Energy I-Corps Instructors

The Energy I-Corps instructor team is a critical part of the success and unique nature of the program.  Different from other similar programs, the Energy I-Corps program brings together experienced professionals specifically from the energy industry to provide the most qualified instruction and feedback for teams with energy technologies.  The involvement of industry leaders gives the teams invaluable real-world perspective needed to ready their lab innovations for market adoption.

Think you have what it takes to be an Energy I-Corps instructor?  Visit the Get Involved page to learn more.

Co-Founder & CTO, Associate Director
Living Ink Technologies, CSU Ventures

Steve Albers is the Co-founder and CTO of Living Ink Technologies, a startup that generates printing inks from algae. Living Ink has raised over $1.3M in non-dilutive funding via consumer sales, business pitch competitions, crowd funding campaigns as well as from the National Science Foundation SBIR program. Steve manages Living Ink’s science team that is focused on generating new colors of algae for use in various industry applications. Steve also is the Associate Director of the startup support program at CSU Ventures, LAUNCHPAD. LAUNCHPAD supports and guides startup companies leveraging CSU owned technology. Steve is also the Co-Director of the CSUV Ambassador program, a program that engages directly with CSU graduate students on topics related to technology transfer and startup creation. Steve received his Master’s degree in Science Education at the University of Illinois and his PhD in the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program at Colorado State University.

Licensing Executive
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Erin Beaumont joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2015 as a licensing executive responsible for the commercialization of NREL’s buildings and energy integration, energy storage, electrochromics, concentrating solar power, wind, and geothermal portfolios. Prior to joining NREL, Erin spent a number of years as an innovation manager at the University of New Mexico, where she focused on management and commercialization—including licensing and startup formation—of a portfolio of early-stage, engineering, and physical science-related inventions.

Erin holds a Master of Public Administration degree focused on public budgeting and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Adaptive Materials

Dr. Aaron Crumm is the Founder of Adaptive Materials Inc.  His doctoral work at the University of Michigan led to Ultra Electronics, Adaptive Materials Inc. (AMI) becoming an alternative energy market leader. Aaron’s simple yet radical business proposition was to develop a portable solid oxide fuel cell system that ran on readily available fuel. His work has attracted more than $50 million in contracts to support the growth of AMI. The company was acquired by Ultra Electronics in 2010.

Prior to founding Adaptive Materials, Aaron gained insight into electric power generation as a nuclear engineer. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nuclear engineering from Purdue University and a doctorate in material science from the University of Michigan. Aaron is an advisor at Augment Ventures and entrepreneur in residence with the University of Michigan Center for Entrepreneurship and lecturer on entrepreneurship topics within the College of Engineering graduate program.

Creator of Market Intelligence
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Understanding and supporting the progression of innovation to reality: Hannah Farquar is a creator of market intelligence at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is a science and technology enthusiast by birth and training. Hannah has a PhD in chemistry and a decade of laboratory research experience. The transition from benchtop to desktop has led to another decade in technology transfer—that unique intersection of science, business and law. From this front row seat, Hannah has watched national laboratory technology move from benchtop innovation to market reality.

Director of the Water-Energy Resilience Institute
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Dr. Peter S. Fiske is a seasoned executive and accomplished scientist with two decades of experience across industries including defense, natural resources, renewable energy, water and other utilities, and entrepreneurial technological development. Peter is a leader in the movement toward sustainability and regulatory strategy and brings expertise in areas such as new business development, high-tech marketing, and sales and marketing development. He is well-versed in brand development, team building, talent management, business strategy, change and transformation management, and research and development. Throughout his career, he has developed exceptional communication, leadership, and innovation skills. And although he has grown comfortable with start-up culture during his years as an entrepreneur, he is also adept at international expansion with a particular focus on the markets in Japan and Poland.

Former NREL Technology Transfer Director

For more than 25 years, Kristin Gray has helped launch dozens of new technology start-ups and worked with hundreds of companies, multinational corporations, and investors to successfully generate new products, new revenue, and regional economic development.

 Under her leadership as the previous technology transfer director at NREL, the lab brought in more than $300M in R&D revenue and signed more than 100 technology licensing agreements.

 Kristin has been involved throughout her career in a variety of entrepreneurial programs, including serving on the board of advisors for ACTiVATE, an internationally acclaimed program that trains mid-career women to start high-tech businesses.

 Prior to coming to NREL, Kristin worked at the University of Maryland and helped co-found the first Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab technology transfer office.


Max Green is an engineer with a passion for translating early stage technology innovations into commercial products and services. He has led development efforts for more than 500 scientific innovations, yielding over 100 commercial agreements and the formation of 11 technology startups with initial fundraising exceeding $30M.  Max currently holds a leadership role in an ed-tech startup where he is responsible for customer development and growth strategy, and sits on the advisory boards of two technology companies.


Over time, Max has been provided the opportunity to share his experiences with others through delivery of evidence-based innovation management & entrepreneurship programs.  He has advised thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide, guiding the development of commercialization roadmaps and product launch strategies.  Additionally, Max volunteers with Bunker Labs Austin where he actively supports veteran-owned and operated startups.


Max holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering & M.S. Technology Commercialization – both from The University of Texas at Austin.

Mbio Diagnostics

Sally Hatcher, J.D. is a serial entrepreneur, advisor, startup accelerator faculty member, impact investor and board member.  She is the Commercialization Academy Director at CU Boulder, teaching scientists and engineering innovators to commercialize their technology and increase their impact.  Sally co-founded and was President of two high-tech companies, Precision Photonics and MBio Diagnostics, and has worked as an executive or consultant with several digital women’s health companies, working on all aspects of business strategy and leadership, connected devices (IoT), operations and scale-up, IP, legal structure, ISO and regulatory compliance.  She regularly consults with diverse teams of innovators who want to spinout or start up a company, and is eager to bring entrepreneurial opportunities and frameworks to CU faculty and students.


Douglas R. Henston is an entrepreneur involved in start-ups in various industries, though for the past 10 years, he has focused on clean-tech. Currently, Doug is CEO of Pristinet, an early-stage company in the water space. Prior to Pristinet, he worked in biofuels as CEO of Solix Biosystems. Before moving from the Northeast in 1999, Doug was a vice president in the Fixed Income Group at Goldman Sachs (1994–1998) and a U.S. Navy fighter pilot (1984–1992) making deployments to the Mediterranean.

Doug has served on the boards of the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, the Colorado Bioscience Association, and the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and is currently on the advisory board of the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office. He graduated from Yale University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and holds a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.

Deputy Chief Technology Transfer Officer
Innovation and Partnerships Office, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Robin Johnston plans and executes strategies for industry partnerships, intellectual property management, licensing, and entrepreneurship training with the goal of accelerating the commercialization of lab technologies and increasing private sector impact. Robin also manages Berkeley Lab’s participation in Energy I-Corps.

Previously, Robin served as director of commercialization for the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI), a Department of Energy laboratory-university consortium for developing cellulosic advanced biofuels. She also created the laboratory’s Cleantech to Market (C2M) pilot program, which was adopted by the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business as a formal course. C2M is a partnership among students, researchers, and energy professionals to translate clean tech research into market opportunities.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University.


Jim Kiles is an experienced corporate development executive, entrepreneur, and investor who began his career as managing director of Enabling Technology Investments at Intel Capital (1995–2001). He is currently CEO at YStrategies, a San Francisco company that supports early-stage technology and science companies with strategies for customer engagement and corporate development. YStrategies works with entrepreneurs on partnerships, product development, and fundraising. Jim also serves as managing director for several start-ups, including GroundControl Solutions Inc. and SAFE-Skills LLC.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Jim has had management roles as vice president of Corporate Strategies at Cloudmark Inc.; vice president of Corporate Development at Visage Mobile Inc.; managing director at CPM Capital LLC; investor, director, president, and CEO at Eyetide; and chief strategy officer at Convera Corporation. Jim has a Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degree from Syracuse University.

Pacific Private Capital LLC

Jim Presley has more than 30 years of experience helping companies improve operations, increase sales, and reduce costs. His career spans a variety of industries, with expertise in the manufacturing, distribution, and retail industries.  With his in-depth knowledge of the business/manufacturing process, complex supply chains, technology, sales, IT infrastructure, quality, and customer service, Jim has enabled both start-up companies and large corporations to implement solutions that result in millions of dollars of value. A partial list of his clients includes Sony, Safeway, Flextronics, SCI, HP, Intel, General Motors, Chrysler, GE, Televisa, Gamesa, Frito Lay, Delmonte, Proctor & Gamble, Apple, and Gallo.

As an entrepreneur, Jim has been involved with startup companies, has founded three startup companies, and is currently serving on the Commercialization Advisory Board of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He is one of three managing directors for Pacific Private Capital.

Co-Owner & CFO
Fordsell Machine Parts

Jean Redfield is co‐owner and CFO of Fordsell Machine Products, a small privately held precision machine products company. Her career to date also includes:

• Serving as President and CEO at NextEnergy, a leading incubator/ accelerator for advanced energy technologies;

• Multiple leadership roles at DTE Energy, a diversified energy company with regulated electric and gas utilities as well as a number of unregulated energy subsidiaries;

• Consulting roles at McKinsey and Company where she worked with clients in investment banking, chemicals, aerospace/defense, pharmaceutical and biotech startups, and energy in the United States, Europe, Brazil, and India;

• Field engineering assignments with EI DuPont de Nemours, where she worked in engineering design and construction, as well as powerhouse operations in US based plants in the southeast.

Jean holds a B.A. in biology from Washington University, St. Louis, a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Memphis, and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Chief Operation Officer

Tom Teynor is the chief operation officer of Ascent360, a cloud-based marketing software company that enables highly targeted, omni-channel marketing strategies direct to customers and prospects.  

Tom brings almost 20 years of experience growing businesses in the software, financial services, and internet services industries. He’s held senior leadership positions at Coolerado Corp., Wolters Kluwer Financial Services, and Pitney Bowes. He also serves on the board of TopLine Federal Credit Union. Tom received both his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

Commercialization Manager
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Ron Thomas is a commercialization manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) responsible for intellectual property, transfer, and licensing management of selected PNNL technologies in life sciences-related technologies. In that role and through PNNL’s Economic Development Office, he works extensively with businesses, including startups, to provide them access to technologies and other forms of assistance and support their successful growth. Ron is program manager of PNNL’s Technology Investment Program, which advances early stage-technologies for transfer-commercial deployment. Ron manages the Energy I-Corps program and will serve as the “bioenergy concierge” for the Small Business Voucher pilot program for PNNL.  He also has been instrumental in developing PNNL’s expanded Entrepreneurial Leave of Absence Program, has served as an Industrial Business Sector manager at PNNL, and has been responsible for relationship management with specific venture capital companies.  

Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Farmore Capital Group

Trevor is co-founder and managing partner of two early-stage venture capital firms: Farmore Capital Group and Stakeholder Ventures. In addition to angel investing and venture capital, Trevor’s professional experience ranges from developing materials for biomedical implants to designing high-performance batteries to overseeing the design and construction of a groundwater treatment system to hinder the movement of uranium in groundwater. Prior to Farmore Capital Group, Trevor was the principal engineer in the Technology Development Division of startup company Kurion Inc. He was responsible for the development and early-stage maturation of technological solutions that support clean energy through waste separation and stabilization, primarily for radioactive wastewater treatment efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Trevor studied management and entrepreneurship in the Executive Education program at the MIT Sloan School of Management, completed a post-graduate research appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and holds a Master of Science in environmental engineering from Clemson University and a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Alfred University.