Jim Maskrey

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - June 22, 2007



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Jim Maskrey has joined Sopogy Inc. as vice president of sales and business development. He will be responsible for bringing to market Sopogy’s solar technology, invented in Hawaii in 2002 by the think-tank Energy Industries.

Prior to that, he spent 10 years as the manager of Hawaiian Electric Co.’s demand-side management program, which handles rebate incentives for businesses and commercial facilities that implement energy efficiency.

Maskrey, 51, was born in Torrance, Calif. He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California-Santa Barbara, a master’s degree in environmental planning from the College of Architecture at Arizona State University and an MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Why I took this job: I have worked in energy efficiency my entire working career and the opportunity to be part of a leadership team to develop this renewable energy company was an exciting challenge that met long-term career ambitions.

Like most about the job: I love the diversity of responsibilities inherent in a startup company. But what is exceptionally rewarding is the excitement and support I am hearing from the customers with whom we are developing projects. People and companies are now eager to respond to the challenge of climate change. It is a refreshing change.

Immediate priority: Getting projects commissioned here in Hawaii to demonstrate the huge potential of concentrated solar power technology.

Strategy to overcome the challenge: Stay innovative and flexible, and effectively communicate the value proposition to customers. Get the customers to want to do business with you.

Biggest problem in my industry: The high “perceived” cost of the systems. Government support for renewables should be accelerated even beyond what has been seen in the past two years. Without getting political, I will say the continued “debate” over peak oil and the growth in construction of coal-fired generating plants reflects that we are still not properly valuing renewable energy. Higher first costs of renewable energy systems should not be the deterrent to their installation when the consequences of fossil-fuel dependence are so extraordinarily longer term.

Essential business philosophy: Let honesty, credibility and integrity guide all decisions and actions.

Biggest risk taken in my career: Leaving a successful engineering firm that I was poised to take over to pursue other professional opportunities in energy efficiency.

Most important lesson learned: Do your work for the passion, not for the money.

Most important mentor: Craig Perkins, director of public works for the City of Santa Monica, under whom I served before relocating to Hawaii. For the past two decades Craig has demonstrated visionary leadership by making the city a globally recognized leader in sustainability for its progressive programs in energy, water, wastewater and solid waste.

Favorite way to spend free time: Spending time with my wife and son in just about any setting.

Book by my bedside: “Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social and Environmental Success” by Andrew W. Savitz and Karl Weber.

Meredith Prock - Visit original story at Pacific Business News