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.

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Posts

What to Do When Your Small Business Closes … A guest post

Picture1Image via Unsplash

What to Do When Your Small Business Closes

By Carla Lopez

If your small business has recently closed its doors, you are not alone. In fact, Coresight Research CEO and Founder Deborah Weinswig has predicted that 15,000 or more retailers will have closed their doors by the end of the year. However, retail is not the only industry that’s fallen on hard times. Particularly due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, a wide variety of industries are struggling because consumers are simply not going out and purchasing goods or services.

Whether it’s due to the outbreak or because of another reason, now that your business is closed, the question is: What do you do? From embracing the failure to making ends meet to dreaming up your next venture, here are some tips to guide you along the way as you keep moving forward.

Come to Terms with Your Circumstances

Possibly the hardest part of experiencing a business closure is accepting that it’s over. However, it’s important not only to accept that your business is closing but also to embrace it. Remember that just because your business failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Many, if not most, of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs failed time and time again before realizing success. But the only way to move on is to embrace the moment and assess why your business failed so that you can know what changes to make next time.

Keep Working

Another hard but necessary step to take after your business closes is to find other ways to bring in some income. The reason it’s difficult is because you might have to do something outside of your perceived career path just so that you can make ends meet. This can feel like you’re taking a step back. However, it’s important to look at the situation in two ways:

  1. At most, this is temporary, and being able to pay your bills as you prepare for your next business venture is a good thing.
  2. There’s a chance that you could find a new occupation that you end up enjoying and thriving in. Then, you could either keep working as an employee for a while or turn it into a business.

One of the best methods for finding work after your business is closed is to join an online job board like Upwork. Employers from all over the world use such sites to hire freelancers for a wide variety of tasks and projects. This could bring about an opportunity for you to not only make some money but also regain your professional footing and possibly find an industry that you love.

Start Thinking of Your Next Venture

Successful entrepreneurs are constantly thinking about the next thing. Even when their company is successful, they are mulling over ways to improve and evolve in every aspect of their operations. The same goes for when your business fails. You must always be thinking of what your next venture could be and how you can get the ball rolling.

Take Care of Yourself

Last but not least: Practice self-care. Fostering your overall health and well-being is essential to living a fulfilling life, and that includes starting and running your next business. Be sure to practice basic hygiene each day, maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, and get plenty of rest. Also, look for ways that you can relax, such as spending time with loved ones, taking on a hobby, reading a book, and so on.

Summing It All Up

Experiencing a closure of your business can be devastating, and it can feel impossible to bounce back from. But if you respond with the right approach, you can turn it into an opportunity for something better. Remember to accept your business failure, find a way to make ends meet while you’re in transition, keep thinking about your next venture, and practice self-care each day. Through it all, keep in mind that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love. 
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