Featured Profiles

Student Profiles

PashaDeveloping the Market Strategy for SunEdison’s Launch of a Solar Water Pump Business in Morocco

Russian-born Pavel Azgaldov, Erb ’16, has circled the globe to forge sustainable solutions to pressing social, environmental and economic problems. His current project work focuses on utilizing renewable energy to address scarce water resources in developing countries.

Over the summer Azgaldov participated in an internship at SunEdison, a pioneer and global leader in solar electricity power systems. The company asked him to create a go-to-market strategy for introducing solar-powered irrigation pumps in developing countries, including African nations where water shortages severely limit irrigation for agricultural production. Azgaldov spent the first two months of his internship in his home town of Moscow, where he ranked 200 countries based on their market attractiveness and size, and then selected 10 countries for in-depth analysis. During the final month, he traveled to India where he collaborated with a SunEdison team to develop a comprehensive market-entry strategy for solar water pumps, or SWPs, in those 10 most-promising countries. Read more

Kelsea-CropKelsea Ballantyne Puts Her Passion for Positive Business into Action on Campus

Kelsea Ballantyne, Erb ’16, is puts her lifelong passion for positive business and job creation into practice on the University of Michigan campus.

As a member of the U-M President’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights, she helped plan a highly visible conference focused on fair labor practices, equal employment opportunities and socially responsible decision making in global business. The October 10, 2014 “Global Human Rights and Labor Standards Symposium,” not only raised awareness of these key issues among Michigan students but also convened representatives from other universities who monitor the labor-standards compliance of their product licensees. Michael H. Posner, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and now co-director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at the Stern School of Business, delivered keynote remarks. The event was co-sponsored by the Erb Institute, the Ross School of Business and other University schools and colleges on campus. Read more


Alumni Profiles

Sabrina-SullivanLooking to the Future of Business

Sabrina Sullivan, Erb ’14, cannot divine the future of business in a world that churns with political and socioeconomic unrest, climate-change effects, pervasive inequality and other unforeseen disruptions. At the Erb Institute, however, she is developing the acumen and skills to help companies understand these global uncertainties, identify the key drivers of change, develop alternative scenarios for the future and create long-term business strategies that are flexible, resilient and sustainable.

“I would like to be a corporate futurist, so my work at Erb centers on futuring and innovation,” Sullivan says. “I think about ways to bring more perspective into business strategy through an understanding of megatrends and their interactions. I also develop scenarios that allow business leaders to be flexible when changes occur and to succeed in an uncertain future.” Read more


On the Front Lines of a Renewable Energy FutureMark-Tholke

From the offices of EDF Renewable Energy in the San Francisco Bay area, Mark Tholke, MBA/MS ’03, is working on the front lines of America’s charge toward a renewable-energy future that will usher in a cleaner, healthier, more climate-friendly era. Under his leadership as vice president for development in the West Region, EDF-RE has developed and built greenfield wind and solar projects totaling 480 megawatts of electricity.

“I think the goal of using renewable sources to generate 30 percent of the nation’s energy by 2030 is absolutely achievable, and at a moderate cost,” Tholke says. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that in 2012, renewable electricity represented 14 percent of total installed capacity and more than 12 percent of total electric generation. Last year, wind energy and solar photovoltaics were two of the fastest-growing electric-generation technologies in the U.S. In certain states and regions, renewables sources account for a higher percentage of electricity production than the national average, according to Tholke. In areas of Texas, for example, wind energy generates more than 30 percent of the electricity on the local grid. California is now on track to get 33 percent of its juice from renewables by 2020. Read more