Michael Kaplan, Founder – Michael is one of the founders of Belltown, responsible for fundraising and deal sourcing. Prior to Belltown, Michael was a partner at Albion Ventures LLP where he helped to establish Albion as one of the pioneering investors in the UK’s community scale renewable energy sector. Prior to Albion, Michael worked at The Boston Consulting Group and before that, the Chief Financial Officer of Widevine Technologies, a security software company (sold to Google in 2010). Michael has a BA from the University of Washington and an MBA from INSEAD.
Tom Hill-Norton, Founder – Tom is one of the founders of Belltown, responsible for deal sourcing, execution and managing the transaction team. His career has focused on investing in sustainable infrastructure projects since the end of 2006. He worked with the energy investment team at Actis on renewable energy investments in emerging markets and raised and invested a series of renewable energy funds for Guinness Asset Management in the UK. Prior to 2006, Tom worked in corporate finance (with JP Morgan, Flemings and Fredericks Michael) and strategy consultancy with The Boston Consulting Group. Tom has an MA (Hons) from The University of Edinburgh and an MBA from INSEAD.
Max Miller, Investment Director – Max leads the due diligence and acquisition of new farmland assets and assists on the commercial side of farming operations. Max started his career at the Boston Consulting Group in London where he worked for 4 years. During that time, he worked in an operational role at Macquarie where he optimised the rollout of their residential Solar PV platform which totalled 10,000 installed systems. Max studied Mathematics and Economics for undergrad in Munich, and holds an MSc in Economics from LSE, London.
Greg Heidemann, Head of Farming Operations – Greg joined Belltown in 2018 to head up farming operations. Immediately prior to Belltown, Greg worked at Kreher farms in New York where he headed up farming for a 5,900 acre (+1,700 conventional) organic annual crop and poultry farm. Prior to that, Greg was head of dairy operations for Whitewave foods (owner of Horizon Milk), where he ran multiple farming operations including, most recently, the 2400 cow organic milking operations in Idaho. Greg has been farming professionally since 1990 and has An MBA from University of Phoenix and a BA from Boise State University.
Brian Halweil, Partnerships and Product Consultant – Brian is a New York-based food and agriculture researcher and trend spotter. He is working with Belltown Farms to establish partnerships with food and farming organizations in the United States, to select organic crops most in demand by food and beverage manufacturers, and to build the business plan for a showcase farm in the Hudson Valley. Prior to working with Belltown, Brian was the the editor-in-chief of Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End, Edible Long Island and Edible Manhattan magazines. Brian also works with investment funds, including TPG Rise and most recently Almanac Ventures, to support sustainable food and agriculture companies. He is the author of Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, and he lives in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family keep a home garden and raise heritage breed ducks.
Andrew Smyre, Head of Agronomy and Marketing – Prior to Belltown, Andrew ran his own consulting business, Precizion Ag, which advised 30+ farming operations on organic conversion, agronomy and crop distribution strategy. From 2017, Andrew also worked at Anchor Ingredients as an Organic Grains Merchandiser signing organic grain trading contracts with over 100 farming operations and end users in 12 states and provinces. Prior to this, Andrew worked at Perdue Agribusiness as an agronomist working to convert American farmers to organic farming. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree from Delaware Valley University in Agronomy and Soil Science. Andrew is the Vice President of PCO, one of the largest Organic Certification body on the East Coast.
Danielle Scholl, Finance Director – Prior to Belltown, Danielle spent 8 years at John Laing and HCP, the leading provider of infrastructure management services in the UK. At John Laing, Dani was Senior Finance Manager for Renewable Infrastructure. She was responsible for the delivery of all financial services for a portfolio of renewable projects in the UK and Europe, as well as providing support on the acquisition and financing of all John Laing’s Renewable Energy investments. Dani has a degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Cape Town and gained the CIMA qualification at BPP London.
At Belltown, Dani is responsible for the management of the finance function including accounts, treasury, forecasting and financial reporting for Belltown and its clients.
Charles Webster, Legal Counsel – Charles is a corporate lawyer with over 10 years’ experience in the UK and abroad. He has worked in private practice in Australia and the UK, including as part of the corporate legal team at Withers LLP in London for four years. In 2012 Charles became General Counsel of Green Hedge which developed and financed over 20 utility-scale solar farms. Charles joined Belltown as General Counsel in 2016 and manages Belltown’s legal affairs. He is also involved in project development, acquisitions, financings, and disposals, as well as assisting with asset management and investor relations. Charles is dual qualified and admitted as a solicitor in England and Australia. Charles has a B.Laws from the University of Technology in Sydney.