Empire State Greenhouses is the collaborative initiative of deeply committed specialists dedicated to creating solutions to food insecurity and the environmental damage that can be caused by agriculture.

The company is an agnostic systems integrator, selecting the best technologies, practices, experts and partners from around the world. ESG’s design is complex and requires professionals with significant experience in the interplay of technologies essential to the success of large-scale integrated energy and agriculture projects.

Over the past decade, the ESG team has developed and installed over 600 commercial and utility scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, utilizing virtually every major clean energy technology.

Team members have management consulting experience at firms including Deloitte, KPMG, and Ernst & Young, with strengths in renewable energy systems design and construction; sustainable agriculture; project finance; managing, transporting and marketing commodities; supply chain; audit; and government relations.

ESG Core Team

Mr. Ferro has more than 30 years of experience in international business as a consultant, executive, and manager in the commodities, finance, technology, marketing, and renewable energy sectors. In addition, his extensive background in geo-politics and policy has enabled him to excel at building relationships and networks that maximize the benefits of the confluence of business, politics, foreign policy, and international finance.

At Chobe & ESG, Mr. Ferro works with client companies from a broad range of sectors: energy an commodities (agriculture, solar PV, renewables, petroleum, and metals); consumer products; financial services; information technology; government and security; life sciences and medical devices; luxury goods and brands; real estate; professional sports franchises; and the beverage industry.

Prior to his current roles, Mr. Ferro was the founder and CEO of Galileo Projects, a provider of customized Internet solutions in content management. At Deloitte Consulting, as manager he was responsible for analyzing business processes, developing e-business and e-commerce solutions, managing media strategy, overseeing application development, and managing vendor and partner relationships. Before joining Deloitte, he developed an extensive global network and expertise in foreign policy and international relations at the Council on Foreign Relations where he served as a principal liaison to foreign governments, dignitaries and business leaders. Prior, he participated as a graduate student at the United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs. Mr. Ferro is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Graduate Business School of Mercy College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Iona College and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Political Philosophy from St. John’s University.

Mr. Ferro is a member of the Invest NYC Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Initiative Working Group, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business.

Mr. Ferro is an avid marathon runner and brings the spirit of perseverance to his endeavors. He is currently pursuing the Six Star Finisher Medal, awarded by Abbott World Marathon Majors in recognition of completing six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo, Boston, New York, Chicago, London, and Berlin. To date, he has completed the New York, Chicago, and Berlin marathons. He is on track to join an elite group of only 6,600 athletes worldwide on completing his three remaining events.

Jennifer Fearon has spent 30 years growing businesses to support innovative technologies, transactions, and worthwhile charitable causes. Ms. Fearon is a Managing Partner at Chobe Advisers, an advisory firm focused on strategic management consulting and development of high impact energy & agriculture projects with an ESG approach. She is also a Principal at Empire State Greenhouses, a subsidiary of Chobe, which is developing high impact closed-loop energy and agriculture projects with an Environmental, Social & Governance approach.

Ms. Fearon is also the Managing Partner of VentureLink Advisers, a corporate finance, business, and financial consulting firm with branches in New York, Palm Beach, and London. She is also the Managing Member of Intercontinental Energy Co., a multi-national energy company that focuses on the acquisition and financing of production and exploration of oil and natural gas.

Previously, Ms. Fearon co-founded and served as the EVP in charge of Business Development of Drury Design Dynamics, a management consulting firm specializing in business communications. During her tenure, she played an integral role in growing Drury to an internationally recognized consulting practice. She is also a Member of the Atlantic Council Councilors Program, a new effort aimed at galvanizing a group of their most important constituents to inform the Council’s work and help work together to secure the future.

Ms. Fearon has a wide range of philanthropic interests. She is a Member of the President’s Advisory Council of Instituto Centroamericano de Administracion de Empresas (INCAE), one of the premier business schools in Central America. She is also a Member of the Global Advisory Council of the Aproquen Burn Hospital in Managua, Nicaragua. Aproquen provides free, comprehensive care to children suffering from burns and those with cleft lip and palate in Nicaragua, as well as its sister organizations across Central America. Ms. Fearon also served as a Trustee of The Grace Children’s Foundation and was a Trustee of the Checkerboard Film Foundation for twenty years.

Ms. Fearon was educated at The Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduation, she attended Brown University, earning a Bachelor of Arts, Honors Degree in Semiotics.

Shelley Goldberg is an environmental sustainability and global resources strategist and investment manager. She brings more than 20 years of experience as an institutional investment advisor, macroeconomic strategist and portfolio manager in all commodities including energy, metals and mining, and agriculture with additional experience in ancillary services of shipping, water, weather and infrastructure.

Shelley has served as a macroeconomic strategist, trader, and investment advisor for multi-asset portfolio managers, including her own energy fund, G3 Capital Partners, LLC and the largest fund-of funds devoted to natural resources with Swiss private bank, Union Bancaire Priveé. Ms. Goldberg was a Consultant with Deloitte’s Global Markets Risk Management team working with corporates, governments, think tanks and financial institutions worldwide on trading, price and operations risk management. She served as an Investments Strategist for Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, a 42 billion-dollar hedge fund, and for Roubini Global Economics.

She publishes frequently and is featured on television and online forums as an expert in commodities and resource sustainability. Shelley earned an MBA in finance and international business from the New York University Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Tufts University.

Ms. Goldberg is a member of the Invest NYC Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Initiative Working Group, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business.

Boris Taylor is a successful technical, financial, and operational project manager across a variety of industries ranging from agriculture and real estate to pharmaceuticals, IT and telecommunications. He has a deep knowledge of systems integration and the development of complex business systems that improve financial and operational results. Mr. Taylor has a proven ability to champion and execute transformations of multi-million-dollar business operations while ensuring constant focus on regulatory compliance.

Mr. Taylor brings extensive experience as a grower at organic farms and in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) businesses. From 2011 through 2014, Mr. Taylor developed and operated the 600-acre organic Gold Banana Company plantation in the Dominican Republic, as principal, architect, and lead operator. He was responsible for creating the concept, designing the intra- and infrastructure, building and operating the plantation, and creating a productive organic operation certified by both the USDA and the EU in under three years. The plantation was designed and built to utilize advanced agricultural technology, including total mulch coverage; Netafim drip irrigation; complete rain/runoff retention; water treatment facilities; organic fertilizers; energy efficient processing facilities; and high-density planting patterns. These innovations resulted in yields 100% greater per acre than those of a typical similar plantation. Mr. Taylor developed a local, national and multinational sales and distribution network, including major buyers such as Costco.

After leaving Gold Banana, Mr. Taylor oversaw a New York City real estate re-development project for Century BA. In that capacity, he led the team creating the value proposition and development solutions for 156 units of market-rate and HPD (80/20) residential units. Mr. Taylor was responsible for all phases of the project, including architectural; mechanical; contractual; relationships with municipal agencies; banking requisitions; and on-site supervision. He also implemented a tenant billing system to integrate and manage a seasonally-dependent HVAC system with data collection and expense distribution.

Prior, Mr. Taylor spent more than 25 years in a variety of technical, consulting, and management roles at companies across a wide range of industries: pharmaceutical: IT, energy, technology, and finance.

In 2016, Mr. Taylor returned to Pfizer and then moved to Allergan in April of 2017. In those roles he has overseen the integration of disparate business platforms utilized by multiple business units into the state-of-art technical and reporting solutions.

Mr. Taylor holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Farleigh Dickinson University.

Dr. Richard P. George has developed, financed, advised, and/or evaluated over 600 solar photovoltaic energy projects ranging in scale from small commercial systems to megawatt scale utility projects in California, Hawaii, Oregon, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, Louisiana, New York, and Connecticut.

Dr. George has worked with a broad spectrum of renewable energy technologies: solar thermal; solar concentrators; solar air conditioners; energy storage; energy efficiency; LED grow lights; building control systems; Nano window coatings; geothermal; fuel cells; biomass; wind; and waste-to-energy technologies. He has been a consultant to multiple solar integration and project development companies, helping them evaluate renewable energy technologies, manage vendors for PV panels & inverters, analyze potential acquisition targets, and evaluate competitors. He also assists clients with data mining installation data, navigating incentive programs, developing investment strategies, and structuring PPA transactions in excess of $40 million.

Dr. George has also worked on multiple regenerative agriculture and food processing projects designing, planning, and implementing commercial scale projects using the Regrarians Platform. Recent projects include developing the technical plans for Empire State Greenhouses; evaluating farm sites for Chobe Advisers; working on a 43,000-acre grazing and meat processing project for Castagno Capital; advising a dairy aggregation and meat processing project for Rumiano Cheese; and designing and implementing the design for a research farm in Tennessee. He also owns and operates a regenerative agriculture farm in Tennessee.

Dr. George has also worked as a Consulting Manager at KPMG where he provided strategy and technology consulting to a variety of clients, with an additional focus on business development. Prior to joining KPMG, he was COO of Galileo Projects, consultant at DRA Research on best practices and systems to manage the risks of derivatives. At Enron Capital & Trade Resources, he provided valuation, risk, and structuring analysis multi-billion-dollar deals for refinery projects, Canadian oil, and an electric utility acquisition.

Dr. George holds a doctorate in philosophy from Capella University School of Business and Technology, an MBA from the Haas Graduate School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, and a BS from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He is also a Certified Permaculture Designer by the Permaculture Research Institute and has completed the Regrarians regenerative agriculture farm planning program.

As Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Jonathan Gross is responsible for all of the company’s financial functions including accounting, audit, treasury, corporate finance and investor relations. His career spans 30 years of varied experience in financial management, business leadership and corporate strategy.

Before joining Chobe Advisors in January 2019, Mr. Gross served as CFO and Chief Compliance Officer for a healthcare communications company for which he was tasked with updating and creating standard operating procedures in conjunction with all operating departments with an emphasis on fail safe internal controls; in addition to implementing automated procedures for all financial functions. Mr. Gross also served as Director of Finance for Remedy Health Media, LLC, a privateequity backed  consumer health media company where he spearheaded the conversion of a traditional print media business model into a full digital publishing platform. In his position with Remedy, Mr. Gross focused on efficiencies and cost savings via automation, systems integration and open collaboration amongst all operating teams. Mr. Gross has extensive expertise in various ERP systems and related implementations.

Mr. Gross’ career began in public accounting where he was a Senior Manager for Ernst & Young’s New Jersey practice. In this role he obtained expertise in start-up enterprises, M&A analysis and small business roll-ups in the service, technology and manufacturing industries. Mr. Gross later served as a Senior Internal Audit Manager for Panasonic North America where he performed process mapping and risk identification in Panasonic’s sales and manufacturing divisions and guided the implementation of financial processes in Panasonic’s shared services division.

Mr. Gross earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Jim Feldman joins Empire State Greenhouses, LLC to lead brand strategy, communications, marketing, and media relations. His deep background in marketing is balanced with deft and innovative creative skills. He has created, launched, and built numerous brands, increased their recognition and revenue in sectors including agriculture, higher education, real estate, precious metals, fine jewelry, beauty, food, pharmaceuticals, and performing arts. He is known for challenging brand assumptions in both traditional and digital media.

As Director of Communications and Marketing at SUNY Cobleskill, Mr. Feldman refined the college’s messages, developed and nurtured relationships with media, successfully focusing attention on SUNY Cobleskill and generating positive coverage by the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio, Associated Press, and hundreds of outlets nationwide and internationally. Through clear, direct, and strategic communications, Mr. Feldman created brand recognition for the College and its affiliates. He was active in shaping the College’s strategic plan and created award-winning collateral to announce its release.

At SUNY Cobleskill, he built an in-house agency of skilled professionals and developed uniform communication standards for the College, ensuring consistency and on-brand messaging. Under his leadership, the College’s website was completely revamped, providing a more engaging user experience, contemporary architecture, and fresh appeal.

As founder and director of Jim Feldman Creative Direction Ltd., based in New York City, he built, launched, and nurtured category-leading brands, with a global perspective and uncompromising standards. Mr. Feldman created and directed strategies for branding, positioning, marketing, advertising, and media campaigns for clients including World Gold Council, where he served as Consulting Creative Director, Merck & Co., Cosmair, Lancome, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Adidas, IBM, Simon Property Group, Diamond Promotion Service, and Silver Institute. His clients in performing arts included New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, Metropolitan Opera Guild, David Byrne, Guthrie Theater, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, School of American Ballet, Japan Society, and many more. Mr. Feldman was recipient of a CLIO Award for Packaging, and JCK Best in Show Award for Exhibit Design, and was cited for his work in branding in Raymond Nadeau’s book “Living Brands.”

In the food sector, Mr. Feldman founded and directed The Ingredient Finder, an e-commerce source for fine, authentic global ingredients, with guidance from celebrated chefs to help American home cooks unlock their culinary potential. For the Italian Trade Commission, he provided expertise to Italian food producers, creating strategies, branding and positioning for entry and success in the US market, and was a featured speaker at Milan Fair. As consultant to America’s Test Kitchen, he sourced and built a private-label merchandise program of fine global ingredients.

Mr. Feldman holds a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is a proudly certified organic farmer.

• Co-Founder and CEO of New World Brands, a Product Development company.
• Co-Founder of Viceroy Creative, a Design & Innovation Company.
• Director of Strategy & Innovation at Force Majeure, a Design & Innovation Company.
• Led product and packaging development and sourcing for 70+ companies for CPG companies like Gillette, Pepsi, Unilever, Diageo and others.
• Well-versed in the uses and application of PHA.

ESG Advisory Board

Mr. Fuld has joined the company’s Advisory Board as its Senior Advisor. Mr. Fuld is Founder and CEO of Matrix Investment Holdings, a private merchant banking and strategic advisory firm.

Mr. Fuld is the former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lehman Brothers. He previously served as a member of the Business Council, the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum, the Board of Governors of the New York Stock Exchange, the Board of Directors of Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

“ESG is tackling one of the greatest challenges of our time: replacing fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy, removing waste and carbon from the environment, and growing organic produce to help feed our planet,” said Mr. Fuld. “ESG is working in conjunction with SUNY Cobleskill, a premier college of agriculture and technology, furthering higher education and opening pathways to cutting-edge careers. The farm-to-table piece of their strategy is compelling as it is addressing food scarcity and security, but when combined with changing weather patterns and global energy concerns, I think ESG has an intelligent strategy to make this a very successful enterprise. I am proud to be a part of this solution.”

“Dick’s commitment to creating a cleaner, more secure future is outstanding,” said Louis Ferro, president of ESG. “We are honored that he has joined our team as we build a network of carbon negative vertical farms that will increase food security and combat climate change.”

The Governor joined the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke, LLP, in 2007 as Counsel, focusing on their energy, environmental and infrastructure practice areas. He also served as United States Delegate to the 62nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. In addition, he co-chaired the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Climate Change.

Prior to starting the Pataki-Cahill Group, he served three terms as the 53rd governor of New York State, from 1995 through 2006. At the end of his twelve years as Governor, New York State had its lowest rate of welfare dependency in over 40 years, its lowest rate of violent crime in over 40 years, had cut state taxes by over $140 billion, had almost 700,000 more private sector jobs, its highest credit rating in over 40 years, and billions of dollars in surplus. Governor Pataki also led New York State through the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

Widely known for his protection of over one million acres of open space, the most in New York State’s history, Governor Pataki balanced his pro-business philosophy with award-winning, cutting-edge policies in the renewable energy and environmental fields. The Governor implemented the first integrated strategy for creating clean, renewable transportation networks utilizing alternative fuels, including tax and other incentives for both consumers and manufacturers, grants for alternative retail fuel distribution systems and the exemption of renewable fuels from all State and local taxes. Governor Pataki also established New York’s leading brownfield program spurring development in cities across the state by creating a $200 million fund to support the redevelopment of contaminated sites and instituting a $135 million tax credit program to encourage public private investment in brownfields. He instituted the nation’s green buildings tax credit incentive program which led to the first building of the first high-rise green office building in the world, the first high-rise green residential building in the United States and a host of other green projects currently under development. Most notably, through his determined leadership Governor Pataki ensured that the redeveloped World Trade Center site will be a global example of green building design.

In addition, Governor Pataki worked to create public private partnerships for clean energy generation in New York State resulting in one of the largest industrial solar power arrays in the U.S. and one of the largest wind-power arrays in the Eastern United States. He introduced net metering to encourage alternative energy production in homes and established the nation’s first business park devoted to the development of clean energy technologies. Governor Pataki also established the Albany Nanotech Center for Excellence and the nation’s most innovative renewable portfolio standard to ensure that New York rate payers were supplied with the most cost-effective renewable energy.

Among numerous other awards, BusinessWeek named Governor Pataki one of the top 20 “individuals who stand out for their efforts to cut gases that cause global warming” in the world. Also, in 2006, Vanity Fair called him a governor who “gets it” in its inaugural “Green Issue” for his efforts concerning the environment. Governor Pataki serves on the Advisory Council of global investment bank Greentech Capital Advisors. He serves on numerous boards, including: Ecological, a sustainable real estate development firm; Cosan, one of Brazil’s largest private companies with a focus on ethanol and sugar production, and Clearlake Capital and MidOcean Partners, both private equity firms.

Governor Pataki was a partner in the New York law firm Plunkett & Jaffe until 1987. He was elected mayor of Peekskill, New York in 1981, and served in the New York State Legislature as an assemblyman and then as state senator from 1985 to 1994, before becoming governor.

Mr. Cahill is a co-Founder and CEO of the Pataki-Cahill Group and serves as Counsel to Chadbourne & Parke, LLP. From 2002 through 2006, Mr. Cahill served as the Chief of Staff to the Governor of New York State, serving as the highest-ranking appointed official in New York State Government and also given the primary responsibility for the coordination of the rebuilding efforts in lower Manhattan after 9/11.

From 1997 to 2001, Mr. Cahill served as the Commissioner of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation where he led the State agency with 3,000 employees and a $500 million annual budget. His responsibilities included enhancing and protecting the State’s vast natural resources and the successful implementation of the 1996 $1.75 billion Clean Water Air Bond Act. Mr. Cahill also led the State’s efforts to preserve over one million acres of open space. Prior to this, Mr. Cahill was the General Counsel to the Department of Environmental Conservation and previously was a partner at the law firm of Plunkett & Jaffe, P.C., a firm focused on environmental and government law.

Mr. Cahill completed his undergraduate degree at Fordham University, and attended Pace University School of Law where he received both a J.D. and Master’s degree in Environmental Law. Mr. Cahill formerly served as Chairman of the Environmental Facilities Corporation and Vice-Chairman of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as serving on the Olympic Regional Development Authority, Great Lakes Commission and the Adirondacks Park Agency.

Peter R. Smith serves as a Managing Director at the Pataki-Cahill Group. Mr. Smith joined Pataki-Cahill after serving for nearly four years as the President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). While leading NYSERDA, he oversaw a $400 million dollar budget dedicated to research, economic development and deployment of progressive energy programs and technologies throughout the state of New York. Mr. Smith established almost 3,000 energy efficiency, conservation, renewable resource, economic development, and research projects throughout New York. Among his many accomplishments, h led the effort to establish the nation’s first clean energy technology park. Mr. Smith also represented New York State’s energy policy interests as part of Governor Pataki’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) leadership team.

Mr. Smith spearheaded NYSERDA’s implementation of the nation’s first state-administered Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring 25% of New York’s electricity to come from renewable resources by 2013. Mr. Smith oversaw the first two rounds of implementation of the program, including the construction of the largest wind farm array east of the Mississippi and an additional 21 projects totaling more than $295 million in investment from NYSERDA. The 21 projects represent 880 megawatts of renewable resource capacity and created private sector investment of over $2 billion in New York.

Prior to serving as President and CEO of NYSERDA, Mr. Smith served as the Vice President of NYSERDA and was Director of NYSERDA’s Energy Analysis Program. Prior he was the Director of Planning for the New York State Energy Office. Currently he is the President of the Board of Directors of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and a member of the board for the Alliance to Save Energy. He is the former chairman of the National Association of State Energy Officials and the former chairman of the Gas Technology Institute Public Interest Advisory Committee.

Mr. Smith holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Nelson A. Rockefeller School of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany and completed his undergraduate degree at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York.

“I support the Empire State Greenhouse project for many reasons – but especially because it is a project fully consistent with the adopted Schoharie County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan. It promotes diversification of agriculture in the County, expansion of new agricultural technologies, enhancement of the local, regional, and state-wide food system, and will promote a vital, renewable rural economy. It is also an innovative project that shows how agriculture can be vital while reducing demand on fossil fuel and addressing important global and environmental needs.”

Nan Stolzenburg’s 25-year career as a planning consultant, built upon 10 years of prior work in the wildlife/natural resources field, has significantly contributed to rural community and environmental planning throughout the Hudson Valley and upstate regions of New York State. She concentrates on the unique community and environmental planning needs of small and rural communities by providing comprehensive land use, and environmental planning services. Her unique background, including an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MRP in Regional Planning from the University at Albany, integrates environmental conservation with land use planning. Nan works to build consensus, help communities to maintain their rural character, improve quality of life, and protect the environment.

Nan was recently called upon by Congressman Antonio Delgado (NY-19) to testify in a hearing on Renewable Energy in Rural Communities. She has been a consistent innovator in helping over 70 small communities embrace comprehensive planning, asset-based economic development, and implementation of innovative land use tools. Recognized as an expert in rural planning, Nan has developed dozens of agricultural and farmland protection plans resulting in such accomplishments as creation of a local “Ag-navigator” to enhance agricultural economic development, implementation of transfer of development rights programs, and establishment of agricultural overlay districts.

Her work as planning board consultant in multiple communities has improved streetscapes protected stream riparian areas and contributed to the first application of conservation subdivision. Nan effectively uses GIS through buildout analysis, land prioritization techniques, viewshed analysis, and more recently, solar capacity analysis. She has had widespread positive impact on environmental protection through her authorship of the NYS SEQR Environmental Assessment Form Workbooks, used throughout the state for all required site plan, subdivision, and zoning permit processes.

Currently, she serves as an Advisory Council member for the Schoharie Economic Enterprise Corporation, as a former member of the Board of Directors for Schoharie Community Development Corporation, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, a member of the Planning Committee for the Bender Melon Farm Preserve, and as an active member the Gallupville House Association, a community group working to repurpose an historic hotel in her community. Formerly, she served as member of the Executive Board of the New York State Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and as a member of the Board of Director for The Schoharie Land Trust.

Dr. Evans is Dean of the College of Food Innovation & Technology, Johnson & Wales University. Prior he was an Associate Professor of Agricultural Business Management at SUNY Cobleskill, where he also served as the Director for the college’s Institute for Rural Vitality and is the former Chair of the Department of Agriculture and Food Management. Dr. Evans is an effective, student-centered educator with substantial personnel, project and budget management experience; an empathetic, forward-thinking leader who brings creativity and critical thinking to bear in building consensus around challenges and opportunities in higher education, community advancement and economic development; years of research, teaching and real-world experience in food systems, entrepreneurship and agri-business management.

A prodigious scholar and author, Professor Evans has authored in excess of 38 peer reviewed books, articles or presentations since 2005. As a grant writing author and co-author, Dr. Evans has helped secure total grant funding in excess of $9,612,000 between 2010 – 2020.

Manuel D. Ron, MBA JD is a shareholder of multiple companies and has a history of international investing, taking operating leadership roles and serving on boards. He has participated in many international and domestic financial and business transactions either as an entrepreneur, principal investor, advisor, or capital arranger. Mr. Ron is a founding non-operating minority shareholder of several Invescore Group companies operating in the US, UK and Saudi Arabia. The group provides family, corporate, financial and government organizations the opportunity to allocate capital into high quality specialist funds, companies, and projects.

Mr. Ron was previously a founding shareholder and CEO of Integration Capital for Financial Papers Company, a financial company licensed by the Capital Market Authority in Saudi Arabia. He lived in Riyadh for three years launching the company and was a registered investor with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. Mr. Ron orchestrated an exit with a majority interest sale to a Canadian and Pakistani investment group. He has close personal friendships as well as professional relationships with merchant families, industry professionals and officials in Saudi Arabia and other Arabian Gulf countries.

Prior to his involvement with the Integration Capital platform of companies (US, Saudi Arabia, Oman, with affiliates in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and India) in 2007, Mr. Ron was a Managing Director of New York-based Griffin Investment Management where he served as Co-Manager of the Griffin Crossover Fund making private investments in public and private companies. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Operating Officer DC Asset Management where he helped launch the DC Opportunity Fund, a hedge fund investing in the private securities of public US companies.

Mr. Ron has also held various operating and finance positions, including finance director, then CEO of venture capital backed technology company, Actiant, where he raised its first equity and debt rounds from US and Arabian Gulf investors. He subsequently orchestrated a sale of assets to a US and Indian technology group. Mr. Ron worked as an analyst at Corporate Property Investors, an investment company spun-out of Lazard Frères and as a junior analyst in the Investment Banking division of Citigroup.

Mr. Ron has a BA in Economics from St. John’s University (New York) where he also was a Distinguished Military Graduate. He also earned a JD from the St. John’s University School of Law and an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Mr. Ron is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and in the federal courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. He is also admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Ron began his post-college career as an active duty US Army engineer (airborne) officer. He served in the US, Korea and Honduras as a platoon leader and company executive officer.

Mr. Ron also teaches graduate finance courses (corporate finance, securities analysis, mergers and acquisitions) and quantitative methods (statistics and probability) in the Mercy College (New York) School of Business MBA program.

Said Armutcuoglu, international investment banking expert, has joined the ESG Advisory Board, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team. Mr. Armutcuoglu is currently a Senior Advisor at LSH Partners, a registered investment banking firm in New York. He joined Loeb Partners, the predecessor firm to LSH Partners, in 2009 as a Managing Director working in the firm’s M&A, Restructuring and Capital Markets advisory businesses as well as principal investments. In addition, Mr. Armutcuoglu was a member of the investment committee of Loeb and a Director on its Board. At Loeb, Mr. Armutcuoglu was a generalist banker and principal investor with a particular focus on technology, media and telecommunications, logistics and transportation, and consumer products industries.

Prior to joining Loeb, Mr. Armutcuoglu spent 17 years at Lazard Ltd. and was made a Partner of Lazard in 2005. Within Lazard, Mr. Armutcuoglu worked in a wide range of groups including Capital Markets, General M&A advisory, Restructuring and Technology, Media and Telecom.

Mr. Armutcuoglu graduated from The University of Chicago with a B.A. in Economics, has a Swiss Matura from Institut Montana in Switzerland and is fluent in English, German, French and Turkish.

Empire State Greenhouses proudly welcomes Nick Sangermano to its Advisory Board. Mr. Sangermano is a sustainability and renewables financial expert who brings extensive and in-depth experience to the team. As a corporate and project finance specialist, Mr. Sangermano has raised over $3 Billion of capital for opportunities in solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, energy efficiency, and waste-to-value.

“I have long admired Empire State Greenhouses for their commitment to both conservation and commercial success through sustainable agriculture,” said Mr. Sangermano. “Empire State Greenhouses is the way of the future. I am thrilled to join such an important effort to improve the quality of agriculture and the environment in New York state and beyond.”

“Nick’s commitment to regenerating the environment, and building the business, government and public will to create a cleaner, more secure future, is unparalleled,” said Louis Ferro, President and Chairman of ESG. “We are honored that Nick has joined our efforts to revolutionize agriculture with our carbon negative vertical farms that will increase food security and combat climate change.”

Other prominent members of the board include George Pataki, former Governor of New York State, co-founder and CEO of the Pataki-Cahill Group; Peter R. Smith, Managing Director of the Pataki-Cahill Group, and former President and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Marion A. Terenzio, President of the State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill (SUNY Cobleskill); and Said Armutcuoglu, Senior Advisor at LSH Partners and international investment banking expert.

Mr. Sangermano previously served as Managing Director at Rubicon Infrastructure Advisors, successfully leading several landmark renewables transactions in North America. Prior to Rubicon, Mr. Sangermano was head of Corporate & Private Placements at CohnReznick Capital based in New York, where he led numerous renewables deals worldwide.  Mr. Sangermano was also a Managing Director at Ambata Capital Partners, a prominent family office, where he established an international sustainability and Environmental Social Governance advisory practice and led transactions for clients in a dozen countries. Previously, he served as Chief Operating Officer and a founding senior team member at Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a private equity firm, where he helped establish and manage their inaugural $1 billion fund. He joined Hudson from Credit Suisse, where he was a director in the Investment Banking group.

Growing up in farm country along Canada’s St. Clair River, Mr. Sangermano was acutely aware of the damage that agriculture and other industries can cause to water and the environment.

He is a passionate advocate for sustainability and Environment Social Governance practices. He has served as a member of the Bloomberg New Energy Pioneer Award selection committee, an advisor to the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance Leadership Circle, and the Advisory Board for the Colorado School of Mines’ Payne Institute. Formerly, he served on the board of directors of Riverkeeper. Mr. Sangermano is an industry thought leader, a frequent conference speaker and has appeared in several industry publications and on Bloomberg TV.

Mr. Sangermano served in the Royal Canadian Air Force as an officer and pilot. He received an MBA from McGill University and Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Western Ontario.

Chobe Advisers

Chobe Advisers, LLC is an advisory firm focused on strategic management consulting and development of high impact closed-loop energy and agriculture projects with an Environmental, Social and Governance approach. The team leverages relationships built through decades of strategic consulting and management projects across the globe, providing our projects, partners and clients with expertise in renewable energy, commodities (energy, mining, and agriculture), life sciences, technology, logistics, finance, and venture capital.

The Chobe team has extensive experience evaluating, advising, financing, and developing commercial and utility scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Chobe energy, agriculture and commodity initiatives focus on markets in the United States and internationally that are under-served and have the potential to combine renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other environmental technologies to create long-term competitive advantages for our clients, partners and projects.

Chobe’s expertise and relationships with local, state, federal, and international governments and NGO’s give us the unique ability to help our projects, partners and clients utilize every possible advantage and incentive available to achieve the critical mass necessary for sustainable success.

Empire State Greenhouses, LLC (ESG), a subsidiary of Chobe Advisers, LLC.

Without the costs of energy, ESG’s margins are far greater than grid-energy-reliant operations, benefiting investors and consumers alike. ESG’s systems are scalable and can be replicated worldwide. A carbon-negative, renewable energy circular model is not only good business, it’s essential for the health of the planet.