Gemma founders Bill Griffin and Joel Canino worked together for 12 years building the CNF Industries organization. During that period, Joel served as president and CEO, and Bill worked his way up from project manager to president. While working together alongside many others who ultimately formed the nucleus of Gemma Power Systems, the pair develop a successful model for building independent power generation facilities. CNF thrives during those years while Bill and Joel honed the key skills essential for the efficient design, procurement and construction of generation plants using such diverse energy sources as natural gas, oil, biomass and wind.
CNF’s parent company, Kenetech Corporation, was experiencing a challenging economic period. One of their subsidiaries was entering Chapter 11. This disrupted the company, and Kenetech decided to sell CNF. After cooperating with the sales process for some time, the leadership team at CNF propose a management buyout. When that offer is rejected, Bill and Joel decide to start a new company, and the idea for Gemma Power Systems begins to take shape. The Gemma name stemmed from the fact that Bill and Joel were born on the same day in June, 15 years apart. They want to name their new venture ‘Gemini’ in honor of their shared astrological sign, but the name has already been registered by another company. They instead chose Gemma, which is defined as a bud that separates from the main plant and grows on its own. The name seems appropriate for the new venture, and Gemma Power Systems is born.
Beginning with the Dighton Power Project, a 160 MW single-shaft combined cycle power facility located in Dighton, Mass., Gemma begins to build an impressive resume of projects, which totaled 15 GW in 2017. As many opportunities arise throughout the country, the company quickly develops a national footprint. Today, Gemma is widely recognized as a national EPC firm with a strong reputation and an excellent track record of completed projects.
With a modest investment and foregoing a salary, Bill and Joel hire a temporary employee to assist with administrative activities and begin to bid work. Because they believe there will be ample opportunities to replace aging power generation facilities in the Northeast, they focus first on this region.
Within five years, Gemma Power Systems is performing multiple combined cycle projects simultaneously with annual revenues nearing $250 million. The company employs 125 permanent staff and more than 700 craft personnel. Gemma expands its capabilities into biodiesel and ethanol production facilities.
Argan, Inc. acquires Gemma Power Systems and helps to enhance the company’s balance sheet and ability to execute projects at an even higher level. Gemma continues to function as Argan’s largest subsidiary and to perform well for investors.
Gemma Renewable Power (GRP) is formed to meet our clients’ needs in the renewable energy sector of the power industry. The senior professionals’ 25 years of renewable energy project development and construction experience enables GRP to become a leading EPC firm for wind and solar projects across the country.
Gemma completes construction of the first two U.S. installations of Siemens “H” class single shaft gas turbines. The Panda Liberty and Panda Patriot power facilities in Pennsylvania are also the first gas turbine plants designed specifically to take advantage of the Marcellus Shale formation.