On April 22, I attended the “Investing in a Greener Future” workshop with guest speaker Ronald Blaylock. One of the first things that Mr. Blaylock clarified was that he was not speaking as an environmentalist but as an investor, which pretty much intimidated me to the utmost degree. Full disclosure in my three years at Hofstra, I have never once taken a financing, economics, or any business related class. Needless to say before Mr. Blaylock even started his presentation I was fully convinced I would not understand a single thing. But I am happy to say that I was completely wrong.
When Mr. Blaylock started explaining who he was, a financial specialist who is the founder and managing partner of GenNx360, I was impressed because it sounded impressive but not because I knew what it meant. Basically what his firm does is invest in business to business companies (such as manufacture to store) help them become successful and worth more than what was original invested in them, and then sell stocks for profit. Now I am not sure how other private equity firms do things, but this way seems really logical. He went on to explain that as an investor he is looking for companies that solve problems, because those will be the most successful. Again, logical.
The problem that Ronald Blaylock was looking at was global warming, and the companies that provided solutions were environmentally friendly companies. He went on to discuss how “greener” options were actually financially sound investments. The example he gave was during a family vacation to Jamaica he observed many of the local homes had solar panels. When he asked his cab driver about it, the driver told him that the electricity company was charging an outrageous amount, so instead of paying the ridiculous cost, the locals began buying solar panels. As a native Long Islander who has always heard her mother complain about LIPA (now PSEG) bills, I could totally relate to this story. What was most surprising was when Chad, a member of Students for a Greener Hofstra, told the audience that a functioning solar panel could be made for $50! It would be a small panel but hey, I’m sure people spend more than that on monthly coffee expenses. As Ronald Blaylock continued to explain the advantages of investing in environmentally friendly companies, it began to feel more like common sense to me than a foreign language, which is something I can safely say I never thought would happen. Mr. Blaylock was informative, clear and passionate during his presentation, making it easy to enjoy!