MEET OUR TEAM
Brightergy is a solar-energy development and finance firm with offices in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Boston. Our vision is to bring affordable, clean, and renewable energy solutions to thousands of commercial customers nationwide.
ADAM BLAKE, CEO
Adam is a serial entrepreneur with a far-reaching background in energy related ventures. Adam co-founded Silicon Solar Housing Solutions in 2006. SSHS created the first solar powered real estate sign light and created a line of solar water heating products, now known as SunMaxx. After a successful 2007 exit Adam founded Atlas Properties, a real estate private equity firm that has invested tens of millions in investor equity in real estate, solar, and natural gas projects. Atlas’ holdings include an 18 story high rise in downtown Fort Worth, a few fractured condo projects, and a 100,000 sq ft historic re-development project in Kansas City. Through Atlas, Adam also managed two natural gas exploration projects, one in Fort Worth’s Barnett Shale and another in New York’s Marcellus Shale.
Adam has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Young Money, Fortune Small Business, and several other local and industry related publications. Amongst several other awards and recognitions, Adam was the recipient of the Global Student Entrepreneur Award in 2005, a prestigious international award for the top student entrepreneur. Adam received a business degree in entrepreneurial management, accounting, and finance from TCU. In his free time Adam enjoys supporting high school and college focused programs that support & encourage youth entrepreneurship.
RYAN GARDNER, VP SALES
Ryan earned a Physical Therapy degree from the University of Missouri. He has since been involved in several “start up” companies, successfully launching several new products in three different industries over the last 15 years. During his professional career he has been involved in business management, sales, business development as well as running his own multi-million dollar company. He has had the good fortune of helping clients invest in nearly $250 million in capital equipment during his career. Ryan got his start in solar several years ago by helping launch a solar division for an electrical contractor in California. Since his foray into the renewable industry he has been involved in several megawatts of solar projects. His enthusiasm for spending time in nature inspired his interest in sustainability. This interest has lead to enthusiasm for educating the community on the benefits of solar power. Ryan believes strongly that solar makes sense today and that eventually it will be the “winner” in alternative energy sources.
SUSAN BROWN, VP PUBLIC AFFAIRS
Susan realized the importance of renewable energy after a year’s long battle against a plan to build multiple coal-burning power plants near her home north of Kansas City. She led a citizens group, Concerned Citizens of Platte County, that eventually reached a collaborative agreement with Kansas City Power & Light company in 2007, resulting in groundbreaking company investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. That was the same year she began work for The Energy Savings Store – a small wind and solar company that eventually became Brightergy Solar.
Susan has been involved in the development of hundreds of renewable energy projects in the Kansas City area, while volunteering her time to many environmental organizations in the region including:
- Kansas City, MO Climate Protection Plan (Workgroup Vice-Chair)
- Mid-America Regional Council’s Air Quality Forum
- Platte County’s Green Build Committee
- Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Energy Environment and Sustainability Initiative
- Bridging the Gap’s EEBN Steering Committee
Susan serves on the national board of directors of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and serves as vice-chair for the Missouri chapter (MOSEIA). She was also recognized as one of the Midwest’s Most Influential Women in 2009 by Midwest CEO Magazine.
JEFF RISLEY, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
A native of Kansas, Jeff holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Benedictine College. He has more than 20 years of experience helping both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations successfully plan and implement their missions. Jeff began his career managing trade associations, before moving to marketing agencies. He spent ten years at Barkley, an integrated marketing agency where as a vice-president and partner he founded the agency’s social media practice.
His first foray into renewable energy was as the Executive Director of the Climate and Energy Project, a not-for-profit organization advocating for energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Midwest. It was also at CEP that Jeff’s passion for renewable energy was expanded.
Prior to joining Brightergy, Jeff was the VP of Social Media at InTouch Solutions, a digital marketing agency serving the healthcare industry.