4 Minutes with…Lester Krone, Managing Director, Stern Brothers

February 13, 2018 |

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.

Stern, founded in 1917, is an investment bank with headquarters in St. Louis and eight offices from California to New York. Our group helps private developers raise capital for renewable projects, primarily bio-product manufacturing facilities and WTE projects.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

My primary role is originating and structuring non-recourse financing for renewable projects. In addition to deal execution, a good part of my day is spent in discussions with institutional investors, learning their objectives and risk tolerance. Lately we’ve started working with municipalities and developers on P3 infrastructure and real estate projects.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?   

I could have written this five years ago but it’s till true today. Put all technologies on an even footing, then make the rules and don’t change (or threaten to change) the rules. In case you haven’t noticed, nothing drives away capital like uncertainty.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

I would speed up the slow pace of commercialization of renewable technologies. Millions are invested and sponsors and investors wait for two or three years to see if it works!

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?   

Turning trash into treasure.

Where are you from?

St. Louis, MO

What was your subject focus (e.g. major) in university (undergraduate and/or graduate, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Architectural engineering (BS, University of Colorado), civil engineering (MS, Washington University in St. Louis) and then an MBA (Harvard Business School)

Who do you consider your mentors – could be personal, business, or just people you have read about and admire. What have you learned from them?  

I admire Winston Churchill.

What’s the biggest lesson you ever learned during a period of adversity?   

When you’re going through hell, keep going. (Sounds like Churchill, but it isn’t….)

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?   

Fly fishing, archery, St. Louis Cardinals baseball.

What books or articles (excluding The Digest) are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?   

Any place with a trout stream and no cell reception.

The U.S. Grant biography by Ron Chernow. It will challenge everything you think you know about Grant.

What’s your favorite city or place to visit, for a holiday?  

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Category: Million Minds

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