Chief Executive Officer, Founder
Ray, Spades’ founder and CEO, is developing the world’s largest afforestation projects. They are backed by the company’s:
- Ecofit™: An innovative new biotechnology that improves tree species selection and survival rates.
- Terrazone™: A landscape integration model that brings together habitats, plantations, agriculture, and waterscapes for mutual benefit.
- Topodox™: Site monitoring software for forest development and maintenance.
- Balanced Finance: A financial model that maximizes afforestation returns for both investors and landowners.
He is an international social entrepreneur, impact investor, inventor, and business model innovator. Based on his experience across diverse industries, cultures, and economies, he helps stakeholders see challenges as opportunities, then he inspirationally builds resolve by retelling the company’s mission and showing how it can be established and quickly scaled. He has led multiple startups, new divisions and products, turnarounds, M&As, and fundraising rounds. He holds more than 20 patents in multiple fields.
His broad experience, from high tech industries to agricultural development in Africa, has shown his comfort listening to villagers in remote parts of Africa, inspiring crowds, working with boards, working across cultures, and creating strong teams.
Ray spent eight years in hundreds of African villages across four countries launching agribusinesses. He successfully engaged dozens of tribes, adapting to cultures, working models, and business impediments. His blended finance model addressed rural value chains. In five years and three countries, Ray started a USA-based equity fund, a debt fund, a nonprofit, and a holding company.
New finance models developed by Ray have unleashed investment in developing nations. This includes blended capital and impact investments such as four rounds linking non-profits, for-profit operations, and funds, and setting performance measurements linking to impact. The current round is $150 million. Ray has also implemented several Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), completing engagements with a dozen different NGOs, both local and international, including USAID.
An expert in remote monitoring, tracking, and accounting, Ray addressed a key gap in regreening by designing the first monitoring solution. It integrates seven technologies in SaaS apps to track regreening across stages of tree growth from planting to 50 years.
A notable accomplishment of Ray’s was leading the logistics and security for all debris hauling at the NYC World Trade Center recovery effort. He satisfied 20 agencies to activate solutions in three weeks, remove 40 accountants, reduce cleanup cost and time by 75%, and save the city and nation billions of dollars.
Ray frequently reminds the team, “Businesses do not succeed because they have a good idea; they succeed because they solve problems.” Always eager to tackle challenges, Ray personally hand-built his family’s geodesic dome house. His Great Dane is always by his side.