Tom Carnahan to Speak During Global Entrepreneurship Week Nov. 17

Tom Carnahan, son of late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, will give the keynote address for Global Entrepreneurship Week at 12:30 Nov. 17 in Violette Hall 1000.

Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from Nov. 17-23, is sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation to promote entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit. It is co-sponsored by the Kirksville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center.
Other events during the week include “Pitch It!” from 12-1 p.m. and 3-4 p.m. Nov. 18 in the Georgian Room, where students can receive feedback about their ideas. There will also be an Innovation Expo on Nov. 20 in the Georgian Room.

Formerly a real estate developer and lawyer, Tom Carnahan is now the founder and president of Wind Capital Group L.L.C., the first wind energy developer in Missouri.

While wind energy was growing rapidly around the country, no one was developing projects in Missouri.

“I used to tell people about this, and they’d roll their eyes and look at me like I was crazy,” Carnahan said. “It doesn’t seem so crazy to anybody anymore.”

Today, Carnahan has 79 turbines spinning over farmland in northwestern Missouri. Wind Capital is currently undertaking four major projects, representing nearly $300 million in development, Carnahan said. The projects will generate 162 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 100,000 homes. The staff at Wind Capital has grown as quickly as the turbines, with 18 employees in 2007, as compared to two employees in 2006.

As a member of the American Wind Energy Association’s Legislative and Policy Committee, Carnahan also keeps an eye on the energy policy debate in Washington, D.C.

“The important thing for people to understand is renewable energy like wind has to compete with other forms of energy that are also subsidized, like coal and gas,” he said. “They all get different kinds of subsidies from government.”

Despite Wind Capital’s early success, some people still question whether wind power is more than the latest fad.

“I think that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Carnahan said. “We’re powering real homes and creating real electrons every single day for sale in a competitive market.”

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