Meet Our Acting CEO, Ryan McAllister

The Secure Futures team sees additional leadership as Ryan McAllister steps up his role to Acting CEO while the Founder, Tony Smith, retains his role as President.

Ryan McAllister Secure Futures
Meet Ryan McAllister, Secure Futures’ recently appointed Acting CEO.

Secure Futures Solar has appointed Ryan McAllister to the role of acting Chief Executive Officer effective October 1. McAllister previously served as the company’s Business Development Manager and will oversee the company’s operations while the company undertakes a search for a permanent CEO as Tony Smith steps down from that role to continue to serve as the company’s President and Founder.

Coordinating with key external partners in financing and other areas, Secure Futures has pursued a two-year plan to transition its leadership. During the current phase of the transition period, in his role as president, Tony will work with the company’s ownership partners to initiate a search for a permanent CEO within the next several months.

During the transition period, Ryan will take charge of four primary areas of responsibility for Secure Futures: strategy and planning, reaching business objectives, managing company operations towards specified goals and supporting the company’s economic success.

“Ryan brings technical and financial expertise, deep experience with our business solutions and customers, and a lifelong passion for clean energy and environmental sustainability. His appointment is a signal of the company’s strength and its commitment to entering into new markets, positioning Secure Futures for significant growth over the next five years.”

Tony Smith, Founder & President

Ryan joined the company in June 2019 to take charge of sales outreach. Previously, he held positions with Sigora Solar and Bank of America. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and a master’s degree in economics from the University of London.

I am grateful for the opportunity to help Secure Futures continue to grow by bringing solar power and clean energy solutions to schools, hospitals, and companies in Virginia and throughout the southeastern states. I look forward to working with our employees, partners and customers to build on the company’s history as first mover and leader in developing the regional market for solar power, all while continuing to support necessary changes in public policy that will level the playing field for clean energy.”

Ryan McAllister, Acting CEO

Making Solar History in Virginia and Beyond

In the meantime, Tony will devote more time to raising capital to finance the company’s continued growth, while distilling into a book key lessons he has learned over a half century of running a variety of successful businesses and organizations dedicated to serving the public good in the fields of clean energy and community development.

In 2010 Tony oversaw the company’s first solar power installation, a 104-kilowatt array on the roof of the Hartzler Library at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, the largest solar project of any kind in the state of Virginia at the time and the first in the state to be financed through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Over the following years, Tony led the company to develop solar projects of historic significance in Virginia.

In 2011, despite receiving two cease-and-desist orders from Dominion Energy, Secure Futures successfully built a 444-kilowatt solar system at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, an array which also became the largest solar project in the state when it was completed.

In 2016, Secure Futures held the first “solar barnraising” in Virginia, working with community volunteers under supervision of experienced solar installers to put up a solar array at the Gift and Thrift retail store in Harrisonburg. Two years later, the company would hold the first solar barnraising in the state of Pennsylvania, when it installed a solar power system at the Mennonite Central Committee Material Resources Center in Ephrata, PA.

Secure Futures solar school student
Eastern Mennonite University paved the way for Power Purchase Agreements in Virginia in 2010. EMU held a “solar barnraising” to install their second round of solar installations, pictured above.

In 2018, the company installed the first solar energy system in Virginia at a cold storage warehouse operated by InterChange Group in Mt. Crawford, helping bring clean energy to an industry that has proven crucial to maintaining the nation’s food supply during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2019, the company completed installing nearly 3 megawatts of solar panels on 10 campuses at Richmond city public schools, the largest solar energy system at a K-12 school division in Virginia when it launched. In 2020, at public schools systems in both Augusta and Orange counties, Secure Futures is installing the first solar energy systems combined with roof restoration, both financed by a PPA or solar service agreement, in the state.

Tony’s Policy Efforts Helped Spread Clean Energy in Virginia

During Tony’s tenure as CEO, the company also played a leading role in changes to public policy to make solar power more accessible in Virginia.

In 2012, working with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Secure Futures formed the Virginia Distributed Solar Alliance, the first of several organizations that the company helped found in subsequent years to advocate for public policy on the statewide level to make rooftop solar power more affordable at both residential- and commercial-scale.

In 2013, the company developed a proposal that passed the Virginia General Assembly to establish a PPA Pilot Program in territory served by Dominion Energy Virginia.

That same year, Secure Futures developed and signed the first Solar Self-Generation Agreement (“Solar SGA®” a proprietary contract format developed by Secure Futures as an alternative to a power purchase agreement) in Virginia with the United Church of Christ in Chesterfield County. The company also successfully lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to pass tax exemptions for solar power equipment and to legalize crowdfunding in the state.

The company’s numerous public policy successes over a decade helped pave the way for passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act by the General Assembly in 2020.

Innovative Programs Benefit Schools and Communities

With Tony at the helm, Secure Futures also developed novel programs in clean energy education.

For its customers in K-12 education and at no additional charge, the company began offering classroom curricula and materials from the National Energy Education and Development (NEED) project, complete with teacher training.

Our solar schools’ teachers receive hands-on workshop training through the NEED Project, which enables teachers to incorporate solar curriculum into their classrooms.

To make tangible its commitment to a triple-bottom line of people, planet and profits, in 2017 Secure Futures became a certified B Corp, confirmed by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. 

In 2018, Secure Futures launched the Throwing Solar Shade® educational program in partnership with the Science Museum of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University to offer hands-on solar power and science education to students at two public school divisions, Richmond City and Augusta County.

Ryan, Tony, and the rest of the Secure Futures team remain committed to paving the way for schools, governments, and businesses to go solar through policy initiatives, innovative financing, and building partnerships in the community. Keep up-to-date by subscribing to our e-newsletter, Sol Invictus!


Written by: Erik Curren