Our Strategic Advisors comprise a strong network of highly knowledgeable business leaders and energy industry experts. As a trailblazer in international solar energy development, SkyPower leverages the expertise of leading business professionals from around the world, who advise the company’s management team on all aspects of its business.
With nearly 30 years of experience negotiating and closing financial deals, Charles Cohen is a seasoned entrepreneur with expertise in real estate development and transactions.
As SkyPower’s Chief Commercial Officer, Charles leads the executive team on matters related to corporate strategy, implementation, and execution of multibillion dollar power purchase agreements (PPA). Charles also provides expertise for international ventures, from development through to financial close, and assists in forming consortiums to transact business deals.
Charles is also a Strategic Advisor to SkyPower. In this capacity, he interfaces with the President and Chief Executive Officer on high-level affairs and advises the Board of Directors on all aspects of feasibility for SkyPower’s utility-scale solar projects.
Charles is also the Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Chairman of TransCash. In 2000, at the onset of the prepaid industry, Charles envisioned a prepaid card that would make money transfer easier and more affordable, especially for the remittance market and the unbanked. In 2009, after seven years of intensive research and development, TransCash launched the TransCash MasterCard® and Visa© Reloadable Prepaid Cards, which received a U.S. Patent and protection worldwide under the “Paris Convention.”
Charles has also been involved in several other notable ventures over the span of his career. In 1986, Charles created the global marketing and communications company, Pier Enterprises, Inc. in Los Angeles, California. Here he launched large international advertising campaigns, such as Ebel with Madonna, Meg Ryan and Harrison Ford, and the music platform for Pepsi International that featured Sony Music’s greatest recording artists. Charles worked as the SFX acquisition adviser for Europe, and was Sony Signatures’ exclusive agent for all intellectual properties in Europe. Charles is also the former President of BCBGMaxAzria Entertainment.
In 2006, Charles created The Seck Group LLC, a real estate investments fund with properties in Los Angeles, California.
Matthew Coon Come is presently the Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and the Chairperson of the Cree Regional Authority. The Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee is an Aboriginal Nation with a population of about 18,000 and traditional territory to the east of James Bay in Northern Québec, Canada.
Matthew is a national and international indigenous leader and advocate for the aboriginal, treaty and other human rights of indigenous peoples in Canada and internationally. His election in July 2011 to the office of Grand Chief of the James Bay Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee and Chairperson of the Cree Regional Authority is his sixth re-election to those positions. Matthew was first elected as Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees and Chairman of the Cree Regional Authority in 1987, and served for five terms of office. He was former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, the national organization of First Nations in Canada, from 2000 to 2003. He became known throughout Canada for his efforts to end the federal policy of extinguishment of aboriginal peoples’ human rights of self determination.
In 1998, Trent University granted Matthew the degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa in recognition of the significance of his work, and in 2000, the University of Toronto also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws. He also received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 1995.
Born in 1956 on his parent’s Mistissini Trapline, Matthew was soon recognized by the elders as a natural leader. He was asked to be coordinator for all the inland Cree communities for the negotiations with Canada that enabled the James Bay Crees to escape the Indian Act and achieve the first ever aboriginal self-government legislation in Canada, the Cree-Naskapi (of Québec) Act.
At the start of his political career, Matthew served two terms as Chief of the Mistissini First Nation. By the time he left to work with his father on his trapline, his community had a new arena, an adult education centre, a bank, new administrative offices, new health facilities, and major improvements to its housing and community infrastructure.
He went on to become Executive Director of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee). He was directly involved in the Grand Council’s successful effort to gain consultative status at the United Nations, and supported the Grand Council’s use of its international status to being issues vital to all of the world’s indigenous peoples before the international community.
Matthew has been a Director of Aircreebec, the Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Company (Creeco), the Cree Construction Company, Servinor, the James Bay Cree Cultural Education Centre, the Centre for Indigenous Environment Resources and the Cree School Board.
Matthew was Chairman of Cree Housing Corporation responsible for implementing the housing and infrastructure program. He was and still is the Chairman of the James Bay Eeyou Corporation, managing more than one hundred million dollars in assets. He was also Chairman of James Bay Native Development Corporation, which under his leadership assisted in starting up 54 businesses within the Cree Communities. In 1995 he became a founding director of the First Nations Bank of Canada.
He has served as Chairperson of the Cree Nation Trust, a social trust created for the benefit of the Cree Nation responsible for managing and investing the capital and income of the Trust and distributing the funds in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Deed. The Cree Nation Trust is the recipient of payments from the New Relationship Agreement signed between the Government of Canada and the Cree Nation.
Matthew is also a former Chairperson of Eeyou Communication Network, a project sponsored by Grand Council of the Crees for a non-profit commercialization of broadband, with a mandate to an electronic highway for the Crees to connect institutions, businesses and residents to the world of information and communications.
Matthew studied political science, economics, native studies and courses in law at Trent and McGill Universities, and also undertook theological studies in the United States following his tenure as National Chief in 2003.
Matthew has also had an active and successful business career, with participation in energy, mining, information technology and arts and crafts ventures.
Adi Cooper represents SkyPower’s interests in India, including monitoring current industry trends, identifying prospective projects and partners, advising on business opportunities, and overseeing project implementation within the region. With over 30 years of experience in the consulting, renewable energy, and information technology industries, Adi is former Director of Windtronics LLC, a leading manufacturer of wind turbines. Adi is a member of professional and entrepreneurial networks NASSCOM and TiE Global.
Harold “Sonny” Gordon, Q.C., was born in Montreal, Canada and educated at McGill University in Commerce and Law, Concordia University in Arts and attended Wharton Graduate School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. After qualifying as a member of the Bar, Harold was a ministerial assistant for a minister of the Government of Canada. Harold is Chairman of Dundee Corporation and Pethealth Inc., both public Canadian corporations, and a director of Dorel Industries Inc. and several public and not for profit corporations. Harold is also Chairman Emeritus of the Sauvé Scholars Foundation and United Hydrocarbon International Corp. In prior years, he was a managing partner of Stikeman Elliott LLP and Vice Chairman of Hasbro, Inc.
Imtiaz Mahtab is SkyPower’s Managing Director for the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) region and the President of the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA). He brings more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership roles in the energy, renewable energy and high-technology sectors to his role at SkyPower.
As MESIA’s President, Imtiaz works with regulators and over 150 local and international members from all segments of the solar value chain to facilitate the deployment of solar in the region.
Imtiaz comes to SkyPower from Air Liquide, the world’s largest industrial gas company. From 2011 to 2016, he served on the company’s Middle East and Africa Executive Management Team where, as Regional Managing Director for the MENA region, Imtiaz established and managed Air Liquide’s businesses in over 10 countries, completed over US $400 million dollars of investments in the energy, renewable energy and high-tech sectors, and managed over 30 industrial sites that employed 600 people.
The Harvard Business School (HBS) graduate occupied several worldwide leadership positions during his 20 years with the French multinational. In 10 years of P&L management at Air Liquide, Imtiaz significantly increased the company’s market cap by growing the various businesses under his management by several multiples while restructuring them globally. To date, Imtiaz has developed over US $1.1 billion worth of investment projects on a build, own and operate (BOO) basis, including power projects, and has concluded mergers and acquisitions projects totalling over US $880 million. A corporate restructuring program that Imtiaz developed and spearheaded at Air Liquide generated over US $1 billion in cash and a 200 basis point overall operating margin improvement for the company, reducing its group cost base and capital needs by 10 and 15 percent respectively.
Currently based in Dubai, Imtiaz has lived and worked on four continents. He speaks five languages, and is proficient in English, French, Japanese, Hindi and Bengali. Imtiaz is a founding member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Club for the MENA region and has sat on the advisory boards of various regional renewable energy and high-tech start-ups.
Imtiaz graduated from HBS’s General Management Program in 2009. He also holds an Executive MBA in Strategy and Finance from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Albert T. Maringer founded Maringer Consulting Alberta Ltd. and has been its President and Chief Executive Officer since June 2007. Until January 2007 and for 46 years, Albert was responsible for various leadership positions within the Siemens group. From 2000 to 2006, he held the position of Executive Chairman of Siemens Canada Ltd. Prior to 2000 Albert served the following positions within Siemens AG’s operations or subsidiaries: President, ATD TD Division for five years; General Manager of North America Motor Operations for four years; plus various management and engineering leadership roles including strategy development, R&D, manufacturing and project management.
Since 2005, Albert is an honorary professor at the Institute for International Management at the Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena.
Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun brings more than 30 years of experience as a trailblazing public servant and over a decade of private sector entrepreneurial success to her role as Strategic Advisor for SkyPower. Highlights form the Ambassador’s long list of career accomplishments include: serving as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand from 1999 to 2001, pioneering membership for women and minorities in the U.S. Senate from 1992 to 1998 and founding an organic food and beverage company in 2005.
After graduating from the University of Chicago law school with a Juris Doctor degree in 1972, Ambassador Braun became Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Her work in housing, health policy and environmental law earned her the Attorney General’s Special Achievement Award. In 1978, she was elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a Democratic State Representative, a position she held for a decade.
In 1992, Ambassador Braun became the first and only African American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate, serving for six years. As U.S. Senator, Ambassador Braun became the first women to serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee and earned a reputation as a champion of women’s rights and civil rights. She also co-introduced the Brownfields Remediation Act – legislation that encouraged the cleanup and reuse of urban and rural brownfields across the country.
Among other achievements as a Senator, Ambassador Braun co-sponsored the Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment and defeated a patent for the Confederate flag. She also helped establish the first public military high school and affected funding for infrastructure and housing projects throughout her home state of Illinois.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Braun the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Her Ambassadorship was confirmed by the Senate in a 98-2 vote.
Ambassador Braun ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004, becoming just the second female African American major party candidate for U.S. President.
After returning to the private sector in 2001, Ambassador Braun founded Good Food Organics, a premium, certified-organic food and beverage company, in 2005. Today, she continues to serve the community as a board member for several foundations and grassroots organizations.
Prior to earning her Juris Doctor degree, Ambassador Braun earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois in 1969. She holds 11 honourary degrees and has participated as a Harvard Kennedy School fellow.
Ambassador Braun enjoys modest French fluency and has travelled extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia. She is a mother and a member of St. Paul and the Redeemer Church.
Financier, innovator and founder of multiple high-tech start-ups, Rene Pardo’s personal initiatives have triggered well over $75 million of research and development.
As an innovator himself, in 1969 Rene co-invented the world’s first electronic spreadsheet. The spreadsheet software was used by AT&T and the plant budgeting operations of all 18 U.S. telephone companies, Bell Canada nationwide and General Motors in Michigan. A pioneer in human-computer user interfaces, Rene co-invented and developed the first online educational multimedia game, developed the first online conference registration system and created the first artistic computer animation with Norman McLaren at the National Film Board.
In the 70s and 80s, as founder of Lanpar Technologies, Rene spearheaded the development, manufacturing and distribution of proprietary computer software and hardware. This publicly traded company was one of the industry leaders for over 10 years.
In the early 2000s Rene moved into the Green sector, bringing together world leading scientists who invented and developed one of the world’s most advanced energy storage technologies (acquired by Axion Power). He then co-launched Mobile Cube, a portable solar- and wind-powered system producing clean drinking water and electricity for emerging nations. As well, he financed and introduced the world’s first area lighting LED light bulbs and fluorescent tube lighting LED replacement.
Currently as CEO of Brainwave Research Corporation, he focuses on innovation, patents, licensing and distribution of proprietary electrical products.
Rene is a graduate of McGill University (B.Sc.) and Harvard Graduate School of Education (M.Ed.). His passion for advanced and disruptive technologies has recently led him to 3D printing, drones, satellites, and virtual reality applications.
Following the 2005 earthquake in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan, he donated, helped install a solar/wind powered Mobile Cube water purification system, and co-orchestrated the financing and shipment of CA $2 million of medicine through India to Pakistan. Rene sees the future of the Internet and manufacturing technologies in space as one direction leading to the alleviation of human suffering.
Ameya Prabhu is an entrepreneur and the Managing Director of Duesberg Bosson Financial Services. Duesberg is an asset management & investment banking firm focused on the Indian market. Duesberg’s asset management business comprises of two public markets funds and a growth private equity fund. Ameya also runs a strategic advisory business with a focus on renewable energy and aviation. Ameya’s expertise lies in nurturing, building, financing and growing early and growth stage businesses. He brings in deep rooted managerial, strategic planning and financing skills.
Ameya has a BSc. in Economics, Politics and International Studies from the University of Warwick and a MSc. in Financial Management from IE Business School, Madrid. Ameya is also a published writer and columnist whose writings have been published by well-known media outlets such as the Huffington Post.
Barry Reiter is Chair of the firm’s Technology, Media & Entertainment (TME) Group. His practice focuses on corporate finance, development and governance.
Barry’s practice includes representation of start-up, growth and mature companies as well as of private equity and other financing sources. He works with clients on strategies for corporate growth, employment and compensation matters, distribution and other commercial arrangements, strategic alliances, partnerships and joint ventures, licensing, domestic and international corporate structuring, private and public financings, stock exchange listings, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and the protection of intellectual property rights.
Barry regularly advises boards, directors and management on governance issues. He is an experienced director and has chaired boards and a variety of standing and special board committees. Current board roles include: Baylin Wireless Technologies, NexgenRx Inc., HKMB HUB International (Advisory Board) and the Executive Committee of the Ontario Chapter of the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).
Formerly a law professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto (1974-1982), Barry has written books and articles on corporate governance, joint ventures, contracts, real estate and the legal process. His most recent book, Directors’ Duties in Canada, 5th Edition, was published by CCH Canadian Limited in December 2012.
Donald R. “Rik” Smith is an experienced business development and operations leader with a background in outsourced services, specifically contact center, BPO, technology, and staffing. Rik has led businesses that have served predominantly medium and large businesses and U.S. Government Agencies. His past achievements include personal sales of over $10 Million annually in services, development of a business from startup to mid-size, rapid growth of a new business unit to over $180 million in annual revenues within 18 months, integration of 10 acquisitions, and leadership of a $1.25 billion project startup and launch for one of the world’s largest companies.
Rik’s background encompasses ownership of his own companies and service on private, non-profit, and small public company boards of directors. He has been in senior executive management with both public and private companies such as SITEL Corporation, as well as sales and management positions for Applied Communications, and Citicorp. He served as a soldier in the U.S. Army with tours in the Vietnam War and other military bases throughout the U.S. He has conducted and managed significant business operations and sales throughout North America, Europe, and Asia and is comfortable in most every environment.
Mr. Warren Spar is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Sparring Partners Capital. Warren has more than 25 years of experience on Wall Street in Capital Markets and Corporate Finance. During his career, he has successfully structured over $100 billion in transactions across a diverse set of industries, geographies and financial instruments, including equity, debt, and derivatives. Warren leads the firm’s activities in M&A advisory, equity and debt financing and private equity fund placement. Before starting Sparring Partners, Warren spent 12 years at Lehman Brothers in New York and London as a Partner and Managing Director. He held numerous roles managing Capital Markets groups. He was also a member of Lehman’s European Investment Bank Operating Committee. In addition, he was Managing Director at BT Alex. Brown and Deutsche Bank where he managed a portion of their U.S. Capital Markets business and served as a member of their Fixed Income Committee. Warren received his MBA from the University of Chicago.
Dr. Michael Schwartz is an innovative and seasoned energy executive with expertise in non-utility generation and the management of project-based energy businesses, including actionable business strategies, commercial structuring, fuel supply, project financing, technology commercialization, energy/environmental policy/government relations and energy project development.
Michael brings 35 years expertise across the U.S. energy industry and in all aspects of energy project development, project financing and structuring, technology commercialization, corporate development and strategic planning. Michael began his career with Shell in the late 1970s and then moved on to Conoco to manage alternative energy projects. From 1987 to 2006, he directed strategy, government affairs and commercial and project development for several IPP firms.
Michael joined Duke Energy in 2006 as Senior Vice President, responsible for unregulated project and business development. He later became SVP Policy, Strategy and Strategic Initiatives, and was instrumental in the creation of Duke’s renewable energy business, a Duke carbon business, as well as the award of over $200 million from the Recovery Act for Smart Grid and energy storage.
He departed Duke in 2011 and is now the Gerhard R. Andlinger Visiting Professor in Energy and the Environment and a Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University. Michael is also the CEO of New Wave Energy Capital Partners, where he focuses on investments in the electric sector, a non-executive Vice Chairman of GTLpetrol, a company that develops projects to produce high-quality transportation fuels from natural gas, and is senior advisor to the President of Black & Veatch Management Consulting and Public Infrastructure Partners.
He serves on the boards of advisors of the Microgrid Resources Coalition, Clean Energy Economy Network and Carbon Lighthouse.
Michael earned PhD and MS degrees in chemical engineering from Princeton University. He also holds BS and MS degrees in chemical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU.
Mr. Henry J. Wolfond, BAA, LL.B, is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Bayshore Capital Inc. He was previously the Co-Founder at the firm. He has built a portfolio from a variety of sources, including acquisitions of ongoing businesses, participation in strategic partnerships/joint ventures and capital injections into promising start-ups. He is the Co-Founder of the Autism Acceptance Project. As an executive and entrepreneur, Henry has a record of selecting high-potential markets, starting and acquiring businesses, building strong management teams and driving companies to sector leadership. Under Henry’s direction, Bayshore has completed strategic sales of its investments to IBM, Charles Schwab, Trimark Financial, Barclays Bank, Quebecor Media and OCWEN Financial. Henry has extensive experience in the creation, growth, and profitable divestiture of businesses involved in financial services and information technology. Prior to joining the firm, Henry practiced law at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, where he specialized in structured finance. He is a Member of the Boards of several private firms and not-for-profit organizations. Henry serves as a Director of RPM Technologies Corporation, the UJA Federation Community Advisory Council, the Faculty of Law University of Alberta Advisory Committee and SkyPower Inc. Henry is also the Chairman of Bayshore Asset Management Inc. He currently serves on the boards of Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) and the University Hospital Foundation. He has served on the boards of Hillel of Greater Toronto, Baycrest Foundation, United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto, and United Israel Appeal of Canada. Henry was the 2009 Campaign Co-Chairman for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. Henry received a LL.B from the University of Alberta and a B.A. from Ryerson University.
“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”