The Presidential Challenge

What do you do when the president of a country challenges you to change the world? You take a deep breath and you build something new.

In 2017 I asked Honourable President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera of Costa Rica my billion dollar question. “In your experience, what is the best way to positively impact the most people in the shortest amount of time?” The president was taken aback and replied, “Ivan, that is a very deep question!” After the laughter subsided he then explained to me his vision of multidimensional sustainability. It involved a business, organization, or social structure that was environmentally sustainable, financially sustainable, and socially sustainable. An entity designed for long-term growth, constant innovation and development towards positive change. It would also contain elements that guarded against bureaucracy, corruption, and stagnation. Such an entity would protect the environment and create systems that not only worked directly against dangers such as climate change but also educate the generations to come. This entity would make financial sense to both investors and consumers alike. It would create jobs and security that could even withstand an economic downturn or deep recession. Finally, this entity would positively impact people directly, giving every class of person a chance to be a part of something great, to encourage goodness, but also make a financial impact where poverty hits hardest.

Costa Rican President Luis Guliermo Solis Rivera and Ivan Cooke Founder of Precision Solar
(Nov 2017)

I was invigorated. I’ve asked this question of every great person I’ve met throughout my life – billionaires, gurus, industry leaders and inventors – yet this was the first holistic answer I had ever received. Then it came… “Ivan, we need someone like you to create a company like this here in Costa Rica.” What followed was more talk about bringing money into the country, social programs, and technology, but somewhere inside, he struck a chord. It was as if everything had become muffled, the temperature changed, and there was a bell or chime ringing somewhere that I felt I had been waiting for. It was as if the Martial Arts Legend, Bruce Lee himself, had walked up to me and tapped his feet on the ground three times, issuing a challenge like in the old days. I was about to change direction, my stance, and so was the world around me.

Several months later I found myself closing up other business projects like it was Christmas Eve and I was headed home. However, I wasn’t headed home I was headed for great work. In 2014, I had created a Construction and Solar company that was used predominantly for my own projects and those of my close business partners and clients. Mainly because I found the solar market in Costa Rica at that time lacking the technical aptitude and business savvy that I had become accustomed to in Canada. At that time I really had no intention of offering the company and it’s services to the general public. For years I kept the company on the private, commercial, and industrial side of the marketplace. But that all changed with the president’s challenge.

I may have been a businessman my entire adolescent and adult life but I have been a scientist since I could walk. It seems like it was ages ago when I refused a scholarship to Pennstate University for astrophysics in favor of expanding my business empire. I even named it ‘Empire Production and Promotions’. Back then I vowed I would return to that path but not as a poor and overworked scientist begging for funding but more like a Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne. So here before me in some way lay a road home, back on the path of directly making the world a better place through science and technology. I felt it, like my question to the president, it was deep and he made it personal.

So Precision Solar was reborn like a phoenix rising with a bold new intention to impact Costa Rica and then other countries in Central America and the Caribbean. Our Goal is first to deploy truly renewable, distributed, and decentralized power generation to these areas. Secondly, we create a social inclusion program that encompasses an affiliate reward program for those who can work to receive a larger slice of the energy revolution pie. Then a charitable foundation for those who can’t work but need the help of those who can. Finally, we open the door to developing new innovative technologies inside Costa Rica. This will help Costa Rica, the Silicon Valley of Central America, rise out of the bureaucratic and infrastructure headaches that belong in the past.

The same year that I decided to be a Tony Stark first and a Nikola Tesla second, I learned something great from personal development expert Tony Robbins. It’s that asking the right questions to the right people will make all the difference in your life. From where I stand, the right question to the right people at the right time can save the world.

So my question to you, dear reader, is… When will you join us in making a positive impact for the most people in the shortest amount of time?