In 2009, I launched Volt Energy, along with my Howard University classmate and good friend, Antonio Francis. Antonio and I had a vision to start a business that would not only be profitable but, more importantly, have a positive impact in the community and the world that we live in. Little did we know that two first generation African-American entrepreneurs with an ambitious goal would be afforded the opportunity to provide clean energy to clients all over the country. Our clients include major corporations, municipalities, educational institutions, and non-profits.
One of the most fulfilling projects that we have completed was installing solar energy at Florida Avenue Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C., in 2011. Florida Avenue Baptist has the distinction of becoming the first African-American church in the nation’s capital to install solar energy. I am proud to say that Florida Avenue Baptist is realizing significant energy savings, has an active green ministry, and is educating other inner city churches on the benefits of renewable energy. This project also garnered national attention and was featured on the PBS special “America Revealed.”
As a young entrepreneur in an emerging industry, I am extremely passionate about encouraging other minorities to explore clean tech as a business and/or career opportunity. I frequently address and mentor young people across the country about the tremendous opportunities they have as clean energy revitalizes our country’s infrastructure.
I am also a champion in advocating for contracting opportunities for diverse businesses in clean tech. A lot of wealth creation has stemmed from the clean tech boom over the last few years but minority entrepreneurs lag behind due to a lack of contracting opportunities. I have been fortunate to leverage my platform to have open dialogue with senior executives of major corporations, government leaders, and other key stakeholders, as I endeavor to build stronger ladders of opportunities for other minority businesses in this space.
Gilbert Campbell is a co-founder and principal of Volt Energy.