East Hartford, CT – The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering is pleased to announce the election of two Honorary Members: Andrew Bramante, Science Research Teacher and Director of the Science Research Program, Greenwich Public Schools; and Bernard J. Zahren, Founder and Executive Chairman, Clean Feet Investors and Owner and Founder, Zahren Financial Co. Mr. Bramante and Mr. Zahren will be recognized at the Academy’s 48th Annual Meeting to be held Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at the Woodwinds in Branford. The Academy’s Governing Council voted to name Bramante and Zahren in recognition of their outstanding service to the Academy through participation and/or activities in support of the Academy’s mission to provide expert guidance on science and technology to the people and to the state of Connecticut, and to promote the application of science and technology to human welfare and economic well being.
Andrew Bramante is honored in recognition of his commitment to the education of students through his teaching and as director of Greenwich High School’s Independent Science Research program since 2006. His students consistently win some of the highest state, national and international prizes awarded for science-related research at the high school level, including two Google Science Fair Finalists, one Google Science Fair winner, and 37 Regeneron/Intel STS finalists/Scholars. And, this year Mr. Bramante has extended his teaching to include middle school students interested in science research.
More than 49 of his Greenwich High School students have competed in the annual International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), winning eight First Place awards, five Best of Category Awards, and four Grand Prize Awards. His students are frequently the top winners of the CT Science and Engineering Fair and CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, with those students receiving top awards from the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, including the H. Joseph Gerber Medals of Excellence.
Bramante has a BS and MS in Chemistry from Fordham University. Prior to teaching, Bramante worked in industry for 15 years including Hitachi Instruments and PerkinElmer Instruments. In 2003 he met Ray Hamilton, a Greenwich High Science Research Teacher, at a local American Chemical Society event. Bramante offered to help with Hamilton’s instrumentation needs, which Ray accepted, and from that experience, his life changed. He obtained his teaching certificate in 2005, began teaching at Greenwich the same year, and a year later Hamilton retired, and Bramante became the science research teacher. Key to his success are high expectations for his students and an incredible work ethic. His students know he is available as needed, including opening his lab and classroom during out-of-school time. If students know he is in the building, word gets around – even at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning – and the lab fills.
Andy’s work with his students was profiled in “The Class”, a book by Heather Won Tesoriero, who shadowed Bramante for a year.
Bernard J. Zahren is honored in recognition for his commitment to business-focused sustainability initiatives critical to reducing emissions that contribute to climate change. His entrepreneurial and management leadership capabilities have been instrumental in this effort. Mr. Zahren is owner and founder of Zahren Financial Co., LLC (est. 1984; ZFC), with ZFC the manager of Clean Feet Investors I, LLC (CFI I). CFI I is a private, multi-million-dollar investment fund, with a nationwide portfolio focused on solar photovoltaic, SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates) aggregation and finance, energy efficient hydroponic greenhouses, battery storage, water heater controls, solar thermal, and other renewable energy projects. CFI I, co-founded by Bernard and Sun Edison founder Jigar Shah, is a Connecticut-based fund which seeks socially responsible investments in small to medium-sized renewable energy and energy conserving projects. Mr. Zahren truly believes in “Doing Well” by “Doing Good”.
Prior to ZFC, Mr. Zahren developed successful investment syndications for a subsidiary of CIGNA Corp., and in his early career held senior management positions in firms including Angeles Leasing Corp., Architectural Wood Products, Inc., and The Koppers Company.
His contributions to public service include serving as chair of the Avon CT Clean Energy Commission and the Advisory Board for the Partnership for Responsible Growth. He previously served as a board member for Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy, Special Olympics, and Community Health Charities of CT where he received the Ellsworth S. Grant Founders Award.
Zahren committed himself professionally, and personally, to strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions. His home won two prizes from the Connecticut Zero Energy Challenge (2010-2011), including the lowest overall HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index score and the lowest net energy annual operating costs. To achieve his goal of “net zero energy” consumption, his home includes a ground-source geothermal HVAC system and three renewable energy systems: a solar hot water system, solar PV panels and a wind turbine.
Mr. Zahren has a BS from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.