Leadership Team

Dedicated and driven to build a clean energy future in a growing industry.

One company, many hats. Novel Energy Solutions is a collaboration of individual skills unified through our common motivation – our passion to develop solutions that are good for people, the planet and our clients’ bottom line.

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Founder and CEO

Cliff Kaehler

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Chief Operating Officer

Will Georgia

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Chief Technology Officer

Patrick Massey

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VP Business Development

Ian Schonwald

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Founder, Business Development

Ralph Kaehler

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VP of Project Development

Paula Fitzgerald, AICP, PMP

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VP of Sales and Marketing

Skylar Werde

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Director of Policy & Government Affairs

David Shaffer

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Director of People

Dana Blumberg

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General Counsel

Dan Dillon

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Founder, Executive Team Member

Mena Kaehler

Founder and CEO

Cliff Kaehler

Cliff earned majors in Finance and Accounting, graduating Cum Laude from Georgetown University. In 2012, after working on Wall Street in the Power and Renewables Group of Credit Suisse’s Investment Bank, Cliff founded Novel Energy Solutions, LLC. (NES). During his time at Credit Suisse, he worked on over $10 billion worth of deals in the debt, equity, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, and tax equity sectors. Cliff traveled on behalf of Minnesota agriculture as a youngster when he visited Cuba as a member of the state’s earliest effort to normalize agricultural trade in the post-embargo era. Since then, he has been involved in agricultural exports to several continents. Inspired by what he learned working in the energy sector on Wall Street, Cliff recognized solar energy as another valuable crop for farmers back home. The added benefits that community solar gardens bring to local economies solidified his decision to found and operate NES in Minnesota, with the aim of growing the company beyond state lines. As a partner in the family’s K-LER Cattle Company, Cliff keeps his ag roots active and growing.

Chief Operating Officer

Will Georgia

Will has been leading Operations for Novel since 2015. He serves our customers by integrating the company’s solar project origination, development, construction, and O&M teams. He holds a master’s in environmental management (specialized in Solar Finance) from Yale University and a BA in Government from Georgetown University.

Chief Technology Officer

Patrick Massey

VP Business Development

Ian Schonwald

Ian has been working in solar for eight years, focusing on business development of 1MW-40MW utility and C&I projects. His role focuses on driving profitability through collaboration with new and existing partner organizations. Ian earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Emory University and his MBA from the University of Maryland’s Smith school.

Founder, Business Development

Ralph Kaehler

Ralph Kaehler and his family are founders and owners of Novel Energy Solutions and K-LER Cattle, both of which are managed by his sons. He uses his extensive experience in creating new markets for progressive products to assist in developing new business and marketing for NES and government relations with the companies. Ralph has been married to Filomena for over 34 years and is proud of having many family members working within the two companies.

This includes a wide range of agricultural ventures – he was the fourth generation to own and operate his family’s farm and led trade missions worldwide, including leading an agricultural group to Cuba.

VP of Project Development

Paula Fitzgerald, AICP, PMP

Paula has a master’s in Urban Planning from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She holds an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certificate from the American Planning Association and a Project Management Professional (P.M.P.) designation from the Project Management Institute. Paula successfully managed and permitted projects in Minnesota, California, Nevada, Arizona, Illinois, South Dakota, and Maine. She has worked in both the public and private sectors in the project management and planning industries.

VP of Sales and Marketing

Skylar Werde

Skylar Werde received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology. Before joining the renewables industry, he had the pleasure of taking executive roles in marketing, sales, and operations across myriad industries. With a desire to grow solar from development to subscribership, Skylar joined Novel in 2021.

Director of Policy & Government Affairs

David Shaffer

David Shaffer joined Novel in July of 2021. His responsibilities include regulatory affairs, strategic collaboration, state lobbying activities, and project compliance. David began his career at the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association as an intern before becoming the Executive Director in 2018. His policy work has contributed to over 800MW of community solar, creating a Solar on Schools program, multimillion-dollar extensions to Minnesota’s rooftop solar incentives, and more. David holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and received his law degree from Vermont Law School. He is a licensed attorney for the State of Minnesota and a recipient of a 2019 Midwest Energy News 40 under 40 award for his solar advocacy work.

Director of People

Dana Blumberg

Dana Blumberg joined Novel in March of 2019 to be a part of fantastic opportunities for growth at Novel. Dana loves to build leadership and unified teams that grow, train, and develop together. She has extensive experience in fast-paced start-up environments, with a background in HR and operations at various companies such as Drip in Minneapolis and Light Iron (a Panavision company) and Plaster City Digital Post in Los Angeles.

General Counsel

Dan Dillon

Dan received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School. Before moving to Minnesota, Dan lived in Los Angeles and worked with many leaders in the entertainment industry, including Oprah Winfrey and Mark Burnett. Desiring to work in the pro-environmental industry sector, Dan joined NES as General Counsel in 2019. At Novel, he oversees all aspects of legal affairs, including development, acquisitions, construction, tax equity financing, and company operations.

Founder, Executive Team Member

Mena Kaehler

Mena grew up in the foothills of Colorado, where she earned her degree in Mathematics from Colorado State University. She started her career as a grade 7-12 math teacher. She and her husband, Ralph, purchased his family’s Century Farm (owned by the same family for over 100 years) in Minnesota in 1992. Together they raised two sons, Cliff and Seth, the fifth generation on the farm. Both sons are married with children. She is proud to work with her family at Novel and the family cattle company – K-LER Cattle.

Mena is a past Winona County Commissioner and a St. Charles School Board member. She is a Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) Class IV alumni and is a member of multiple agriculture and farming organizations. In addition to being a founding partner, she is the utility liaison for Novel. She works with utilities and program administrators on the interconnection process, project design, and paperwork.

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