In 2003, Tradewind Energy was a small startup company and in its earliest phases of development under the direction of its trio of founders –a technology entrepreneur, a former musician turned engineer, and a reformed lawyer with an energy background.
Now one of the largest wind and solar project development companies in the U.S. Tradewind has earned a reputation for leadership in the market – from our highly skilled and passionate team, to our deeply-held respect for the importance of our mission and the people, environment and communities where we work.
We take great pride in our demonstrated ability to deliver affordable wind and solar energy to diverse markets while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to long-term project quality. Visit our Wind and Solar project pages or Timeline to learn more about Tradewind’s capabilities and project experience.
Rob Freeman is a founding member and owner of Tradewind Energy.
Before founding Tradewind , Rob was Senior Vice President of Capacity Services-Global for Aquila, Inc., a Fortune 60 energy company based in Kansas City. In that position, Rob had responsibility for development and acquisitions of gas storage facilities and independent power projects in Europe and Canada. Under his management, Capacity Services-Global developed a gas storage facility and an 800 MW power plant in the UK, and it acquired three large gas-fired power plants in the UK, Pakistan, and Turkey. Rob was also a principal in starting the Aquila business unit that developed and acquired 3,000 MW of independent power generation in the US between 1998 and 2002.
Rob has consistently been involved in starting and expanding businesses over the past 25 years, including several in the energy industry, and a bottled water company that he started on his own and sold in 1995. Originally from Columbia, Missouri, Rob earned his JD from the University of Arkansas, and his BS in Geology from the University of Missouri. He has strong business ties throughout the Midwest where he started his career as a corporate attorney.
Geoff Coventry is a founding member and owner of Tradewind Energy, Inc. His responsibilities include managing business operations, human resources, IT, marketing, and accounting. In addition, Geoff manages the company’s transmission activities, and is instrumental in Tradewind’s strategic planning initiatives.
Prior to founding Tradewind , Geoff was a co-founder and vice president of NetSales, Inc. one of the first companies to provide outsourced electronic commerce services to businesses. During his time at NetSales the company grew from five to over 250 employees. Geoff helped raise over $40 million in capital, he successfully developed and launched several new products, formed strategic alliances with a number of Fortune 500 companies, and negotiated a joint venture to launch a European operation. Geoff holds a degree in business administration from Baker University in Kansas and is a native of New Zealand.
Matt Gilhousen is a founding member and owner of Tradewind Energy, Inc. His responsibilities include managing all development and procurement aspects of Tradewind’s wind and solar portfolios. Matt has successfully overseen the development of nearly 2 GW of utility scale wind and solar projects all of which are either in construction or operation.
Prior to founding Tradewind, Matt was a professional musician and entrepreneur. A Kansas native, he has strong personal and business ties throughout the Midwest. Matt holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kansas and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Lawrence Arts Center, an organization based in Lawrence, Kansas working to promote both arts and science based education throughout the country.
Sanjay Bhasin leads the origination team for Tradewind Energy, and also manages project financial analysis. Sanjay brings 20 years of experience to Tradewind, including expertise in marketing, contract negotiations, underwriting, strategic planning, finance, and tax equity investments.
Prior to joining the Tradewind Energy team, Mr. Bhasin was with Edison Mission Energy for 15 years. As Managing Director – Business Development he played a key role in launching and growing EME’s wind energy business. Over the course of 10 years EME was successful in developing, owning and operating 2200 MWs of wind energy projects. During his tenure at EME, Sanjay excelled in acquisitions, structuring joint development agreements with regional developers, negotiating power purchase contracts with utilities, presenting investment grade transactions to the EME Board, and closing on investments for EME. Sanjay believes in building long term strategic relationships with customers and exploring creative solutions to remain competitive.
Sanjay has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics, an MBA in Finance from Northeastern University, Boston, and is a Chartered Accountant.
Paul has worked within the electric utility industry for twenty years, holding managerial roles with responsibility for: business development, financial management, resource planning, power plant cost estimation, key account management, utility accounting/retail ratemaking, DSM program evaluation & implementation, and structuring/negotiating complex energy services agreements/PPAs.
Paul joined Tradewind Energy in 2009 and his responsibilities include originating and maintaining relationships with prospective utility and industrial clients, contract negotiation, proposal development, and evaluating prospective target markets. Paul has played a lead role in Tradewind’s increased focus on wholesale nodal market analysis, particularly LMP valuation.
Prior to Tradewind, Paul worked at Austin Energy for ten years. In his last six years at AE, Paul oversaw the financial management of all District Energy, CHP/Cogeneration, and Thermal Energy Storage assets, a role that included P&L responsibility for three capital budgets and five O&M budgets. In this capacity, Paul’s duties included maintaining financial control over existing projects, preparing life cycle pro forma financial analyses for proposed projects, and structuring and negotiating long-term chilled water and steam services agreements with end-users.
In addition, Paul brings significant consulting experience in both the energy industry and high tech sectors. As the head of one of Deloitte Touch Management Consulting’s high-tech groups, Paul successfully incubated and raised seed stage venture capital funding for multiple high-tech start-ups. Paul was the co-founder of a company that provides automated, intelligent closed-loop solutions for advanced spinal cord stimulation device technologies.
Paul holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s Degree from Columbia University, and an MBA from Bar Ilan University in Israel. He lives in Overland Park with his wife and two daughters.
Mark has more than 28 years of experience in developing, implementing, and managing renewable energy projects and programs for utilities, government agencies, and private developers. At Tradewind Mark is responsible for developing company growth strategies for wind and solar technologies and for identifying, evaluating, and developing project sites for the company. He also heads up Tradewind Energy’s activities to develop large-scale solar photovoltaic power projects.
Mark previously worked for Burns & McDonnell Engineers where he assisted clients in planning utility-scale wind power projects, utility-scale and building-integrated solar power projects, and biopower and biofuel facilities. Prior to joining Burns & McDonnell, he worked for two Washington, DC-based energy consulting organizations over a 19-year period. He provided technical support to the US Department of Energy, other governmental agencies, and utility companies covering a range of renewable energy technologies. During that period, Mark was co-investigator on a series of wind power studies for electric utilities in Kansas that identified the top wind project sites in Kansas and surrounding states. He also previously served as a renewable energy and energy efficiency specialist for the Kansas City Power & Light Company and as an analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Kansas and a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of New Mexico.
In addition to managing Tradewind’s real estate department and providing strategic guidance to the development team staff, Aaron manages portfolio reporting and budgeting on behalf of Tradewind Energy, supporting good decision making within the project development group and seeking efficiency through systems to improve the effectiveness of project managers. During his tenure at Tradewind, Aaron has successfully developed sever hundred MW of wind projects in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Aaron earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Kansas, with a focus on renewable energy. Prior to joining the Tradewind Energy team, Aaron worked for three years in manufacturing facilities for a Fortune 100 company with a primary responsibility of process improvement.
An active supporter and participant in various private charitable organizations, Aaron also maintains support of his alma mater and Society of Mechanical Engineers, and is an electric vehicle advocate and hobbyist. Growing up in rural Kansas, Aaron spent much of his childhood exploring creeks and nature. Later in life, his education led him to seek to understand how things work; and consequently, how to improve them, including energy use in America. Relying on deep-rooted values and education, Aaron is proud to support Tradewind in helping to create reliable, low cost, sustainable energy for the future.
Brice joined Tradewind Energy in 2008. He manages day-to-day aspects of wind project development for numerous projects in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado.
His responsibilities include land acquisition, title curative, design and engineering, permitting and environmental, and community outreach activities. Brice developed the 250MW Buffalo Dunes Wind Project in Southwest Kansas. He has 18 years of experience in the agricultural industry and eight years of experience in wind energy development.
Brice has a strong agriculture background, having grown up on an irrigated and dry -land farm in northwest Kansas, where he still lives. After studying in the United States and France, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Fort Hays State University.
Joe is responsible for the overall development of individual projects, including land leasing and title curative, permitting, environmental studies, preliminary engineering, interconnection, and energy assessment. In addition, he plays a strategic role in portfolio planning, including identifying and realizing new market opportunities via M&A and green-field development. During his tenure at Tradewind, Joe has served as the lead developer for over 500 MW of contracted or operational projects in multiple states and has led or supported due diligence and purchase/sale negotiations for over 1,000 MW worth of project acquisitions and divestitures across SPP, ERCOT, WAPA, and MISO.
Prior to joining the Tradewind Energy team, Joe worked in development and regulatory affairs for E3 Biofuels, whose closed-loop ethanol production technology included utilization of manure from an onsite cattle feedlot to create biogas via anaerobic digestion. While obtaining a Business Degree at Kansas State University, Joe sold real estate, remodeled homes, built a spec home, and maintained a portfolio of investment properties. Joe received an MBA from Baker University and is a Certified Project Management Professional.
Joe is an active member of his local church as well as multiple agriculture and energy associations. He lives with his wife and three children on his third generation family ranch in East-Central Kansas and operates a hobby farming/ranching operation. Joe’s interest in renewable energy spurred from a passion to preserve and sustain rural lifestyles in America by creating vibrant new economies throughout the heartland.
Rod joined Tradewind Energy in 2007 with 20 years of energy development and economic development experience. He is responsible for all aspects of development and project management of wind and solar power projects for Tradewind including land acquisition, title curative, design and engineering, permitting and environmental, and community outreach activities.
He began his career in development in 1989 with the Missouri Department of Economic Development where he marketed state, local and energy related incentive packages tailored to new and expanding businesses. In 1994, Rod joined the economic development group of UtiliCorp United, as Director of U.S. Projects. During his tenure with Utilicorp, he coordinated the business recruitment and incentive packaging effort to attract new business into UtiliCorp’s eight-state electric and gas service area. In 2000, Rod joined the deregulated power generation division of UtiliCorp (Aquila MEP) where he was on the forefront of developing over 1,200 MW through the construction of gas fueled power facilities in Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio. In 2004, he joined the largest general builder in the U.S., Turner Construction, providing clients with site selection and incentive negotiation assistance. Rod is a Certified Economic Development Professional with a B.S. degree in management from Missouri Western University.
Justin joined Tradewind Energy in 2013 and manages the company’s existing solar portfolio projects and helps identify new projects for development. His responsibilities include land origination and control, identifying and evaluating strategic sites for possible development, initiating and facilitating generation interconnection activities, managing subcontractor relationships during project development, overseeing technical design of projects through the transmission and interconnection application processes, and exploring market opportunities for acquisition and divestiture/sale opportunities.
Justin is an experienced professional in project management as developer, designer, and contractor, having worked in multiple sectors including energy efficiency, custom residential construction, low-income housing, and historic preservation.He is drawn to the cross-disciplined and entrepreneurial nature of the renewable energy sector incorporating the best challenges of technical design, energy efficiency, creative project finance, project management and leadership.
He leverages his passion for design, experience in construction management, and background in finance to deliver successful renewable energy projects.
Justin has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Kansas and a MBA from the University of Kansas.
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Frank Costanza is responsible for all of the government affairs and regulatory matters throughout the states where Tradewind does business . Mr. Costanza brings 30 years of domestic and international utility experience to TradeWind Energy, including expertise in mergers, acquisition, finance, strategic planning and operations.
From 2002 through 2004, Mr. Costanza served as CEO of Upland Capital Investment, a consultancy to participants in the independent power industry and utilities. From 1987 through 2002, Mr. Costanza held several senior executive positions with Aquila Inc. (formerly UtiliCorp United), a Fortune 60 energy company located in Kansas City, Missouri.
In his last position with Aquila, Mr. Costanza directed all aspects of the company’s $2 billion merchant power plant development and construction program, resulting in the construction of five independent power projects totaling more than 1,800 megawatts. Prior to that assignment, Mr. Costanza co-directed the company’s independent power plant acquisition efforts, which resulted in 17 power projects valued at more than $1 billion. Mr. Costanza earned a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Valparaiso University in Indiana and an MBA from Western Illinois University.
Derek manages the complex sales cycle associated with the development of Tradewind Energy’s wind and solar energy portfolios.His responsibilities include building relationships with electric utility personnel, overseeing the proposal submission process, negotiating terms and conditions of power purchase agreements, participating in legislative efforts, and assisting in the evaluation and acquisition of long-term transmission rights.
Prior to joining Tradewind, Derek worked for 17 years in the electric utility industry with multiple utilities including Central and South West, Westar Energy, and Kansas City Power & Light. Derek’s broad experience in the electric utility industry includes stints as distribution systems engineer, key accounts manager, wholesale power marketing, contract origination manager, and transmission rights portfolio manager.
Derek holds a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arkansas. He currently resides in Shawnee, Kansas, with his wife and children.
Matt has worked in the wind industry for 9 years and combines his background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), development management, and atmospheric science, into his role as Director of GIS. Matt takes pride in his responsibility of leading the industry’s most innovative GIS department in supporting existing GIS needs and finding new ways to apply GIS solutions to the wind industry.
Before joining Tradewind , Matt founded EnCompass Wind, a GIS-based wind resourcing company. Prior to founding EnCompass Wind, Matt was an on-air meteorologist for KMID ABC-2 in Midland, TX and head meteorologist for Skyward Energy.
A Kansas native, Matt is passionate about positive rural economic and cultural development. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science, with honors, from the University of Kansas and still enjoys watching the skies and storms over the Great Plains with his family.
Kevin is responsible for the resource and energy assessment for wind and solar projects, from early stage meteorological tower siting to late stage turbine array design and everything in between.
Prior to joining the Tradewind Energy team in 2007, Kevin was a National Science Foundation Ph.D. Fellow in the Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center, where he became the first recipient of a Doctorate of Philosophy in Wind Science and Engineering in the U.S. Kevin also holds a Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Texas A&M, a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, and an Associate’s degree in Mathematics.
Kevin has been heavily involved in the wind resource and energy assessment community of the wind power industry, including a 2-year appointment as co-chair of the AWEA Wind Resource and Energy Assessment Workshop in 2012 & 2013. Kevin is also active in his local church, and serves as a volunteer for Kansas City Hospice.
In addition to his responsibilities as Director of Meteorology, Kevin also serves as de facto leader of the Wellness Committee at Tradewind, whose aim is to proactively promote a culture of health and wellness within the organization. While at Texas A&M, Kevin was an on-air meteorologist for the local CBS affiliate, and served as co-chair of the University Storm Chasing club.
Jennifer monitors and manages all aspects of environmental studies and reports for the Tradewind portfolio. She is responsible for evaluating and directing subcontractor work, assisting with development of project and company budgeting, keeping abreast of local, state, and federal policy changes affecting renewable energy development, construction, and operation. She provides direction, guidance, and support for subcontractors developing environmental compliance, permitting, and NEPA documents. Jennifer serves as a company representative for development of two regional scale wind-industry specific Habitat Conservation Plans and assists with landowner contacts and lease negotiations. Additionally, she works with federal and state agencies in all states in of the company’s portfolio, providing information on status of the project, and environmental field studies and results.
Prior to joining the Tradewind Energy team, Jennifer was a project manager on two groundwater remediation projects in the Midwest. Responsibilities included assisting the project principal in the management of the project including client and agency interaction, monthly reporting to local and state agencies, projection of staff resources, data analysis, budget management, and subcontractor oversight. She assisted with Environmental Compliance audits and report writing, and conducted multiple Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for multiple clients in several states.
Jennifer has been passionate about the environment from the earliest stages of her life. She is conscious of every action that has an impact on the environment and ways to personally reduce or mitigate that impact. She currently serves as co-chair for the American Wind Energy Association Siting & Environmental Compliance Committee, and is a Bat Conservation International member and P.E.O. Chapter Y Member.
Justin has over 15 years of engineering design and construction experience as a Civil Engineer working in the private sector for residential, commercial and utility-scale wind development companies. He received his Civil Engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 1999 and holds multiple engineering registrations across the country. Justin manages all facets of development engineering and surveying related activities including construction permitting, scheduling, estimating, ALTA and construction surveying, and sub-surface utility discovery. Along with a small staff of engineers, he manages all structural, civil, geotechnical and electrical engineering consultants and contractors and their work product.
Justin joined Tradewind in 2009, concluding two years of providing consulting services on their legacy wind projects in Kansas, Texas and Missouri. Upon joining the team, he focused closely on attenuating the sometimes-contrasting aspects between developing a project and building a project. He forged early relationships with engineering and construction teams from Enel, gaining an understanding of what they require from a developer to be successful in construction. In doing so, he was able to guide Tradewind’s development staff in a technically thoughtful way to set the stage for that eventual hand-off into construction while maintaining Tradewind’s high standards for development and landowner care. Many of the controls and processes that evolved from aligning the project’s technical and construction participants are still used and relied upon today and serve to convey a sense of thoughtful design with attention paid to both existing land uses and future operations.
An occasionally “avid” runner (when family/work life allows), wood worker, and resonator guitar aficionado, Justin resides in a river town along the Minnesota and Wisconsin border with his wife (a 5-year ovarian cancer survivor), and two children.
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James has worked in the electric utility industry for more than twenty years, serving a variety of roles including: engineering, procurement, construction, and operations, with a heavy focus on project scoping, budgeting, wind turbine and EPC selection, contract negotiation, and program management. James joined the Tradewind Energy team in 2015 and his current responsibilities involve solar engineering, construction, procurement, and operations.
Prior to joining Tradewind, James worked at Element Power for 4-years, where he oversaw the engineering, construction and operations of a wind portfolio. Previously at Iberdrola Renewables and PPM Energy for a period of 6 years, James led capital project estimating the U.S. and Canadian wind portfolios that steered wind turbine procurement and project build selection for $2.5+ billion annual investment. James also assisted in the application of over $880 million of US Treasury ITC Grant applications in 2009/10. Prior to joining PPM Energy, James was at PacifiCorp, where he oversaw a resource management group responsible for strategically contracting distribution line work, the capital budgeting department for interconnection applications, main grid, local transmission and substation projects, and co-led the Quantum Leap Program office.
James holds a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Construction Engineering Management.
Brian joined Tradewind Energy in 2009 and has more than 25 years of experience in GIS, photogrammetry and real estate development. As the Director of GIS, Brian manages an extremely talented group of GIS experts to select, develop and market wind and solar projects. Brian earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Missouri and enjoys solving complex GIS problems in a fast-paced environment.
Before joining Tradewind, Brian started a GIS/photogrammetry consulting business and a real estate investment company. As a longtime resident of the Kansas City area, Brian takes great pride in Tradewind’s contribution to developing renewable energy.