Michael Polsky
Michael Polsky
SkyGen
Founder, President & CEO, Invenergy

 
Michael Polsky is the founder, President and CEO of Invenergy.   Invenergy specializes in developing and owning various power generation reserves with an emphasis on renewable resources.  With nearly 30 years of experience in the energy industry, he is widely recognized as a pioneer and an industry leader in the cogeneration and independent power industry in North America.

Prior to forming Invenergy in 2001, Polsky founded SkyGen Energy, in 1991, where he built one of the most successful teams in the independent energy industry.  In 2001, SkyGen was purchased by Calpine Corporation.  In connection with the sale, Polsky was appointed to Calpine’s Board of Directors and became a senior executive at Calpine in addition to continuing in his role as CEO of SkyGen.  Prior to forming SkyGen, he co-founded and was President of Indeck Energy Services Inc., where he led the development and financing of one of the first portfolios of independent power generating assets. Prior to forming Indeck Energy Services, Polsky held various positions at Fluor Engineers, Brown Boveri Turbomachinery and Bechtel Power Corporation.  Because of his education, experience and expertise, he writes and lectures regularly on industry topics.

In 2002, Polsky endowed a center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, which is named after him.

Polsky currently chairs the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. In addition, he serves on the Boards of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the World Resources Institute.

Polsky holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a MSME degree from Kiev Polytechnic Institute.

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QHow did you get into the energy business?

A I was trained as an engineer. In the late '70s, when the laws changed to allow private ownership of electric generation facilities, many people who did not have technical expertise tried to build and own power plants. I thought, if these guys can do this with little training or knowledge and I understand the business, then I should be able to do it well.

QHow were you going to fund the business?

A I looked for an investor because I didn't have any money. I had to find someone who would at least pay my salary. So that was my first business - I found an investor who basically paid my salary and gave me a space. I started that way.

QYou had the technical expertise and an entrepreneurial desire.

A I think I did not know what "entrepreneurial" meant at the time. I just saw the opportunity and felt I could do it. I never connected it to the glamour of having your own business. The thing was I really did not like big companies. I did not like their culture. I did not like that management was so far removed. I worked for an engineering company, but none of the management had a clue about engineering, so it was difficult for me to be there.

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