Chris was born to working middle-class parents, Walter and Donna Schaefer. Walter was a town firefighter until stricken with Multiple Sclerosis, while Donna followed a career with Xerox as an executive secretary and retired as a Human Resources Manager.
Chris grew up in one of the last small suburban farming communities located on the banks of the Genesee River (affectionately known as the “Flats”) in West Irondequoit, just north of Rochester. It was here that he gained a love and respect for the outdoors, as well as his diligent work ethic. He started his first jobs at the age of twelve, working for the local vegetable farmers and delivering newspapers in his neighborhood.
After graduating from West Irondequoit High School, he entered military service with the United States Marine Corps, Air Wing, where discipline, integrity, and the ability to improvise, adapt and overcome were his majors. Upon the completion of six years, which included a tour of Beirut, Lebanon, he left to seek higher education at the Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating from their Packaging Machinery program. During his college tenure, he helped the disabled by repairing motorized wheelchairs, mostly pro-bono.
After finishing college and securing a job as a Field Service Engineer, he once again entered the military, first as a reservist in the Air Force and then in the Army as a Helicopter Crew Chief. Due to a new employer, and a move up the ladder to a position as a Controls Engineer (and the resulting requirement for international travel) he was forced to give up his military tenure. He holds three Honorable Discharges from three different branches of the military. His international travels took him all over the world to places such as Greece, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Australia, Germany and Italy (to name a few). His next promotion granted him the title of Applications/Process Controls Engineer, where he worked with clientele that ranged from the Automotive Industry to Waste Water Treatment Facilities.
Then, in 1997, his entrepreneurial spirit got the better of him. He decided to venture out on his own to open not one, but two businesses. The first was a Controls Engineering house that provided engineering services to clients in need of a one stop shop for the design/construction of automated material handling systems to process control pumping stations for the waste water and landfill industries.
The second business reflects what he holds most dear, his beliefs, and his love of the environment: Renewable Energy. Long before Global Warming got the attention of the world, he knew that there was a pollution-free path to create energy from both the sun and wind. He was one of the early adopters of this technology and has been in the industry longer than anyone in Western New York. He began by educating and powering clients’ remote homes (known as Off-Grid).
In 2002, he built the area’s first Design and Training Center for Renewable Energy, and today powers the center 100% from Mother Nature. In 2011, he achieved national status from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) as a Certified PV (Solar) Installation Professional.
Chris now resides in the small town of Bristol, just outside of Canandaigua, and has two teenage children. He has four siblings: one brother and three sisters, all of which reside in Western New York.
It’s no surprise that his hobbies are all outdoor-related. He enjoys snowmobiles, ATV’s, jet skis, windsurfing, hunting and forestry. He has business associations with the Better Business Bureau (A++), Better Contractors Bureau, New York State Forest Owners Association, NABCEP and New York State Energy Research Development Authority.
So just who is Christopher Schaefer…?
Just your average “Chris”.