SUNN Unlimited's founder, Julie Hickman, began her career with Goldman Sachs & Company in Los Angeles, having the good fortune of being part of the highest income-producing team at Goldman, worldwide, working with high-net-worth clients. This career was founded upon an internship with Chase Manhattan Bank on Wall Street, due to the support and guidance of Sweet Briar College alumnae.
While Goldman Sachs was considered “top notch,” and continuing on to business school would have been the traditional route, being on the 19th floor of a sky-scraper in a major earthquake brought Ms. Hickman’s perspective back down to earth. She “saw the light” and pivoted in the direction of her childhood love – nature.
Testing out her passion, she started with night classes at UCLA, while still working at Goldman Sachs during east coast hours, starting at 5:30 a.m. After two semesters, she resigned and entered the full-time California State Polytechnic University Master’s Program in the College of Environmental Design, completing her degree in 1992. Her awareness and concern for mankind’s impact on nature grew as she studied - as did her desire to reverse this damaging trend and find positive solutions. She started considering waste streams backwards: storm-water, ground-water contamination, toxic waste and municipal trash landfills. For active landfills she studied landfill liners, fill engineering, and methane gas collection systems – with the benefit of converting gas to energy. For closed landfills, she designed drought-tolerant golf courses, and the prospect for sustainable communities -supported by edible gardens alongside energy producing solar farms. This concept, developed with her thesis mentor, eventually came to pass at the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies https://www.cpp.edu/~crs/history.html
She was compelled to tackle more toxic challenges, and the underlying ethical need for humans to become more aware, and accountable for, their thoughtless habits of “throwing things away” without thinking about where “away” is – not too far from home. She studied and wrote about recycling, pollution prevention, site remediation and natural restoration.
This research lead to her career with the California Environmental Protection Agency, (Cal/EPA), Department of Toxic Substances Control, (DTSC), which gave her the opportunity to address many of her concerns as a Hazardous Waste Site Mitigation Project Manager, Pollution Prevention Specialist, International Environmental Technology Trade Mission Coordinator, and Legislative Liaison - introducing and gaining successful passage of statewide Pollution Prevention legislation in California.
Her legislative skills were recognized by the National Audubon Society, who asked her to establish a Mississippi State office in the home state of then Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott. She founded the first state legislative office, monitored the Mississippi Legislature, introduced and gained passage of approval for state conservation staff positions, and rallied the membership in six statewide Audubon chapters. She often partnered with The Nature Conservancy, and nationally, was flown in to lobby with the National Wildlife Federation on conservation issues in Congress. She received an invitation to the White House for her contributions to Mississippi, and eventually decided to move closer to Washington, DC, in Alexandria, Virginia in 2000, where she has resided since.
She began with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, taking member delegations to the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond, and working with the City Council and Mayor on issues of interest to her members.
Realizing that this was getting her too off track from her passion for nature, she changed course, and went to work as a landscape designer with Campbell & Ferrara, where she had years of success designing, and overseeing construction crews to install outdoor living spaces – custom stone retaining walls, decks, patios, pools, putting greens, ponds, lighting, and this lead to her desire to add – solar power to homes and businesses.
Initially creating an alliance between Campbell & Ferrara an Alexandria, VA based Continuum Energy Solutions, she chose to narrow her focus to solar exclusively, and agreed to start the Commercial Solar Division of Continuum.
As the Commercial Solar Sales Director, She both pursued solar installation opportunities and assisted Continuum founder, Kent Baake, and others in the solar space, with efforts to promote the solar industry in Virginia, through Legislative means. She testifying before the House of Delegates and gained a Co-sponsor in the Senate, and the voluntary Solar Energy Resources Development bill was passed and signed by the Governor. Julie continues to support the expansion of the solar and renewable energy industry through her contributions to the Governor’s Energy Plan – 2014, testifying before the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and keeping solar at the forefront of the minds of her elected officials in Virginia.
Julie was promoted to Executive Director; two notable achievements were as follows:
Developed a sub-contractor agreement with Pepco Energy Services lead the solar effort on a 17-party solar carousel project at the Smithsonian National Zoo, leading in a new product, Certainteed Apollo Solar panels, never before utilized in the Mid-Atlantic
Founded an Electric Vehicle Charging Station Installation Division, supporting purchasers of the Nissan Leaf in the DC Metro
As a proven initiator and integrator of complex and unique renewable energy opportunities and talent, she recognizes that becoming a “match-maker” in the clean energy field was her forte, and established SUNN Unlimited in August 2013, with Clean Energy Finance to follow.
She recognized that, currently, the best momentum in deploying solar energy is at the commercial scale in the District of Columbia, and she is committed to financing and installing as many PV arrays as is possible prior to the expiration of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2016.
Please contact Julie Hickman now, at 703-887-6216 if you have interest in a no-money-down, commercial scale solar system in Washington, D.C.
Professional solar project development services
Currently financing in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia
Member of Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association - http://mdvseia.org/
Registered eVA Vendor - https://eva.virginia.gov/pages/eva-i-sell-to-virginia.htm
SUNN Unlimited is a mid-Atlantic commercial solar project developer, specializing in the Washington, DC metro market. Our mission is to deploy clean, renewable solar energy collection devices on all existing impenetrable surfaces as rapidly as possible, to create energy production and onsite energy security for America.
We recognize that each solar project is unique and develop a plan to suit each client’s individual goals. From financing to finish, we provide our clients over 20 years?? of expertise and unparalleled service. Our experience enables us to quickly assess and estimate your solar needs and cost/benefit/payback and estimated tax-benefits and incentives.
Commercial, government, utility, school/academic, residential - whether you have us installing on a shopping mall, warehouse, equestrian facility or on your home, we apply the best practices, industry knowledge and cutting edge technology to every job. We work with commercial developers and are a highly sought after subcontractor for complex government and utility jobs. We have numerous satisfied customers whose trust we've earned with quality work and the highest levels of professionalism.