LEADERSHIP LOWDOWN Brad Leavitt with AFT Construction Joe Cunningham and Chris Wood with Sunny Energy and Matt Fulton with Heartbridge and The Whining Pig
As part of the “It’s Just Good Business” Series, Leadership LowDown Host Jodi Low, with U & Improved and Conscious Capitalism Arizona, catches up with Arizona’s best to talk about the winning combination between leadership, client care and community in construction and solar energy.
A Finer Touch Construction’s (AFT Construction) President Brad Leavitt has assembled a talented team of project managers, construction staff, and support personnel who share a common goal: to build quality projects that exceed the expectations of our clients. With over 80 years of combined industry experience, we’ve learned the value of quality craftsmanship, personalized service, and long-term relationships. AFT Construction was formed in March, 2013 and is based out of Scottsdale, AZ.
AFT Construction is a leader in providing the highest quality construction services at fair and competitive prices. Our pledge is to add value for our customers and clients through integrity, foresight, and innovation. We seek to establish long lasting relationships with our customers by exceeding expectations and gaining trust through delivering high levels of professionalism, timeliness, attention to detail, and service-minded customer satisfaction. Our commitment to this mission enables AFT Construction to be one of the premier construction firms in the Arizona region.
AFT Construction rises above the competition because of our quality, values and customer service. Utilizing our vast subcontractor base and material purchase power, we are committed to offering our customers top services at affordable prices. Communication with our customers is one of our top priorities and something our company takes great pride in. While the construction industry has often suffered from the lack of proper communication, management of expectations and punctuality, we continue to excel in these areas and are certain this has contributed to our success.
Sunny Energy is a residential solar company that is dedicated to helping homeowners save money on their electric bills. The company focuses on delivering superior performance by using the best design, installation, equipment, and financing options to ensure the best combination of value and performance. Each project is customized to provide homeowners with the most advantageous option to produce their own clean and inexpensive energy. With offices in Arizona, California and Texas, Sunny Energy provides solar installation, battery storage, energy management, financing and service and repair. The company has been named one of the top solar contractors in the United States by Solar Power World magazine for the last three years. For more information, call (480) 257-3283.
Joseph “Joe” Cunningham is a co-founder and director of operations of Tempe- headquartered Sunny Energy, one of Arizona’s largest providers of residential and commercial solar energy systems. Joe is also a founding member and president of the Distributed Energy Resources Alliance (DERA), a non-profit trade organization dedicated to the development of distributed energy resources, including solar, battery storage, active demand management, distributed grid services and smart grid solutions for a reliable and sustainable energy supply. An industry leader, Joe is active in photovoltaic (PV) standards development with The SunSpec Alliance as chairman of the Orange Button Construction working group. He has co-authored two white papers, through SunSpec, on PV System Performance Metrics and PV System Commissioning for Performance Guidelines. He is recipient of the SunSpec Open Standards Champion award for years of voluntary standards work. Along with SunSpec, Joe works closely with standards working group members from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Sandia Labs and others. Through this work he is intimately knowledgeable on the value of PV system standards and certifications.
Prior to co-founding Sunny Energy, Joe was director of operations for five years for Centrosolar, a solar energy equipment supplier. He managed operations for North American markets, overseeing logistics, system design, sourcing and purchasing, private label manufacturing and outsourcing, order fulfillment, a nationwide technical services network and online systems. Prior to Centrosolar, Joe spent three years in the PV integration business. He managed, at various times, operations, business development, maintenance programs, sales and marketing. Prior to joining the PV industry, Joe worked for more than 20 years in wireless telecommunications and cable TV, and as an entrepreneur. He has held the positions of president, chief operating officer, vice president, and business development with various companies. He helped develop advanced wireless technology and services, as well as industry standards, government regulations, hardware and software to increase wireless spectrum use efficiencies and performance. He was instrumental in forming and managing a nationwide organization of operators and manufacturers to address equipment reliability and warranty issues. He has been recognized by the Wireless Communications Association International as a Wireless Pioneer and for outstanding contributions throughout his career. Joe has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Cornell University, where he was a four-year letterman in crew.
He lives with his wife, Resa, in Carefree, Ariz. and is an avid road cyclist, riding more than 5,000 miles annually. He is a past Arizona State Road Racing age-group champion.
Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Chris Wood is a co-founder and business development director for Tempe- headquartered Sunny Energy, one of Arizona’s largest providers of residential and commercial solar energy systems. He is responsible for all of the company’s business development needs including recruiting, hiring and training of the sales team, as well as conducting financial analysis of the products Sunny Energy creates and sells. He also oversees Sunny Energy’s vendor relations.
Prior to co-founding Sunny Energy, Chris was the director of North American sales for Centrosolar, an international solar energy equipment supplier. As Centrosolar’s second U.S. employee, he was responsible for taking the company from a garage start-up to a successful U.S. operation. During his seven-year tenure with the company, he built a network of 720 solar contractors spanning from New Jersey to Guam. His professional career includes work in land development, commodities trading and the food and beverage industries. Chris is a Florida native who grew up in Montreal. Fluent in English and French, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in finance from McGill University in Montreal.
He enjoys playing tennis and poker. He and his family reside in North Scottsdale.
Heartbridge builds great communities for deserving families. Founded by Matt Fulton and Steve Coburn, they acquire lower income, multi-family apartments in need of repair and transform them into conscious living communities. In addition to substantially updating existing apartments, HeartBridge provides vital tools to residents including financial literacy seminars and other helpful programs. HeartBridge Communities touches the lives of very real people – not through handouts, but with a helping hand up.
The Whining Pig was established in 2013 and currently has 5 locations in the Greater Phoenix Area. It is your neighborhood beer & wine bar. Offering a friendly environment for all, they specialize in craft beer, great wines and wonderful service. Their stock is constantly rotating and continues to surprise even the most loyal patrons. The Pig is locally owned and operated with knowledgable bartenders; serving the locals and any other friends that would like to join them.
Follow The Whining Pig on Facebook and Instagram. You can also follow their other locations on Facebook in Phoenix, Gilbert, Arcadia and Ahwatukee and Instagram in Phoenix, Gilbert, Arcadia and Ahwatukee.
The Leadership Lowdown was created to share the REAL story behind valley leaders’ rise to the top, and the truth about what it takes to TRULY succeed in life and business. Hear the raw stories of these leaders’ journeys…the pitfalls, the victories, and all of the heartaches and triumphs in between.
ABOUT YOUR HOST
Jodi Low is an accomplished corporate trainer, inspirational speaker, and the Founder and CEO of U & Improved. Jodi has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and executives on how to build a booming business, master a mindset for success, and achieve the lifestyle they desire through heart-fueled leadership.
Through U & Improved—an award-winning personal and professional leadership development company based in Scottsdale—Jodi has redefined traditional leadership training by creating a sustainable and actionable model that is personal, challenging and meaningful to each and every individual who enrolls in any of the two-and-a-half-day experiential training classes. She and her elite training team have advanced the charge in heart-based leadership
development and empower U & Improved graduates with knowledge, tools and awareness to immediately be more effective and responsive leaders at work, home and within their communities.
Among her many accomplishments as a Valley leader, Jodi launched a teen leadership program in 2014 to empower young adults to become more confident, motivated and focused stewards of our future. In 2016, she founded a non-profit arm of the company—the U & Improved Leadership Foundation—that makes the program more accessible to deserving teens.
Jodi has been recognized by industry publications and organizations for her work in leadership development and serves as a source of inspiration within the community. In 2015, she was honored as an “Outstanding Women in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal and by the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona with the “Amazing Women” award. She has received both the prestigious “Diversity Leader of the Year” and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce’s “Sterling Award.” She was also awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and was a finalist for the Junior League of Phoenix’s Valley Impact Award. Jodi is a devoted single parent who volunteers her time at her daughters’ school programs and with organizations such as Angel Mamas, where she’s served on the board for three years.