Other Investment Professionals
Panda Power Funds first investment was to assemble a deep bench of professionals who would bring industry expertise, business intelligence and a network of contacts to our team.
- Michael A. Trentel, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
- Russ Bell, Vice President, Accounting
- Stephen D. Campbell, Vice President & Senior Counsel
- Carter Cheek, Managing Director
- Donald F. Fisher, Vice President, Finance
- Jake Golvach, Vice President, Finance
- Joe Lloyd, Vice President, Plant Operations
- Brandon Upchurch, Vice President, Development
- Creede Williams, Managing Director
- Josh York, Vice President, Asset Management and Commercial Operations
Michael A. Trentel, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Michael A. Trentel joined Panda in 2016 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer at Panda Power Funds. He and his team are responsible for all aspects of the management and operation of the fleet of projects controlled by Panda on behalf of its investors. Additionally, Michael and his team work closely with its investors, co-investors and lending institutions to achieve company objectives. Michael initially joined Panda in 1998 and worked through 2007. During that time, he held positions in the following departments:
- Finance (Senior Analyst, Director, Senior Director, CFO and Treasurer)
- Mergers & Acquisitions (Senior Director)
- Development (Senior Director)
- Asset Management (Senior Director)
Upon re-joining Panda in January 2016, Michael has also held positions in Finance as a Managing Director and in Development as a Vice President.
During his time at Panda, Michael has been involved in over 16,000 MW and $10 billion of successful project development, asset management, financing, and M&A activity. He was also a member of the management committee for a 4,400 MW portfolio of projects, helped initiate a fuel energy subsidiary, and participated in the reverse merger to form a public company where he held positions of Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
In addition to his Panda experiences, Michael has held other positions including:
- Partner at Silveron Capital, a boutique investment banking firm providing advisory and capital fund raising services in the renewable and alternative energy sectors
- Rotating equipment engineer at a combined cycle power and steam facility
- Facilities engineer for onshore and offshore oil field operations in California
In total, he has over 30 years of energy industry experience.
Michael holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the Marshall School at the University of Southern California.
Russ Bell, Vice President, Accounting
Mr. Bell joined Panda Energy in 1996 and directed the accounting and tax functions of Panda Energy in various capacities until April 2010. He also served as Director of Financial Reporting and Tax of Panda Ethanol from 2006 through 2009. Prior to joining Panda in 1996, Mr. Bell had more than 15 years of experience in public accounting and industry, principally with Deloitte & Touche. Mr. Bell is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting.
John Boswell, Senior Director, Development
John Boswell joined Panda in March 2011, and is responsible for power generation project development activities. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Boswell spent 18 years in various economic development organizations throughout Texas. Most recently, Mr. Boswell was the president of the Sherman Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) in Sherman, Texas. As president, he was responsible for the recruitment and retention of primary employers in the greater Sherman area. His experience in local communities gives him a unique perspective and understanding of the challenges facing local government. Mr. Boswell holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Stephen D. Campbell, Vice President & Senior Counsel
Mr. Campbell joined Panda in October 1998 and is responsible for legal activities. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Campbell held various positions in the Legal Departments of ENSERCH Corporation and Enserch Exploration, Inc., for approximately 20 years. Prior to joining ENSERCH Corporation, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County. Mr. Campbell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (Pre-Law) from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Houston School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Carter Cheek, Managing Director
Carter Cheek has over 20 years of finance experience with 18 years in the power industry. Over the course of his career, Carter has developed significant experience in structuring, negotiating and closing highly complex debt, equity and M&A transactions totaling over $11 billion. Carter has been with Panda Power Funds for 3 years where he has held leadership roles in mergers and acquisitions and equity origination.
Carter is currently the co-head of equity originations, responsible for all equity raising activities for the fund. While in his current role, Carter has established significant equity relationships in the U.S. and Asia and raised $50MM of equity through a project equity sale to JP Morgan.
Prior to joining Panda Power Funds, Carter helped to create Silveron Capital Partners, an investment banking boutique that advised on approximately $5 billion of debt and equity transactions focused in the power space. While at Silveron, Carter was focused on client origination, deal structuring and deal execution. Carter worked on a variety of debt and equity transactions for energy clients, including geothermal, ethanol, waste to energy and coal to gas technologies.
Previously, Carter worked for Panda Energy International, a privately held Independent Power Producer where he was responsible for raising both debt and equity for power development projects. While at Panda Energy, Carter helped to structure, negotiate and close over $6 billion of debt and equity capital transactions.
Carter has also worked in the investment banking and private equity industries for Nations Bank and Orix USA respectively. While at Nations Bank Carter was part of a team that analyzed, structured and closed over $500 million of high yield bond transactions. Carter was part of the Special Situations group at Orix where he helped analyze and structure 2nd lien and mezzanine cash flow loans with an average size of $10-$40 MM across a variety of industries.
Carter received his MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a BBA from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS.
Donald F. Fisher, Vice President, Finance
Mr. Fisher joined Panda in October 2002, and is responsible for various finance and financial analysis activities within the Fund. Project technologies evaluated have included gas and coal fossil fuel, wind, solar, and ethanol. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Fisher was an asset valuation manager with Entergy Wholesale Operations (EWO) for several years which included development of their wind asset valuation model and evaluating opportunities for their unregulated fossil fuel fleet. Mr. Fisher worked for Central and South West Corporation for the 21 years prior to EWO, first as an engineer with their regulated business and subsequently as a financial analyst with their unregulated business. Mr. Fisher has received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Jake Golvach, Vice President, Finance
Jake Golvach joined Panda in 2015 and has been responsible for various financial management activities for Panda and its portfolio companies. He previously served as a Sr. FP&A Analyst and Director of FP&A. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Golvach served as a Strategic and Financial Analyst and Director of Business Development for a private energy investment group focused on the acquisition of producing oil and gas assets and the development of related portfolio companies. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Baylor University.
Joe Lloyd, Vice President, Plant Operations
Mr. Lloyd’s experience includes coal, nuclear and natural gas plant management, operations and major maintenance over a 29 year career. Mr. Lloyd joined Panda in 2015 and is responsible for the safe, reliable operation and management of all Panda power plants. He initially served as the General Manager of the Panda Patriot facility in Montgomery, PA, where he led the team through commissioning and transitioned the plant into commercial operation.
Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Lloyd served in several roles at Dynegy, including Managing Director of East Gas Assets. This included a fleet of both combined-cycle and simple-cycle assets utilizing several original equipment manufacturer technologies. He was previously with WorleyParsons in the Operations and Maintenance Group and completed over 13 combined cycle plants. He served in the United States Navy and received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Kutztown.
Darren Hughes, Director, Commercial Operations
Mr. Hughes joined Panda in August 2012, and is responsible for deal origination, commercial operations and asset optimization activities for the Fund. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Hughes was Executive Director, Commercial Operations and Origination with Optim Energy (a generation asset ownership subsidiary of Cascade Investments), and lead the organization startup venture and successfully established the business environment for portfolio optimization, risk management and back office activities. Over Mr. Hughes’ energy career with Luminant Energy, Williams Energy Marketing and Trading, and NorAm Energy, he has been responsible for significant and complex business initiatives related to risk management, contract negotiations, structured transaction and asset acquisitions. Mr. Hughes has extensive commercial operations and market expertise covering crude and refined products, NGLs, natural gas and power. Mr. Hughes holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University.
Blake M. Jones, Associate General Counsel and Senior Compliance Officer
Mr. Jones joined Panda in April 2012, and is responsible for legal and compliance activities for the Funds. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Jones worked for Deloitte where he advised clients on Governance, Regulatory and Risk Strategies in the Energy & Resources industry. Mr. Jones worked with the global trading entity of a major, integrated oil company and a non-government electric regulatory organization. Prior to joining Deloitte, Blake served in the Project Management Office at Spectra Energy where he led a multi-department regulatory initiative. His experience also includes positions at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Oklahoma Corporation Commission and as an attorney in private practice. Mr. Jones received a Juris Doctor with certificates in Financial Services and Commercial Law and Electronic Commerce, and Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Washburn University. Mr. Jones is a former Chair of the Energy Bar Association’s Natural Gas Regulation Committee and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Matthew R. Kneifl, Director
Mr. Kneifl joined Panda Power Funds in March 2013. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Kneifl managed the financial, planning and analysis and asset management reporting functions for the North American wind energy operations of Infigen Energy, consisting of 18 wind projects totaling 1,600 megawatts of installed capacity, as well as Infigen Asset Management. Prior to his work with Infigen, Mr. Kneifl was engaged in mergers and acquisitions advisory and the execution of exit/recapitalization strategies for North American clients operating in a range of industry sectors including but not limited to energy, aerospace and defense, healthcare, consulting, technology, and manufacturing. Mr. Kneifl has participated in over thirty completed M&A transactions, both in supporting and lead deal making roles, in addition to performing over a hundred corporate valuations. Mr. Kneifl received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and his MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
Bill Pentak, Vice President, Business Development and Public Affairs
Mr. Pentak was the Director of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations of Panda Energy from August 2007 until April 2010. He served in the same position at Panda Ethanol from 2006 until 2007. He was responsible for managing Panda Energy‘s investor relations and public affairs functions. Prior to joining Panda Ethanol, Mr. Pentak served in the corporate communications and investor relations department of Reliant Energy. He has more than 20 years of public affairs experience. Mr. Pentak received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from Baylor University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin.
Luc Picard, Senior Director Contracts/ Projects Administrator
Luc Picard joined Panda Energy in 2001 and is responsible for the administration of engineering, procurement and construction contracts awarded for the Panda Power Funds projects. Prior to Panda Power Funds, Luc held various management positions with major corporations such as Gulf Oil, GE and SNC-Lavalin. Luc has more than 30 years of experience in the oil & gas, petrochemicals and power industry. Luc has worked on various energy projects in Canada, New Zealand and many U.S. states. Luc has a B.A. degree in industrial engineering from Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal and an M.B.A. in International Business Management from McGill University.
Rex Sears, Director, Engineering
Rex Sears joined Panda in March 2013 and is responsible for management of the engineering function in support of Panda's program of in-progress capital projects and project development activities. Prior to joining Panda Mr. Sears was employed by Duke Energy for 13 years working within the corporate capital project engineering and construction group rising from senior engineer to project director. Prior to Duke Energy Mr. Sears was employed in the petrochemical manufacturing industry in plant utility operations and project engineering roles consisting of 10 years with Rohm and Haas and 3 years with Equistar Chemicals. As a result, prior to joining Panda, Mr. Sears accumulated 16 years of direct owner engineering and project management execution experience from implementation of 1,700 MW of gas turbine-based cogeneration, combine-cycle and integrated gasification combined-cycle capital projects. Mr. Sears holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Houston-University Park and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Mr. Sears holds an active E.I.T. certification. Prior to attending college, Mr. Sears served honorably in the Navy Nuclear Power Program as a mechanical operator and completed his service qualified as a chief reactor auxiliary operator and rose to the rate of First Class Petty Officer.
Brandon Upchurch, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Mr. Upchurch joined Panda Power Funds in 2014 and serves as Senior Vice President of Business Development. Brandon is responsible for providing the firm with attractive investment opportunities focused on greenfield power development and project acquisitions in the industry sector. Brandon works closely with Panda’s Equity & Debt teams and manages Panda’s Engineering & Construction team to guide projects from early stage development through financial close. Brandon plays a key role in the commercial strategy and negotiations during both greenfield development and acquisitions. This includes fuel supply agreements, transmission, EPC Agreements, hedge agreements, and tax related issues.
Prior experience includes 10+ years in the IPP Space. Brandon has experience and expertise in all types of power including solid fuel, renewables, natural gas and transmission.
Brandon earned a dual BBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship & Venture Management from the University of Oklahoma.
Creede Williams, Managing Director
Mr. Williams joined Panda Power Funds in June 2014 as Vice President of Business Development. Prior to joining Panda, Mr. Williams served as Panda Energy International’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary from 2008 through June 2014. Mr. Williams served on the company’s executive team overseeing all legal matters, including litigation, project and corporate finance, governance, M&A activities, divestitures, State and Federal regulatory affairs, securities compliance and investor relations. Mr. Williams joined Panda Energy International from Trilogy Development Fund(TDF) in 2008; where he served as corporate counsel working with all aspects of project development activities, including site selection, zoning, finance, marketing, acquisitions and the use of municipal utility districts, tax increment financing and other economic development incentives.
Mr. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Letters from The University of Oklahoma (cum laude) and Juris Doctor from The University of Oklahoma, College of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Oklahoma and the State Bar of Texas. He is admitted to practice before the District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Josh York, Vice President, Asset Management and Commerical Operations
Mr. York joined Panda in 2015 and currently serves as the Vice President of Asset Management and Commercial Operations for Panda’s operating fleet. In this role, Mr. York is responsible for the overall profitability of the assets. Prior to Panda, he worked for the AES Corporation for 6 years, serving in various Finance and Risk Management roles. Prior to AES, he worked for Direct Energy in the Finance department. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Red McCombs School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Texas A&M University.
Alison Zimlich, Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Zimlich joined Panda Power Funds in November 2013 as Chief Financial Officer, following a seventeen-year career in the industry with The AES Corporation and its affiliates. While at AES, she served in a variety of accounting, finance, tax and business development roles throughout the organization. Most recently, Ms. Zimlich was the chief financial officer for AES’ North America Generation portfolio, where she oversaw the accounting, financial planning, tax and treasury functions for the division’s twenty-five thermal and wind generation businesses with revenues of approximately $1.5 billion in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico. She started her career with Ernst & Young, LLP as a tax consultant, following her graduation from Texas State University at San Marcos with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. She also received a Master of Science degree in Taxation from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Zimlich is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant.