAI, IAI was an asset management firm with 13 employees and $50 million under management. In the 25 years that Noel led IAI, the firm grew to employ 240 people and to manage over $16 billion in assets.
In 1998, Noel retired from IAI to form his family investment office, The Rahn Group (“TRG”), which invests across several asset classes including venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, real estate and public equity. In 2003, Noel was approached to join a wind farm project in southwestern Minnesota where he owns farm land. After researching the industry and the opportunity, Noel decided to pass on the offer and instead developed a wind farm himself, which became the Odin Wind Farm. This was the genesis of Geronimo Energy.
Blake Nixon, Chief Executive Officer
Blake Nixon is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Geronimo Energy. Since 2008, Blake has led Geronimo’s growth into a leading independent North American renewable energy project development company. Prior to Geronimo Energy, Blake served as a Principal at The Rahn Group, the family investment office of Geronimo founder and Chairman Noel P. Rahn, where he managed the venture capital and private equity portfolio of the family office, as well as the firm’s hedge fund. In the private investment portfolio, Blake was responsible for deal flow generation, due diligence, deal negotiation, portfolio management, active assistance for portfolio companies on operational and strategic issues, and investment divestitures. Blake was also responsible for the majority of the portfolio company oversight and board relationships for the firm’s private equity investments. Prior to The Rahn Group, Blake worked as an equity analyst for money management firm Investment Advisers, Inc. (IAI). Blake holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from the University of Washington at Seattle and completed the General Course at The London School of Economics (LSE).
David Reamer, President
David G. Reamer is the President of Geronimo Energy. David has been involved with Geronimo since its inception in 2007 as both an investor and active Board Member and took an active executive role with the company in 2015. David provides a unique combination of executive management experience and entrepreneurial and investor success. For the past 25 years, he has been involved with multiple renewable energy and technology companies as a founder, CEO, board member, advisor and investor. This experience has built the foundation of David’s customer-first approach to business. After receiving his B.S. Degree from the University of Minnesota (U of M), he started his professional career as a territory manager with Johnson and Johnson. David then moved into the high tech industry by joining Applied Epi, a solar, LED and wireless semiconductor equipment company. At Applied Epi, David ultimately grew to serve as CEO and was instrumental in selling the company to Veeco Instruments (NASD: VECO). At Veeco, he led their worldwide Business Development and Strategic Marketing departments, and today, Veeco is recognized as one of the world’s leading advanced Solar PV and LED equipment companies. Also while at Applied Epi, David co-founded Spectracom, a fiber optic laser company, which was sold to ADC Telecommunications. David remains an Advisor to the U of M’s Venture Center and Office of Technology Commercialization.
Betsy Engelking, Vice President, Policy and Strategy
Betsy Engelking joined Geronimo Energy as Vice President in January 2012 and currently leads the Company’s policy efforts. Betsy developed the regulatory strategy for the Aurora Project and provided expert testimony in the PUC process. She also collaborated with a number of legislators and advocates to achieve passage of the 2013 Minnesota Solar Energy legislation. Previously, Betsy was Director of Resource Planning for Xcel Energy, where she developed and implemented long-range power supply plans, including compliance with Xcel’s wide-ranging renewable energy requirements. She has also held positions with Great River Energy and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
With more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Betsy’s expertise in energy policy, renewable energy, resource planning, utility rates and regulation, and energy markets are invaluable to Geronimo. Since the beginning of her career, Betsy has worked both regionally and nationally to promote the advancement of wind energy and other renewables through participation with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC), the Great Plains Institute’s Power the Plains collaborative, and through an active role in state and national policy development. Betsy holds a MBA in Finance and Economics from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Nathan Franzen, Vice President, Development
Nathan has over fourteen years of energy development experience, including extensive knowledge in project design, permitting, project finance, interconnection and construction management. He successfully developed some of the first commercial scale solar projects in Minnesota and owns and operates several distributed energy projects. Prior to joining the Geronimo team, Nathan created and led Westwood Professional Services’ Utility Scale Solar Division, which is now one of the nation’s top photovoltaic design firms. In his role as Vice President of Development for Geronimo, Nathan manages the project development team including project origination, permitting, resource assessment, construction and engineering. Nathan has a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Roger Johanson, Vice President, Project Finance
Roger Johanson is responsible for raising tax equity and debt capital for the Geronimo Energy’s projects. He has 30+ years of domestic and international project/structured experience. Prior to Geronimo, as Senior Director, Structured Finance for GCL New Energy, he raised capital for GCL’s projects in the U. S., Latin America and Europe. Before that, he was CFO of Cimarron Solar, a Mexican developer, and immediately prior, was VP, Finance – Latin America for Ecoplexus Inc., responsible for developing the company’s Latin American solar markets strategy, emphasizing the Mexican, Brazilian, Argentine and Chilean solar markets. Prior to Ecoplexus, he was an MD at Renewable Energy Trust Capital, where he closed $230MM in renewable financings in 8 months. Before that, Roger was Director, Structured Finance, at GCL Solar Energy, responsible for project financing for Utility-Scale, Distributed Generation and Residential solar PV projects. Prior to GCL, Roger was a VP in Banc of America Merrill Lynch’s Portfolio Trading & Acquisitions Group where he closed tax-equity based portfolio acquisitions totaling over $1B. Previously Roger held positions at CIT Group, GE Commercial & Industrial Finance and GATX Capital Corporation. Roger holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from UCLA and an MBA, Finance & Statistics from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
I.P. “Kip” Knelman, Director
Kip Knelman is a Managing Director of Strategy and Investment Relations and leads investment strategy and investor relations for Geronimo Investment Management. Kip is also a member of the investment team focused on sourcing investment opportunities from the external market.
Prior to joining Geronimo Investment Management, Kip served as Senior Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of his own asset management firm, Knelman Asset Management Group, which he started in the year 2000. In 2005, Lazard Asset Management acquired Knelman Asset Management Group. Thereafter, he was in charge of domestic growth equities for Lazard Asset Management. In 2008, Kip re-acquired the firm from Lazard.
Prior to starting Knelman Asset Management Group, Kip was the President and CEO of IAI, having replaced Noel P. Rahn upon his retirement. Kip was instrumental in growing IAI’s institutional pension fund management company from $300 million to $17 billion in assets under management. Prior to serving as IAI’s CEO, Kip held positions at IAI of steadily increasing scope, and Kip’s responsibilities culminated to include all day-to-day functions of the company, including investment management operations, marketing and sales, client services, mutual fund and trust operations, and administration, legal and finance. Prior to his tenure with IAI, he was with investment banking firm Kidder Peabody and Company. From 1991 to 1998, Kip was also a member of the board at Lloyd’s Bank/TSB Asset Management Group, which oversaw over $100 billion in assets under management.
Kip has a graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota. Additionally, Kip has been involved in the Minneapolis/St. Paul community as a past and current board member of various non-profit organizations. He currently is a committee member of the Greater YMCA’s Minneapolis & St. Paul Endowment Fund.
John Larkey, Vice President, Origination
John Larkey is Geronimo’s Vice President of Origination. Prior to joining the Geronimo team, John served as the Vice President of Power Marketing for Recurrent Energy, where he led Recurrent’s growth with new customers, markets and products. John began his career with Cargill, where he built a long career across a multitude of global industries including energy, commodity and financial markets, food manufacturing, industrial processing, agricultural inputs, all of which culminated in John taking on the role of Director of Power Markets for Cargill.
As an independent consultant, John has worked with investors, asset owners, and project developers across the energy industry – including gas, power, coal, renewables, natural gas liquids, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil derivatives. He has originated and structured several billion dollars of commercial transactions and has valued, negotiated, and completed transactions with private equity companies, hedge funds, multi-national companies, utilities, co-ops and municipalities, government entities, project developers, and strategic asset owners, primarily in North America and Europe. John has a passion for developing solar and wind renewable energy solutions for customers, executing commercial deals, entrepreneurship, and has co-founded several start-up business ventures for which he continues to act as an advisor.
John is a respected energy industry leader and has been a renewable energy industry representative at the federal, state, and local level, as well as a keynote speaker and panelist at renewable energy industry events including the Clean Energy Dialogue between U.S. Department of Energy and Environment Canada. John holds a MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, MI and a BSME from the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering in Minneapolis, MN.
Joe Melsha, Vice President, Operations
As Vice President of Operations, Joe has oversight of building and maintaining the project operations group and functions within Geronimo Investment Management portfolio. Joe also plays a key role in developing projects as they near the construction phase. Joe’s experience includes: Regional Director of Operations for Avangrid (formerly Iberdrola) Renewables, Construction Project Manager for PPM Energy focusing on renewable projects, several positions with Black and Veatch including Design Engineer, Construction Manager, and West Coast Operations Manager. Joe is a registered professional engineer and has extensive design, construction, and management of renewable projects. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from North Dakota State University.
As Vice President of Transmission, Randy oversees all transmission and interconnection for the entire Geronimo portfolio. Experience: Executive Consultant for Power System Engineering, multiple positions at Avant Energy, Dahlen, Berg and Company, Inc., Xcel Energy and Northern States Power. Randy is a registered professional engineer in Minnesota, and has extensive experience in electric power delivery system planning, power supply resource evaluation and planning, resource portfolio development, and integrated resource planning. He also has experience managing and performing generation interconnection studies involving combined cycle, simple cycle, coal, wind and biomass fueled Electric Generating Stations. Education: Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
Jeff Ringblom, Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Ringblom is Geronimo’s Chief Financial Officer. Jeff brings over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting. He has spent the majority of his career in renewable energy, where he has been instrumental in structuring the sales and negotiations of over 1,600 megawatts of renewable energy projects throughout the Midwest. Jeff’s extensive experience in corporate finance has served Geronimo well in M&A transactions, procurement negotiations, corporate restructurings and general business strategy. Jeff joined Geronimo Energy as Controller in 2010. Prior to joining Geronimo, Jeff was at Deloitte & Touche, LLP in Assurance and Advisory services as well as St. Jude Medical, Inc. Jeff holds a degree in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He is also a certified public accountant.
Drew Terwilliger, Vice President, Commercial
Drew is the Vice President of Commercial for Geronimo and is responsible for wind project financial modeling and execution of strategic initiatives within the commercial side of Geronimo. Drew also works very closely with Geronimo’s President, Blake Nixon, on many different commercial aspects of the business such as ad-hoc financial analysis, project sales, power sales and project finance. Before joining Geronimo, Drew worked as a management consultant at eCapital Advisors specializing in financial database construction and optimization. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin — Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, Investments, and Banking.