As we introduce our team members from a more personal standpoint than their professional bios can convey, we point our spotlight to Silicon Ranch Corporation’s Co-Founder, Vice Chairman, and Chief Financial Officer Reagan Farr. Formerly the State of Tennessee’s Commissioner of Revenue, Reagan Farr worked to recruit investments and jobs to Tennessee alongside Silicon Ranch’s Co-Founder, President and CEO, Matt Kisber, who served as Commissioner of Economic and Community Development.
As co-founder of Silicon Ranch Corporation, Reagan is responsible for all aspects of managing the company, with a specific emphasis on financial management and project execution. Under his leadership, Silicon Ranch has transacted in excess of $700 million of project financing with regional and global financial institutions. In addition to serving in Tennessee government, Reagan previously worked with KPMG and Ernst & Young. Reagan studied econometric modeling on a post-graduate honors fellowship at Louisiana State University and holds a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Reagan shared some background on himself and Silicon Ranch in the following interview.
As a co-founder, how did you arrive at the idea to begin Silicon Ranch?
As Matt Kisber and I worked together for several years in Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s administration, one of the most interesting assignments we received was to create a clean energy strategy for Tennessee. Through that process, Matt and I interacted with clean energy thought leaders and were quite successful in recruiting companies to Tennessee across the solar, wind, and biofuel space. We noticed the potential within the United States, and particularly in the Southeast, to create a company that would provide full-service solutions for companies that want to incorporate solar into their energy mix. Soon after, the idea for Silicon Ranch Corporation began to evolve and become reality.
What unique skills do you bring to the Silicon Ranch team?
I’m a tax attorney, and I’ve worked for a couple of the Big Four accounting firms and then served in Tennessee government. An interesting part of our national energy policy is that we incentivize renewable energy through the tax code. My background in tax has helped us as we put together the financing for our solar arrays. We’ve been a leader, not just in developing markets for solar, but also in putting together financial structures that create value for our customers and the communities we serve.
How has your experience in business and public service led to your current role?
Throughout my career, I’ve had a tremendous network of mentors. At the top of that list was Governor Bredesen. When I had the opportunity to form this company with him as a partner and as our chairman, I thought it was an incredible opportunity to do something in a space that is meaningful to me. Solar energy is a disruptive technology today, but going forward our power supply will be increasingly supplied by distributed renewable generation. Silicon Ranch is uniquely positioned to play an important role in this energy transition.
What makes Silicon Ranch unique from competitors in this industry?
Silicon Ranch is the developer, owner, and operator of all of our projects. There are not many companies that begin a project, build it, then own and operate it for the long term. Because of that, we do things differently. A part of the DNA of our company is that when we go into a community, we don’t just look at that community as a location where we have a solar plant. We look at ourselves as a part of that community. We try to become involved in different ways, and it varies by the needs of the community in which we are located. We have partnered with high schools and other educational institutions to expose students to careers and opportunities in the solar energy industry. We often become involved in the local chamber of commerce, and we try to contribute to making the communities where we invest and do business a better place.
Why are many of Silicon Ranch’s clients repeat customers?
Our customers are not just customers, they are partners. In any partnership, there will be challenges, but we have demonstrated to our partners that we will work together to find solutions to whatever comes up. It is this track record, along with our technical expertise to execute on complicated projects in unique environments, that gives our partners comfort that Silicon Ranch will be there working alongside them for the long term.
What are you most proud of, personally or professionally?
I’m most proud of my kids. I have two boys. Cody is nine. Ryan is six. They are both very excited about Silicon Ranch, and they love visiting the office and learning about renewable energy. My kids also enjoy being around all our team members, and I’m proud of the family atmosphere that we have created in a professional environment like we have at Silicon Ranch. When you start out building a company, you often think it’s about the business plan. However, you can’t be successful without putting together a quality team. Professionally, I’m most proud of the team we’ve assembled who buy in to the Silicon Ranch methodology of doing things the right way instead of the easy way.
How do you spend your spare time outside of work?
Outside of work, our family stays very busy with our two boys. My son, Cody, is active in Cub Scouts, where he has learned a lot about the environment and conservation. Our family also enjoys visiting the mountains, especially Lake Tahoe, for hiking and skiing. At home, I’ve always had a passion for landscaping and enjoy sharing that passion with my boys.