01 Jun 2011

Rust Belt Turns ‘Sun Belt’ with Solar


It sounds like a dream come true for the “green economy” movement: aged or unused factories in the Midwest being refurbished and turned into solar energy manufacturing plants. But Tom Tiller (MBA ’91) is really making it happen, the Indianapolis Star reported (February 9, 2011). Tiller had been CEO of Polaris Industries, a maker of snowmobiles, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles, until 2008, when he stepped down to consider options such as working with nonprofits or teaching at MIT. But Abound Solar, a manufacturer of solar modules based in Colorado, made him an offer he found too exciting to pass up; he was named Abound’s CEO in 2010.

Prior to joining Polaris in 1998 (he became CEO a year later), Tiller had worked at GE for fifteen years, including service as general manager of GE Silicones. He’s confident that Abound can compete with anyone in the solar field. Part of its initiative has been the acquisition of a facility in Indiana, where photovoltaic solar modules will be manufactured.

Said Tiller, “Henry Ford transformed the auto industry with his assembly line. As we build to scale, our simpler process will give us the advantage” (Bloomberg Businessweek, October 7, 2010).

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1991, Section D

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