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Mark Hannifan

(913) 424-3934















Black & Veatch
children international
Africa School Assistance Project
FAME Logo.jpeg



Sun Partners International is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization that provides engineering and funding assistance to deploy solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems to promote health, education, and economic development.  Sun Partners International collaborates with other non-profit/NGOs or individual villages and communities in developing countries to undertake projects that are both sustainable and of extremely high value, including: 


  • delivery of clean water via solar-assisted water pumping; 

  • power for medical clinics;

  • power for school facilities, especially targeting the education of girls; and

  • projects that support micro-enterprises.


To date, Sun Partners has completed projects in Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, and intercity Kansas City and is exploring additional project opportunities in East Africa, the Americas, and the U.S.​



Board of Directors 


Mark Hannifan (Founder/President)


Mark is Vice President of Development with Monarch Energy, a leader in the development of green hydrogen production facilities in the U.S.  Mark has been involved in sustainable energy research and project development for over 40 years, and previous work experience included: the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado; Kansas City-based Tradewind Energy; Enel Green Power, an international leader in development, construction, and operation of utility-scale wind and solar power plants; and Plug Power, Inc., an international leader in the construction and operation of green hydrogen production facilities and the manufacture of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysis/liquefaction equipment. 


Mark earned a Masters of Architecture from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Kansas.  He has been involved in a number of hunger and affordable housing initiatives in Kansas City, dental missions in Guatemala, and solar electrification projects in Nicaragua, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, and Kansas City. 


Frank Caro


Frank is Energy Practice Chair for Polsinelli law firm in Kansas City.  His energy clients have included renewable energy (wind and solar power) developers, large public and investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and industrial and commercial users of utility services.  Frank also represents clients before the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Missouri Public Service Commission.  Prior to joining Polsinelli, Frank was general counsel for the Kansas Corporation Commission.


In addition to serving on the Board of Sun Partners International, Frank serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and is former President of the Overland Park, Kansas Rotary Club.  Frank received a B.A. from Assumption College and a J.D. from Washburn University School of Law.


Skip Gast 


Skip joined Insight Consulting in 2015 upon his retirement from Black & Veatch, a $3B global engineering and construction firm, where he served as the VP of HR.


With Insight Skip provides services such as interim CHRO, leadership branding, executive coaching, competency and leadership development frameworks, and development and delivery of training.  He has also been engaged to onboard executives beginning new roles.  Though industry agnostic, his experience has been focused in the engineering, construction, pharmaceutical, health care, legal, and insurance industries.


Civically, Skip is presently serving on the Vibrant Health Advisory Board, and the boards of Menorah Medical Center and Sun Partners International.  He earned a Master of Arts, Human Resources from Ottawa University and a Bachelor of General Studies, Personnel Administration & Human Relations from the University of Kansas.

Kara Keesling 


Kara is a practicing Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado.  For over 25 years she has treated large and small animals and now focuses her efforts on orthopedic and neurologic conditions in dogs and mentoring other DVMs and support staff in her three veterinary practices.


Kara has re-directed some of her energy to a newfound purpose, namely facilitating educational opportunities for children in developing countries.  In order to gain a foundation of knowledge in her quest to serve underprivileged children, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Regis University in 2013.


In addition to serving as a board member of Sun Partners International, Kara also serves on the board of the Veterinary Management Institute and is supporting a social enterprise project (an organic farm) in Pisac, Peru.

Keith Small

Keith is Associate Vice President, Client Account Manager at Black & Veatch.  He is responsible for multiple client relationships and sales activities for the Company’s Energy & Process Industries (E&PI) Business, which includes consulting, engineering, procurement, construction (EPC), asset management for energy, water, and telecom infrastructure projects.  Keith earned MBA and Bachelor of Administration degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and he completed Emory’s Goizueta Business School Executive Leadership Program among others.


Keith has extensive global experience that includes Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He also serves on the Board of Resource Health and is a Black & Veatch champion for Operation Breakthrough program activities.

Kevin Walter

Kevin is a private meteorological consultant to developers and owner/operators of utility-scale wind and solar plants in the U.S.  He previously served as Vice President of Meteorology for both Enel Green Power, an international renewable energy company with operations in the U.S., and Kansas City-based Tradewind Energy.  In 2007 Kevin was an NSF Igert Ph.D. Fellow in the Texas Tech University Wind Science and Engineering Research Center in Lubbock, Texas.  Kevin also holds a Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Texas A&M and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics.  He has been a longtime volunteer for Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care.

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