MC:Tell us a little about your business background and what brought you here.
AM: From high school I joined the US Army for three years then bartended while attending school. I found my place in business with my first inside phone sales position generating warm leads for the Sr. sales people. My experience behind the bar taught me how to quickly develop a relationship and trust with a stranger. I brought my new skill to an interesting video software company that was pioneering in video analytic technology and looked to gain a market share in the US. I founded Viasys Intelligent Video America as a perimeter security software provider for the security industry.
At the same time, in Italy, solar plants were having a challenge from theft and a full solution was developed by our parent company to protect the PV plants from theft and vandalism. The concept was successful, and I followed this model as a solutions provider for PV developers and EPCs. We abandoned the software model and followed the PV security model. The solar industry is under great pressure to reduce costs and improve services. Video and monitoring use the same technologies and plant resources so it’s natural that video for O&M and/or security share hardware resources and unified management platform.
MC: What's your favorite part of Chicago?
AM: This is a tough question because there is so much to like, and I’ve only just scratched the surface. Chicago has a rich cycling history and consequently a huge cycling community and infrastructure. I’m also a big fan of pizza which Chicago is famous for. We are still working our way through all the Chicago pie restaurants but so far, my favorite is Rosati’s.
MC: What unique skills do you bring to the table?
AM: I bring five years of utility scale solar experience in the disciplines of sales, business development, marketing and executive management. In the start-up years I wore all the hats and in following revenue, I brought on talented people who excelled at disciplines that were not my strong suite. I developed a LATAM HQ in Bogota, Columbia to capitalized on the quickly growing market. These early experiences exposed me to the heavy lifting done by the unsung heroes of business organizations such as accounting and HR.
MC: What opportunities do you see for the future of meteocontrol?
AM: I’m excited for the future of meteocontrol and Viasys. I believe that a convergence of technologies is coming to market at the right time for this partnership and we are positioned to continue the pioneering spirit of both companies.
Every monitoring and video platform is good at collecting lots of data. Using the power of analytics, meteocontrol and Viasys excel at analyzing the data and making it manageable and actionable. Data analytics and video analytics make it possible to visually verify soil, snow, tracker positions, shading, manage vegetation and even alert when transformer insulation is deteriorating, but before an expensive catastrophic failure. O&M cameras can make the difference between less expensive preventative maintenance and costly corrective maintenance.
The future is even more fantastic. I see a time soon where artificial intelligence will perform much of the diagnostic detective work and only require an approval for preventive or corrective maintenance adding to operating efficiencies and driving down costs for consumers and investors further.
MC: What challenges do you see for the solar industry given the new tariffs?
AM: This is a popular topic but to be honest I suspect it will only end up slowing down the inevitable future of energy. To me, it’s a verification that renewable energy is a disruptive threat to the established old guard stakeholders.
MC: How can viasys and meteocontrol help solar stakeholders overcome these challenges?
AM: The simple answer is that by unifying the hardware and HMI platforms price will be driven down. However, the tariffs will taper off while prices continue to drop and new technologies like artificial intelligence will change the world in ways that we cannot now comprehend. Tariffs may pressure the supply chain to reduce costs faster then what they would have with-out the tariffs.
MC: Why are you passionate about the solar industry?
AM: Having grown up in California, I have been a committed surfer my whole life. It is the experience of being immersed in nature that compels my interest in environmental activism. In California, we’ve seen the environmental devastation from DDT that decimated the migrating bird populations, oil-soaked beaches, and large marine die offs from industrial fertilizers. We’ve also seen the power of what committed people can do to reverse these damages through regulation and grassroots activism. I see the solar industry as part of an ecosystem of technologies that is the best hope to reverse damage done by generations of polluters. How To Videos