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 executive coaching, executive mentoring, or interim executive level assignments in areas like Engineering, Operations, C-Suite 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. cleantech 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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5 Essential Steps to Starting a Business Out of Your Home … a guest post

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by Amy Collett

If you are thinking about starting your own business, be prepared for a variety of challenges and benefits. It’s one of the hardest-yet-rewarding career paths you can choose. One factor that can make a big difference in your experience, however, is where your new business is located. By setting up shop in your home, you can eliminate some of the overhead costs that come with renting an office space, and you can enjoy more flexibility and balance in your work and home life.

Of course, when starting a business from home, it’s essential to approach it the right way so that you can put yourself in a position to succeed. Along with hiring a management consulting firm like Principia, LLC, keep these five steps in mind as you get your home-based business up and running:

1. Lay out your interests

Just as Forbes explains, when you start a business, it’s important that you have a passion (or at least an interest) in the industry you are entering. Otherwise, the daily challenges that come your way can quickly overtake your motivation to keep going, and could greatly interfere with your ultimate satisfaction and success. Write down any interests you have accumulated over the years, as well as the specific skills you possess. Doing so will help you determine the kind of business you could do well in.

This step is also essential if you’ve recently lost your job or business. Once you accept your situation and grieve for a short time, you need to get up and begin mulling over your next idea so that you can figure out how to get it off the ground.

2. Research ideas

Once you have written out all of your interests and skills, hit the web to research the plethora of business ideas out there. Whether it’s running a dog grooming business, freelance writing, or opening an e-commerce store, you can do almost anything out of your home. Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Under30CEO are a few websites that provide a variety of business ideas and other valuable information on running a business.

3. Find funding

No matter what kind of business you start, you might need to seek funding to help get it off the ground. That way, you can have the working capital you need for getting any necessary equipment, hiring employees, increasing inventory, and handling any number of other tasks. When it comes down to it, having money available can help you to keep stress to a minimum and achieve your goals in a timely manner. When you are researching your financing options, be sure to consider both government and non-government programs and loans.

4. Equip yourself with the right tools

Along with figuring out your interests, researching business ideas, and finding the right types of funding, be sure to consider any tools you may need to succeed in your business. Basic equipment such as a quality desk, ergonomic chair, and laptop/desktop computer are given for any home office. But there are also many types of tools and software that can help you stay productive and in communication with team members and partners. Research the various productivity and collaboration apps on the market to choose the right ones for you.

5. Set customers on a pedestal

Last but not least: Value your customers (or clients) above all else. As Trustpilot explains, your business won’t survive unless your customers are kept satisfied. Along with maintaining solid customer relationships, make sure you are going to great lengths to expand your customer base. Ensuring the quality of your products and services, engaging on social media, and promoting your brand through email marketing are great ways to achieve this.

Amy Collett is creator of bizwell.org, a website that helps professionals and entrepreneurs build and strengthen their personal brand. When she isn’t helping clients boost their careers or businesses, she enjoys coaching her daughter’s soccer team and training to become a yoga instructor. 

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