Mike Mehawich

Chief Marketing Officer

“Helping customers truly understand how the our technology benefits their entire project, that’s what gets me excited.”

Mike Mehawich
CMO, NEXTracker

In addition to being a co­founder, Mike Mehawich is responsible for NEXTracker’s corporate and product marketing, corporate strategy, and corporate development functions. A veteran of the solar industry, he has spent the past 10+ years commercializing transformative solar technologies for global markets, with an emphasis on commercial and utility ­scale applications.

Prior to NEXTracker, Mehawich served as VP of Product and Strategy for Solaria Corporation, an innovative solar panel manufacturer. His experience has encompassed a broad series of leadership positions in marketing, product management, and business development with companies ranging from pre­revenue stage to the Fortune 500. Mehawich began his career in management consulting with numerous engagements in financial services, healthcare, and utility industry verticals. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.

Mike Mehawich’s NEXTracker Story

Not all ways in life are linear, in fact, most of them are not. As Mehawich prepared to take a two-year break from his consulting career to attend business school, it became clear to him that he was looking for a new direction that was more meaningful personally and with a broad global impact at the same time. “I wanted to do something that would be utilizing advanced technology to solve a big problem for the world, and the intersection I found was renewable energy,” recalls Mehawich.

This was back in 2005, so solar wasn’t really on the radar for most MBA students at the time. But he found a couple of guys with a similar interest and they decided to test their convections by putting forward a wind-energy business plan into the annual new venture competition. They were in Chicago, after all, the Windy City. But when they talked to a local renewable resources expert, he steered them instead toward a unique technology for printing a holographic film on top of a solar panel to produce more power with less silicon.

Long story short, it became a startup, but down the road they ran into manufacturing difficulties and decided it wasn’t commercializable. Mehawich left the project, but his interest in solar stayed with him: “I always had that deep interest in the underlying material science and the chemistries and the physics of it. The technology’s underpinnings, that’s really what gets me excited.”

It let him to Applied Materials, Skyline Solar, and, finally, to Solaria, becoming part of Dan Shugar’s team. While mainly interested in Solaria’s unique concentrator technology, Mehawich automatically also was exposed to tracker technology–like all concentrator technologies, Solaria’s modules needed to track the sun.

The problem: There wasn’t really anything out there the team liked. It wasn’t only the tracker products that didn’t seem to have changed much over the past years, the customer service was lacking, too. “We just decided, let’s invent our own tracker and not be dependent on these other guys,” remembers Mehawich. And so it all started.

At the very beginning of NEXTracker, Mehawich wore many hats: “I handled a lot of the business functions – marketing, strategy, financial planning. I had done mostly product management throughout my career, starting at Applied Materials. I was also doing product management, strategic marketing.” Of course, there were the struggles every startup has to survive and Mehawich only knew too well about. But then there came the breakthrough, the big developer ordering 3,000 tracker rows for a 70 MW project in Chile. “It was amazing to reach that scale so quickly out of the gate,” Mehawich says. “It just snowballed after that.”

“Helping customers truly understand how the our technology benefits their entire project, that’s what gets me excited.”

Mike Mehawich
CMO, NEXTracker

See how NEXTracker can work for your project