Boston, MA

The Boston immigrant who became a billionaire this year

Ash Jurberg

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This month Forbes released its annual list of billionaires.

On that list were 2,668 people around the world. Joining the billionaires club for the first time is one man who lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Let's take a look at the newest billionaire in Boston.

The Boston entrepreneur who became a billionaire this year

George Sakellaris has a net worth of $1.1 billion. He is the founder and CEO of Ameresco, a clean technology integrator that trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sakellaris was born in Greece in 1947 and came to the United States when he was 18 to study. Even those his English wasn't great, he managed to study Electrical Engineering at the University of Maine. He also received a degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University.

His first job after college was with the New England Electric System. He progressed through the ranks and became a pioneer in the energy efficiency business.

In the aftermath of the global oil crisis in the 1970s, I started an energy efficiency group within New England Electric—when the concept was unheard of. The majority of my prospective customers laughed at my proposition to rip out perfectly functioning boilers and chillers and replace them with more efficient ones based on an unproven promise of energy cost savings.“ George Sakellaris

He then realized he could achieve more by launching his own company.

Sakellaris founded Ameresco in April 2000 because he wanted to "build an entirely product-neutral and supplier-independent energy company that had the skills, capabilities, and foresight to create independent energy solutions that went beyond just conservation; one that addressed a customer’s entire energy stream including supply and demand, energy efficiency and renewable energy."

In 2010, Sakellaris took Ameresco public and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has its headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, and in 2020, Ameresco’s renewable energy assets and customer projects delivered a carbon offset equivalent to approximately 12.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

He is renowned for his passion for clean energy, and in 2020 he was named an Environment + Energy Leader E+E 100 Honoree and the Silver Winner of Best in Biz’s Executive of the Year category. This list recognizes individuals who "are creating new solutions and best practices for achieving greater environment and energy success."

I am proud of the impact we have made in bringing innovative cleantech solutions to our customers in their pursuit of a sustainable future. Our commitment to net zero is unwavering. When we all come together to prioritize our climate and leverage technical innovation and meaningful action, we will see what a clean, resilient future can truly look like.” George Sakellaris

Readers, what do you think of George Sakellaris' rise from immigrant to a billionaire to clean energy advocate?

Please leave your comments below.

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