Philip VanHorne, president and CEO of BlueRock Energy Inc., credits the $2 million in capital the company has raised from private investors since August 2014 for allowing the company to create 40 new jobs and expand their operating territory.
In addition to a small equity position in the company, those Chinese investors also got something in return: permanent residency in the U.S. through a green card.
The exchange is part of a federal initiative called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program, first passed by Congress in 1990 to spur economic development in the U.S. It allows foreign investors who contribute $500,000 or more to American businesses — and create 10 or more new full-time jobs with that money — to receive green card status. An estimated 10,000 foreign investors take advantage of the program every year.
BlueRock purchases electricity and natural gas from producers and resells it at negotiated prices to commercial consumers in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, with plans to expand into New Jersey in 2017.
VanHorne started buy real valium online BlueRock out of his home in Liverpool in 2003, then moved to the Foundry Building in 2007 with his 10 employees. Today, he employs 75 people, including 52 in Syracuse, and plans to move headquarters to the Barclay Damon Tower to accommodate the growth.
Job growth in the energy sector is of particular concern in Oswego County lately, as the fate of the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant continues to hang in the air. The facility is one of only 61 plants and 99 reactors in the U.S. and employs more than 600 people in the local area, but threatens to shut down if a state governmental backing plan does not pull through.
BlueRock, on the other hand, has been twice named one of Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing companies in the country in 2013 and 2015, and recently expanded into the home solar panel industry as well. VanHorne believes that further foreign investments could help the company grow even more.
“We’re actively looking for more investors,” he said. “They don’t have to be from China. That’s just the way it’s worked out, but we’re not limited to China.”