Director, BQ Energy
James S. Falsetti, UB CBE Class of ’78, is a Director at BQ Energy, a company focusing on providing wind and solar energy solutions for institutions like UB looking to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate their environmental impact. Since graduating from UB, Jim has worked in the energy industry, and has held executive positions at Texaco and Shell. He also holds an MBA from Columbia University.
At Texaco, Falsetti had many jobs over his 20+ year tenure, and although they were in different areas—refinery process operations, engineering, R&D, technology licensing and sales, project development, and management—he credits UB CBE for providing the skills to be successful: “At UB, we had to be dedicated to solving the problem and sticking with it until it’s completed. These are skills you need in both large and small organizations.” When Texaco was purchased by Chevron in 2001, he struck out on his own, providing expert services to other energy companies, and also developing energy projects. In 2003, he joined a former Texaco colleague at BQ Energy, a company dedicated to developing wind energy plants on industrial brownfields. Brownfields are attractive for wind energy projects as they are often located on coastal regions, where wind currents are usually strong. Other site assets favoring redevelopment include existing power lines and ready access to transportation. During 2004, BQ Energy landed at the former Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna, on the coast of Lake Erie, which had ceased operating in 1985, and by 2007, had started up the first phase of the 35 MW Steel Winds project.
In 2008, BQ Energy expanded its scope to include closed landfills and solar energy photovoltaic projects. During 2012, BQ Energy began developing a 4 MW solar energy project where the electricity will be used by the University at Buffalo. The project is under construction now and will be operational before the end of 2016. It’s helping UB to meet its sustainability goals using carbon-free electricity. In addition to the Lackawanna projects, BQ Energy owns and operates two landfill projects, has 15 MW of projects in construction, and another 50 MW in advanced development. Thinking back to his own start at UB CBE, Falsetti remembers many good professors, with a special memory of an alumni favorite, Dr. Tom Weber, who as he recalls, was “Very dynamic, a great instructor. I remember how, when I first encountered problems with the trial-and-error method, he moved me along to enjoy solving the problems. He was an excellent teacher.”
Currently, he is a member of the department’s advisory board, and an enthusiastic supporter of the department’s annual fund, which provides support for student awards, upgrades of student meeting, research and learning spaces, and other initiatives that help provide excellent learning opportunities for our students. “My wife, and my late brother, father, and mother all went to UB, so one of the main reasons that I support it is because of my family’s relationship; it’s in honor of their memory.”