Case Studies

William “Tua” Fale – Babcock & Wilcox 

Empowering the future, one solar innovation at a time 

William “Tua” Fale is the vice president of pre-construction & business development for Solar at Babcock & Wilcox, an energy and environmental technologies company based in Akron, Ohio. Fale’s impactful leadership has been pivotal in driving B&W’s strategic moves in the solar sector.  

William “Tua” Fale | Vice President of Pre-Construction & Business Development for Solar | Babcock & Wilcox 

William “Tua” Fale | Vice President of Pre-Construction & Business Development for Solar | Babcock & Wilcox

Under Fale’s guidance, B&W navigates industry shifts and creates a distinct identity in the solar space. From major acquisitions to pioneering pre-construction methodologies, Fale’s solar & battery energy storage leadership propels B&W into a new era of success and influence in the evolving solar energy landscape. 

“As we embark on our solar journey, we’re not just chasing the sun but sculpting a sustainable legacy. Guided by innovation and strategic foresight, we’re navigating the ever-evolving solar landscape. Together, we’re not merely adapting to change; we’re architecting it,” Fale says.   

From groundbreaking acquisitions to revolutionary pre-construction methodologies, B&W is shaping a future where every sunbeam symbolizes environmental stewardship and energy evolution.  

“We’re not just harnessing the sun’s power; we’re empowering a sustainable tomorrow,” Fale says. 

Strategic leadership 

One of Fale’s notable achievements is supporting the acquisition of Fosler Solar. This move underscored B&W’s commitment to expanding into the solar and battery energy storage industry, marking a decisive step in establishing the company as a leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction builder in the solar space.  

Fale’s visionary business development leadership also extends to establishing a dedicated pre-construction group within the solar division of B&W. Departing from the company’s traditional approach honed over 150 years in the legacy power generation industry, this strategic move positions B&W proactively in the high-paced Solar EPC domain. The pre-construction group enables rapid design development, accurate pricing estimates, proactive change management, and procurement management, ensuring a solid foundation for project execution.  

“This innovative approach equips us to navigate the swift pace of the solar EPC space, providing flexibility, variability, predictability, and crucial education for customers regarding construction timelines to achieve their investment and energy goals,” Fale says.  

B&W Solar, under Fale’s leadership, has recently secured three projects totaling 75 megawatts, showcasing the success of their solar initiatives. The pre-construction department is vital in efficiently managing these projects, tracking changes during various design stages, and ensuring precise pricing alignment. This proactive approach not only differentiates B&W in the competitive solar landscape but also positions them as a distinguished player capable of developing impressive proposals from the ground up.  

For Fale, the most challenging yet vital aspect of his leadership role is fostering an environment where B&W Solar team members, subcontractors, vendors, as well as customers can thrive. This involves listening to all internal and external team members and establishing conducive conditions within resource constraints, policy frameworks, and market competitiveness.  

Despite the challenges, Fale finds immense satisfaction in the people-centric nature of his work, from internal team members to trade partners and customers. Engaging with bright minds in the solar sector, collaborating on innovative solutions, and celebrating project milestones contribute to the rewarding aspects of his role. 

All about solar 

In addressing the status of solar in the energy landscape, Fale emphasizes its position as the most mainstream among all renewable energy sources. It stands out as the most cost-effective electricity source in the market, with robust implementation in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale applications. 

Fale categorizes solar into three major sectors, recognizing the distinct challenges each faces. These include residential, commercial and industrial, and utility-scale applications. Identifying challenges, especially in the utility-scale sector,  

“We’re experiencing a shortage of skilled labor and experienced leaders throughout the construction field but even more so in specialty construction areas like solar,” Fale says.  

Overcoming this challenge requires not only competitive compensation but more importantly, the creation of a culture that instills a sense of purpose and impact within the team. Fale says it is important to align team members with the organization’s success, especially in large organizations, to foster talent retention. 

Looking ahead, Fale points to an exciting development for B&W Solar. The company has been awarded 75MW in Pennsylvania through a collaboration with Cypress Creek Renewables. Comprising three projects, each approximately 25MW, these utility-scale solar projects contribute significantly to B&W’s expanding portfolio as the largest solar projects in B&W Solar’s history.  

A career in business development 

Fale’s journey into construction  started during high school, where he gained hands-on experience working for his uncle’s design and construction firm in Hawaii. Initially considering a future in law, fate intervened during his undergraduate studies, leading him to the construction management program at Brigham Young University in Utah. This pivotal decision began a remarkable trajectory that would shape Fale’s career. 

Holding a Bachelor of Science in Construction & Facility Management from BYU and an MBA from Western Governors University, Fale fortified his academic foundation, preparing him for the multifaceted challenges as a professional in the Energy and Infrastructure world. His entrepreneurial spirit manifested in his founding several companies as an undergrad student at BYU, including one that specializes in supplying American Rugby supplies and equipment and an international financial platform. These early ventures showcased Fale’s business acumen and demonstrated his ability to identify and capitalize on niche markets. 

Before joining Babcock & Wilcox in October 2022, Fale spent nearly seven years at Mastec and Mortenson covering various electrical sectors, including high voltage transmission lines, substations, distribution lines, solar, wind, battery energy storage, microgrids, and business development. This experience gave him valuable insights and honed his skills in navigating the industry’s intricacies of utility-scale projects throughout the renewable energy sector.  

Beyond his professional achievements, Fale’s personal life is equally rich and fulfilling. As the father of six daughters and one son, his commitment to family remains unwavering. Hailing from the Kingdom of Tonga, Fale’s multicultural background and proficiency in three languages reflect his global perspective. His interest in rugby league and rugby union, as evidenced by his entrepreneurial venture, showcases a passion beyond the boardroom. 

“Embrace unexpected paths, learn from diverse experiences, and build on your passions around great teams and partners. Whether navigating construction challenges or juggling family life, find joy in the journey and cherish every milestone,” Fale says. 

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vol III 2024


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