PowerFin's culture is based on integrity and reliability, and we never stray from our professional roots as engineers and value-based investors. Our capabilities, which range from early-stage development, to construction, and through to post-commissioning management, allow us to anticipate all aspects of solar projects.
Tuan Pham, President
Throughout his career, Tuan has focused on areas where energy and finance converge. Prior to his role in business development at HelioVolt, a thin-film solar company, Tuan covered energy and chemical companies at Morgan Stanley and Banc of America Securities in New York. During his time in leveraged finance, he worked on multi-billion dollar transactions and was recognized as a leading analyst by Institutional Investor magazine. Tuan’s experience also includes time at the Austin Clean Energy Incubator and Strategic Value Partners, a $5 billion hedge fund, where he served as a Director overseeing energy and industrials investments. He holds the CFA charter, a BSBA with honors from the University of Tulsa and an MBA from the University of Texas, where he was a Venture Fellow. Tuan also has served on the Austin Local Solar Advisory Committee, a City Council-appointed committee to devise a plan for citywide solar development.
Katie Ngo, Vice President
Katie Ngo oversees engineering, design, and operations for PowerFin. Prior to joining the firm, she managed the construction and installation of nearly 200 MW of wind generation at E.ON Climate and Renewables, a leading North American wind development company. Katie previously was an engineer at Applied Materials, where she was a Top Contributor for three consecutive years. She also has advised company management teams at the Austin Clean Energy Incubator, and performed energy analyses for the U.S. Department of Energy. Katie earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and her MBA from the University of Texas, where she was a founding member of the Cleantech Group. She is currently working towards her NABCEP solar certification.
Don Whaley, Vice President
Don Whaley is a seasoned executive with over 35 years of leadership experience in the energy sector. Nearly half that time has been spent actively engaged in competitive retail electric markets in Texas. Prior to the opening of retail electric markets, Whaley launched Centrica’s (formerly British Gas) retail electric subsidiary, Direct Energy, and subsequently led the successful acquisition and integration of CPL Retail and WTU Retail. Within three years of starting the business, Direct Energy had become the third largest retailer in Texas, serving over one million customers. Subsequent to Direct Energy, Whaley served as primary adviser to multiple REPs and numerous large customers, including the City of Houston, GDF Suez, EDF, Wal-Mart and Shell Energy. In addition, he served as President of Verde Energy Texas, overseeing its growth until its sale to Spark Energy in 2017. Don is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in business administration. In his current role at PowerFin, Whaley oversees business development and customer engagement.
George Knapp, General Counsel
George Knapp has nearly 40 years of experience in global power market, and has been involved in over 7,000 MW of fossil fuel projects and over 3,000 MW of renewable assets. His legal responsibilities at PowerFin include agreement vetting and approvals, contact and regulatory compliance, entity structuring and formation, outside counsel selection, retention, and budgeting. Mr. Knapp served as the Chair of the Environment, Energy, and Resources section of the American Bar Association, and was recognized as one of the World’s Leading Project Finance Lawyers by Euromoney. Prior to PowerFin, he served in senior legal and commercial capacities as NextEra, Wind Capital, and Microgrid Energy. Mr. Knapp earned his B.A. (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) from UCLA and his J.D. from George Washington University.
Michael Sullivan, CFO
Michael Sullivan has over 25 years of experience in finance, accounting, operations, and management. At PowerFin, he is responsible for various facets of overall financial and operational needs, from administrative and operational structuring to raising private capital and negotiating privately placed debt. Beginning his financial career at Lomas Mortgage USA, Inc., he worked with several mortgage companies. Most recently, Mr. Sullivan served as CFO and Executive Vice President of Amherst Holdings, a $300 million real estate financial services holding company with over $2 billion in assets. He also served as the Financial Operations Principal of Amherst’s SEC-registered broker-dealer. Mr. Sullivan earned his B.B.A. in Accounting from The University of Texas at Arlington and is a licensed CPA in Texas.
Christopher Payne, Program Manager
Christopher Payne oversees O&M and EPC activities for PowerFin. He manages the daily operations and deployment of installation and field resources. Prior to PowerFin, Christopher served in general management roles overseeing teams of over 50 field employees. In addition, his experience includes surveying and drafting in the renewables and conventional energy sectors. Christopher graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Subsequent to his undergraduate studies, Christopher has taken over 60 hours of engineering and operations courses.