When I first met Pete Kadens, I was a student in Professor Boyd’s “Managing for Sustainability 300” course and he was a guest speaker that had graduated from Bucknell in the year 2000. Reading his credentials in the syllabus, he sounded like an average business suit guy that was going to talk with us about how to be “successful” after graduation with finding the right job and all that jazz. However, all of that dissipated when I saw this guy come in wearing a t-shirt and jeans as he sat down on the desk in front of us. He was extremely relatable, down to Earth, and humble! He went through the MGMT 101 course that we’ve all either went through or heard about and said “It was a stressful awesome horrible time that taught me a lot.” One would’ve never have guessed that Pete was the Co-Founder of SoCore Energy LLC in 2008 and had been its adviser since 2015 and also served as President and Chief Sales Officer. This was a company that he was already (and remorsefully) moving on from the same week he was presenting to us. He founded Acquirent and served as its Chief Executive Officer responsible for overseeing all aspects of Acquirent including recruitment, process engineering, and business development. He was also in charge of the development of the client roster that included Staples
What was impactful for me about his business was that he is a leader in the American “Green Movement” and had the foresight to guide his company, SoCore Energy, to be a fast growing, venture backed solar energy firm that was the first company to pioneer the rental of solar equipment to the masses. SoCore’s customers include Walgreens, JC Penney, and Lowes stores. He co-founded the company with well known Bucknell alum, Glen Tullman, who is currently the CEO of Allscripts, the largest Electronic Medical Record company in the United States. Prior to SoCore Pete was the founder and CEO of Acquirent, an outsourced sales company that Pete and his team grew to be ranked the #1 outsourced sales company in the United States.
However, what was impactful for me about him as a human was his humility and servitude beyond being a businessman. So often we hear of the “privileged children” of CEO’s being spoiled with BMW’s or unGodly amounts of money and possessions in mansions that never see the struggles of life. Peter told us how he was taking his daughter through rural Appalachia (my homelands) to show her how blessed she is to live how she does and how it is the responsibility of people in their position to help those in need. He explained how he was personally involved in starting philanthropic initiatives in his city that host holiday quality banquets for homeless people and I could just hear the Kantian sense of duty in his voice like, it wasn’t a thing to be bragged about in what he did, it was just a good and valid thing to do because he could. Fortunately, Pete will be speaking again on campus this week and I hope to be able to reconnect with the man and highly recommend others doing so. He gives me hope that someone who started off at the MGMT 101 class level could go on to do so much while retaining one’s moral compass and using it to guide philanthropic decisions. It’s truly inspiring.