Who We Are
Catalyze’s core team brings decades of experience and 5,000MW of renewable energy development with a combination of commercial real estate, electric power, finance, software, analytics and entrepreneurship.
CEO & CO-FOUNDER
Joel is recognized as one of the early leaders in the clean technology community having created or funded more than 20 companies, non-profits, and policy organizations over his career. He also founded and serves as Managing Director of Brightman Energy, an ERCOT-focused project development firm that has innovated a lean acquisition and development strategy in building its initial 1,100 MW renewable energy portfolio. Joel served as the first Entrepreneur in Residence at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and previously headed renewable energy efforts at the ATI Clean Energy Incubator, Eastman Ventures, and Sierra Ventures. He founded what has become the most sophisticated and extensive smart grid experiment in Pecan Street Project (now Pecan Street Inc.) and supported the creation of the first solar powered microgrid in Haiti. He received his B.S. In Chemical and Environmental Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin and his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
CTO & CO-FOUNDER
Steve is a senior software executive specializing in building world class software engineering and technical sales and support teams from early stage start-ups and beyond. He has been a leader in the San Francisco Bay area solar-energy technology community for nearly a decade. Previously, he was the CTO and VP of Software Engineering at Sungevity, a leading residential solar development company where he led the Software Engineering team in designing, building and implementation of their national and international software backbone for residential solar design, account management, regulatory compliance, and finance. Prior to Sungevity, he was the VP of Software Engineering at Sunrun, the leader in residential solar sales, design and installation. He has a proven track record in building highly scalable software platforms across many industries using cutting edge technologies and brings more than 25 years of experience in high-end software development, database engineering and analytics, and building Engineering teams. Originally from England, Steve studied computer science at Guildford University.
COO & CO-FOUNDER
James brings twenty-five years of entrepreneurial, technology, finance, and energy expertise to renewable energy analytics. Previously, James spent 17 years exclusively building software companies as Managing Director of Converge Venture Partners, a Boston-based seed investment fund, and its predecessor, CommonAngels, an angel group comprised of leaders in the technology community. He previously worked at Cambridge Energy Research Associates and for US Department of Energy, at the latter managing a team of 30 senior scientists and engineers at the US National Laboratories. Prior to that role, James was the Environment, Science & Technology Officer at the US Department of State’s Office of Russian Affairs, handling a wide range of bilateral and multi-lateral programs, including climate change, non-proliferation, satellite launches, and the International Space Station Agreement. James earned his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a Master’s Degree from UCLA in political science, and a bachelor’s degree with highest honors from University of Texas at Austin’s Plan II Liberal Arts Honors Program.
SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Kristen brings over 10 years of marketing and communications experience working at mission-driven and environmentally-focused startup companies and nonprofits. Prior to joining Catalyze, Kristen was the Senior Director of Marketing at Solect Energy, the leading C&I solar company in Massachusetts, where she led the company’s marketing efforts and contributed to the sales and development of over 90 MW of commercial-scale solar. Earlier in her career, Kristen established and managed marketing activities for a publicly traded Boston-based clean tech company before she moved into the nonprofit space leading the marketing organization for United Planet. Kristen received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, with a focus in Sustainable Development. She’s passionate about environmental sustainability and social justice and has followed these passions throughout her academic and professional career.
Mark Dennes has over 30 years of experience in the US, the EU and Asia in the advisory, financial services and investment industries. He has provided finance to energy companies, utilities and investors, and has been an advisor to investors, lenders and start-ups. He has arranged debt, equity and tax equity financing for over 60 transactions representing over $30 BN.
Mark has extensive experience with a broad range of technologies related to recycling, renewable energy (wind, solar PV, solar thermal, biomass, hydropower, biofuels, etc.), agribusiness, batteries, green transportation, electric motors, green chemistry, lighting, water purification and wastewater treatment. He previously founded Landgrove Capital, an advisory firm focused on the rapidly evolving energy space with a particular focus on renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, project finance and analytics.
Mark earned his BEc from Macquarie University in Australia, an MBA from the Simon Business School at the University of Rochester and has completed Executive Education at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of CPA Australia and of CIMA in the EU. Mark spends his time outside the office skiing behind his daughters.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Chris has over fifteen year’s renewable energy field project development and executive experience in the renewables industry nationally and internationally. Chris’ wider career for over 26 years revolved around project creation, development and management in the energy intensive sectors of the manufacturing industry and then brought his experience from that competitive sector to the renewables market.
Chris has been in ownership of 4 companies, founded the Indonesia Division of UPC Renewables in Jakarta, Indonesia as the VP of Development and led the Development Team that has brought the first 75MW, $140 million commercial-scale wind farm development in Sidrap Indonesia to completion. UPC had to create the first mover opportunity through government and national utility lobbying in a challenging business environment, for a “Wind Program” in the National Plan and then lead the wind industry with the first utility scale wind project in that country.
Previously, Chris was a Development Manager with First Wind and Community Energy Inc. In the US he prospected and then led the development, land acquisition and permitting of over 1,500MW of greenfield wind and solar projects. Prior to his renewables experience Chris founded and owned businesses that processed waste to energy and supplied large industrial capital equipment projects to the metal working industry.
DIRECTOR OF POLICY & REGULATORY ANALYSIS
Nick brings ten years of policy, sales, development, and management experience working in startups and EPCs across the solar industry. Prior to joining Catalyze, Nick led the Partnerships team at Wunder Capital where he oversaw development strategies in 21 markets across the US. He also helped Colorado State Senate President Steve Fenberg craft the Colorado Storage Bill of Rights, which guarantees all Colorado citizens the right to install battery storage at their homes without onerous regulations imposed by the utility.
Years prior, Nick worked at Namaste Solar in sales and development. During that time, he served as the Co-chair of the Policy Committee and worked closely with COSEIA to help negotiate multiple incentive programs with the local utility, Xcel Energy. Before moving to Colorado, Nick started his career at Affordable Solar in Albuquerque, NM, where he also served as a board member of the Renewable Energy Industry’s Association of New Mexico. Nick graduated with a Masters in Professional Communication and a Bachelors in Communications from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
DIRECTOR OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Mike brings over 26 years of commercial electrical construction experience with a focus on commercial and industrial operations on the east coast. The past four years he has been exclusively focused on developing and building utility and commercial-sale solar projects. Prior to working at Catalyze, Mike served as the Commercial Construction Manager at CTEC Solar where he was in charge of overseeing development, estimating, and construction management. He has developed and managed over 16 MW of solar projects throughout the Northeast.
Mike holds a Masters Electrical license in all 6 New England states, a Construction Supervisor License in MA., and NABCEP PVIP Certification. He Currently sits as a volunteer member of the NABCEP PVIP exam committee.