Ryan Holtz – President
Ryan Holtz’s career began when he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and served as a mechanical engineer in the Air Force. After his early work at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where he assisted in the launch of GPS satellites and NASA payloads aboard the Boeing Delta II rocket, he worked at Onizuka Air Force Station as a payload engineer for the National Reconnaissance Office.
Although Ryan is seriously skilled, he is also seriously altruistic, and he was looking for a way to put his abilities to work for the greater good, so, in 2006 he moved to Flagstaff and began his work in solar energy technology.
Ryan got started by studying with Solar Energy International and the Solar Living Institute, and today he loves developing and sharing solar technology. Ryan has taught about solar energy at Coconino Community College, Willow Bend Environmental Center and all around Arizona. Some of Ryan’s favorite moments in solar work are watching a solar customer’s meter spin backward for the first time and providing solar power to Navajo and Hopi families living off-grid who have never had electricity in their homes.
One of Ryan’s main goals is to make solar energy accessible to everyone by offering solar options that are affordable and easy to use. He acknowledges there are some hurdles to widespread solar energy use, but believes that with a little ingenuity like the Plug and Play kit, it will soon become a normal part of everyone’s daily life.
In his free time, Ryan is often outdoors. He enjoys mountain biking, running, disc golf, hiking and camping. His favorite thing to do is sit around a campfire with his wife, Carolyn, and their dog Tully.
Joanna Tepley – CFO/COO
Joanna is an account and business consultant with a degree in accounting from Northern Arizona University. She didn’t originally intend to be a corporate businesswoman, but grew up showing horses competitively and intended to make a career of teaching and training others to do the same. She received her undergraduate degree from William Woods University in Equestrian Science and began her career teaching in Europe. Although she enjoyed equestrian work, she realized she had different aspirations in life, so she went back to school for accounting.
Upon earning her accounting degree at NAU, Joanna went to work as an executive accountant. During her early accounting career, Joanna realized that many companies have a great product and produce it well, but are not prosperous because their organizational and financial systems aren’t functional.
Joanna enjoyed providing business owners and managers the tools they needed to create an environment of sustainability and give new life to struggling businesses, but was also searching for a way to make a more direct difference in the world. In a pivotal conversation with Ryan Holtz in 2011, Joanna recalls Ryan speaking of a teaching tool he had invented that was simply one solar panel he plugged into an exterior outlet.
When she saw the ease and simplicity of that technology, she realized this simple model could be the future of the solar power industry – and that conversation was a creative impetus for Plug and Play Solar.
Joanna loves Jim Corning’s favorite saying, “if everyone moved just one grain of sand, together we could move a mountain.” Joanna believes that Plug and Play Solar gives everyone a way to move his or her own grain of sand.
When Joanna isn’t helping business thrive or striving to make a difference in the world, she can be found outside horsing around: camping, fishing, gardening – and working with horses. She’s also happily married to a forest service firefighter and is the dedicated mother of two children.
Jim Corning – Technical Advisor
Jim Corning is the technical advisor for Plug and Play Solar. Although he calls himself a ‘tinkerer,’ he is a mechanical engineer with a degree from MIT, and co-designer of the innovative Plug and Play system.
In college in the 1970s, during the first oil shocks, Jim saw firsthand how important energy is to our economy and way of life. Ever since, Jim has had a passion to help solve the energy problem.
When Jim finished college, he went to work in the oil industry at the Prudhoe Bay field on the arctic coast in Alaska. At the time, American energy independence was first and foremost in his mind.
But, more recently, Jim has seen solar and power electronics technologies make it possible to generate electricity cleanly at our own residences – enough to power a home and charge an electric vehicle – and Jim came to believe that solar energy technology was the place to invest his skills and time.
Jim believes that if we want our kids and grandkids to live in a cleaner, more secure society, we need to take action ourselves now by investing in clean energy like solar electricity. Jim drives his own Chevy Volt around town, powered mostly by sunshine, thereby living a dream come true after those long gas lines of the 1970s.
Jim likes to quote George Schultz, an economist in the Eisenhower administration and Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration:
“I have my electric car running on electricity from the sun, which costs me nothing and there is plenty of it here. So, I’m driving on sunshine. Take that, Ahmadinejad!”
Whenever Jim isn’t designing or ‘tinkering’ in the shop, he’s hiking or mountain biking northern Arizona, playing guitar or working on an electric motorcycle in his garage.