Mike Smith

Managing Partner

A life-long westerner, Mike grew up in Wyoming, Alaska, and Idaho and has a family and personal history of scientific land management. He founded RenewWest in Denver, Colorado in 2015 to combat the growing problem of climate change and western deforestation. He has become a recognized expert in climate policy, carbon markets, and forestry policy.

Prior to RenewWest, Mike served as an officer in the United States Navy, primarily as a FA-18 Super Hornet pilot.  Postings included Italy, Japan, and throughout the United States.  While in the service, he led multiple independent projects with monthly operations budgets of $7+ million, 250+ personnel, and over $1.2 billion in assets.  His final tour on active duty was as the head of Navy cruise missile operations throughout Africa, Europe, and the western Middle East during a period of heightened international tension.

Mike earned his BS from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002, majoring in Systems Engineering, with a focus on Environmental Engineering and a minor-equivalent in Political Science. He is a certified Project Management Professional and holds a Fundamentals of Engineering certificate from the State of Maryland.

John Cleland

Managing Partner

John brings a background of entrepreneurial work in impact investing, capital raising, and commodities trading.  John’s track record of leveraging strong relationships to build and strengthen organizations supports RenewWest and its clients as they scale to achieve simultaneous social impact and financial return.

Prior to joining RenewWest, John worked as Director of Operations at the Impact Finance Center, a non-profit expanding the field of impact investing.  He led efforts for sponsorship and fundraising for IFC's CO Impact Days annual event.  Prior to moving to Denver, John spent the majority of his 14-year professional career as a futures trader/broker and Managed Futures portfolio manager in Chicago. 

John's passion for the outdoors and global sustainability combined with his background led to his move west and involvement in the impact investing community. John received his BA in Communications and Business Administration from Michigan State University and holds his Series 3 and Series 30 Registrations. 

Brad Forth.jpg

Brad Forth


Brad has a career of success in finance and new ventures.  He began supporting RenewWest in 2017 and officially joined the team in 2018. 

Brad has been the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Northern Offshore, Ltd., an international offshore drilling company, since 2015. He leads Northern’s finance and accounting team and works closely with the CEO and Board of Directors to manage the company on a day-to-day basis and to develop and execute the company’s long-term strategy. In 2017, Brad assumed management responsibility for Northern’s operations, project management and QHSSE functions, as well as its regional offices in Abu Dhabi and Aberdeen, Scotland. Brad joined Northern in 2015 with more than 14 years of experience in corporate strategy, finance, operations and accounting.

Previously, he was the co-founder, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of two publicly traded investment companies (from 2005-2010 and 2012-2015). From 2001 through 2013, he also served in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility with Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, a boutique investment bank providing merger and acquisition advice, most recently as a partner, director and Chief Operating Officer. Brad is a graduate of Duke University and a CFA charterholder.

Keith Stagg


Keith recently joined the team at RenewWest and is a conservation forestry professional with over a decade of experience building programs and implementing projects across the US, with a focus on the mountain west. He has promoted forest restoration and sound forest management through ecosystem service incentive systems, including with the Forest Stewardship Council and Front Range water utilities. Keith is committed to getting good projects to ground and sees carbon markets as a way not only to address climate change, but to promote scientifically-sound, conservation-oriented forest management.

Keith is originally from outside of Taos, New Mexico where he grew up sandwiched between the Columbine-Hondo and Wheeler Peak wilderness areas in the Carson National Forest, and he holds a master of environmental science degree from the Yale School of Forestry and a BA from Whitman College in Biology.

Board of Advisors

Sean Penrith   Former CEO, Climate Trust Capital  Founder, Gordian Knot Strategies

Sean Penrith

Former CEO, Climate Trust Capital

Founder, Gordian Knot Strategies

Carol Ekarius   CEO, Coalitions & Collaboratives

Carol Ekarius

CEO, Coalitions & Collaboratives

Pete Dignan   Former CEO, Renewable Choice Energy  Founder, Ever Better, PBC

Pete Dignan

Former CEO, Renewable Choice Energy

Founder, Ever Better, PBC

Katherine Hamilton   Conservation Finance Expert

Katherine Hamilton

Conservation Finance Expert

Chandler Van Voorhis   Managing Member, Green Trees

Chandler Van Voorhis

Managing Member, Green Trees