Principia’s CEO

Keith Cooley

Keith Cooley is a strategist and management consultant focusing his inventive problem-solving skills on linking America’s recovery to a “Green Collar” Agenda of developing cutting-edge technology to combat issues of environmental crises/justice and training underserved communities as the next generation of technologists in support of these sectors.

His specialty is troubleshooting the tough business problems that keep executives awake at night and he is a first class relationship manager, able to spot potential roadblocks early and effectively neutralize them. Cooley provides “seasoned” counsel to help senior leaders plan for a smart, sustainable future and forms imaginative partnerships to connect business, academia and community leaders in pursuit of initiatives arising from common interests.

In addition, decades of service in corporate, not for profit and governmental settings makes him the perfect choice for interim executive level assignments in areas like Engineering, Operations, Management and “Clean Tech”… to assure business continuity in the face of the loss of a key executive

Peers and colleagues often cite his grasp of technical issues and outstanding people skills as keys to his success. These qualities have made Cooley a sought after speaker for audiences of all kinds… from local (Detroit) public and charter schools urging urban youth to stay in school to The National Defense University (Wash. D.C.) speaking to issues of national security and The Hannover Industrial Fair (Germany) promoting foreign investment in U.S. clean tech initiatives. Over the last several years he has been a guest lecturer in ethics at Wayne State University Business School and in career decision-making at the University of Michigan’s College Engineering.

Equally comfortable working with clients across the political spectrum, Keith served as a cabinet member to Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm, advised (then French Presidential candidate) François Hollande on future energy trends and hosted Vice President Biden’s announcement of a $1.3 billion award to Michigan for vehicle electrification. Named a national public opinion leader by the Bush Administration in 2006, he was chosen to visit U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East, touring and observing the day-to-day operations of active military installations.

Now CEO of the management advisory firm, Principia, LLC, he was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of NextEnergy. There at the request of Governor Granholm, he helped the organization, considered Southeast Michigan’s premiere convener, collaborator, and service provider accelerating the growth of advanced energy companies, technologies, and industries, reconnect to vital foundation funding.

Cooley’s background reflects work across a variety of organizations that speak directly to his operational leadership talent. That includes CEO/COO of Focus: HOPE where he led the nationally known Detroit civil/human rights nonprofit through one of its most difficult periods… closing 1st tier auto supply operations in order to save the institution from certain disaster as the American automotive industry nearly collapsed in the “Great Recession”.

As an Engineering Director at Cadillac Motor Car his frequent interactions inside vehicle assembly and quality operations with the UAW helped grow an honest, open relationship between union and management and as lead engineering executive for the Cadillac Allanté body his diplomatic skills settled a long standing dispute between the Italian automaker Pininfarina, its union workers and Cadillac.

He worked side by side with assembly personnel at several GM plants to understand the challenges that hinder better union/management relations; toured the NUMMI vehicle assembly plant (a unique GM/Toyota partnership) for insight into operational performance enhancement; and is a long standing advocate of Deming’s principles of quality management.

Cooley’s professional activities and affiliations include service with The University of Michigan Nuclear Engineering Advisory Council; Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams; the Michigan Environmental Council and the Public School Academies of Detroit.

He has been recognized by Who’s Who in the World, named a Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer, and received the Apollo Alliance (now BlueGreen Alliance) “Right Stuff” Award for work that exemplifies the organization’s clean energy, good jobs mission. Cooley was also chosen by the Bush Administration to visit U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East.

Cooley received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering physics and a Master of Science degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan.

 

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