Bill Novak, P.E., President & Chief Engineer
With 26 years of experience, Mr. Novak is a licensed Professional Engineer in 11 states: AL #34786, GA #PE039334, KY #30528, LA # 40951, MD #46376, MS #26091, NY #096232, NC #042245, SC #32198, TN #114582, TX #122787. Bill is focused on accelerating the transition to utility scale solar energy by providing increasingly robust solar energy designs and continuous improvement of solar PV construction operations. Additionally, he is a NABCEP Certified Solar PV Installation Professional. He leads the PV design engineering team and oversees large project design, implementation as well as operations and maintenance plan design.
Bill’s Solar Energy experience includes MW and commercial scale PV design and installations, solar supply chain experience, and launch of solar manufacturing initiatives. Specialties include SCADA, PLC and controls design, complete permit drawings for solar projects, risk mitigation and training, coordination of MV interconnections with utilities, PVSyst modeling, and O&M protocols for proactive maintenance. Select solar PV projects include:
- 18 MW (25kV interconnection) in Hebron, MD;
- 27 MW (25kV interconnection) in Hazlehurst, GA;
- 1.6 MW (12kV interconnection) in Columbus, MS;
- 1 MW (12kV interconnection) in Oak Ridge, TN;
- 1 MW (12kV interconnection) in Eastbridge, TN;
- 1 MW (12kV interconnection) in Plateau Park, TN;
In addition, Bill is a guest lecturer on Solar Engineering at Vanderbilt University, and a Tennessee Solar Institute Solar Innovation Grant coauthor and Contractor.
Prior to Tropenas Company, Bill held various engineering, management and corporate finance roles including positions at Ford Motor Company as well as Chief Engineer at Lightwave Solar.
Bill earned both a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree with Honors in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University with a specialization in Lean Manufacturing Engineering and graduate level classes in Solar Engineering. He also holds an MBA with Highest Distinction from the University of Michigan.
Charles W. Cunha, P.E., Chief-Engineer – Medium Voltage
With 32 years of experience, Mr. Cunha is a licensed Professional Engineer in Electrical Engineering in five jurisdictions: California #12478, Hawaii #16491, Nevada # 019649, Oregon #90412PE and US Virgin Islands #018885-1B. He leads all aspects of solar project integration with utilities including coordination studies, substation design, interconnection protection and control design.
Charles’s solar experience includes utility and government large scale MV and solar PV engineering. Specialties include SCADA system design, arc flash studies, circuit coordination, overhead pole lines, underground systems, coordination of MV interconnections with utilities, and solar PV system design. Select solar PV projects include:
- 68 MW (35kV interconnection) on Oahu, HI;
- 27 MW (25kV interconnection) in Hazlehurst, GA;
- 4 MW (21kV interconnection) in Merced, CA;
- 8 MW (12kV and 21kW interconnections) for clients in CA;
- 5 MW (35kV interconnection) on Saint Thomas, USVI; and
- 18 MW (25kV interconnection) in Hebron, MD.
In addition, Charles teaches classes on Utility Scale Solar Design and Underground Power Line Design (5kV to 35kV).
Charles earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University, Fresno.
Jon Novak, E.I.T. , Senior Civil Engineer
With 15 years of experience, Mr. Jon Novak is Tropenas’s Senior Civil Engineer leading all aspects of land development, construction oversight, and quality control within the sola
r energy industry. Additionally, he specializes in civil design, survey applications & practice, local jurisdiction board approval, as well as project management. He leads the PV site-support engineering team and oversees large project design and implementation.
Jon’s Solar Energy experience includes MW, commercial installations, and civil solar development planning, approval, and oversight. Moreover, he excels at project estimation and contract management.
Prior to Tropenas Company, Jon held various civil engineering, project engineering and construction management roles including positions at Coneco Engineers and Coler & Colantonio. He coordinated cross-functional site development, contract negotiations, storm water management, as well as construction and land development oversight.
Jon earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Paul E. Fulton, P.E., Chief Structural Engineer
With 24 years of experience, Mr. Fulton is a licensed Professional Engineer in Tennessee #105069 and North Carolina #22923. He brings extensive structural design and project management experience for commercial building projects ranging from $10M to $80M, working with city, county, state, and other municipal and regulatory agencies in 25 states. Paul has been responsible for the management, design, and production of construction documents for a wide variety of building types and other structures utilizing steel, concrete, masonry, light-gauge steel, and wood, supported on conventional and specialized deep foundation systems. Projects have been designed for demanding sites including coastal areas with high wind and flood conditions, high seismic loading for essential facilities (such as emergency treatment, emergency responders, and public utilities), and heavy snow loading conditions. He has also performed the structural analysis of existing buildings to support commercial 33kW to 50kW ballasted roof-mount solar PV systems.
Paul earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Architectural Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also recently completed a Photovoltaic Systems Certificate program with Solar Energy International, and holds a NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate credential.
Paul maintains active memberships with the Tennessee Structural Engineers Association, Tennessee Structural Assessment and Visual Evaluation Coalition (post-disaster inspection assistance to TE-MA), American Institute of Steel Construction, and NABCEP. He has served on the Tennessee State University Architectural Engineering Department Advisory Committee and been a Student Advisor (2003-2005).
Russ Novak, Chairman of the Board
Russ Novak leads the executive management team at Tropenas covering technology advisory services for energy, manufacturing, and processing industries. An experienced executive, his strong energy industry background is coupled with in-depth experience in market analysis and research, strategic planning, and collaborative consulting. This enables Tropenas to collaboratively combine inputs from internal and external stakeholders of clients to affect positive change in business and operating processes resulting in improved fiscal performance.
While serving as Director of Research and Consulting for ARC Advisory Group, Russ worked with Saudi Aramco in the development of the Enterprise Project Management (EPM) System EPM, an integrated project management and project controls business solution that optimizes capital project management processes for capital projects.
As Tropenas CEO, Russ also directs system integration and enterprise services as well as custom consulting engagements. Other responsibilities include M&A activities, partner searches, and creation of business relationships and JVs for clients. Focusing on the blending of plant asset lifecycle, engineering & design, and technology assessments, Russ provides critical analysis and streamlined integration resulting in process improvements and operational efficiencies for the manufacturing and process industries.
Prior to Tropenas, Russ was COO and General Manager of a privately owned independent integrated energy company. Russ initiated a turnaround in operational efficiencies growing revenue and profitability over 275%. He directed EPC activities including project development and management on a turnkey basis up to $500 million His responsibilities included corporate project development and implementation, developing strategic initiatives, pinning, and technical services. His career also included positions as a division manager for multi-state operations, as well as earlier posts as plant manager, operations manager, QC director, and supportive engineering positions.
Russ is a graduate of Purdue University with a BS in Chemical Engineering. He has done graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh in the MBA and Computer Science programs.
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