Michael Polsky is CEO of Invenergy, a company that develops, owns and operates power generation and energy storage facilities. He endowed the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and invests in budding tech companies.
Invenergy has signed wind-power deals with companies across the country. One of its major partners: Google. Invenergy provides power to the tech giant’s data center operations.
In 2016, Polsky announced he would donate $35 million to the University of Chicago, a gift that will expand the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation into a free-standing entity independent of the business school. Polsky said he hopes the move will ingrain the center’s ethos into the entire university’s culture.
“That is where the world is going,” Polsky said. “The university has recognized that and capitalized on that. It’s not just Booth anymore.”
Previously, Polsky founded Sky Gen Energy, a developer, owner and operator of natural gas-fueled generating plants. The company was sold to Calpine Corp. in 2001 for $450 million. Before that, he founded Indeck Energy Services, where he was president. While there, he led development and financing of a portfolio of independent power generating assets — one of the first of its kind.
In 2009, Polsky helped conceive an idea that would bloom into the Clean Energy Trust, a nonprofit that which invests in clean tech companies and focuses on getting research from labs and universities into the market. The nonprofit, where Polsky is the current co-founder and co-chairman of the board, has since awarded $3.2 million in funding to 29 clean energy startups.
The Polsky Center at Booth, endowed in 2002, provides conferences as well as research and academic opportunities for entrepreneurship students.
Polsky holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering degree from Kiev Polytechnic Institute in Ukraine. He serves on the boards of national organizations including the World Resources Institute.