Sustainable Project Finance and Development Opportunities for Higher Education

wind turbines


In today’s challenging economic environment, higher education institutions seeking ways to modernize facilities and achieve sustainability goals are increasingly looking to alternative project delivery and financing options to meet campus infrastructure needs. 

On December 16, DASNY held a virtual discussion with a panel of industry experts on recent trends in the execution and financing of energy and sustainable projects in the higher education market.  

Watch the full event, review the event Q&A, and learn more about our panelists below!

December 16, 2020

About Participants

Stephen Auton-Smith | Managing Director, Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC

Stephen is based in New York and leads Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors’ energy and environmental Infrastructure team. He has over 20 years of experience advising owners and developers on infrastructure and P3 projects and has a strong track record in financial and commercial structuring, procurement and commercial negotiation in renewables and utility projects. Stephen leads EYIA’s work across a portfolio of higher education energy P3s for both public and private institutions. The focus of these projects ranges from decarbonization and modernization through to monetization and divestiture.

Jeffrey Pohl | Counsel, Nixon Peabody

Jeffrey Pohl is an attorney in Nixon Peabody’s Project Finance and Public Finance group and advises on matters relating to state and local finance, procurement and municipal law. He has worked on bond issuances for New York State issuers, such as the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), the Empire State Development Corporation, the Environmental Facilities Corporations, and for local development corporations. Prior to joining Nixon Peabody, he served as general counsel to DASNY and Deputy Counsel to the Office of State Comptroller.

Patrick Russell | Managing Director, Education & Nonprofit Group, Wells Fargo

Patrick joined Wells Fargo in 2003 and has specialized in municipal finance for almost 25 years within the higher education, healthcare and nonprofit sectors. He has experience with over 100 municipal and higher education issues totaling in excess of $20.0 billion, and has implemented a variety of bond structures for public and private universities, privatized student housing and other mixed-use facilities. Pat has served as the lead banker for the following higher education and health care institutions: the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of North Carolina, NC State University, the University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University, Temple University, University of Georgia, University System of Georgia, Georgetown University, West Virginia University, West Virginia University Hospital System, University of Maryland, University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida. Pat’s nonprofit experience includes bond issues for: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Geographic Society, Woodruff Arts Museum, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the Orland Diocese. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Pat worked for 15 years at PNC Capital Markets and RBC in their Pittsburgh offices. Pat earned a B.A. in Economics from Brown University and is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). He is registered as a General Securities Representative (Series 7), Municipal Securities Principal (Series 53) and General Securities Principal (Series 24).

Matthew E. Neuringer | Senior Associate, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Matthew E. Neuringer, Attorney at Orrick, focuses on the innovative delivery of complex alternative infrastructure and renewable energy projects. Matthew advises governmental agencies (including DASNY, MTA, PANYNJ, & NYC), developers and financiers in delivering Public-Private Partnership and Design-Build projects across various asset classes, including, aviation, energy and utility systems, higher education, transportation, waste, social and digital infrastructure.

Ron Herbst | Vice President, Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc

Ron Herbst has over 25 years of experience in energy project development and sustainability management. Mr. Herbst has managed and delivered over $2.0B of design/build/financing of buildings and energy systems and has been the technical lead on $700M of energy and carbon investment funds. Ron received his BA in Environmental Design from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Masters of Studies in Physics & Applied Solar Energy from Trinity University, San Antonio. Prior to joining B&D, Ron held a number of senior positions in finance, real estate management and energy services companies including; Director of Energy Alternatives at DWS; Global Head of Energy & Sustainability for Deutsche Bank; Managing Director of Energy & Sustainability at CBRE; VP Energy Services for Schneider Electric; and Director of Energy Services at EMCOR. licensed Mechanical Engineer and LEED Accredited, Ron Herbst is actively involved in publishing and speaking engagements in the fields of high performance building design, energy & sustainability operations, and the "greening" of real estate Investments.

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