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Differences over growth strategy -- Executives split from SeaWest

After a disagreement with SeaWest Windpower's owner and chairman, Charles Davenport III, over how and whether to capitalise the company to develop all the projects it has in the works, three top executives who formed the core of SeaWest's senior management team left the company in July. After leaving, the three joined forces to form Padoma Wind Power where they will provide consulting services to companies that want to develop wind projects.

Jan Paulin, president and chief executive officer, Gary Dodak, chief operating officer, and Jeffrey Marks, executive vice-president of development, together represent about 40 years of experience in wind power development. They say they left SeaWest after numerous disagreements with the company's owner about where to get money "in order to cope with the phenomenal growth in the backlog of solid development opportunities generated by SeaWest over the last couple of years."

"We had disagreements over the numerous proposals we had on how to capitalise projects," Paulin says. "We needed more money in the company, but he was not willing to do it. We couldn't imagine growing without it. So, Mr Davenport decided to get rid of us."

All of the proposals made by the three executives would have required SeaWest to transfer more control of the company to whoever provided the capital, a step Paulin says Davenport was unwilling to take.

A small speed bump

SeaWest's Dave Roberts confirms the disagreement was about how to grow the company. He adds, however, that the three executives resigned their positions and were not asked to leave. "He [Davenport] wants to move forward in a very measured, prudent and sustainable manner," says Roberts. "They just disagreed on what the methodology for growth should be." Roberts characterises the executives' departure as a "small speed bump. The company still has a bright and substantial future."

Padoma will initially offer wind energy consulting services to companies with capital, but little experience of wind development. "With all the continued changes we are seeing in terms of interest in wind energy by parties with plenty of capital but with no prior industry experience, we believe that we offer a much needed new concept," Paulin says.

The three have not ruled out developing projects from beginning to end as they did while leading SeaWest. Although Padoma can't touch the projects owned by SeaWest, Paulin says the new company will begin to look for new development opportunities of its own.

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