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Climate change is a hot topic that impacts the existence of life itself. Carthage students Zach Gibson and Sophie Shulman have teamed up to bring about positive change to southeast Wisconsin through their marketing company, Blackbird Gen.

Gibson and Shulman are students at Carthage College and members of the class of 2023. They began working on a green energy project through an international nonprofit organization on campus, called Enactus.

The duo started with a grassroots effort last year to promote the sale of residential solar panels.

Gibson is a marketing and finance major from Byron, MN. Shulman, a marketing and music major, hails from Gurnee, IL. Together, they began going door-to-door and calling Kenosha area residents to promote and sell solar panels. They are dedicated to lowering the cost of renewable energy for Wisconsin residents.

“Climate change is an urgent need that needs to be addressed, but people don’t always understand the options available to make the change toward renewable energy,” says Shulman.

Working with All Energy Solar, they have developed a group-buy program for residents to not only purchase solar panels but also maximize savings by way of rebates for their purchase. Group-buying allows for higher savings; the more people that buy, the bigger the rebates.

Under their LLC, Blackbird Gen organizes regular information sessions throughout Kenosha to interested residents. Sessions lay out the rebate program, government tax incentives, and explain just how great the savings associated with renewable energy can be in the long term.

“Carthage has done an excellent job of preparing us to be successful,” says Gibson. “It is so fun to take what we learn in our marketing classes and transfer it directly to the group-buy. I really feel like our education is playing a pivotal role in the success we have seen thus far.”

The effort has grown significantly, allowing Gibson and Shulman to expand their marketing business. Four more students joined the ranks at Blackbird Gen, and they are seeking even more team members as their endeavor continues to grow.

Learn more about Blackbird Gen, Carthage College and Enactus:

Blackbird Gen
“We are a group of college students from Kenosha, WI who are optimistic about the future of residential green energy, and we want to usher our community towards that future in a way that everyone benefits from. That’s why we formed Blackbird Gen, and are now partnered with All Energy Solar to offer a Solar Group Buy program for Kenosha/Racine!” –Blackbird Gen website

Carthage College
Carthage College, founded in 1847, is located in Kenosha, WI, between Milwaukee and Chicago. The private college offers a liberal arts education with desirable degree programs, career-development concentration, and personal attention from faculty and staff. Learn more on their website.

Enactus is an international non-profit organization that empowers businesses and people in the community to create a better, more sustainable world. At Enactus, students take skills learned in the classroom and apply them to real-world problems. Enactus students develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living.” –Enactus statement