Biographies

Janet (Boog) Bookey

Janet Bookey, known to everyone as “Boog”, worked across the hall from George Wagner’s small office in Point Reyes Station, where she learned the story of Windstar VAWTs from the company’s most enthusiastic visionary. George saw Boog’s talent in action and convinced her to help with WHI’s bookkeeping needs in her spare time. Over time, Boog took on more responsibilities, including helping George raise capital and keeping track of most of the company’s administrative tasks and felt privileged to work alongside George. She has been the Financial Manager for Wind Harvest International since 2006. Her infectious, adventurous spirit, teamwork, communication skills, innovative problem-solving abilities and ease with juggling multiple projects have been of great value to the team.

Boog received her BA in Women’s Studies and Environmental Design from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and years later followed that with an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She has her own business, providing financial and management services to sustainability oriented companies and is an IRS & CA registered tax preparer. She has been involved with wind and renewable energy projects since the 1970s when she starting taking measurements and planning a wind turbine as she helped build a geodesic dome for her teacher on a windy island in Puget Sound.

Boog is committed to living lightly on the planet, and inspiring and assisting others to do the same. Her bicycle is primary mode of transportation with a 16-mile commute to work with George and 27-mile ride to graduate school. She is a stone sculptor and metalsmith and has had other careers as an international kayak guide, carpenter, wilderness guide and preservationist and has led on-the-job youth service training programs. Boog is Treasurer of the Board of Sustainable Fairfax.

 

Cornelius (Con) Fitzgerald

Cornelius (Con) Fitzgerald was the lead negotiator representing the new investors in WHI’s Series A Round. At the end of the negotiations, it was clear to all involved that he had a talent for clarity, economics and good communication. He quickly began to play a central role in bringing the founders’ innovative designs and timeless values into a commercial product. Beyond the commercialization of the technology, he helped create the business culture that enables WHI to attract exceptional talent and partners. He became the CEO in late 2015 to lead the negotiations with new partners, close a the Series B round of financing and work to bring WHIs turbines to the commercial market.

Before joining WHI, Cornelius was with the top strategic planning group for a Fortune 50 Bank in San Francisco, where he dealt with numerous analytical and communication issues. He began his career designing and building businesses with a boutique management-consulting firm, Patpatia & Associates. While in the consulting field, the emphasis was not simply strategy design, but included the implementation and execution of those strategies to bring the idea to life. Cornelius was part of a team that thought up, designed, built, and implemented a new insurance product platform for insurance and asset management companies across the U.S. The platform concept went on to be leveraged by General Electric’s insurance group.

Cornelius holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Arizona, as well as an MBA in sustainable enterprise from Dominican University of California. He lives with his wife and daughter in Marin County, CA. When he’s not working, Con enjoys his family and friends and spending time at the ocean and back on the ranch he grew up on in southeastern Oregon.

Sam Francis

Sam Francis was an amazing artist, environmentalist and visionary.  When he met Bob Thomas and George Wagner in the 1970s, he was captured by Bob’s idea of vertical axis wind turbines and how they could help reduce the world’s dependency on polluting fossil fuels.  He quickly encouraged the start of the Wind Harvest Company and joined Bob and George as the founders. Over the years, Sam became the company’s leading investor and supporter.

Injured severely in WWII, Sam was in hospital for several years where he started painting.  After he recovered, he returned to the University of California, Berkeley for his BA and MA degrees.  Because he worked and exhibited in the United States, Europe and Asia, Sam Francis is credited with helping secure international recognition for postwar American painting. His work has been seen most often and best understood in Europe and Japan. In 1991, he was elected into the National Academy of Design.

Francis’ work is hosted in international collections, including those in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Kunstmuseum Basel, the Idemitsu Museum of Arts, Tokyo, and the Centre Pompidou-Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris. On May 11, 2010, a Francis 1957 painting titled “Middle Blue” was sold at auction for $6,354,500, a record for the artist.

Born in 1923, Francis shared a strong connection with Bob Thomas and George Wagner in their being students of the work of Carl Jung. They shared the deep commitment that humans have an active, personal responsibility to respect nature and the environment. The friendship and business relationship with the three men lasted until Francis’ death in 1994

The logo of Wind Harvest International is an adaptation of a painting Sam Francis created especially for Wind Harvest.

 

Dr. David Malcolm

Years before he retired in 2013 from a forty-year career working with the engineering and design issues of wind turbines, Dr. David Malcolm became acquainted with Bob Thomas and Kevin Wolf and developed an interest in the Windstar VAWTs. Shortly after David retired, Kevin contacted him to ask if he would be the senior engineer on version 1.1 of the G168 and bring with him the frequency response, fatigue and related aerodynamic and aeroelastic models he had helped develop for VAWTs. He accepted, bringing with him an immense amount of experience in critical aspects of design and engineering, along with an ability to help bring out the best in the engineering team. David co-authored the Design Evaluation of the G168 VAWT with Antonio Ojeda. He was the principal author of the documents on Structural Design Methodology and Design for Fatigue, and he provided important support on the Design for Extreme Loads, completed by Antonio.

David started work on VAWTs in 1981 with Indal Technologies Inc. in Ontario, Canada, and worked closely with Sandia National Laboratories on the structural dynamics of the Darrieus rotor, authoring several reports and papers on this subject. In 1990, he joined Lavalin Engineers Ltd., Toronto, and was responsible for structural modifications to the 4-MW Eole turbine—the world’s largest VAWT. In 1992, he joined R Lynette Associates/Advanced Wind Turbines (AWT) Inc., in Redmond, Wash., where he continued consulting for FloWind Inc. to solve their VAWT dynamic issues. AWT [see above] merged with Global Energy Concepts in 2000, which later was acquired by Det Norske Veritas, one of the world’s largest wind turbine consulting and certification companies.

David received his BSc in civil engineering from Bristol University in England, a master’s degree in structural engineering from McGill University in Montreal, and his PhD in solid mechanics from the University of Calgary in Alberta. David lives near Seattle, Wash., where he spends time with grandkids and family. When not with family or on his computer, David volunteers weekly on a crew working to expand and improve the hiking trails near his home. He is an avid cyclist, hiker, cross-country skier and lover of the outdoors.

Dr. Ariana Marshall

Through an intern who worked both on projects for the Caribbean Sustainability Collective and for WHI, Dr. Ariana Marshall was introduced to the company and the G168 VAWT Systems. She was immediately interested in WHI’s potential. She knew of the opposition that large HAWTs were facing on Barbados, where she was born and raised, and she knew of the history of small windmills being used hundreds of years ago in the refining of sugar cane. With her PhD in community communication on climate change, and her leadership through the Green Business Barbados project, she was the perfect fit to join WHI as a consultant to explore the potential offered for the relatively short G168 VAWTs by the trade winds, which blow strongly across all the islands in the eastern Caribbean.

With Ariana’s help, the Barbados National Oil Company, Williams Industries and others decided to evaluate the wind resources of their properties to determine if they could support a financially viable wind project where the hub height of the turbines was 11­–15m level above ground level as opposed to the 30–60m hub heights of HAWT rotors. Ariana is WHI’s lead on project permitting and development, community and government engagement, strategic planning and more in the Caribbean, where we expect some of the first post-certification G168 projects to be built.

Ariana lives in Barbados, where she consults and teaches on a wide variety of environmental and sustainable issues. She received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky., where she attended on a tennis scholarship. She earned her master’s degree in environmental science from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and followed that three years later, in 2012, with her PhD and dissertation, “Sea-Level Rise Impacts in Rural Florida: An Analysis of Public Participation in Land-use Planning for Future Adaptation.” When she isn’t working, she spends time with her extended family, going to the beach and enjoying the many outdoor activities on her beautiful island.

Jeff Olson

Jeff Olson began working with WHI on its 636G VAWT when he converted Bob and Dean Thomas’s design into CAD (SolidWorks) drawings. He proceeded to help with the installation of these turbines in Finland, where he gained hands-on experience and proved his ability to work in cold and difficult environments. He resumed working with WHI on version 1.1 of the G168 VAWT, with responsibility for all drawings in both metric and imperial units. Jeff also plays an important role in the engineering team’s problem-solving processes, where his insights and experience have helped improve the design. As an example, he took the lead in working with Superior Glass Works to finalize the elegantly simple and inexpensive design of the fiberglass blade tip and blade-arm transition fairings.

Jeff graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a degree in mechanical engineering. For the next 20 years, he worked for the Morro Bay fire department, where he excelled in emergency medical response, fire engine mechanics and all the general skills involved in being a modern-day firefighter. While with the fire department, Jeff also worked part time with various engineering firms, helping with both construction-related problems and with gas spectrometers.

Jeff is married with two daughters and lives in Los Osos, Calif.. When Jeff isn’t working on engineering projects or being with family, he enjoys surfing and hand crafting surfboards.

Antonio Ojeda

Soon after version 1.0 of the G168 prototype was completed and installed at the Nordic Folkecenter in Denmark, WHI recruited Antonio Ojeda to join the engineering team. His ten-plus years of experience in working on a wide variety of engineering problems, his love for hands-on involvement in projects, and his ability to quickly learn new skills brought many benefits to the team. He soon became proficient with the “midas NFX” engineering tools and was instrumental in securing the strain gauge and field data needed to validate this very sophisticated computer-aided engineering model. With Antonio as the lead engineer, the team reviewed every aspect of the G168 prototype and used the field data to improve the confidence in WHI’s fatigue life, frequency response, aerodynamic and finite element models. Antonio’s hands-on experience in operating the prototype and securing the field data was critical to the success of the “magnum opus” Design Evaluation he and David Malcolm wrote and presented to the Small Wind Certification Council in early 2017.

Antonio received his mechanical engineer degree from the University of Seville in Spain, near where he lives.  After graduating he worked with a variety of processes for various products within many kinds of R&D environments. He has worked on multiple projects ranging from building and manufacturing wheelchairs made out of carbon fiber, setting up pilot projects utilizing the growth of microalgae for the production of biodiesel, and designing a high-tech nozzle for producing a sterilized spray.

When Antonio isn’t immersed in engineering tasks, he enjoys life in many ways, including surfing, spelunking, hiking, traveling, and art crafting. He lives in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, near his parents and extended family.

Luea Ritter

Through friends that share a similar interested in organizational development and complexity, Luea Ritter was introduced to WHI. She recognized the value in this combination of sustainable technology and a healthy business that added synergy to existing wind farms.  She was especially motivated by the potential the technology offered communities and post-conflict areas to help them become more resilient and healthy.

She became more involved and supported the team in different ways, primarily while using her skills in communication and systemic thinking.  Luea now represents the company in Europe where she supports sales, development and communication.

Luea Ritter has a background as an art curator and leader of trans-disciplinary organizations. She built her career further working cross-sectorially (Sustainable Energy and Housing, Arts, Education, Civil Society Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship) as a systemic constellation practitioner, large systems change designer & advisor in the areas of organizational, community & cultural development. A special focus of hers is transparent communication, participatory facilitation, and community and multi-stakeholder dialogues and processes.

She has become a sought after person to help in difficult organizational and team-dynamics, and community building projects around the world.

Luea lives and works in Brussels, Belgium and Andros, Greece. When Luea isn’t working, she enjoys time with her partner, family and community in nature, swimming writing, cooking with ingredients from her garden and drying delicious figs in the heat of the summer sun.

 

Bob Thomas

Mr. Thomas is the creative genius behind WHI’s core turbine design. He pursues a methodical approach to design, and has built and tested over a dozen prototype VAWTs from 1976 to 2012.  Thomas’ approach to innovation and engineering has always placed an emphasis on the critical wind turbine aspects of durability, performance and cost effectiveness. This approach has led to a series of patents that form the core of WHI technology, including the Coupled Vortex Effect.

In the early 1970s Thomas recognized the need for effective renewable energy technology to combat the increasing environmental damage caused by fossil fuel consumption.  He applied his engineering experience in the aerospace industry with his understanding of ecology toward the invention of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs).  During this early period, Thomas also envisioned a ‘wind industry’ combining government incentives, investment support and technology innovation.  As the head of the California Wind Energy program in the early 1980s, he helped to enact this vision and to create the original concept of commercial scale wind farming in California.

Prior to working for the California Energy Commission, Bob was the head of the nascent Wind Energy program for the U.S. Air Force. Bob holds a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Today Bob remains active in the WHI creative design engineering for VAWTs operating in turbulent near-ground winds, and maintains with a healthy stock of innovative ideas waiting to be tested.

 

George Wagner

George Wagner, was a co-founder along with Bob Thomas and Sam Francis, of Wind Harvest Company.  He served as President and over the course of thirty years as the major fund raiser for the company.  He established a large group of enthusiastic investors whose money, energy and good will have kept the start-up company going in a very challenging business climate.  Alternative energy companies have not been given as much support as they have needed to launch an effective clean energy industry.   Without George’s confident spirit and perseverance, WHI would not have survived.  He was unflagging in recognizing wind energy as fundamental to creating a cleaner and healthier energy industry all over the globe   He was unstoppable in his efforts to bring WHI’s VAWTs to the world market.

In addition to his 30 years working with Wind Harvest, Mr. Wagner was an effective environmental and political leader in California. In the 1970’s he helped organize and lead political campaigns to success that  established the Coastal Commission of California.  This new commission has worked consistently to protect the coast of California from unchecked real estate development and has opened the beaches to greater public access.  Wagner followed the Coastal Act success with the founding of the California League of Conservation Voters, which today is one of the most effective environmental advocacy groups in the state.

Prior to embarking on the creation and development of WHI, George had a successful law practice in Los Angeles; he held a JD from Southwestern University and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from UCLA.  Early in his career he also served as the founding President of the Jung Institute in Los Angeles. In this work, he raised funds for this non-profit that offered post-graduate training in studies leading to certification of therapists as Jungian analysts.  George along with his wife, Suzanne, who is a Jungian analyst, launched a film project through the Jung Institute of Los Angeles which produced a major documentary on Jung’s approach to psychology, Matter of Heart. In addition, a series of one hour interviews was produced, the Remembering Jung  series. These films introduce the public to a generation of talented people who knew Jung well reflecting on their experiences with him as analysts, colleagues, family members and friends.  George believed that this film work was a valuable contribution to people of future generations for the challenges they faced in the political and personal realms to resolve extreme conflicts.

George was truly a pioneer in his multi-faceted life’s work. He was clearly motivated by a deeply rooted instinct to make a positive impact on the world. He was able to nurture and bring into successful manifestation many different projects which contribute new ways to relate to both the outer and the inner worlds. He was the father of two children and when he died in October 2015, he was the proud grandfather of two grandchildren. Through over fifty years of marriage, he worked closely with his wife, Suzanne in raising a family and committing to work that demanded much self-sacrifice and long term planning, but which brought many emotional rewards. He was a man who loved reaching out to people and made many friendships with people from all over the world.  He will be missed greatly by all who knew him.

Kevin Wolf

Kevin Wolf Wind Harvest InternationalIn 1981, Kevin Wolf met George Wagner, a co-founder of the Wind Harvest Company when he guided a VIP trip for Friends of the River (F.O.R) on the now lost Stanislaus River Class III whitewater run. Over the campfire, George told Kevin about VAWTs and HAWTs and that wind energy could be an huge benefit towards replacing the need for “carbon free” energy from dams like New Melones that would drown the “Stan” in 1982 or nuclear power that almost radiated Harrisburg and most of PA in 1979.

Kevin met Bob and Dean Thomas at the Windstar 480 project in Concord CA in 1984. He and his wife Linda Cloud made their first investment in WHC in 1990. Kevin asked if he could trade his time for shares and help the company figure out the next steps after the failure of the 1998 CA Direct Public Offering. The WHC Board accepted and in 2000, Kevin and the various people he hires, often from N Street Cohousing where he lives and works in Davis CA began to help Wind Harvest on a professional basis.

Kevin’s history with the company is long and complex. Suffice it to say, he, George and Bob formed Wind Harvest International in 2006, and Kevin has been a board officer since. Now as Chief Operating Officer he is responsible for planning and supervision in engineering, manufacturing, certification, sales, marketing and R&D of the G168 VAWT Systems. He, representing the WHI’s Common Shareholders and Con Fitzgerald, CEO representing the Preferred Shareholders reach consensus on all actions taken by the company, including for example, all the decisions made in producing of the new (spring 2017) website.

Kevin graduated with a degree in Evolution and Ecology (Zoology) from UC Davis in 1980 began a ten-year career as an consensus-based organizer and fundraiser for F.O.R. In 1990 he left to start Wolf and Associates, a successful consulting company specializing in strategic planning, watershed web portals, and community process. He continues to be environmental and community activist with his main focus being to chair the California Clean Money Action Fund and pass the CA DISCLOSE Act (this year as AB 14). He lives with his wife and 11 year-old daughter at N Street Cohousing. He still loves rafting rivers, turning compost, playing with kids and living the “hippy” life in Davis.

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