Our Team

MICHAEL CASLIN


In 2008, Mike founded URGENT VC to support the development of sustainable cities. URGENT VC does this through supporting green venture development in the CleanTech-Alternative Asset Investment Class category. He brings his 30 years CEO, entrepreneurial and environmental leadership in the business and academic sectors for the support of sustainable cities to build great companies for green cities. URGENT VC’s operations are focused on: Sustainable Community Plan Consulting and Carbon Management Advisory Services, Green Venture Development and Green City Fund #1.

He has served as a featured speaker for the Harlem Business Alliance- Business Economic Summit on the Green Economy and Babson College’s- Green Business Panel and serves as Advisor to the SJF CleanTech Fund and New York City’s CleanTech Corridor. Mike’s environmental leadership extends back to 1998 where he helped the launch and has served as the Board Chair of the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College which provides 50 Public Schools, their teachers and their 5,000 students with leading edge urban environmental curriculum. In 1999, he served as an inaugural member of the Norfolk Trust Global Fellowship on Sustainable Cities a 12 city/4 continent field to observe first hand why cities thrive or die.

Mike has enjoyed sharing his experiences with his students as a joint Professor at Babson College, Arthur Blank Center for Entrepreneurship (Ranked #1/2,000+ college/universities) and CUNY-Baruch College-Zicklin School of Business (Ranked #9/2,000+ colleges/universities), where he teaches Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise Management and Sustainability at the graduate and undergraduate level. Mike is a graduate of Manhattanville College in Economics and Political Science and was a Summer Fellow at both Georgetown University and University of Arizona Economics Science Laboratory.

Mike’s expertise in entrepreneurship started with the founding of his first major enterprise a corporate turnaround and crisis management consulting firm – The Caslin Group. As a member of the Turnaround Management Association, Mike’s firm served 40 clients, from 12 different industry segments specializing in small business corporate turnarounds, mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy re-organization, and small business growth strategies. In 1988, Mike switched gears to become a Social Entrepreneur and helped the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. He helped lead the company from insolvency in 1988 to $20 million annual revenue with a $10 million endowment by 2008. As CEO for 14 years, he helped raise over $125 million in private sector sponsorships and an additional $5 million from the Federal, State and City Sectors. Students reached has grown by 1,000X and revenue by 100X over this 20 year period. NFTE now operates with a global system wide budget of $26 million in 13 countries and 31 states.

Serving as a featured speaker at the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE), a co- founder of Aspen Institute’s Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy Group, and a past Policy Advisor to the UK’s DEMOS Institute, Mike is a globally recognized leader on the forces related to Entrepreneurship Development. Outcomes of his work has been been featured by dozens of media outlets including the BBC, New York Times, National Public Radio, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times andCNNfn. In addition, Mike has provided expert witness testimony to the U.S. Congress, The White House, The US Departments of Commerce, Labor, Small Business and The United Nations – UNDP & UNECE.

CHARLES LORD


Charlie LordBA, Yale University; JD, University of Virginia – Charlie is a Principal with Serrafix, a strategic consulting group advising cities, businesses and foundations on energy efficiency, transportation and smart growth. Charlie is helping Serrafix launch an energy efficiency finance and development firm and is designing innovative structures for energy efficiency financing. Prior to Serrafix, Charlie was at C-Quest Capital, LLC (CQC). Charlie helped launch CQC’s Global Cook Stoves Program. CQC is a carbon finance business dedicated to originating and developing high-quality emission reduction projects that provide superior returns for investors and energy services to low-income communities in Africa, India and Latin America. Prior to C-Quest, Charlie was a principal at SCRC, an investment manager focusing on sustainable infrastructure (energy, waste and water), with an emphasis on emerging markets. Charlie also founded and scaled two social ventures in the sustainability sector, including Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), the largest environmental justice center in the Northeast, based in Roxbury, MA where he served as Co-Director until 1998 and on the Board until 2004.  In 1998, Charlie founded the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College, and he served as UEI’s Executive Director until 2008. Charlie taught in the Environmental Studies Program at Boston College until 2010.  He has published numerous articles on environmental law, environmental justice and environmental policy. After law school Charlie clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Charlie is a recipient of the Echoing Green Fellowship and of the Barr Foundation Fellowship.

STEPHANIE LIGON


Stephanie LigonStephanie completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she graduated Cum Laude with a double major in Law & Society and Sociology. Part of her student career entailed time abroad, as well as time spent living and working in Washington D.C. for Diligence USA – a private, Intelligence and Risk Management firm founded by former CIA and British MI5. Post graduation, Stephanie moved to London where she worked for an Australian-born, Engineering Consultancy – The Robert Bird Group. Now back in the states, Stephanie joins the Urgent VC Team, bringing with her a passion for early-stage business ventures, branding, and public policy. Outside of UVC, Stephanie enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with what she calls her “source of inspiration” – family and friends.

JOE SZOCIK


Joseph J Szocik’s professional background features 30+ years experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors including consulting with businesses to deploy competitive improvement programs, Organizing jewelry companies in MA, RI, NY and CA to compete as networks, serving as technical adviser on public financing & development to 18 manufacturing networks in MA and consulting with NPO’s, Businesses and Unions on Strategy, Grantsmanship, Negotiations, Board Development. He has a Masters in Education from Boston University, an MPA from Harvard University, and did graduate level studies in Systems Theory, Organizational Development and Organizational Change at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He has also been a professional grant writer and licensed certified social worker counseling ex-offenders, juveniles, welfare recipients, unemployed adults.

MATTHEW RITTER


Matthew RitterMatthew Ritter, a mechanical engineering major at the Olin College of Engineering, focuses on energy and sustainable technology. His experience in the field began in 2006, when he co-organized the first MIT Vehicle Design Summit, which brought together 53 engineering students from 21 universities, spanning 15 nations, to build four alternatively powered vehicles. A summer later, while working at GreenMountain Engineering, a CleanTech consulting firm in Boston, Matthew realized he wanted more field experience to complement his studies. He took a leave of absence from Olin to work at the MIT Media Lab and manage the indoor environment for MIT’s entry in the Solar Decathlon, an international competition for solar houses. He also consulted for a solar concentrator startup out of MIT known as RawSolar. Now back at Olin, Matthew works part-time for UVC, evaluating CleanTech ventures from a technical entrepreneur’s perspective. Although spare time is rare for Matthew, he enjoys bicycling and catching up on his sleep whenever possible!

LEIGH BUCKENS


Leigh joined Urgent VC in 2010 as a Research Associate handling financial analysis, due diligence, and research. Prior to joining UVC Leigh spent three years at CIT’s Energy and Project Finance Group where he was an analyst on the deal structuring team in the power, renewables, oil and gas, and infrastructure sectors. Leigh’s interest in sustainable development focuses on food, transportation, energy, and waste management. Leigh has worked on early-stage start-ups in consumer goods, sustainable food, mobile technology, and efficient distribution. Leigh graduated with a BSBA from Babson College where he concentrated in Entrepreneurship and Economics. Leigh lives in Brooklyn where he enjoys cooking, playing guitar, woodworking, and getting around the city on his bicycle.

AARON KATZ
email Aaron Katz
Aaron joined Urgent VC in 2012 as a Research Assistant. For the past ten years, Aaron has been privately researching and working with a variety of renewable energy technologies. He is a ardent advocate for the environment, social justice, and human rights. He came to UrgentVC to support their efforts to catalyze the private equity markets involvement in triple bottom line businesses and other environmentally and socially progressive endeavors. In addition to his work with UrgentVC, Aaron is heading up the launch of a private solar PV company in Brookline, Massachusetts.