Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Kevin McNamara is a Land Agent with UKA’s Hickory Wind project. He brings over eight years in commercial real estate and tech sales experience and is excited to begin the next phase of his career aligning his passions in sustainability and agriculture. The UKA team took time to chat with our newest team member about his background and role with Hickory Wind.
What led you to working in the wind energy industry?
It’s big now, but sustainability has always been important to me. With my roots in Champaign, it was easy to appreciate the connection between the land we live on, the farmers who grow our food, and the quality of life we enjoy. I’ve also spent time in Chicago, which made the strains we put on our lands pretty apparent. It’s been important for me to make sure that my career married my skills in real estate and business with ways we can ensure our lands can provide for generations to come.
You just finished an MBA program from the University of Illinois with a focus on Agricultural Technology; what made you focus on that sector?
As an Eagle Scout, it was through my time with the Boy Scouts that I really developed a deep appreciation for our natural world. My troop spent time hiking around the lower Rockies, at Philmont Scout Ranch, living simply off the land. That trip really opened my eyes to how deeply we depend on our natural resources. For me, agriculture, and the land we farm, is one of our most valuable natural resources. I want to be part of the solution that helps farmers and their communities thrive.
What is your role with the Hickory Wind project?
I’m proud to join the Hickory Wind team as a Land Agent. I’ll be using my commercial real estate experience, an MBA, and rural roots to help landowners understand the many benefits of participating in wind farms, navigate the development process, and answer any questions that landowners or local officials may have regarding future renewable energy projects.
Can you tell us more about your project Paddle for Page?
I have a good friend from Champaign-Urbana whose mother, Page, was diagnosed with ALS. I wanted to do something meaningful to honor this woman, so I embarked on a Mississippi River canoe trip called “Paddle for Page.” My goal was to help raise funds and awareness for Page’s own charitable foundation, which helps those living with ALS in the Champaign-Urbana community. Over 50 days, I paddled the Kankakee River from NW Indiana, all the way down the Mississippi River to Venice, LA, the last town south of New Orleans.
What were the highs and lows of that canoe trip?
I made the trip in a 14.5’ polyethylene canoe. While it was fine for my purposes, it did get tricky when I found myself in the jet wash of an enormous barge passing by. Since these barges can be as long as a football stadium, their wake can cause waves as high as 15 feet. The other challenge was finding good places to camp along the river. But at the end of the trip, I was proud of Paddle for Page’s total campaign earning $8,000 to help support those suffering from ALS in my hometown. And serendipitously, one of the stops along my trip was right here in Peru. So I’m pleased to find myself in this town again still working for a cause I believe in.