WELCOME TO SUNY BEST: Revitalize. Engage. Inspire.


Join us for the final installment of the spring series on Energy. Following February’s focus on energy projects in the public and nonprofit communities, this month SUNY BEST is honored to invite a diverse group of speakers working on innovative energy initiatives in the private sector.

This month’s panelists bring decades worth of experience in the energy field, including presentations by Adam Flint from the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition and Melissa Kemp from Solar Tompkins. Mauricio Vargas from Lockheed Martin will discuss several projects Lockheed Martin and partner Concord Blue are executing to advance how the world addresses clean energy and waste reduction challenges. Chris Kopec from McFarland Johnson will speak about the Greater Binghamton Airport’s Geothermal heating Project. Matthew Rankin will introduce the Sunvestment Group’s innovative online platform that aims to bridge the finance gap in the mid-market solar industry.

This final meeting on Energy is a valuable educational opportunity. Come join us this March!

Time: 10 AM – 12 PM

Location: Binghamton University Downtown Center, Rm 228


Adam Flint

Southern Tier Solar Works Program Manager, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition

Mauricio Vargas

Bioenergy Lead, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training

Matthew Rankin

Director of Business Development, Sunvestment Group

Chris Kopec

Facilities Group Manager, McFarland Johnson

Melissa Kemp

Program Director, Solar Tompkins

Speaker Biographies

Adam Flint currently serves as Southern Tier Solar Works Program Manager for the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, which he co-founded in 2008. From 2011-2013 he ran the Energy Leadership Program at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, where Adam also led the Southern Tier Regional Green Jobs Green New York Outreach effort. He has worked as an educator in the Southern Tier for more than twenty years, including more than a decade in higher education, serving on the faculty as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hartwick College and as an lecturer in Environmental Studies at Binghamton University.

Mauricio Vargas has over 20 years of experience in both the commercial and defense industries. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he served as the executive vice president for corporate development at Plasco Energy Group, where he was responsible for strategic initiatives, business development and project finance. He also served as president of AES North America Business Development, where he focused on developing and acquiring energy projects in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, and as chief executive officer of Greenhouse Gas Services, a joint venture between GE Energy Financial Services and the AES Corporation. During his tenure there, he acquired StormFisher Biogas.

Matthew Rankin has been working in the solar industry since 2012. Matthew’s affinity for strategic business development makes him a valuable asset to Sunvestment Group as he brings diverse industry experience to accelerate the growth of the Sunvestment Group platform into a nationally recognized brand.  Mr. Rankin obtained his M.S. from the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and graduated from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, with a B.S. in Biological Sciences.

Melissa Kemp is an energy professional with 10 years of extensive project development, financing, project management, engineering, business development, and policy experience in the renewable energy sector. She has had a particular focus on solar PV systems for residential, commercial, and industrial customers in New York. She is currently the Program Director for Solar Tompkins, the community solar initiative that is focused on facilitating a large sustained increase in the rate of renewable energy adoption in Tompkins County, NY. Solar Tompkins exceeded its goal of doubling the amount of residential solar PV in the county in 2014, helping families contract for over 3MW. Before coming to Solar Tompkins, Melissa has held key positions at several renewable energy companies, and in the energy non-profit sector. She is a NABCEP-certified PV Professional, OSHA-30 certified, has attended over 400 hours of professional renewable energy trainings, and has over 150 hours of teaching experience. She currently serves on the New York Solar Energy Industry Association (NYSEIA) Board, and she holds a BS from Princeton University.

Chris Kopec is a licensed mechanical engineer with more than 17 years experience in the mechanical engineering field, responsible for project and staff management, and the seamless incorporation of sustainable principles into the design of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for institutional, medical, and commercial clients. His areas of specialty include building energy modeling, including analyzing heat transfer characteristics of building envelopes to optimize building energy performance, and working closely with architects to overcome aesthetic challenges without compromising system design. Chris is a LEED AP and has also instructed LEED-accredited classes for office staff.  Chris received his BSME form Binghamton University in 1996.

This meeting is sponsored by:

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SUNY BEST is a volunteer group comprised of senior staff members from key economic and educational institutions in the Southern Tier. The group works to forge strong alliances, strengthen industry specific needs and provide information and outreach for business. SUNY BEST also seeks to explore and support the business community workforce needs for traditional and emerging industry clusters such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, photonics, energy conservation and renewal. Join Today!