Founder and Executive Chairman
Zahren Financial Co., LLC is the Manager of Clean Feet Investors I, LLC. CFI I is a private multi-million dollar investment fund with a successful 11 year track record to-date. The business focuses of CFI I’s portfolio include: Solar Photovoltaic, SREC aggregation & finance, energy efficient hydroponic greenhouses, battery storage, water heater controls and Solar Thermal and energy brokerage. Projects are located throughout the U.S.
In 2018 ZFC sponsored a private placement for the Series D Convertible Preferred Stock of Stem, Inc. (www.stem.com). Investment by CFI I in the 2013 early deployment of battery storage systems using the proprietary AI of Stem led to the opportunity to participate in the mature venture Capital round in 2018. ZFC Capital Partners I, LP acquired 2,366,925 shares of the Preferred D stock in December, 2018.
Owner and Founder of Zahren Financial Co., LLC since 1984. ZFC structured and managed a variety of successful equipment leasing offerings in the 1980’s. In the early 1990’s Zahren Alternative Power Corp. (ZAPCO), a spinoff of Zahren Financial Co., LLC, was built into a portfolio of 27 landfill gas and co-generation projects through acquisition and development.
In 1998 ZAPCO executed the first significant international trade of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reductions in the U.S. This transaction was equivalent to taking 500,000 cars off the road for an entire year. ZAPCO was then sold to another entity in 2001 in a sale valued at $98 million.
Prior to forming his own company, Mr. Zahren developed successful investment syndications for a subsidiary of CIGNA Corp. Early in his career, he held senior management positions in such firms as Angeles Leasing Corp., Architectural Wood Products, Inc. and The Koppers Company.
In 2010 Mr. Zahren founded CFI I along with Jigar Shah, founder of SunEdison. CFI I seeks to provide significant returns from socially responsible investments in small to medium-sized renewable energy and energy conserving projects. By employing effective investment structures for sophisticated investors, CFI I is helping to fill the current void in “non-dilutive” capital for an industry segment that is both very attractive and critical for an effective overall energy policy. In our humble opinion, this represents the epitome of Doing Well by Doing Good! CFI I has made 41 consecutive distributions to its investors at annualized double digit rates of return. The Zahren Funds’ Team is comprised of leaders and innovators in the alternative energy sector who have decades of experience in entrepreneurial management, investment syndications, accounting and direct “hands on” operations of renewable energy projects.
Mr. Zahren truly believes in reducing his own carbon footprint, not only by managing and investing in Zahren Funds, but also by his renovation to his home which achieved “Net Zero Energy” awards through multiple deployments including: a 15 kilowatt wind turbine, geothermal heating and air conditioning, and a solar thermal hot water system.
He serves as the Chairman of the Avon CT Clean Energy Commission and has served as a member of the Board of the Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy (www.TMSC.org) and on the Board of the Special Olympics and Community Health Charities of CT. Bernie also serves on the Advisory Board for The Partnership for Responsible Growth (www.partnershipforresponsiblegrowth.org/advisory-board).
Mr. Zahren holds a BS from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
Bernie has three daughters and seven grandchildren. His active participation in helping reduce emissions that are contributing to Climate Change is his way of “paying forward” the obligation he believes we should all share for all life on Planet Earth.
Tim has been securities registered since 2002. He holds FINRA Series 7 & 66 registrations through LPL Financial. Tim also holds an insurance license and held the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation in 2013. Given his in-depth knowledge of capital markets, business development, his strong finance background, family focus, and commitment to the environment, Tim is a great fit for CFI and the opportunities ahead.
Tim, his wife Erin and their two young daughters live in Avon, CT. In addition, Tim serves as a coach for the Avon Soccer Club as well as a volunteer steward for the Farmington River Watershed Association and he is an avid disc golf enthusiast.
While he was the managing partner of Kostin, Ruffkess, the firm also created several other entities which were sold prior to the merger into JH Cohn. KR Wealth Management was the largest of these entities; Richard was instrumental in building the investment advisory practice and ultimately selling the company to new owners. During that time he held Series 7 and 65 securities licenses.
Dick has assisted and consulted with privately held businesses since his graduation in 1975 from Central Connecticut State University with a BS in Accounting. He has been a CPA in Connecticut since 1979.
He became a partner in Kostin, Ruffkess in 1987, and became the firm’s managing partner in 1993. During that time the firm grew from $4 million in revenues to $19 million when the firm was merged. He has acted as the Manager and subsequently partner in charge of Zahren Financial and its related entities from 1983 until his Kostin, Rufkess retirement. During that time the Zahren entities had grown to be the largest client of Kostin, Ruffkess until the Zahren entities were sold in 2001. He has worked closely with Bernie for 35 years.
During his career he has served in board and officer positions with many non-profit organizations, as well as serving as a trusted advisor to many closely held businesses. Most recently, he is serving as a board member of Mosaic Power, LLC, one of the portfolio companies of CFI I. He and his wife, Kathy, are proud of their two children and four grandchildren who are all living in Avon, CT.
Prior to his current role, he served as Senior Director for Power Delivery Operation, NextEra Energy Resources (NEER), where he was responsible for system operations, technology, compliance, reliability, construction support, maintenance and restoration of service of the company’s power delivery assets at over 200 Battery Storage, Fossil, Solar and Wind sites throughout North America, and prior to that role, Mr. Gartner served as a Senior Director for the Integrated Supply Chain, he joined NextEra in 2008.
Prior to joining the NextEra, he held several senior global operating roles at Methode Electronics and the General Electric Company, which included assignments in China, Malta, Germany, Scotland, Mexico and South Africa. In addition, Greg has owned several successful businesses with broad commercial exposure ranging from power generation, distribution and importation, consulting, trucking, manufacturing and real estate development. Greg is a high-energy executive with effective global business leadership experience, strong commercial skills, results oriented operations performance across multiple counties and technologies, and an entrepreneurial spirit. Key roles range from general management, business development, strategic sourcing, engineering and operational leadership, with a proven ability to achieve bottom-line results and increased organizational effectiveness in diverse situations with a unique combination of creativity, outstanding problem solving and change leadership skills.
Mr. Gartner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Purdue University, an MBA from the University of Hartford, is certified as a Six Sigma Executive Belt and an active volunteer in his local community with a focus on making area schools stronger and better.
Jay received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Jay is very active with the Illinois Solar for All Working Group and the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition and is passionate about green energy and maximizing the positive impacts green energy can have on historically marginalized people and low income and environmental justice communities. Now that his three children have (finally) left the nest, he and his wife, Gail, divide their time between SW Florida in the winter and somewhere where the trout fishing and hiking is good in the summer (currently Steamboat Springs CO). When he’s not glued to his computer working, he’s fly fishing or trying to talk his patient and accommodating wife into going somewhere to fly fish.