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RELEASE: NextEnergy announces organizational changes

By Posted on February 21, 2018

Media Contact:
Melissa Smith
Director, Outreach & Branding Initiatives

NextEnergy announces organizational changes

DETROIT, Feb. 20, 2018 – NextEnergy today announced Jim Saber will be appointed president and CEO of the Detroit-based technology accelerator, effective March 2. Saber, who has led NextEnergy’s business development and technology commercialization efforts since 2004, will replace Jean Redfield who will re-join Fordsell Machine Products, the precision machining manufacturing firm she co-owns with her husband. Redfield will continue to work in the entrepreneurial ecosystem serving as faculty for the national labs’ innovation training courses.

As part of the transition, Angella Durkin will be promoted from vice president of finance and administration to the newly-formed role of COO.

“When Jean joined NextEnergy, she agreed to spend three to five years to help elevate NextEnergy to the next level,” said Maria Thompson, board chair for NextEnergy. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to thank Jean for her accomplishments at NextEnergy. She has led NextEnergy’s evolution from a state economic development resource to a nationally-recognized incubator and accelerator for energy and mobility technologies.”

Since 2012, NextEnergy has established a national reputation as a center for innovation, connecting start-ups and research teams in the innovation pipeline to market opportunities through accelerator programs, technology challenges, market pilots and demonstrations. Recent highlights include:

  • Becoming a nationally recognized member of the Incubatenergy Network, a consortium of the top clean energy incubators in the U.S.
  • Successfully administering two NextChallenge: Smart Cities technology challenges with applicants from around the world
  • Earning a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) for the National Incubator Initiative for Clean Energy (NIICE)
  • Earning two Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) grants by leveraging partnerships with leading clean energy incubators and innovation hubs including New York City-based ACRE, Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, Massachusetts-based GreenTown Learn, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), and Prospect Silicon Valley

“NextEnergy is looking to continue its momentum under Jim’s leadership,” Thompson added. “Jim has extensive experience, passion and relationships in the energy and automotive industries. Combined with Angella’s strategic operational insights and attention to detail, they are strong choices to lead NextEnergy into the future.

“In 2012 we developed a five-year plan and we’re proud to have accomplished the goals we set for the organization,” said Saber. “We look forward to continuing our impact as an innovation center by leveraging our relationships and building upon our strengths to attract and support tech based businesses, and deploy energy and mobility solutions in Detroit and beyond.”

About NextEnergy
Founded in 2002 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NextEnergy is an innovation center accelerating advanced energy, mobility and built environment technologies to enable smarter and more sustainable cities. Since its inception, NextEnergy has worked with more than 400 companies, universities, federal agencies, and philanthropic organizations to drive more than $1.5 billion in advanced energy and mobility technology investments. For more information about how we’re accelerating technologies that transform how we use energy to live and move, visit



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