Management Team / Advisory Board Bios
Co-founder, Business Development
Philip leads the business development, sales, and marketing functions for PVpallet. Philip is a professionally licensed engineer with over 14 years of experience in the renewable energy arena. He ran a profitable solar PV technical consulting company for four years where he worked on over 60 utility-scale projects totaling 7+ GW across 19 U.S. states. At PVpallet, Philip provides an established, successful approach to business development, along with strong solar industry connections and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Co-founder, General Manager
Luke Phelps is a founder and general manager of PVpallet. He has over 18 years of experience owning and operating small businesses, with a successful track record in the home building, agriculture, and solar design and installation industries. He is a creative thinker, always looking for ways to improve and optimize solutions, and is an expert at creating strong foundations for business operations and growth.
Ethan marshals brand evangelism efforts for PVpallet. A professionally licensed electrician, Ethan has over 7 years of solar supply chain experience. He developed a global network of solar construction partners over the greatest solar growth years in the Midwest while simultaneously demonstrating success in the conference room and at the construction site. Along with his versatility and vast knowledge in all phases of renewable solar energy projects, Ethan brings a proven expertise in sales, construction, finance, and partnership development to PVpallet.
Co-founder, Design, Supply Chain and Manufacturing
Steven Kottwitz spearheads the design and manufacturing efforts for PVpallet. He brings a breadth of knowledge to the PVpallet team, having past key management roles in agricultural retail and ranch management, as well as years of experience in fabrication projects. With his hands-on approach to learning, Steven is an expert designer and critical thinker, and it is his mission to ensure that PVpallet's are not only optimized for today, but also thinking forward to the solutions for tomorrow.
Operatons / Office Manager
Jason Wood ensures the daily operations of PVpallet run seamlessly by implementing key processes and practices across the organization. He spent 25 years serving our country as an Army Counterintelligence Officer (Special Agent) with a focus on intelligence collection, investigations, physical security, training, strategic planning, and operations. He spent an additional five years as a senior manager at an IT security / managed services firm followed by 12+ months as an area manager (operations) at a global services company. Jason believes in leading by example and making a positive difference every day.
Marketing & Branding
Vanessa Benkert leads the marketing and branding efforts at PVpallet. Vanessa has an MA in Communication and 14 years of design, marketing, and branding experience. Whether working with small businesses or large, established brands, her work is founded on the principle that design should be strategic, creative, and all about communication. At PVpallet, Vanessa brings an expert, proven approach to content development, both visual and verbal, along with a zest for meeting new challenges.
Finance & Accounting
Zach Gates leads PVpallet’s finance accounting team in a fractional CFO role. Zach is a licensed CPA with 8+ years of experience in public accounting. He has an extensive background in providing audit and assurance services and outsourced CFO services to startups and manufacturing companies.
Business development and sales leader with 20+ years’ experience. Principal focus in the energy and renewable sectors for the past 15 years has led to many industry connections and foundational relationships. Innate ability to lead people and recognize the importance of emotional intelligence. Accomplished in business planning, execution and achieving predictive outcomes. Strong business and team development leader with a passion for innovation and idea advancement. Proud Iowa Hawkeye – University of Iowa Grad.
Business owner with 30+ years’ experience. Historically focused in the technology sector; now working in the renewable energy and environmental industry. Great understanding of human behaviors and people leadership. Skilled in innovation theory and business planning. Strong operations professional with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) focused in Business Analytics from Loras College.
Business optimization and development expert with 20 years’ experience. Primary focus in the solar industry for 12+ years yielded expertise in product development, deployment, and strategic partnering. Analytical thinker and problem-solver with a rare mix of technical, strategic, and financial expertise, capable of increasing market, creating value, and reducing cost. Accomplished business advisor and collaborator and a driving force willing to do whatever it takes to make great things happen. Strong collaborator with the ability to think hi-level strategy while maintaining detail-oriented focus and acting in a hands-on capacity. MBA from Stanford University.
Sustainability and marketing professional with 9 years’ experience. Substantial focus in sustainability and creative marketing has resulted in an affinity for good stewardship, renewable energy, and conservation. Deep understanding of the interconnectedness of people and natural environments. Passionate about making a positive impact on others and helping the world think more about what it means to be a good steward. Strong thinker, creative, and adventurer with a deep love for fitness and the outdoors. MBA from Grand Valley State University with an emphasis in Sustainability.