What drives your interest in working on solar energy issues?

Climate change and the resulting extreme weather events involved with it are having an increasingly harmful impact on the planet and on the Southwest Virginia region. Concurrently, the benefits and increasing value of solar energy for energy customers, local employment, and community resiliency are increasing exponentially. Subsequently, given my entrepreneurial and financial background, I see a significant opportunity to make a lasting impact in both my home region and beyond by participating in this noble sector.

What impact do you feel the SolSmart program and you as an Advisor will have on the communities with which you will work?

The SolSmart program will provide the template for a growing and sustainable solar energy market in Southwest Virginia. It will also provide the foundation for a new engine of economic development and growth, while concurrently helping to mitigate the effects of climate change on such communities.

What aspects of your work plan are you most excited about working on?

I’m most excited about working with the many municipalities and communities in our region to further grow and expand solar energy services locally. Bringing such communities together to work in a more regional and coordinated basis, all in order to serve constituents, is the goal.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

I hope to continue expanding my knowledge and skill set in renewable energy as well as develop lasting relationships with regional communities and their leaders.

About Gary

Gary serves as President and Managing Member of Elevation Energy & Communications LLC, a commercial renewable energy development, financing and advisory firm, responsible for the direction and executive management of Elevation and its affiliated companies as well as its sales & partner management activities. Mr. Hearl is also Founder and Managing Member of Elevation Ventures, a management and capital advisory firm. A serial entrepreneur, he has over thirty (30) years of experience in management and business.

Gary holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Wake Forest University’s School of Business. Additionally, Mr. Hearl is a commercial aircraft pilot with both instrument and multi-engine ratings and is Chairman of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Foundation.