Former Paetec CEO Takes Top Job At Energy Specialist

Sweetwater's focus is sugar -- specifically, using technology to create low-cost sugars using non-food plant materials. It sells the sugar in a water-based solution to refineries, which then use it to produce biofeuls, biochemicals and bioplastics. The hook is that what's being used are renewable plant materials, rather than petroleum-based technologies, according to Sweewater.

"Sweetwater Energy is one of the most exciting opportunities I've seen in a long time," Chesonis said in a statement. "Sugar is the new oil. Most of the products, including plastics and biochemicals that have been traditionally made from petroleum, are increasingly being made from sugar, a sustainable and renewable resource that we can economically manage."

Chesonis' connection to Sweetwater is President and COO Jack Baron, who was a Paetec co-founder and president before leaving Paetec in 2008. Chesonis has also focused on energy through the Chesonis Family Foundation, a private philanthropic organization that has given $10 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to support research on climate change and sustainability issues.

"We couldn't be more thrilled to bring Arunas on board full time," said Baron, who earlier was Sweetwater's CEO. "Arunas and I have long talked about how the renewable energy sector is a new frontier where large-scale monopolies like big oil companies are facing brand new competition from companies like Sweetwater Energy. In many ways, the industry is much like telecom back when we founded Paetec."

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Paetec, founded in 1998, was sold to fellow service provider Windstream earlier this year, creating a roughly $6 billion company with a national reach.

John Leach, Windstream's executive vice president of business sales, said the combined company will remain committed to channel partners.

“We’re getting a lot more customers asking about cloud, virtualization, and managed services. Through our acquisitions, we feel like we’ve got a great foundation in which to offer and support those services and we’re getting really nice traction into some large customers based on our ability to do those sophisticated cloud-type applications,” Leach told CRN earlier this week. “We think there’s a great opportunity in the channel to get people ready to sell those kinds of complex applications and we think we have the support and the back office necessary to be able to help them sell and support them going forward. There is a huge opportunity across all of our channels. And we expect the channel partners to benefit.”