Renewable Energy team

Renewable energy expert technicians  Since 1950, Empire Power Systems teams have provided distributed power systems for hospitals, high tech manufacturers, commercial buildings, military facilities and municipal governments. Because of our stringent standards and the high regard of our customers and peers, we attract some of the best and brightest engineering and technical talent in the industry.

Empire’s solar team has over 120 years of collective experience in all facets of distributed power generation: design and engineering, fabrication, installation, maintenance and technical support. Our lead engineer installed Arizona’s first utility scale solar project in 1982 and founded the solar test and research center for a major utility. Several hold MBAs, while others have extensive backgrounds in manufacturing and service. Together they make up one of the strongest solar teams in the industry.

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Karl Schmitt - Manager, Renewable Energy Division

Karl earned a degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Missouri and an MBA from Arizona State University. He created and oversaw power systems support programs as a regional manager for Caterpillar’s power division, where he also earned certification as a 6 Sigma Black Belt.

Don Herman - Solar Project Development

Don is a licensed commercial contractor and has been installing institutional and commercial solar power systems since 1995. He has over 30 years of experience in commercial construction, including hospital and school construction. Don is responsible for the development of new solar projects and installation of our solar power systems.

Tom Lepley, P.E. - Solar Engineer

Tom is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.), He started his career with Arizona Public Service, and during 20 years with the utility he served as project manager for the state’s first utility scale solar project and founded the APS solar test and research center. In 1994 Tom left APS to found his own company — Phasor Energy Company, Inc. — which is dedicated to promoting the wise use of energy.

Grant Taylor - Business Development Manager

Prior to joining the ERE team, Grant served as Empire Southwest’s Real Estate Development Manager. He directed the construction of Empire’s new full-service facilities in Kingman, Prescott and Apache Junction, incorporating renewable technologies where possible. Grant holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University, and managed his own real estate development company until 2005.

James A. Morris, P.E.  – Electrical Engineer

James is a LEED certified Professional Engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in building power, lighting, and photovoltaic systems. After graduating from Arizona State University, James served two years with the Peace Corps, and then joined Salt River Project as a Senior Engineer.  He left SRP after 12 years to become principle electrical engineer for Hofmann-Dietz Architects. In the years since then, James has served as senior engineer and project manager for numerous PV systems for Arizona cities, universities and other commercial projects – from a 200kW system in the 1980s to a 2500kW system in 2010. He is a pioneer in solar power generation.

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