SPGS graduate a key player in renewable energy
A journey west along the rolling hills of Interstate 70 nearly a decade ago inspired Geoff Coventry.
“I was driving across Kansas, fighting the wind, heading to a ski trip to Colorado with my family,” Coventry said. “Kansas has a lot of wind and I had been researching renewable energy for a while. That trip is when I began to form a business plan.”
A year later in 2003, Coventry became a founding member of the Lenexa-based TradeWind Energy, now one of the largest independent wind project companies in the country and the only wind energy project developer in the Kansas City area. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baker’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies in 2006.
Entrepreneurial by nature, Coventry has grown accustomed to pursuing cutting-edge careers. Before becoming a leader at TradeWind, he cofounded and was vice president of NetSales, Inc., one of the first companies to provide outsourced electronic commerce services to businesses. As senior vice president at TradeWind Energy, Coventry’s responsibilities include managing business operations, human resources, information technology, marketing and accounting. He also manages the company’s electronic transmission activities and is instrumental in the company’s strategic planning initiatives.
“I enjoy starting businesses and seeing them grow,” he said. “Renewable energy was an area that intrigued me. Wind energy, in particular, looked poised for a significant growth opportunity, and I like being part of an industry that is going through a paradigm shift.”
TradeWind Energy is indeed growing. The company founders held their first meetings in a library because they had no office space. Since then, TradeWind has partnered with a large Italian electric utility company, expanded its office space three times quadrupling its original office size, and has grown to nearly 60 employees. TradeWind Energy has close to 40 projects on more than 700,000 acres of land under development in 11 states from the Great Lakes of Michigan to the Texas gulf. If all the projects are built, combined they will generate 8,000 megawatts in total electric capacity, enough to generate the power needs of about 2.5 million homes.
TradeWind Energy won the prestigious 2009 Kansas Governor’s Energy Achievement Award, which recognized the wind energy developer’s leadership and accomplishment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
While his company began to blossom, Coventry was taking classes at Baker’s Overland Park campus. He was able to share some of his business development plans with the class.
“I did a lot of research online before deciding where I wanted to obtain my business degree,” Coventry said. “Being able to continue working and attending classes stood out to me. Baker’s reputation and the way the program was structured with people instructing courses who have business experience appealed to me. They are not just dealing with theory, but real application. The students bring a lot of discussion to the class and my work at TradeWind Energy came up quite a bit. We had quite a diverse group and everyone gave their viewpoints.”
TradeWind continues to develop projects and anticipates increasing its capacity to produce electricity by completing 300 to 500 megawatts per year through 2015.
“This has been a very rewarding experience,” Coventry said. “We are making a positive impact and helping the environment by making the energy cleaner and more sustainable.”
Coventry’s coworkers also make the experience more enjoyable. TradeWind sponsors a company Green Team, 15 employee volunteers who try to set the standard for being environmentally responsible in the workplace.
Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.