Mark Hannifan

(913) 424-3934

















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 and Tanzania and is exploring additional project opportunities in East Africa, the Americas, and in the U.S.​



Board of Directors 


Mark Hannifan (Founder/President)


Mark is Senior Vice President of Development with Tradewind Energy, a Kansas City-based developer of utility-scale solar and wind power projects in the U.S.  Mark has been involved in sustainable energy research and project development for over 35 years, and previous work experience included the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).  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, and Tanzania. 


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 is a retired VP, Human Resources from Black & Veatch, a global leader in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for energy, water, and telecommunications.  He currently consults in the areas of executive and organizational development and has been involved in a number of not-for-profit boards and initiatives, including: Turner House Children’s Clinic, medical mission work in the Dominican Republic​, KU Regents Center Workforce Development Board, KU STEM Advisory Board, Gamma Omicron of Kappa Sigma – University of Kansas, and the State of Kansas CEO Assessment Task Force.


Kara Keesling 


Kara is a practicing Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in Fort Collins, Colorado.  For 23 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 recently 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.


Justin McGeeney 


Justin is a project manager of utility-scale solar projects for Tradewind Energy. Justin has experience as developer, designer and contractor having worked in utility-scale energy generation, energy efficiency, custom residential construction, low income housing, and historic preservation. He earned a Masters of Architecture from the University of Kansas and a Bachelors of Finance from the University of Notre Dame.

Kevin Walter

Kevin is the Vice President of Meteorology at Tradewind Energy. Prior to joining Tradewind 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, and has been a longtime volunteer for Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care.

Keith Small

Keith is Associate Vice President of Strategy & Sales Integration, Sub-Saharan Africa at Black & Veatch. He is responsible for business development for the Company in Sub-Saharan Africa which includes engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) sales.  He also serves on the U.S.-Africa Business Centre’s Infrastructure, Energy Solutions & Mining Committee.  He earned MBA and Bachelor of Administration degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has also completed Emory’s Goizueta Business School Executive Leadership Program.