Leading Clean Energy Innovation
Who We Are
Founder and CEO
CEO Chris Swartley leads Progression Energy’s commitment to developing renewable energy in a way that respects cultures, protects the environment, and delivers economic benefit to stakeholders, investors and industry partners.
Chris has nearly 20 years of experience developing renewable energy projects, including terrestrial and offshore wind, and solar. From development, financing, and acquisitions to management of world-class development teams, Chris’ expertise is both broad and deep. He is an innovative and visionary thinker who always seeks the win-win outcome and the establishment of strong relationships amid complex circumstances and diverse stakeholder interests.
Prior to founding Progression Energy, Chris led large-scale renewable energy strategies in the U.S. and globally. He was part of the founding executive team at First Wind, which grew the company from $5 million to $2.4 billion, and from a staff of five to more than two hundred employees. First Wind became the most successful renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) in Hawai‘i. During Chris’ tenure, he oversaw more than 900MWs of projects including the 125MW $250 million Cohocton (New York) Wind Power Project, which at the time was the second largest wind power plant on the East Coast. As part of the executive team at Apex Clean Energy, Chris initiated and grew the company’s New England, New York and Hawaii markets.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Chris now resides in Maine with his family. Chris is passionate about protecting the planet as a lifelong sailor and outdoors person. He holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Rochester, and also studied at Georgetown University’s School for Foreign Service.
“We have created a company that aligns the ethical and the practical. By building trust, partnerships and long-term relationships with host communities, we develop projects that are lower risk, more competitive, and produce better outcomes for all stakeholders.”
Executive Vice President and Market Head
Executive Vice President and Market Head Josh Franklin’s passion for renewable energy is rooted in his experiences growing up. Originally from Jamaica, Josh saw how his home country was affected by the high cost of fossil-based power generation and the financial burden of oil-based energy for businesses and families. Josh envisions a future where island nations like Jamaica around the world are able to harness abundant natural resources and achieve sustainability, economic stability and a better quality of life for all.
Prior to joining Progression Energy, Josh was part of the team that achieved the state mandated renewable energy standard one year ahead of schedule for Detroit-headquartered DTE Energy, a diversified energy company with more than 10,000 employees. Josh was key to development of some of the company’s largest renewable energy projects and was involved in raising more than $2 billion in capital. During his time with DTE, he also worked in corporate controllership, regulatory compliance, investor relations and project management. After DTE, Josh worked on the development of onshore wind in the western half of the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.
Josh has an undergraduate degree in Decision Sciences and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also a certified Six Sigma Green Belt.
Josh is an avid athlete and can regularly be found playing soccer. He also loves reading, traveling, hiking, and bird watching. Through his love for the outdoors, Josh sees firsthand the impact of fossil fuels on the environment and the potential for large-scale renewable energy to change the future of our planet.
“I live my values at work every day by developing renewable energy. Our team at Progression Energy thinks holistically about sustainability and our community-based approach and respect for local cultures allows us to successfully integrate renewable energy solutions across multiple international markets.”
Executive Vice President and Market Head,
Hawaii and Pacific
Noe specializes in strategic planning and implementation and is a big-picture thinker who envisions the impact of a project as far as seven generations into the future.
Prior to joining Progression Energy, Noe was a senior staffer for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka. As the Director for Government and Community Relations for First Wind, Noe led development strategy for utility-scale wind projects on the islands of Maui and O‘ahu. She served as the President of TiLeaf Group, a native advocacy firm that helped Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native and Indian Tribal communities with economic development. She also served as the Executive Director at Kohala Institute, where she managed a team focused on fostering place-based learning experiences and innovative social enterprises within 2,400 acres, including an intact ahupua‘a, on Hawai‘i Island.
Noe is active in the Hawai‘i Leadership Forum and Omidyar Fellows program, where she receives quarterly training on skills and tools related to facilitation, community engagement, and collective impact efforts. She is also active with the First Nations Fellows Program and its efforts to support the Hawaii CHANGE initiative, and Hawai‘i Investment Ready Hawai‘i Capital Scan. She also works with Arizona State University to support its Hawai‘i partnerships.
Noe served on active duty in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and holds a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and a Juris Doctor from the National Law Center at George Washington University. She lives in Hilo, HI with her husband and their two daughters. During her free time, she coaches fast-pitch softball and volunteers for various nonprofit organizations.
“What is important is finding a pathway to join the community in creating its future. For me, it comes down to how we all work together to make the world a better place.”
Chief Strategy Officer
Florence Seitz is the North Africa lead responsible for partnerships and strategy.
Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn
United States Navy (Retired)
Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. In this role, he led the transformation of naval installations toward greater mission resiliency through energy efficiency, renewable energy, microgrids, and other technologies.
Previously, Admiral McGinn served on active duty in the United States Navy for 35 years attaining the rank of Vice Admiral. He served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs, overseeing the development of future Navy capabilities, and previously commanded the United States Third Fleet. While in the Navy, he served as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist.
Admiral McGinn is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) where he led efforts to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Admiral McGinn is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, the United States Energy Security Council, the Bipartisan Center Energy Board, the past Co-Chairman of the CNA Military Advisory Board, and has been an International Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute.
Admiral McGinn holds a BS in Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and was a Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College. He also participated in the National Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Executive Vice President, Finance and Strategy
Jean-Bernard is a strategy and corporate development professional with a lifelong passion for education and sustainable development, and a global career spanning 4 continents. Jean-Bernard has dedicated his career to supporting the efforts of mission-driven companies to identify and explore new markets and accelerate growth.
Prior to joining Progression Energy, Jean-Bernard was Vice President in charge of Strategic Business Development at Laureate Education, the global leader in private higher education where he led a number of global strategic initiatives involving merger and acquisitions, partnerships, and product innovations. He notably led the acquisition process of multiple universities in Africa and Latin America, strategic investments in promising online higher education start-ups, the development of Online Program Management partnerships in North America and Europe, the creation of a global online platform for the career orientation of students and prospects, and the transformation of the Company into a Benefit Corporation.
Jean-Bernard joined Laureate Education after a career as Vice President in charge of licensing at the Walt Disney Company in Japan, business development head in charge of global strategic alliances at the Danone Group, and as strategy consultant at Bain & Company where he led consulting teams for clients in Europe and the Middle East.
Jean-Bernard is a French national and a graduate from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. He is fluent in 3 languages (French, Japanese, and English). He is a life-long supporter of sustainable development movements and has launched multiple initiatives in France and Japan to promote sustainable lifestyles. He lives in Maryland with his wife and 4 boys. He is an avid runner, tennis player, and snowboarder.
Head of HR
Matt Eskin manages Progression Energy’s people operations.
He has 30 years of experience in public and private education sectors, and he has held roles as a teacher, director and head of school. Matt Eskin also has experience developing strategic plans and working with broad subcommittees, with expertise in professional development, meeting facilitation, hiring for equity and settling organizational priorities.
Ron brings a diverse skill set to Progression Energy having worked on both the supply and demand sides of the public and private capital markets, as well as has held academic and government sector roles in the field of economics.
He has consulted for the Mongolian government on foreign direct investment policy and its relation to GDP and national security, and has advised companies in China, Mongolia, and the United States on strategic investments and capital allocation. Since 2015, he has shifted his focus and efforts towards the impact investing space, building and bridging the gap between high-impact business models and the investment capital they need to grow, adapt, and sustain their impacts over time.
Ron holds a PhD from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (Japan) with a focus on continental Northeast Asian political economy. He has taught economics, public finance, and strategic studies in universities in Japan, China, and Mongolia, as well as in Germany at Potsdam University and the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security.
Ron was born and raised in Hawaii; however, until recently, he had lived and worked abroad for more than a decade in Asia and Europe. You are likely to run into them on the North Shore of Oahu fishing, collecting sea salt, and generally just exploring the ocean.
Freedom has been working in the Maritime industry since 1990 and is a graduate of the California Maritime Academy.
His sea service includes international and domestic voyages with over twenty years of sea going experience. In the shoreside maritime industry, Freedom is an accomplished Marine Safety and Environmental Manager, Port Captain, and Certified Marine Surveyor.
Freedom has a passion for renewable energy with years of experience developing projects in Indonesia and Hawaii.
Theodore (Ted) Peck
Mr. Peck has more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in business, government, and energy management, including development of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative as the state’s energy administrator.
He led energy planning, shaping of the state’s approach to renewable energy permitting and facilitation, the state hydrogen program, the greenhouse gas emission reduction task force, energy assurance planning, and other strategic initiatives and programs. In 2010, Mr. Peck re-entered the private sector where he continued to focus on reducing the state’s dependency on fossil fuel through transformation, recapitalization, and the use of renewable energy. He is a seasoned expert in energy management and understands the unique challenges of Hawai‘i’s energy landscape and the value that efficiency and renewable energy brings to the islands he calls home.
Since the beginning of her career, Ms. Schwind has worked in the intersection of energy, agriculture, and community-based economic development.
She founded Outside Insight LLC, in 2014, which continues to assist non-profit organizations and small businesses with development and funding of initiatives. At Kohala Institute, a non-profit organization in North Hawaii Island, she serves as the Project Development Coordinator, responsible for the creation, funding, implementation, and oversight of new projects and grant funded initiatives. Prior to these roles, she served as the Director of Project Management and Sustainability for Rivertop Energy Solutions, a systems engineering firm that worked on the advancement of rural communities. This included concept development and analysis for an anaerobic digester including feedstock network with the Waimea Nui Community Development Corporation and biofuels refinery and feedstock development for the benefit of the tribes of South Dakota. Katie earned her degree in Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development from University of Hawaii at Hilo, and studied at Uppsala University’s Centre for Environment and Development Studies.
Director of Operations
Ms. Lusk spent the early part of her career as a Change Management Consultant in the Washington, DC office of Andersen Consulting/Accenture.
She left Accenture to start her own consultancy which focused on project management and start-ups. Her projects have ranged from helping a manufacturer identify and implement appropriate enterprise technology solutions to playing key roles in the launching several businesses including a NASDAQ listed bank and a staffing firm. For the past three years, Ms. Lusk has focused her work in the clean energy space. Ms. Lusk has a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University.
Born and raised in Maunalua Bay, Oahu, Mr. Kino is an ocean voyager and entrepreneur.
Mr. Kino has been a crew member aboard Hawaii’s double hulled voyaging canoe the Hokule’a since 2006, sailing around the world in the Malama Honua voyage as an apprentice navigator. Co- founder of Huli the Movement, an environmental education program that provides students with environmental education field days Mr. Kino aims to reconnect young people to their aina (land). Drawing on his paddling and voyaging roots he started Holokino Hawaii which offers canoe sailing experiences to customers seeking adventure and an understanding of traditional way finding.
President & CEO, Japan
Kato-san has been in renewables power development business since 2016 after spending over 30 years of commercial banking business across various financial institutions.
Prior to joining Progression Energy, he held senior management roles, such as county manager or COO, as well business development roles with various global renewables power players, such as RWE Renewables, juwi, Macquarie Capital and Equis Energy in Japan. He has been successful in establishing early phases of local entities and grew teams into real development stages, including participating in the first Japanese offshore wind auction with various key partners and teams built up for that process within a few years. He has also built over 5GW offshore wind pipelines across Japan during the last 3 years.
Kato-san started his banking career in late 1980’s and has extensive debt underwriting, arrangement, debt advisory, workouts, restructuring and project finance experiences across various industries, including power generation, oil refining, LNG production, mining, petrochemical upstream and downstream productions, telecommunications and media sectors.
He holds a BS from Hitotsubashi University of Japan (1986) and an MBA from Stern School Business of the New York University (1992).
Senior Advisor, Japan
Kubo-san started his business career at Marubeni, one of the largest trading houses in Japan. For 25 years, he was engaged in iron & steel plant projects.
One of the projects was Sahaviriya Steel, which a whole seller at that time has now grown into a fully integrated steel mill. After steel projects, he managed Istanbul Main Branch, and his last assignment was General Manager of the Business Incubation Department, where he developed new business for all of Marubeni Group.
Post‐Marubeni, Kubo-san joined EcoSecurities, and established EcoSecurities Japan doing carbon credit business. Kubo-san also initiated biomass fuel trading business as a new business for EcoSecurities. After EcoSecurities, Kubo-san held roles as CEO at Canadian Solar Projects K.K., and President of Banpu Power Japan K.K. Kubo-san has bachelor degree from Keio University in Management Engineering.
Government Affairs, Japan
Tachi-san is a former senior official in the Economic Planning Bureau, Office of the Prime Minister, and Ministry of Land and Transportation.
Through this work, Tachi-san developed strong relationships with local government in the key prefectures for offshore wind development.
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