Chicago | The Board Takes On Branding: How a Start-Up Used Branding to Strengthen Strategy

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
05:00 PM - 07:30 PM CST
Bank of America Financial Center
540 W. Madison, 23rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60661



Please join the Private Directors Association in Chicago for an evening program featuring a panel discussion on "The Board Takes On Branding: How a Start-Up Used Branding to Strengthen Strategy."





Jamie Johnson
Chairman, CEO, and Founder

While serving as a firefighter on the north shore of Chicago, Jamie saw how much energy was wasted by leaving lights on overnight in the firehouse. He ran calculations and aspired to find a way to both save energy and reduce costs. Shortly thereafter, Verde was born.

It hasn’t been without its challenges; Verde hasn’t always been the growing, trusted company it is today. In its early days, Jamie did all the work himself - from sales to customer service to installation and maintenance. Back then, Jamie could be spotted driving the family station wagon from client site to client site - often hauling a heap of hundreds of high-efficiency LED lightbulbs in the back. In the evenings, long after his client visits were over and the kids were in bed, Jamie completed and filed his clients’ rebate paperwork himself.

To this day, Jamie is proud to say that he installed Verde’s first thousand lightbulbs with his own two hands. Saving clients money through energy efficiency and a keen understanding of energy rebate programs has always been Jamie’s passion – and it continues to be so today.


Bud Greene

Buddy Greene is a well-accomplished man. He was an active-duty marine, then ski-bum in Utah, then became a full bonafide businessman when a high school friend asked him to be a salesman for his step-father’s company. Later on in life, Buddy created a company called Dearborn Wire and Cable with that same friend, Dick, with a little over 2,000 dollars between the both of them. Dearborn Wire and Cable designs and manufactures advanced data transmission cables as well as other components required to build high telecommunications infrastructure. Throughout the years there were rough times, but overall, Buddy’s passion and genuine love for his work and business shines through.

“I never worked a day in my life because I loved what I did so much. That is a statement I will stand by.”


Lorraine Herr

In the mid-1990s, Lorraine Herr served as one of ten elected directors for a publically-traded financial institution, Flemington National Bank & Trust Co. One of youngest directors in bank’s history, she drove recruitment of a nationally-recognized CEO. She played integral role in 1996 merger with what is now Bank of America.

In 2009, Lorraine served as one of five elected directors for Naper Aero Corporation, a non-profit managing operations of a private residential airport facility with three runways, fuel service, and flying clubs in southwest Chicagoland.

In 2012, as President of the same board, Lorraine directed a community effort to identify, quantify, and fund airport’s long-term capital needs.

In 2016, the Founder of Verde Energy Efficiency Experts invited Lorraine to join the advisory board of directors, with a focus on the marketing function and corporate governance roles. She worked closely to source and vet the agency that developed the company’s new brand.


Josh Saunders

Josh is the founder and CEO of Uncorkd, a company that provides technology solutions to the hospitality and beverage industries. He has extensive technology experience across a broad range of industries. Prior to Uncorkd, he led business development for a venture capital-backed consumer technology company and was a co-founder of UL Environment, a subsidiary of Underwriters Laboratories, where he led global operations. He has been involved in or chaired committees for over a dozen technical and standard setting organizations and been invited to participate in roundtables with the National Academies of Science.

In 2010, Josh was a founding board member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, a non-profit organization that supports green purchasing across government agencies and corporations. Josh currently sits on the Advisory Board of Verde Energy Efficiency Experts and on the Board of Directors of Brite Co, an insuretech company.



Tim Smith

Tim, a Certified Public Accountant, has a proven track record in developing and executing successful business strategies to grow companies and increase value. He has over 30 years of experience in finance, strategy, and planning, and has been instrumental in delivering revenue growth and profit leadership in several global organizations in both the public and private arenas. He has a strong financial background in the services industry (including brand advertising, digital marketing, consulting, data analytics, content management and publishing) as well as software/technology.

He has successfully led companies throughout all phases of the business cycle including start up, acquisition and integration, initial public offering, rapid growth with expansion and refinancing, divestiture and shutdown. In addition to 23 years as CFO, he also has significant operational experience in his roles as Chief Operating Officer, Managing Partner and General Manager. Tim received his MBA from New York University and holds a BS in Accounting and BA in Economics from Pennsylvania State University.