Employee Highlight – Joseph Sacks

Joseph Sacks

Chief Financial Officer

Give us a brief overview of your role.

I am the Chief Financial Officer for GSI. I’m responsible for all financing and investing activities for the team as well as helping to shape and drive the overall strategy and direction of the company. We have many different initiatives that we’re working through, but my main aim everyday is to make sure that I’m helping to support GSI’s mission and strategy, and that we have the capital and financing in place to build successful projects.

What is the most memorable moment you have had working for GSI?

I would say the acquisition of Saturn Power. That was definitely a game changer for everybody both on the Saturn side and the GSI side. We went from a team of a handful of individuals to 40 plus people. It was a very memorable process and a wonderful initiative, and I was proud to be a part of it.

What led you to a career in finance and investment, and more specifically in the renewables sector?

I studied political science and economics in college, and I think I took one corporate finance class. I was a good math student, but not a particularly special one. The honest answer was I needed to find a job that would enable me to start paying back my student loans and support living in New York City. Finding a job on Wall Street in finance was the easiest path to that. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a banker or CFO. There were some practical reasons that I went down the finance path to be completely honest.

In terms of renewables and infrastructure, I really enjoy being able to finance and work on things that you can touch and feel, as opposed to being a bond trader or an investment banker. I’m very happy to be focused on things that are going to be producing and adding value for many, many years because our projects are long-lived. I believe that we’re going to need more energy, not less, for my generation and future generations, and if we can do that in a sustainable and clean way, then I’m glad to be a part of that overall effort.

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that your colleagues might not know.

I enjoy reading comic books. I’ve always been a big fan of collecting comics and cards, which I don’t tell a lot of people. I have a stack of comic books and graphic novels by my bed – reading them at night is often how I get to sleep. Recently, although I’ve never watched The Walking Dead, I’ve been reading the comics.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I spend a tremendous amount of time with my family. There’s three of us – me, my wife, and my son, who’ll be 11 in November. We really are a unit because there’s only three of us and do everything together. I spent a lot of time coaching my son’s baseball teams, as some of the GSI folks know, so that’s quite a bit of my free time.

I also do some volunteer work. I’m on the board of the local Little League and on the Alumni Executive Committee for my college. I’m a bit of an exercise junkie as some of the GSI folks also know. I wake up at 5 pretty much every morning to get my workouts in. I don’t have a ton of a social life outside of work and my family, but my family is my life, so I spend every moment with them that I can.

What is one thing you’d like to cross off your bucket list?

I have a lot of things I’d like to cross off my bucket list, but I would say a near-term item I have is bringing my family to Spain, and I’m hoping to do that next year. We’re planning to go in March. It’s funny that my wife and I have both been individually, but we’ve never been together, nor our son, so I really am looking forward to us going as a family.

What is a personal accomplishment that you are proud of?

A personal accomplishment for me is watching my son grow up and learning to become his own person. I find that to be extremely gratifying and rewarding every day. To have a child that’s, to this point, been completely dependent on you, and now, turning around, and asking you on a Friday afternoon: “Hey, Dad, can I go out with my friends to the outdoor shopping mall?” is really something else! At first, I felt like I wasn’t ready for that, but now that he’s in fifth grade, I take a lot of pride in him becoming an independent and kind human being.

Rapid Fire Favorites

  • Movie: The Usual Suspects
  • Musician: Billy Joel or John Mayer (just saw John Mayer for the second time this month!)
  • Restaurant: The Blue Water Grill in Union Square, NYC (it’s closed now but will forever be my favorite place to eat!)
  • Food: Any kind of pizza (except Hawaiian style…sorry to those Hawaiian pizza lovers!)
  • Sports Team: New York Mets and the New York Rangers (too hard to choose one!)
  • City: New York City & London, England