Seal Solar Adds John Elkins, Seasoned Energy Attorney


In another high-profile hire, Seal Solar of North Little Rock has a new chief legal officer and general counsel, longtime energy industry advocate John Elkins.

Elkins joins notable Seal hires like former Arkansas state Rep. Nate Bell, Tyler Hall and Cooper Wade, who have each joined the quickly-growing firm in the past 18 months. Joined by five other hires, the 15-year utility law veteran brings workforce numbers at the solar design and installation company to 59.

“John has a wealth of knowledge about our state’s legal and renewable energy industries,” Seal co-founder and CEO Josh Davenport said in a statement. “We are excited to leverage his unmatched expertise to help Arkansans achieve energy independence.”

Elkins was an associate general counsel and senior staff attorney for the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. of Little Rock, which serves the 17 power distribution cooperatives in Arkansas, and an attorney specialist for the Arkansas Public Service Commission, the state’s utility regulator. He also served as an associate attorney for Wright, Berry, Hughes & Moore in Arkadelphia.

In a news release announcing his appointment, Elkins said he had witnessed the solar industry’s evolution over the past 10 years. “I look forward to working with Seal Solar to further expand the adoption of these cutting-edge, cost-saving technologies and create new opportunities for our state.”

Along with Elkins, Seal Solar hired Hayden Blankenship, project coordinator; Justin Christensen, Torey McManis and Matthew Wawak, crew members; and Cole Milner, apprentice electrician. Bell, who represented Districts 20 and 22 in southwest Arkansas from 2013 to 2017, serving first as a Republican before becoming an independent, joined Seal as a commercial solar consultant in June. Hall and Wade, who both were hired early last year, are vice president of finance and vice president of project development, respectively.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Seal has expanded at a record pace for nearly two years. “In January 2020, we had 20 employees,” Seal co-founder and President Heather Nelson told Arkansas Business. “From May of last year to Dec. 31, through the throes of the COVID pandemic, we hired 22 people.” The company had 54 employees by the end of June. “That’s what the data shows is needed. The data shows the jobs are there.”

“With the help of local team members and innovative partnerships, including Evolve Auto, we have put ourselves — and our state—on an even stronger trajectory,” she said in the news release.

Founded in 2012, Seal has been completely devoted to solar power development, electric vehicles and charging equipment, and the latest power storage technologies. “We’re dedicated to helping homeowners, businesses, government entities and farmers control their rising energy costs and save money,” Davenport said.