David Sweet

History books are replete with stories about individuals who changed the course of human events through a combination of intelligence, charisma and determination. With these qualities comes the ability to influence others and create support for a shared vision and plan of action. When you mix these attributes together you wind up with leaders. While it is not clear what the ‘secret sauce’ might be that allows some to become leaders and others to remain followers, we can usually recognize and appreciate leadership, whether it be in sports, politics or business.

At WADE we have been fortunate, in that leaders seem to be a renewable resource. That is because trade associations tend to be leadership incubators. The people active in WADE are already leaders within their organizations. Participation in WADE gives people exposure to other leaders from outside of their own company and provides numerous opportunities to hone leadership skills. For instance, speaking on behalf of an entire industry and representing the broader interests beyond those of a particular company requires a different way of thinking and, at times, a different way of acting. But through this personal stretching process comes growth, ultimately into the industry leader and spokesman that trade associations so value.

The WADE Board recently elected Jim Crouse of Capstone to replace Christoph Vitzthum, of Wärtsilä as the new Chairman of the Board. While we wish Christoph well, thank him for his leadership and friendship and value the benefit of his continued guidance and experience, we are also excited by the new ideas and possibilities that Jim brings to the table for WADE.

Christoph leaves WADE a better place than he found it, guiding us into new areas of the world and new possibilities through the creation of major public-private partnerships in Asia that advance global decentralized energy markets. He knows better than most, that to change the world you can’t just sit behind a desk thinking about it, but need to get out and do it. He leaves his role at WADE to move into an expanded role at Wärtsilä where he now makes the change from head of power plants to head up the even larger services group of over 10,000 people. His limitless energy, even in the face of a grueling travel schedule, and boundless enthusiasm for people, ideas and life will no doubt continue to serve him well.

Through the election of Jim Crouse as Chairman, WADE leadership once again shifts from Europe to North America and brings us closer to the new and exciting field of microturbine technology. As Executive Vice President of Capstone, Jim is also a leader within his company and joins the ranks of global industry leaders. Jim has been involved in the energy and power business for over 20 years and is one of those people that seems to know everybody and everybody certainly knows Jim. He is a larger than life personality who has already started to generate ideas that will take WADE to the next level as an industry organization.

While we will certainly miss the leadership of Christoph, it is through the process of membership and leadership development that associations can continue to grow and be successful. It is, therefore, with great anticipation that we begin the journey with our new chairman and the process of developing the leaders of the decentralized energy industry for tomorrow.

David Sweet
Executive Director, WADE

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