April 2024 TechCast | Empowering Tomorrow: Green Banks, Resiliency and the Energy Transition

Moderated by Phoenix Business RadioX, industry leaders Earl Collins, Dre Thompson, and Maren Mahoney, discuss the collaborations between public and private sectors and tribal communities.

April 2024 TechCast | Empowering Tomorrow: Green Banks, Resiliency and the Energy Transition

Episode Overview

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In this episode of AZ TechCast, Karen Nowicki and Steve Zylstra explore Arizona’s energy landscape with Earl Collins, Dre Thompson, and Maren Mahoney, highlighting collaborations between public and private sectors and tribal communities. They discuss the fusion of private investment and public funding to drive innovation and address environmental challenges, showcasing Arizona’s commitment to sustainability.

Dre Thompson green banks and Cordia Capital’s role in financing clean energy projects, while Earl elaborates on repurposing old systems for sustainability, emphasizing initiatives like solar panels over canals and net zero efforts by the Gila River Indian Community. Karen and Steve further engage guests on the challenges and opportunities surrounding energy resilience, with Maren Mahoney stressing its importance amidst increasing demand and extreme weather. As the conversation navigates legislative complexities and policy uncertainties, there’s a shared vision for continued transformation in Arizona’s energy landscape, driven by education and collaboration.


As one of her first actions in office, Governor Hobbs announced the creation of the Governor’s Office of Resiliency– uniting water, land use, transportation, and energy policy areas under one umbrella, with the underlying purpose of providing leadership that addresses the compounding threats to Arizona’s water, natural resources, and impacts of the climate crisis.

Through the Office of Resiliency, Governor Hobbs seeks to bring state agencies, businesses, underserved communities, and tribal communities together to identify climate solutions that expand job and economic opportunities, improve the health and well-being of Arizonans, and pave a path to long-term prosperity.

Maren Mahoney is an experienced attorney passionate about building an equitable, resilient future for all Arizonans. Trained in systems-level analysis, her expertise is in energy regulation, law, and policy development, analysis, and advocacy.

Prior to joining the Hobbs Administration, she advocated for state-level energy efficiency and decarbonization policies around the country, served as a Policy Advisor at the Arizona Corporation Commission, and managed an energy policy think tank at Arizona State University.

She holds a J.D. from New York Law School, where she was a John Marshall Harlan Scholar and earned a Certificate for Public Service. Maren earned her M.A. in Sustainability from ASU, where she is a Senior Sustainability Scholar. Maren lives in Phoenix with her husband, two children, and their dog, Mr. Bunny.

Earl Collins, age 56, has served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cordia since July 2022. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Earl oversees Cordia’s operations from its corporate headquarters, a strategic move catalyzed by the company’s rebranding post a monumental $1.9 billion acquisition by KKR in October 2022.

Earl brings a wealth of experience to his current position, having worked in various capacities across engineering, construction, operations, and maintenance for the power, industrial, and renewable energy sectors. His dedication and strategic leadership have been evident throughout his career.

Prior to joining Cordia, Earl played a pivotal role in the growth of a key operating division of a Fortune 500 infrastructure engineering and construction company. Under his guidance, the division’s revenue skyrocketed from $200 million to an impressive $2.5 billion through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

Earl earned a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University in 1991 and has a distinguished military background, having earned an Officer commission through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

Dre Thompson is an award-winning nonprofit executive. As a passionate social entrepreneur, Dre specializes in data-driven program design.

Her diverse background includes demand-side energy efficiency programming for national utilities, economic development, affordable housing, micro-lending, and social work.

She is the current CEO of the Tucson IDA and the President of Arizona’s first green bank, Groundswell Capital.

Maren Mahoney
Governor’s Office of Resiliency

Earl Collins
CEO of Cordia

Dre Thompson
President of Groundswell Capital



About AZTechCast
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit www.aztechcouncil.org/techcast to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.

About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.


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