Melissa Aagesen is a Principal at Certare Ventures, LLP where she is actively involved in multiple stages of direct investment including deal sourcing, evaluation, due diligence, negotiation, and fund-raising. Certare Ventures is a Chicago-based family partnership focused on direct investments in real estate and startups (software, tech-enabled business services, among others). Portfolio company exits include SpenDifference (acquired by Foodbuy, a subsidiary of Compass Group North America) and International Titanium Powder (acquired by Cristal Global). She has served on the Advisory Board of venture capital fund Belle Michigan, as well as the Boards of the Ann Arbor Angels and New Enterprise Forum. Her previous professional experience was in strategic marketing consulting with Microsoft Corporation, consulting at Ernst & Young, and marketing with Northwest Airlines in Tokyo, Japan. She earned a B.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College and an M.B.A. from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Energy I-Corps Mentors
High-quality mentorship is the key to our teams' success during the Energy I-Corps program. Industry mentors enhance the classroom learning and customer discovery process by bringing their own entrepreneurial and industry experience to the team, and by making invaluable connections within their networks. Our mentors are experienced industry professionals who are eager to share the lessons they've learned and interested in being a part of our nation's effort to drive energy innovation.
Does this sound like you? Considering mentoring a team during an upcoming session. Visit the Get Involved page to learn more.
John Aikens has over 25 years of experience in small business and has worked at all organizational levels including leading research and operational teams as well as holding founder, CEO and CTO positions. As a serial entrepreneur, John has been involved with creating four new ventures and counting including Lybradyn, Proterro, Mesodynamics, and JL Biosciences and has raised over $15 million dollars in angel and seed capital. He is an experienced executive working in the biotechnology, fine chemicals, materials science and sustainable energy industries. John has lead teams that have successfully secured non-dilutive funding including SBIR and STTR grants which lead to the commercialization of products serving the biotechnology research, fine chemical production and chemical defense markets.
For the last decade, John has provided consulting and advisory services to companies and the venture capital community focused on technology and business diligence. In addition he has worked with startup businesses related to technology development and commercialization. John is an active inventor and has been responsible for discoveries leading to over 20 patents. He is also serves as an advisor and mentor having worked with entrepreneurs from Universities including Princeton, Northwestern, the University of California, Davis and the University of Illinois as well as Department of Energy programs including Argonne’s Chain Reaction Innovations, Lawrence Berkeley’s Cyclotron Road, and NREL’s Energy I-Corps and R2M Accelerator Programs. John is an advocate for sustainability and alternative energy having served on the La Grange Park Sustainability Commission.
John holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Irvine with postdoctoral studies in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
Dr. Steven Bellinger has led the business development and technology development for RDT since its inception. Dr. Bellinger’s expertise in radiation detection comes from over 14 years of experience in the fields of semiconductor device theory and fabrication and radiation detector design, fabrication, and measurement. He manages graduate students in the design, fabrication and characterization of radiation detectors and systems at Kansas State University (KSU) as research faculty at the Semiconductor Materials and Radiological Technologies (SMART) Laboratory at KSU on many projects. In addition, he manages RDT, a spin-off company, to commercialize novel radiation detectors. He has authored or co-authored over 60 publications on radiation detectors and has 8 US patents on detector designs with several radiation detector patents pending.
Tom Brennan has extensive expertise and experience in technology, entrepreneurship, startups, investment, venture capital, corporate interactions and alliances, and government policy. Tom is a self-motivated, action-oriented team builder and leader. His overall goal is to make efficient use of this expertise to own and significantly impact early-stage advanced technology commercialization.
Tom has published more than 120 articles and holds twelve patents issued and pending, is a recipient of two R&D 100 Awards, and has authored more than 120 technical publications and 80 technical presentations.
Tony joined the Powell Christensen team in 2001, and over the years has served in several roles including Plant Manager, Territory Sales Manager, Vice President of Sales, Director of Wholesale and Transportation and Chief Operations Officer. In 2014 Tony was named the company’s President. In his current role, Tony is actively engaged in strategic planning, organizational development, and execution of the company’s business plans.
Prior to joining Powell Christensen, Tony was worked as a financial analyst at Kemper Insurance, and as the Director of Business Development at MyComputer.com (Omniture.com), which is now a division of Adobe Systems.
Tony currently serves as the Chairperson for the Shell National Distributor Advisory Council, and is a member of Vistage International.
Jim has been in the securities and investment industry since the mid-1960s, with an early career trading equities and taxable bonds for regional and national investment banking firms. This was followed in the early 1980s by an initiative to assist companies secure debt and equity capital, enter into strategic mergers, and sales of privately-owned businesses. On behalf of clients, Jim has assumed senior leadership roles in turnaround situations and experienced the challenges of supervising personnel and dealing with federal regulatory standards.
Since early 2010, Jim has served as a retained commercial advisor to Abengoa North America, LLC. Jim’s energy is centered on support of its utility-scale power infrastructure strategies in North America - electric transmission, renewable and conventional generation, energy storage, water, and related services.
Dr. Satish Dixit is working as Director of Engineering/R&D at Plasma Technology Inc., Torrance CA since 2003 and overlooks various surface engineering activities involving PVD thin film and Thermal Spray thick films. At PTI he has been instrumental in development of various applications for Aerospace and Automotive customers like, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, GE, Rolls Royce, General Motors, Honda etc. Applying thermal spray techniques he has developed special metallization processes for high temperature composites used in aero turbine applications. He got his Ph.D degree in 1994 on Hard Nitride and DLC coatings using PLD and other PVD techniques. Prior to PTI, he worked at UES, Inc., Dayton, OH as Senior Research Scientist and was actively involved in their coatings development programs and related SBIR work. At UES, he successfully completed various DoE and DoD sponsored Phase I and Phase II SBIR programs. He has taken the Phase II DoE effort on die casting filtered arc coatings to the Phase III level and transitioned it to commercialization activity at UES. Prior to that he was Senior Research Officer at Multi-Arc (now called as Ion Bond) India Limited, and was responsible for managing their hard coating production facility, as well as development of new and novel coatings, process technologies, and plasma nitriding for applications such as cutting and forming tools, decorative and corrosion-resistant coatings. At Multi-Arc, he developed a special process called as Reactive Cathodic Arc deposition for realization of droplet free hard coatings for decorative applications. He has more than 25 years of hands-on experience in working with vacuum equipment and advanced thin film deposition techniques, including physical vapor deposition (PVD), pulsed laser deposition (PLD), sputtering, thermal evaporation, ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD), and ion implantation.
William leads the development of the commercial and industrial business unit for Sunamp, bringing over twenty-five years’ senior experience in energy and commercial company structures. Acknowledged for creating new and alternative ideas, William has demonstrated success in establishing innovative and disruptive municipal and private commercial set-ups and developing policy and strategy at local, national and international levels, assisting public and private sectors to deliver improved low carbon services and financial savings to their clients.
Dr. Jiang Fan is Co-founder and President of American Lithium Energy Corporation (ALE). Under Dr. Fan’s leadership, ALE has grown to become an advanced battery company with both strong research and development and production capability to serve the military and select commercial applications. Dr. Jiang Fan is an innovator. He has been awarded with eleven patents and has ten patent applications pending. He is a published author of more than thirty papers in various technical journals. Dr. Jiang Fan is a recognized pioneer in the lithium-ion battery industry with over twenty years of product and production development experience. He developed the first high energy and high-power battery for a missile system that successfully launched missiles from -40oC to 55oC for US Army in 2010. The battery he developed was the only one in the test that could fire all missiles across these temperature extremes. Additionally, he directed the development of a high energy density battery that doubled the flight time of a next generation unmanned air vehicle. He also successfully developed a bullet-safe, wearable battery for the US Army that sustained multiple bullet penetrations without catching fire. This project was foundational in the development of SafeCore, and it will establish a new standard for safe, wearable power sources.
Joshua Foss is founder and CEO of urban innovation firm Regensia, LLC. He has led numerous breakthrough initiatives throughout the world, including: first-of-their kind regenerative performance assessments for multiple cities and regions; trainings for regional mayoral associations; strategic partnerships with global engineering, technology, and planning firms, government agencies, and international NGOs; presentations at United Nations events; and multiple Integrated Utility System (IUS) designs that have been recognized as the most resilient neighborhood plans in America. Foss carries a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, teaches within a Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, is a certified urban farmer (permaculture), and frequently lectures at conferences, summits, and events throughout the world.
Experienced C-Level Executive in Blockchain, AI and General Technology
High-energy executive with demonstrated management and leadership expertise in very complex, highly competitive and quickly changing environments.
•Successful in gaining market adoption of leading edge solutions based on breakthrough technology in Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, digital health, medical instrumentation, material science, semiconductor, power utility, wireless and consumer electronics.
•Experienced with serving global markets (U.S., Europe, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and South Korea).
•Knowledgeable in working in large corporations, medium size businesses and “start-up” organizations.
Eli is a leader in the field of biotechnology, integrating innovation, software, DNA fabrication, and automation for bioproduct generation. He prides himself in the development of cutting edge scientific teams to conquer awesome scientific challenges. In addition, he excels in evaluating technologies in the context of current trends, future prospects, competitive landscape, products, and over all what works and what does not.
Eli recently left Autodesk, where he led a team to develop and deliver a cloud-based synthetic biology BioCAD Saas platform. Prior to Autodesk, Eli’s experiences include production of a fatty alcohol from bioengineered E. coli and isobutanol from an engineered methanotroph. Eli’s experiences span many aspects of biological engineering including expression optimization, enzyme evolution, genetic modification, high-throughput screening, bioprocess, and scale up to commercial operations. He received his PhD in Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Bill Hartman led the company formation, business development, and fundraising for Ion Linac Systems, bringing beam performance and dramatically lower costs not possible in other ion linear accelerators. Key markets are particle and neutron cancer radiation treatment, medical isotope production, and non-destructive testing. Bill also led TerraEchos in the first applications and sales of live, in-motion, big data analytics software. He achieved $1.7 million in seed stage investment and nearly $1 million in first year sales.
Bill led the successful turnaround of the Micromanipulator Co., which had a successful exit in 2012. He led MesoSystems Technology to a 400% valuation increase and successful exit. Bill also created employee, customer, and shareholder value through strong teams, strong customer validation, execution, and product innovation.
Wendolyn Holland is the director at Holland Consulting LLC. Wendolyn helps clients in the clean energy space with their unique business challenges. Prior to Holland Consulting, Wendolyn was the director of Strategic Development and Technical Partnerships at Savannah River National Laboratory. Her focus was on commercialization and technology transfer. Before Savannah River, she was a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, where she advised assistant secretaries on policy and implementation to foster American markets for efficiency and renewable energy technologies, focused on accelerating technologies born in the U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories.
Todd Hunter is CFO & Director of Operations for Technology Ventures Corporation (TVC). TVC accelerates the growth of globally competitive, high-tech companies by bringing together entrepreneurial talent, innovative federal research, dynamic capital investment and relevant community involvement.
Todd joined Technology Ventures Corporation in 2014. Todd has a strong focus on exceptional leadership and setting the standard with respect to business delivery and increased partnership.
Prior to Technology Ventures Corporation, Todd worked for Sandia National Laboratories, Wachovia Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Transamerica Corporation in a number of business and financial operations management and executive roles. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Spring Hill College in 1985 and holds two certificates in project management.
Dave Klapp is a licensed professional engineer, energy expert, and entrepreneur - with 18 years of experience in the energy industry. Dave’s experience spans the utility, commercial, and industrial sectors with key projects in each. For several years he was Lead Engineer for the American Electric Power (AEP) Walnut Test Site, a nationally recognized microgrid leader. In this role Dave developed and tested foundational microgrid concepts and systems. Following this success, he founded Advanced Microgrid Systems Inc., a microgrid engineering firm. Dave has authored several IEEE peer-reviewed articles and white papers on microgrid control and design. Dave brings this distinguished technical expertise to the Crosswalk Energy team.
Dave earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Clarkson University with a concentration in high voltage engineering.
Learn more about Dave: https://www.linkedin.com/in/advugridsys/
Michael provides financing, strategic planning, and organizational development expertise to startups in the energy and agriculture technology spaces as well as green real estate and solar energy development projects. He began his career at GE Capital and Power, financing energy improvements and implementing six sigma process improvements. As an independent consultant, Michael served companies large and small, including nonprofits and municipalities. Since joining Pace Equity he has been responsible for managing a $100 million pipeline of green real estate investments. He was a member of the 6th Energy I-Corps program and is proud to discuss his positive experiences working with the DOE.
Daniel Masiel founded Integrated Dynamic Electron Solutions (IDES) in 2009 with the goal of enabling researchers to observe the behavior of nanomaterials at the fastest timescales possible. He has over 10 years of experience in the development and commercialization of electron beam instrumentation, photonics, and software. Daniel was inspired to start IDES while developing techniques for imaging catalyst dynamics as part of his Ph.D. research with the Dynamic TEM group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Under Daniel's leadership IDES has launched three lines of products; expanded its reach globally, with customers in seven countries; and has become the market leader in the field of time resolved electron microscopy.
Dr. Jeffrey Margolis is the founder and president of Innovations Strategies Inc, a consulting firm that builds growth and partnership pathways for science and technology organizations, from startups to renowned research institutions.
Dr. Margolis has developed and driven institutions and initiatives across his career that have supported thousands of scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. His impact includes:
- Launching a flagship White House and State Department technology entrepreneurship program
- Playing a leadership role in delivering the federal Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) to Illinois
- Driving the creation of Chicago’s physical production innovation and entrepreneurship center, mHUB
· Overseeing the launch of a first-of-its-kind secondary education innovation center in partnership with YouTube co-founder Steven Chen
Anders is the founder and CEO of Pearl Laboratories in Fort Collins, Colorado. Anders specializes in offering independent, third-party performance and reliability testing for the solar energy industry through Colorado-based field arrays and an indoor test facility at pearl laboratories.
Prior to founding Pearl Laboratories, Anders served as Senior Vice President at Abound Solar.
Andy Paliszewski has more than 25 years of experience in power generation and renewable energy projects and markets. Andy has worked with large original equipment manufacturers such as Siemens, as well as component and technology, service and equipment suppliers such as Winergy, American Super Conductor, Wind Tower Technologies, Ethos Distributed Solutions and LogiLube in a Business Development, Project Management and Technology Development capacity. Mr. Paliszewski spent 14 years at Siemens Energy Inc. in key roles serving wind, steam and gas turbines products. As the Director of Wind Turbine R&D. Mr. Paliszewski founded and headed up the U.S. based Wind Turbine R&D efforts for Siemens and lead the Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) efforts with the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This effort included project development, PPA negotiations and owner operator roles. Prior to the Siemens Wind Energy post, he was the New Program Development Manager for Siemens North America and represented Siemens Energy Inc. on technology trade associations. Mr. Paliszewski has been active in the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) since 2006 and has previously held chairman positions in the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, Gas Turbine Association and PowerGen Renewables. From 2008 to 2013, he had a leading role on the AWEA R&D Committee and the NREL Wind Program Industry Advisory Board. Andy’s background includes experience in nuclear, wind and gas turbine power plant O&M and development. His longstanding and extensive network of wind industry professional contacts allows him to find and take the initiative on unique opportunities within the industry.
Mr. Paliszewski is a Certified Navy Nuclear Power Plant Engineer, holds an MBA from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and a BSIOE from the University of Michigan.
Todd Pray is a biotech strategy and technical leader with deep experience spanning clean-tech/green-tech fuels, foods, pharmaceuticals, and bio-based chemicals.
Todd’s specialties include:
- Renewable bio-based chemicals and fuels product development
- Environmentally friendly food products and production technologies
- Pharmaceutical R&D for Alzheimer's disease, oncology, malaria, and hepatitis C virus
- Strategic alliance, program, and project leadership and management
- Business development.
I have spent my career in the energy and mining industries during a time of spectacular change. I have experienced major restructuring and refocusing beginning with energy industry restructuring during the 1980s and the rapid development of the US PRB coal mining industry, followed by electric utility deregulation, the explosion of energy trading, the growth of renewable energy, and the "shale gale".
My executive approach is grounded by experience at the front line in Management and Engineering, and appreciation and understanding of the critical roles played by Finance, Legal, Purchasing, Business Development, and Government Affairs in a company's success. Building teams and guiding the growth of energy companies is my passion.
Alan Todd consults on State-of-the-Art Accelerator Technology and Plasma Science. Among other projects, he is currently acting as the Program Manager for the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Free Electron Laser (FEL) Upgrade project in Berlin, Germany.
Alan was a Founder, Co-President and a Director of Advanced Energy Systems (AES), Inc., the leading US particle accelerator manufacturing company, until it ceased operations at the end of 2016. AES was spun out of Northrop Grumman in 1998. Prior to joining Grumman in 1979, Alan was a Staff Scientist at the DoE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).
He is the author of more than 160 technical publications, a Senior Member of IEEE, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and currently serves on several Accelerator Community Committees including the International Particle Accelerator Conference 2018 Organizing Committee and the BNL ATF Program Advisory Committee.
Ed Williams is an energetic senior executive with a proven record of leadership developing and implementing high-growth strategies for Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial start-up, advanced technology companies in energy, information technology, and advanced materials industries.
Ed currently serves as chairman of the Colorado CleanTech Industries Association and energy industry advisor for the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network, where he leads initiatives and strategies for next-generation technology companies.
As CEO for Novinda Corp., Ed drove the turnaround of this advanced materials company, raising $18 million in capital and commercializing four award-winning products, putting the company into a leadership position as one of the top four companies in its segment of the power utility industry.
Sontra Yim is a Director at LPI, Inc. and head of LPI’s Boston materials and radioactive materials laboratories. As Director, Mr. Yim has focused on finding and introducing innovative technologies to power plant operations to improve performance, maintain safety and preserve assets.
Mr. Yim has early 20 years of experience in the nuclear power sector encompasses a variety of diverse engineering disciplines from structural engineering, vibration monitoring and analysis, instrumentation and controls, fitness for service to software development. It includes Asset Integrity Management projects associated with steel and concrete structures, including fuel pools, concrete containments, and service tunnels, nuclear plant and ISFSI security design and threat analysis.
He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.