Our Story

 

Once upon a time, our principal Rick Retzlaff was heading out on a solo boat trip on the Pujet Sound. As he prepared his home-made boat, he realized the “picture-frame” style solar panels were far too heavy and cumbersome, and the alternative panels had to be tacked on with duct-tape, and would easily fly up with every gust of wind. He knew there had to be a better way.

As a McGyver engineer, Rick started the process of creating a new form of solar panels. One that was strong (you can stand on it) and could be used as the structure itself. It also had to be highly-efficient and look good….and Wa-La! LightLeaf Solar and it’s products were born.

Our team has grown, and so have our ambitions! We realize the capabilities of our panels, and are excited to bring a new form of solar to the world, especially those living or playing off the traditional grid!

 
 

Our Team


Rick Retzlaff

P. Eng. - Principal

Rick has MANY years experience as a professional engineer, professor and entrepreneur. He has worked in automotive design, consulting engineering (industrial aerodynamics and noise/vibration), and advanced CAD system design.

Cool Things About Rick:

  • He passionately pursues personal projects and interests including building and flying aircraft, sailing small and large boats, and building/driving electric vehicles (road and water)

  • In the past….long, long ago - He co-founded a software development company that successfully delivered effective high-end, data centric solutions for process and energy plant design

  • Rick raised 4 kids - three of them are TRIPLETS. Feel free to salute!


Katrina German

B. A. - Principal

Katrina is an award-winning social impact entrepreneur who specializes in tech, communications and digital strategy. She was recently awarded the International Women in Tech ® award for “Women in Communications”.

Random Facts About Katrina:

  • Her entire front yard is a permaculture garden

  • She released a book called “Action Tracking: Master your Digital Marketing Strategy in Under 30 Days”

  • She had a technology company dedicated to telling the stories of people around the world!


Nicole keeps LightLeaf Solar growing like a fine-tuned machine; she loves talking partnerships and possibilities. Her sales and marketing prowess are only dwarfed by her administrative mastery.

Neat Things About Nicole:

  • She is a professional Ukrainian dancer with Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble

  • Social impact endeavours are her side passions; she volunteers with many non-profits and sits on many boards

  • She is our resident polyglot! The latest language on her list involves learning to decode and translate engineering lingo. Wish her luck!

Nicole Matsalla

B. Comm - Business Development & Marketing Manager


Ben is awesome. He makes sure the solar panels are top-drawer, thoroughly tested and being created and shipped on time.

There is One Thing You Need to Know About Ben:

  • He developed the 1st ever car-frame made entirely of re-purposed hockey sticks. It won 2nd place at the Driver’s World Championships in London, England!

Ben Esquirol

Development Technologist