Finding a place in the business world
Following his graduation from Indiana University, Ron DeLyons spent over 20 years working in business and finance. Throughout his career he has founded, invested in and sold several private companies. DeLyons’ career kicked off in New York where he focused on structured finance, participating in the Mortgage-backed securities sector. As years went by, he progressed into sales and trading, and eventually ended up in portfolio and asset management. Today, DeLyons is founder and CEO of Creekwood Energy Partners, LLC., a renewable energy development and finance company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
DeLyons began his career in investment banking at FIHC Financial in 1985. Over the next decade he founded and sold two financial services firms. In 1998, he became a founder and equity partner of Greystone Investment Management; a private client money management firm located in Cincinnati, Ohio. When Greystone Investment Management had over $300 million in assets under management, DeLyons decided to part with his title as CEO and sell his interest in the company. As a new father, he wanted to move forward and devote his professional life to making the world a better place for his children. After extensive research, DeLyons saw how threatening climate change is to humankind and was determined to use his finance background to positively impact the industry.
Switching focus to an area where change was needed
In May of 2004, Ron DeLyons founded Creekwood Energy Partners. Here, he hoped to apply his finance experience to create a solution to lessen the effects of climate change and other environmental impacts. Prior to Creekwood, there were effective technologies developed for renewable energy and energy efficiency, however they were expensive and hard to scale. DeLyons hoped to overcome these challenges through creative financing structures. Creekwood’s goal is to help clients meet and surpass their goals set for clean energy. The company partners with customers to transform to a low-carbon, or better yet carbon-free, economy. They develop, implement and finance energy transition projects for their clients, one of which is the City of Cincinnati. Creekwood is assisting the City in achieving its goal of transitioning to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2035.
According to DeLyons, having a minority certification could provide a more efficient route to decision makers. Creekwood Energy Partners is certified with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), State of Ohio, and City of Cincinnati, which has benefited the company in more ways than one. For instance, having a status as a local, certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) helped the company stand out from 66 other firms and secure their multi-year contract with the City of Cincinnati.
Overcoming the struggles of the pandemic
As we emerge from the pandemic, DeLyons shares that although there was less of a long-term impact on revenue, the recognition of said revenue has been delayed. Like many companies, Creekwood employees were unable to meet face to face. Their engineers did not have access to client buildings and most permitting bodies were not meeting to issue permits. Although the company experienced setbacks, they are working their way out of the delays caused by the pandemic. DeLyons urges entrepreneurs to continue to develop and maintain existing relationships the best they can. He believes that “the pandemic will reward those who are creative and can still provide viable solutions to the challenges their customers face.”
The best piece of advice
“Believe in yourself and never give up. Remain kind, generous and understanding with everyone, no matter their current status. Keep your word and do what you say you’re going to do.” DeLyons emphasizes how closely he holds this advice and how he carries this with him throughout his career.
To learn more about the benefits of Diverse Business Certification, check out Coupa’s Diversity Guide.