David G. Schieren| CEO
David co-founded EmPower Solar in 2003 to make solar energy the dominant energy source in New York and beyond. This vision continues to drive every action the company takes. David leads a talented team to deliver the best solar and battery technology, the most financial savings and an amazing customer experience. David’s areas of expertise include commercial project development, community solar, battery systems, project financing, management and leadership.
As an advocate, David conducts outreach to build support for clean energy amongst political, community, business and religious leaders, and the public at large. David has testified before the United States Congress Science Committee and has been involved with numerous TV, print, internet, radio and documentary interviews.
David is the board Vice President of the New York State Solar Energy Industry Association (NYSEIA) and a board member of Vision Long Island. He has a Master of Science in Energy Management from the New York Institute of Technology, where he received the Faculty Award for outstanding achievement.
David co-led the 2005 Solar Decathlon solar-hydrogen zero energy home project. He has a BA in Economics from the University of Vermont, where he received the Freeman Saltus Award in Economics. David was a North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Photovoltaic Installer. David started his career as an Institutional Equity Advisor at Merrill Lynch where he sold Japanese equities to large US based investors.
David lives in Long Island City with his wife, Cristina Zancani, a sustainable architect and Urban Designer, and their young boys Raphael Emilio and Emmanuel James.
Gregory D. Sachs| COO
Greg leads and oversees company operations with a focus on company infrastructure, processes, and post-contract endeavors including engineering, construction, service, and company support. Together, Greg and CEO, David are realizing EmPower Solar’s vision of a more prosperous, healthy, and civil world powered by renewable energy.
As a licensed Professional Engineer in NYS, Greg also signs and seals electrical and structural schematics. Greg is Chair of the Long Island Interconnection Working Group and is one of the few industry representatives on the NYS Interconnection Technical Working Group.
As an ‘astronaut like’ candidate, Greg was accepted into NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog program. In January 2018 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Greg was Commander of a two month simulated space mission. Mission results fed into present and future NASA missions such as Mars, the International Space Station, lunar base, etc.
Prior to EmPower Solar, Greg taught electrical and mechanical engineering at the US Merchant Marine Academy. There Greg co-founded and managed the Alternative Power Program and the Kings Point Sustainability Association. After graduating from the USMMA in 1999, Greg attended Navy Nuclear Power School and held multiple management and teaching positions as a Nuclear Engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.
Greg completed a Master of Science in System Engineering & Management at MIT. Greg’s focus was the design and development of ‘impossibly complex’ systems, such as the electricity grid. Greg’s thesis is on building “smart grid” architectures supporting increased penetration of ‘non-dispatchable’ RE resources.
Greg is formerly the co-chair of the IEEE Long Island Power & Energy Society, and Secretary/Chair of the Technical Committee for the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA). Greg is a NABCEP Certified Photovoltaic Installer. Greg moderates and lectures on Solar & RE topics; engagements include the NSPE, IEEE Power & Energy Society (for CEU’s), SUNY Stony Brook, the Nassau Bar Association, and other universities.
Fred Catapano| Human Resources Asset Manager
Fred graduated from Stony Brook University with his Master’s in Human Resource Management. He currently holds his SHRM-CP certification and is an active member on the SHRM LI certification committee. Fred volunteers his time to help facilitate learning for HR professionals as they take on the challenge of obtaining their SHRM certification.
Prior to working with EmPower Solar, Fred was dedicated to supporting individuals with special needs. He started his HR career as a Professional Development Coordinator in 2009. From there, Fred became part of Human Resources Management team for over five years, as the Talent Manager and later the Director of Talent Acquisition at Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc (FREE). This position allowed him the opportunity to successfully lead a team by applying his Human Resources knowledge to complex staffing and human relations challenges.
While at FREE, Fred was introduced to EmPower Solar when he learned of many residential homes having solar installed, as a client. Fred believes renewable energy must become an increasing part of everyone’s everyday life. He is excited to now be part of building a dedicated, motivated and committed workforce to achieving this goal.
Tim Crotty| Field Supervisor
Tim Crotty has been with EmPower Solar since 2011 and in his current role as Field Supervisor / Construction Manager, Tim oversees EmPower Solar’s multiple installation crews and foremen. Tim is excited to come to work every day to help the EmPower team as it continues to expand renewable energy to homes and businesses across Long Island and New York City.
While he is a native Long Islander, Tim spent time living and working up and down the East Coast. He has experience in different construction trades and previously worked as a project manager, building high end condo and townhome projects in Boca Raton, Florida. Tim joined EmPower Solar as an installer, but his background and experience helped him quickly move up to take on a leadership role as foreman, and eventually Field Supervisor/Construction Manager.
Tim studied History and Psychology at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY where he also played football. Tim currently holds a Master Electricians License and is a NABCEP Certified PV Installer. When not at work Tim loves spending time with his wife and two children exploring Long Island’s beautiful beaches and parks.
Louis Anthony Suriel
Tara McDermott| Director of Customer Experience and Stakeholder Relations
Tara represents EmPower Solar as the Chair of the Long Island Solar & Storage Alliance where she is the government liaison for policy issues related to solar and energy storage.
Tara earned her BA in Sociology at SUNY Stony Brook and her Master of Public Administration at CUNY Baruch, both with a focus on environmental studies. She is also a “Semester at Sea” alumni, where she completed part of her degree while traveling at sea through several different global ports. In 2011, she was one of four U.S. Climate Change Professional Fellows for the Australia cohort, where she worked with Australian researchers, industries, and advocates dealing with energy and climate issues.
Prior to joining the EmPower Solar team, Tara was the Long Island Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, where she organized educational and advocacy campaigns on various environmental issues on Long Island. She also spent three years as a “Young Island” blogger for the Long Island Business News. She has been active in various professional and environmental organizations, including the C3E Women in Energy group on LI. Tara also co-founded two nonprofit organizations focused on smart growth and keeping young professionals on Long Island.
In 2018, Tara was named one of the Top 50 Women in Business by the Long Island Business News. She was also inducted into the Social Justice Distinguished Scholar Academy for her work in environmental justice issues in collaboration with Farmingdale State College.
As a charity boxer for the 2018 Long Island Fight for Charity, Tara raised over $18,000 for non-profits across Long Island. In her spare time, Tara enjoys hiking around Long Island’s parks or playing weekly beach volleyball with the EmPower Solar company team. Tara’s family has taken on the “Electrify Your Life” challenge, and recently moved into a 100% solar powered home and made the switch from a gasoline vehicle to a PHEV. Electric heating and batteries are next!
Devon Ficarra| Project Operations & Engineering Manager
Devon joined EmPower Solar in July 2020 as the Project Operations + Engineering Manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from SUNY Maritime College, an MBA in Energy Finance from West Virginia University, and is a licensed Merchant Marine engineer.
Prior to joining the company, Devon worked in the oil and gas industry as a site operations manager, a project management consultant, and a project manager/engineer for a natural gas transmission and distribution pipeline utility company. He then became a senior account executive/manager for a leading energy tech startup that provided business solutions for increasing the efficiencies in daily operations for small to enterprise sized energy companies across the US oil and gas basins.
At EmPower Solar, Devon is responsible for implementing and improving processes for both commercial and residential construction, engineering, service, as well as providing industry leading customer service.
Charles Schwartz| Commercial Sales Director
Chuck is a local business professional, engineer, climate reality leader, community organizer and thought leader on energy and sustainability issues. As director of Green Long Island, Inc. a decade old environmental organization on Long Island that has been focused on the delivery of mass scale residential energy efficiency and renewable energy in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Chuck has assisted over 10,000 Long Island families to address energy issues in their homes. These efforts have continued through his collaboration with the Sustainability Institute at Molloy College managing the Long Island Green Homes program, a NY State funded association of Long Island non-profits with local municipalities.
Between 2012 to 2016 he assisted in management of NYSERDA’s Low-Income Forum on Energy. In 2016, he started the LI Community Solar Working Group, a stakeholder group of industry, utility, NGO’s, local government and environmental groups to work together to ensure the smooth and effective roll out of shared solar throughout this region.
Chuck joined Empower Solar as Director of Community Solar and Partnerships to further the goal of large-scale community shared solar in Long Island and the five boroughs, and now leads the commercial sales team.
Seneca Cornelius| Commercial Solar Project Developer
With a BA in Environmental Design, Policy and Planning from Stony Brook University, Seneca has lived and worked in Germany and Australia as an environmental planner. Despite her love for travel and adventure, Seneca felt called to move back to New York and become involved with helping to make positive changes to her local environment. She is happy to be applying her passions to her career with EmPower Solar, and looks forward to helping to expand the commercial solar industry and renewable energy in the New York area.
Michael Kaffka| Residential Sales Manager
Mike brings a wealth of solar experience from his time working in renewables.
In 2015, Mike started his solar career in Kansas City. Two years later, after seeing immense growth and opportunity in the Northeast, Mike moved to New York City to further his career in solar energy. Now Mike oversees the best Residential Sales Team NYC has to offer.
In his free time, Mike enjoys the food and culture in NYC and planning trips with his wife and dog.
Danny Mayper| Sales Professional
Danny first found his passion for solar back in 2015 when he helped his dad install solar panels on their home during his senior year of college. After a successful first installation, Danny decided to start selling in the solar industry and went on to acquire a wealth of knowledge working with both local and national solar companies. He became an expert in offering exceptional service for his clients.
He’s excited to bring his experience and passion to the EmPower Solar team, and help the local community go solar one roof at a time. Danny’s mission is to make the solar process simple and easy to understand for every homeowner with whom he has the pleasure of working. Danny grew up in Long Beach and is a big baseball and football fan. When he’s not at work, you can find him on the beach, or exploring Manhattan where he currently resides.
Kyle Solomon| Sales Professional
Kyle was born and raised on the eastern end of Long Island. He has always been motivated by his older brother, who is an environmental lawyer and always stressed the importance of protecting the environment with a particular emphasis on fighting climate change.
Kyle played Division One hockey at the University of Maine where he majored in public administration with a focus on environmental policy. After college, he coached hockey in his native East Hampton where he helped organize the area’s first high school ice hockey program. After seeing the program develop past it’s infancy Kyle decided it was time to follow a different passion, renewable energy.
He began working with EmPower Solar in March of 2017 as a customer experience representative, and now enjoys working directly with clients as part of the sales team.
Mat Layton| Sales Professional
Mat began working with solar panels in 2001 during his service with the United States Coast Guard. This powerful experience fueled his passion for renewable energy and mastery of the field.
In the summer of 2008, Mat joined EmPower Solar as an Installer. He quickly climbed the ranks to Site Foreman and managed system installations for three years. Mat went on to become a Service Technician, leading to his promotion to Service Manager. Mat now focuses on residential sales, bringing years of solar experience with him to the table.
Mat is a resident of Island Park, a proud husband, and father of two. He plays guitar and sings in various local bands throughout the area. Mat stays energized by helping people make the transition to a fossil free world
Scott McDonnell| Sales Professional
Scott McDonnell is a lifelong Long Beach resident who is excited to help expand renewable energy on Long Island and New York City.
Prior to joining the EmPower team, Scott worked for over ten years selling electronic components. He has also held marketing positions and has planned numerous special events. Growing up and working in a family-owned construction business, he has extensive knowledge in project management.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Engineering and Management from Clarkson University, and is a former volunteer firefighter and paramedic.
When out of the office, Scott enjoys sailing, surfing and snowboarding. He also represents EmPower Solar at the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.