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Birney '78 Goes Solar in Style

Washington and Lee alumnus and real estate executive Lex Birney, of the Class of 1978, demonstrated his theatrical side earlier this month when he flipped the ceremonial switch on a new solar array that is helping power Queenstown Harbor Golf Course on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Lex is CEO of The Brick Companies (TBC), which owns the course. As the story on MyEasternShoreMD.com reported, he donned a white coat and wild-haired wig for the occasion, and delivered his best impression of Gene Wilder in “Young Frankenstein,” declaring “It’s alive!!!” when he threw the switch.

Queenstown is one of the commercial, residential and recreational properties that Lex’s company owns, develops and manages in and around the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

One thing the properties have in common is a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. TBC operates under a “green building philosophy” and also supports various causes through The TBC Foundation.

The solar array on the Queenstown Harbor course has 268 panels and can produce about 78 megawatt hours of clean electricity each year. The project was designed and installed by Standard Solar Inc., of Rockville, Md., the same company that installed and is maintaining the 540-panel array on the parking deck at W&L.

As another example of the company’s commitment to green energy, earlier this year it announced that all of its properties in Maryland — six commerical buildings, two golf clubs and two marinas — would be powered by wind. In announcing that move in September, Lex said: “Committing to purchase 100 percent of our electricity from wind power provides an economic benefit based on our historic energy costs and represents another step toward our goal of being a leader in environmental stewardship. This means that our employees, tenants and customers can be assured that by supporting us, they are also supporting green resources and clean energy.”

In July, Lex and the Brick Companies’ CFO, Joan H. Renner, were named one of the top dozen CEO/CFO teams in the region by Baltimore Business Journal. In that article, Lex talks about being an English major.