The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) has taken a important step in its efforts to build the nation’s first freshwater offshore wind project. The public-private, non-profit organization has hired Dave Karpinski as VP of Operations.
LEEDCo won a $4 million grant from the Department of Energy and secured another $1 million from its private partners in December to build five to nine wind turbines seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie. The project is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. and the only one in the Great Lakes. As a result of winning the DOE award, LEEDCo is expanding its management team to execute the project successfully and compete for continued funding against six other projects across the country.
As VP of Operations, Karpinski will implement policies, procedures and systems that support the DOE project to maximize LEEDCo’s competitive position for future funding. In addition, he is responsible for budget and financial performance management for LEEDCo and the DOE project.
Karpinski is joining LEEDCo’s staff after serving as chair of its board of directors for the past two years. He will be replaced in that position by Ronald B. Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation, who has served on LEEDCo’s board since its formation three years ago. As NorTech vice president and director of its Energy Enterprise initiative, Karpinski worked closely with LEEDCo since its inception in August 2009.
A project known as “Icebreaker” is the first step in efforts to stimulate an entire offshore freshwater industry in the region. To achieve that goal, LEEDCo was created by the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force, and developed by NorTech, the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. Lake and Ashtabula counties joined LEEDCo shortly after its launch.
NorTech, a regional technology-based economic development organization, has worked closely with LEEDCo through its Energy Enterprise initiative, which aims to accelerate the growth of the advanced energy cluster in Northeast Ohio. NorTech’s Energy Steering Committee in 2009 identified wind energy as a high-potential growth sector and voted to support LEEDCo. Since then Karpinski has served as a strategic advisor for the growing organization.
“Dave has been an invaluable resource and partner over the past three and a half years,” LEEDCo President Dr. Lorry Wagner said. “Dave’s work at NorTech laid the foundation for the success of our organization. His expertise in the advanced energy sector, particularly in wind technology, will guide us through the next phase in the process of building wind turbines in Lake Erie.”
Karpinski also led the development of a series of roadmaps that identified Northeast Ohio’s advanced energy strengths and opportunities to determine the region’s distinct advantages in this industry. He has over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry including the controls, plastics, rubber, primary metals, metal forming, defense and services sectors. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Tech Belt Innovation Center and the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition.
Filed Under: News, Offshore wind, Projects