Dean Cooper – Managing Director – Parallax
BSc, Mathematics & Physics – 1st class (York), MBA – distinction (Warwick)
Dean’s co-founding of Parallax – Sustainable Development Solutions in 2001 was the culmination of more than a decade of cross-sector management experience in the energy/environment sector both in Europe and Africa.
He began his career with the UK Government energy agency in 1991, and was seconded to the European Commission in 1992. There his focus was international co-operation strategy, implementation, promotion and co-ordination. He managed programmes involving a wide range of international organizations, and developed a large network of contacts throughout the developing world and the European Union. This gave Dean invaluable experience not only in public sector funding, but also in the use of energy for development.
Dean’s passion for work in Africa began in 1996 when he was seconded to the South African Government Department of Minerals and Energy, then to Botswana in 1998, to manage co-operation projects between the EU and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) on behalf of AEA Technology (UK) plc. This involved public/private sector activity and consultancy work, which required effective personal interaction and communication at all levels, from ministerial to grass roots.
Although these programmes involved international intervention, Dean focused on selecting projects and programmes to meet on the ground needs and desires. This approach provided him with direct experience of the opportunity that energy and the environment provides to business development in emerging markets. He gained more personal experience of this when, after completing an MBA at Warwick Business School in 2001, he worked as business advisor to CHICOP, an eco-tourism business in Zanzibar. The opportunity to form Parallax, and to focus on matching international policies with local needs, came shortly after this.
Dean’s role as managing director in Parallax is to maximize his past experience and international networks, in order to successfully match a variety of stakeholder needs and requirements. This has been successfully achieved in the wide range of projects that he has managed to date. His strength is his ability to both interface with high-level, international and national representatives, and to manage local, rural people – training them and encouraging them to successfully develop their own businesses through suitable energy sources.
Some of the projects that Dean managed prior to joining Parallax include:
- South Africa: USAID/ DEAT Grant Project – “Demonstration of Housing Energization to Reduce Climate Change&
- Tanzania: CHICOP (Zanzibar) Ltd – advising and managing business & operations for Chumbe Island Coral Park, an eco-tourism operation in Zanzibar.
- South Africa: European Commission, Development Bank of Southern Africa – investigating potential for rural energization using EU technologies.
- Botswana: AEA Technology – assessing AEAT capacity and competence for future business in Southern Africa.
- Botswana: DG XVII, European Commission – managing investigation into all areas of potential co-operation between the European Union and SADC countries.
- Botswana: DGXVII, European Commission – establishing Southern Africa Renewable Energy Information Network (SAREIN).
- Belgium: OPET-CS, ETSU (on behalf of theEuropean Commission) – managed third countries co-operation activities in the THERMIE programme.