Clean energy champion heads to Sacramento

Sanford Nax Esq.
Sandy Nax has left the building.

After more than two years championing the cause of clean and alternative energy at the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, the veteran journalist and all-around nice guy has taken his talents to California's capital city where he'll be writing about everything real estate for the Sacramento Business Journal.

Sandy has a way with words, producing hundreds of posts on everything from the corporate clean energy buy-in to cow power and anything and everything solar. In fact, one of his last posts, Solar energy advances at rocket speed, is all about the advances of sun-produced energy and politicians missing the memo.

He spent the bulk of his 30-plus year career at the Fresno Bee, a senior reporter known and respected all over the Valley. When it looked as if the newspaper industry was heading for the trash bin of history at record speed, Sandy opted to diversify. He saw promise in the clean energy industry.

While it turns out the demise of the printed daily news story may be somewhat premature, Sandy was right about clean energy. It continues plugging along, winning friends and influencing people. As for newspapers, Warren Buffett seems to think they have a future. The world's third-richest man recently purchased 63 papers from Media General Inc. He's banking on mid-sized papers and a public that believes in quality content that won't be given away.

Let's hope so. Sacramento won a great reporter. Sandy says of the place after his first day: "Great group of people and lots of resources."

Here at the SJVCEO, Sandy mastered social media, building up the @SJVCEO Twitter feed to more than 1,000 followers. He buffed up the organization's facebook site to about 450 friends and its fan page to 169 likes. He also secured a sizable Tumblr following and wrote hundreds of blog posts.

The blog site has generated more than 77,000 page views and has had record visits most every month this year. Of course, for a couple of guys who worked at a newspaper that had more than 166,000 daily subscribers, that still sounds like peanuts.

But in Sandy's case, he was starting from scratch. "SJVCEO who?" people would say. Heck they still say it. But we've had some influence. And Sandy has worked on clean energy projects, helping about 40 cities and counties install energy efficiency retrofits that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual utility bill savings.

Sandy championed the concept of Solar Valley. The idea is that the region has sun, land, wind, biogas, biofuel, innovators and people who are not afraid of hard work. In other words, all the elements of a clean energy nexus. Solar Valley could be the next Silicon Valley, Sandy would say. Or something like that.

We would talk back and forth about the why not? Clean air is a good thing. Clean energy can generate thousands of jobs and much needed tax revenue. What's not to like? We all want to see the Sierra again and lose the asthma and pollution-violation days.

Sandy you will be missed.