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Energy Efficiency & Sustainability in Organic Food Supply

Energy Efficiency & Sustainability in Organic Food Supply

By: Jim Keyes, Chairman, Key Development LLC; Michael Martin, EVP, Business Development, Principal Solar; and Brett Gage, Research Intern, Principal Solar

Over the past few decades, the organic food industry has gained increasing attention among various sectors of the population. Consumers and suppliers, alike, have facilitated this growth by appealing to a health and wellness conscience that grew out of the 20th century.

With the growth of the organic food industry is a parallel trend of social responsibility showing that consumers across all sectors are not only demanding great products at affordable prices, but also understanding that their products were produced with minimal harm to the environment.

Examining the food industry, ONE OF THE BIGGEST QUESTIONS presented to suppliers is how to balance the quality that consumers ask for and the affordability that they need. In recent years, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, such as solar, have become increasingly cost effective and technologically feasible.


Jim Keyes
Jim Keyes

Chairman, Key Development LLC

James W. Keyes is a Horatio Alger recipient and definition of the "rags to riches" American Dream.  He currently serves as chairman of Key Development LLC and draws on his impressive track record as CEO and chairman of Blockbuster Inc. to serve as advisor to Principal Solar. James is renowned for his leadership and ability to solve complex business challenges based on his considerable experience overseeing national retail chains.

Prior to joining Blockbuster in 2007, James served as the President and CEO of 7-Eleven from 2000 until 2005, retiring upon its sale to Seven & I Holdings Co. He also served as CFO and COO during his 21 years at the company. Under his leadership, the company experienced record sales and profits and implemented new retail systems technology that improved product assortment decisions in every store. He also ushered in a new era for 7-Eleven through the introduction of a host of new electronic services. Prior to serving as president and CEO, Keyes held a variety of positions at 7-Eleven, including chief financial officer, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Keyes retired from 7-Eleven upon the sale of the company in 2005. Previously, Keyes worked for Gulf Oil, and in 1985 joined CITGO Petroleum, which was then a subsidiary of 7-Eleven Inc.

James graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, and earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin

EVP, Business Development, Principal Solar

R. Michael Martin, a long-time and passionate supporter of renewable energy and sustainability practices, leads PSI’s overall business growth strategy and execution including project acquisitions and partnerships. Michael has over 20 years experience in the information technology industry in diverse business development roles. During his successful career in technology, Michael consistently provided high-value solutions to large enterprises for strategic aspects of their operations. A key to Michael's success has been creative problem-solving with senior management of large corporate customers.

Michael most recently led the sales efforts of Aquire's strategic workforce planning solutions. Previously, he led i2 Technologies' largest strategic partnerships, such as the global IBM alliance, which spearheaded the company's dramatic growth. Additionally, Michael worked in the systems integration and consulting field primarily with SHL Systemhouse (now a part of HP/EDS) and as a sales leader at Unisys Corporation.

Michael earned his B.B.A. in International Business from The University of Texas at Austin, which included a year of study at the Université de Paris. When he's not passionately promoting solar, Michael is busy with his family, cycling, traveling, fund raising and a variety of social business and community projects.


Brett Gage
Brett Gage

Research Intern, Principal Solar

During a 2012 summer internship with Principal Solar, Brett Gage led a team of eight industry experts and publication personnel to successfully publish two white papers:

  • "Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Organic Food Supply" - James W. Keyes and Brett T. Gage 2012
  • "Technological Niches: Concentrated Solar Thermal vs. Photovoltaic Solar" - Rick Borry and Brett T. Gage 2012