HP Energy was founded by Steve Hightower, John Picard and Tim Donovan on the vision that technology had the ability to deliver energy efficiency at a scale previously not possible.  This vision continues throughout the company today as the business continues to grow.



Steve Hightower

Chairman & President


     Stephen L. Hightower has been a leader in the energy sector for over 30 years. As President & CEO of Hightowers Petroleum he has built the company into the largest African-American owned downstream petroleum marketer in the U.S. today, servicing Fortune 500 customers including GM, Ford, Kroger, UPS and Duke Energy. He serves on the Board of the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and was appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Energy, Steven Chu, to the National Petroleum Council. Steve is active on Capitol Hill as a member of the NACS & SIGMA legislative Committee as well as a participant of the Congressional Black Caucus. He also serves on the Corporate Roundtable for the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Additionally, He is Board member on the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati Fine Arts Fund, Feed the Hungry Project, Junior Achievement, and was appointed by the Governor to Ohio Underground Storage Tank Board.



John Picard

Chief Technology & design officer


     John Picard is regarded as one of the preeminent environmental consultants in North America. He began his career as a builder and entrepreneur. In 1995, John made an important personal transition from building big to building smart when he built his own home to operate completely “off the grid”. His experience, passion, and commitment to sustainability have helped him become one of the most sought-after experts in his field. Picard was one of the first members of President Clinton’s "Greening of the White House" team that developed environmental energy audits and innovative upgrade recommendations for the complex.  In the early 1990’s he worked with The Gap to develop and implement a pioneering environmental and energy efficiency policy for its retail stores. Since then, Picard’s unique vision and expertise has brought success and profitability to his many clients, including: Interface; Sony; Siemens; Ford; MGM; BP; eBay; the Live Earth/S.O.S. concerts; and the design production of Ashes and Snow. Picard has been published in numerous major trade publications and books and has been a keynote speaker for Fortune 500 companies, universities and technology events. He has received awards and honors in the fields of architecture, energy and environmental science. Picard’s exclusive network of colleagues and friends allows him to build his own “eco dream teams” to tackle the most complex, multi-disciplinary projects. John is currently represented by Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles and serves as their in-house Sustainability Expert.



Chip O'Donnell

Chief operating officer


     Over a 25 year career helping customers solve their energy issues on 5 continents, Chip O’Donnell has the experience and proven expertise to make complex energy problems simpler.  Having been a Vice President at what is now the largest electric utility in the USA, Chip understands regulated and unregulated energy markets, and crafts the strategies that HP Energy clients need to minimize their total energy consumption and costs.  Chip led the North American business for smart grid, sustainability and energy management for Siemens Industry, where he helped develop and launch advanced demand response products, and integrate commercial buildings and industrial facilities with smart grid technologies.  With Veolia Energy, Chip helped lead the largest district energy business in North America.  He has developed, designed, built and operated over $2 billion in energy infrastructure for his customers.  In doing that work, Chip has won several EPA Energy Star awards for Combined Heat & Power, and he’s served on the executive committee for what is now the CHP Association.  He specializes in how to integrate energy technologies together with business strategies to help HP Energy’s customers gain the most value out of the infrastructure they have and operate.  In doing so, he’s been a featured speaker and panel leader for energy and governmental conferences worldwide, including such organizations as ACEEE, AEE, ULI, IETC, and the World Bank.  He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio.



Ralph Cleveland

corporate development


     Former EVP of AGL Resources and President of Nicor Gas, delivering more than $2.2 billion in assets and managing a $1.4 billion energy supply chain.  Unique expertise in business analysis, strategic planning, financial management and operations. Former Vice Chair and CEO of the North American Energy Standards Board, improving the marketplace for wholesale/retail natural gas and electricity. Serving American Association of Blacks in Energy as board member and past Chairman. Dedicated member of numerous community organizations that foster respect and enhance human value.



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