Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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5 questions for Brian Bednar

Brian Bednar is founder and president of Charlotte-based Birdseye Renewable Energy. The Queen City native graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with degree in business administration and earned an MBA at the University of Virginia. Brian has worked in in agribusiness, real-estate brokerage, development and property management. In 2009, Brian stepped back from the day-to-day operations of his real-estate business and shifted his focus to solar development.

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What do you like best about your job?

Two things. First, like any developer, I get many opportunities to tout the benefits of our projects. With solar development, I also get to respond to broad curiosity and interest in renewables. I really enjoy educating folks and discussing how solar can impact the future of energy in North Carolina.

Second, it is hard to imagine a job that would give me more exposure to North Carolinians from all walks of life. The opportunity to build quality relationships and work with landowners, local government, neighbors and folks in the community across the state is a great privilege. It has dramatically enhanced my respect and love for my home state.

What inspires you?

Spearheading new ideas to lower costs and develop higher-quality solar projects. Birdseye’s goal is to push the standards of best-in-class solar development by pushing for the next biodiversity measure, creative buffering strategy or unique commercial approach. In such a new industry, there is lots of room to run.

Who should we be paying attention to?

Jason Groenewold, a new and creative real-estate developer in Charlotte, currently driving a really exciting redevelopment of a large assemblage at the corner of East and West boulevards and South Tryon Street surrounding Sauceman’s. I admire his vision and respect for stakeholders.

What was your biggest challenge this week?

Devising ways to provide my team interesting opportunities to stretch and grow professionally in a smaller organization. It can be scary to disrupt the routines and flow we have with our current work.

Favorite N.C. vacation spot?

A couple days in Pinehurst with friends at the Holly Inn and golfing at [Pinehurst Resort] is always a great way to unwind and get away. Our annual apple picking trip to Henderson County is simple, but a can’t miss tradition for the family.

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Ben Kinney is publisher of Business North Carolina magazine. You can reach him at bkinney@businessnc.com.

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