led to the privatization of the
company. I was then hired by
the new owners to establish a
marketing and sales strategy
to bring the company’s capabilities to market. When that
plan was finished just over
one year later, I was made
president and CEO, replacing
the interim CEO.
Q. What did you do prior
to working at Enwave?
A. I was an elected represen-
tative in local and regional
governments in the city of
Toronto for eight years.
seemingly endless, but if you
do your homework, understand your clients’ needs and
the business landscape, stay
ahead of government legislation, and differentiate your
company, you will succeed.
Q. Please share with us
something about the people
who have served as your
mentors or who have had
a great influence on your
career. Why did they make
A. Two individuals come to
mind who have had a significant influence on me. The first
is my father, an uneducated
immigrant from Greece who
came to Canada with $5 in his
pocket. He didn’t speak a
word of English yet managed
to establish at least four businesses that I can remember,
raise three children and be an upstanding
citizen in his new homeland. He had the
misfortune of being forced to declare
bankruptcy several times as he tried to
establish a foothold in his new home, but
he never quit. From him I learned never
to quit until you ultimately succeed and
that I should always be prepared for the
curve balls that life throws at me. You
never know when your big opportunity
will present itself, so you’d better always
The second person is Michael Nobrega,
president and CEO of OMERS (Ontario
Municipal Employees Retirement Savings
System). He took a chance on me and
appointed me president and CEO of
Enwave at 35 years of age. I had very
limited knowledge of district energy, I was
not an engineer, and I had limited private-sector business experience. He made the
decision on his gut feeling based on the
Q. When did you join IDEA,
and how did you first learn
about it? What do you think
its greatest strength is?
A. I first joined IDEA in
1998 at the urging of Richard
Damecour and Jack Kattner.
The organization’s greatest
strength is that it is a go-to
resource and networking center for the industry. All the
information you need and all
the people who can help you
establish yourself and your
business are in IDEA. I am living proof of this: A large part of
Enwave’s success and my personal achievements are attributable to the people and
resources that I have been
able to garner from IDEA.
Courtesy Enwave Energy Corp.
In 2002, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (left) and Dennis Fotinos unveiled Enwave Energy
Corp.'s $250 million deep lake water cooling project to provide environmentally
friendly cooling to the Toronto's downtown core. The celebration, titled "Get
Chilled...Naturally," included a news conference and was supported by The Lung
Association, which applauded Enwave for its commitment to environmental
health and clean air.
corporate reorganization that I had executed and the new marketing strategy
that I had developed for the company.
From Michael I learned – and continue to
learn every day – how to conduct myself
in business: with patience, determination,
staying the course and going with my gut.
Q. What is your greatest source of
A. The creation of Enwave Energy Corp.
and its continued success, growth and
Q. What piece of advice would you
like to share with people who are new
to the district energy and/or combined
heat and power industries?
A. My advice is to stay the course. The
early years of establishing or revamping
a district energy system to address customer and market needs are tough and
Q. The current energy
situation is creating both a
sense of panic and a sense
of opportunity for district
energy systems. How do
you view it, and why?
A. In every crisis or panic situation, I only
look for the opportunities. I always look
past the dark clouds because nothing good
comes from doom and gloom or panic.
District energy is at the forefront of the
environmental consciousness that is sweeping the world in response to a heightening
awareness about climate change and energy
resources. District energy is the ‘
low-hanging fruit’ – not necessarily the first step
but certainly an easy step for communities
to take as they strive to become more
environmentally attuned. We need to let
legislators and business leaders know how
district energy can help them get on the
path to being green. Regardless of what
other initiatives they many undertake,
when district energy is added to the mix,
the positive impact they can have on the
environment will be stronger.