From the Geothermal Resources Council
Ajit Menon leads geothermal efforts at Baker Hughes. He has 25 years of experience in Baker Hughes, during which time he has held senior management positions in Operational, Sales, Marketing, Technical & Business management roles in multiple locations globally. In his current role, he supports the Geothermal Segment for Baker Hughes, encompassing both surface and subsurface solutions. Ajit has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Bath, United Kingdom.
Joseph Scherer has been leading GreenFire Energy as the CEO for the last 7 years. He is an experienced attorney of 33 years in project financing and was the head of the Credit Finance practice at Cooley LLP. His financing experience includes representation of a wide range of established to emerging companies and their financing sources ranging from venture capitalists to money center banks. Joe took a leave of absence from Cooley in 1986-1987 to work as a project developer and acted as Project Counsel for cogeneration projects with International Power Technology. He has substantial project finance experience both international and domestic, including projects in wireless telecom, conventional cogeneration energy projects and renewable energy projects employing various biogas, biowaste, wind, hydro, agricultural waste, geothermal and solar technologies.
Joe received a J.D. in 1982 from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, where he was associate editor of the UCLA Law Review and graduated in the top 10 percent of his class. Joe concurrently earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management, where he concentrated in finance and earned membership to the Beta Gamma Sigma scholastic honor society. At UCLA, Joe was selected each year as the recipient of the John M. Olin Fellowship for law and economics. He earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of California, Davis, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa.
Steven Brown is a seasoned energy industry executive with extensive experience in geothermal. Steven was the Founder and CEO of Open Mountain Energy, a geothermal operator focused in North and South America. He led the company through early-stage development, identified business opportunities resulting in a 5 MW geothermal power plant and the construction of a 15 MW geothermal power generation. He established a 100 MW development pipeline in two years.
At Cyrq Energy, Inc., Steven was an EVP responsible for creating the Geothermal Division. There he hired the project team, oversaw purchase agreements, permitting, engineering, and construction. Under his leadership the company developed multiple geothermal projects across the Western U.S. and completed two greenfield geothermal projects generating 20 MW and $180M capital budgets. Steven implemented a Fast Track project development program which reduced development from 30 months to 12 months.
At Headwaters, Inc., which provided products and services to the construction, coal, and alternative energy industries, Steven was the SVP and on the Board of Directors. There he was responsible for the construction and management of 24 synthetic facilities in eight states. He directed all aspects of projects, built multiple facilities, and was responsible for +100 employees. Steven has a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.B.A., both from Brigham Young University.
Brian Higgins graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and then received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, both in Mechanical Engineering. He then studied fundamental flame chemistry at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at École Centrale Paris. Following this, he researched diesel spray phenomena at the Combustion Research Facility at the Sandia National Laboratory. As an assistant professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, he directed the Engines Laboratory and worked on hybrid vehicle design and emerging engine technologies.
Eventually leaving academia, Brian took a VP of Technology position at Mobotec, leading the design of more than $200M of NOx and SO2 reduction equipment for coal-fired boilers throughout the US, China, and Poland. Subsequently, as CTO for EnviroCare he has designed scrubbers, spray towers, mercury adsorbers, and wet electrostatic precipitators. At GreenFire Energy, he is involved with producing the process and mechanical design of our novel technology. Brian has published numerous technical papers and delivered too many conference presentations to count.
John R. Muir has more than 25 years of senior management experience in both public and private cyber security companies. A strategic thinker, he helped create two security technologies – large scale user authentication via dynamic passwords and enterprise software for full hard drive encryption – that have become foundational in security architectures worldwide. He was also co-inventor of an advanced user authentication device, which was awarded a U.S. patent.
John has served as the Managing Director of SINET Group, a private entity that foments innovation in cyber security, where he manages the company’s strategic research operations and oversees the SINET Member program. John was the Managing Partner of Trusted Strategies (2002-2013) spearheading advisory services and consulting to companies seeking investment and product development expertise in the IT security sector. Trusted Strategies is an alliance partner with SINET and cooperates closely in many SINET event and research activities.
John was President of Pointsec USA (1998-2001) where he directed Pointsec’s ascent as the world’s most widely deployed enterprise hard drive encryption product, leading to a high-valuation acquisition by Check Point Technologies. In 1982, John was co-founder and President of Enigma Logic, one of the pioneering firms in enterprise scale user authentication, which was later acquired in a $73 million transaction by Secure Computing Corporation. John has a degree in International Economics from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Dr. Andy Van Horn provides expertise and insight into energy and environmental markets, technologies and regulations. For over thirty-five years he has assisted utilities, developers of new technologies, research institutes, government agencies and market participants by scrutinizing market economics, regulatory rules, technology costs and performance, and contracts in electricity, emissions and fuels markets. From 2007-2014, his firm served as Independent Evaluators of electricity and natural gas procurements and contracts for major California electric utilities, facilitating Requests for Offers, evaluating bids and reviewing contract terms for conventional, renewable, demand-side, and combined heat-and-power resources.
Earlier, while consulting to the U.S. EPA and the Electric Power Research Institute, he led national studies of energy, fuels and environmental markets and policies, including New Source Performance Standards, New Source Review, emission fees, cap-and-trade, technology penetration and the coordination of U.S. energy and environmental policy to 2050. He recently carried out comprehensive studies of California’s AB 32 rules for GHG reduction. He applies economic, financial, production cost, power flow and engineering models to integrate policy development, data analysis, market fundamentals, and scenario design.
Andy’s experience regarding electricity market operations, prices, technologies, regulations and contracts will help evaluate investment, technology and business decisions, including power purchase agreements. He earned a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in physics from UC Berkeley.
Hollis Chin is a strategic, results-driven leader and has built marketing strategies for B2B technology companies for 20+ years. Hollis knows how to jumpstart marketing activities in technology companies to drive growth and revenue. Hollis is skilled in articulating the value proposition of technology solutions to business customers. She has expertise in go-to-market strategies, digital marketing, content writing, and public relations.
As the VP Corporate Marketing for 7.ai, Hollis rebranded the company from a contact center services provider to a customer experience solutions company and implemented a new website that grew visitors to 25k/month. She led digital marketing programs and ran executive events, which resulted in the sales of 20% of the accounts. At Art.com, Hollis ran email marketing automation, paid media (LinkedIn, Google Display Network), and direct mail catalogs, which drove $1.2M in revenue annually.
Hollis was a marketing lecturer at the Haas School, University of California, Berkeley. She has a B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Alvaro Amaya is an expert in geothermal modeling. He has been a Chemical Engineering and Geothermal courses Professor at the University of El Salvador for the last 7 years with research in geothermal modeling, chemical thermodynamics, and the transport of fluids and dispersion modeling. Alvaro studied geochemistry, geothermal exploration, and reservoir modeling at Tohoku University where he completed his Ph.D. thesis applying novel geothermal modeling methodology to the Kakkonda geothermal field in Japan. Alvaro has held prior roles as a researcher in water quality at the Environmental Resources Ministry of El Salvador and a Geothermal Consultant Specialist at LaGeo. Alvaro holds a Ph.D. from Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan, in geochemistry and geothermal exploration. He holds a master’s degree in hydrogeology and an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of El Salvador.
Harish develops innovative technical solutions and project proposals by assessing various project opportunities across the globe. His expertise lies in geothermal well development, reservoir engineering, surface system modeling and adopting machine learning algorithms for subsurface flow applications. His master’s thesis was in reservoir modeling for the Cornell Earth Source Heat project which uses geothermal energy to heat the Cornell University campus. While at Cornell University, Harish was an intern for GreenFire Energy performing analytical and numerical modeling for geothermal well retrofit solutions.
Harish has an MS in chemical engineering from Cornell University. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in chemical engineering from Anna University, Chennai, India.
Mark P. Muir has an undergraduate degree in geology from University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Washington and an MBA from UCLA. He is also a licensed geologist in the State of California and a Certified Environmental Manager in the State of Nevada.
Mark was National Coordinator of the Mergers and Acquisitions Consulting Practice for an international environmental consulting company and managed the Southwestern U.S. operations of that practice. He has extensive experience in international consulting and has completed multiple projects in both Mexico and Germany. Mark has particular expertise in performing environmental assessments and water resource management. He will provide overall business coordination, as well as geologic input to GreenFire Energy’s efforts. GreenFire Energy’s sCO2 geothermal direction is the result of initial business and technical research performed by Mark.
Dr. Alan D. Eastman received his B.A., cum laude, and his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Utah. He has maintained an interest in alternative energy technologies that began when he worked for the Fuels Engineering Department of the University as an undergraduate in the area of coal liquefaction. Following graduate school, he took a position as a research chemist with Phillips 66 and spent the next 28 years in various research positions for Phillips and ConocoPhillips. He also spent several years gaining in-depth knowledge of the petrochemical and fuels industries as a senior marketing research specialist.
Alan then changed research directions, running the company’s vibrational spectroscopy analytical laboratory. This in turn led to a role as lead chemometrician developing Phillips and ConocoPhillips statistical data correlations for on-line analytical chemistry. In this role, Alan developed complex mathematical models for refinery process optimization. Over the years, Alan earned 35 U.S. patents and numerous foreign equivalents, mostly in the areas of refinery catalysis and process control. Technologies he helped develop are used in numerous refineries worldwide.
Alan took early retirement from ConocoPhillips to devote his time to GreenFire Energy. His experience with all aspects of technology commercialization, as well as his understanding of complex processes and their mathematical modeling, will be valuable to GreenFire Energy as it develops its technology.
Randy Balik has a B.A. in Environmental Science, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on geology and geomorphology. Prior to co-founding GreenFire Energy, Randy owned and operated two different environmental remediation and land redevelopment contracting companies, serving the Western United States. Randy’s primary skill-set relates to entrepreneurial business management and large-scale business development in the environmental and technology sectors.
Randy’s skills in developing strategic partnerships and general start-up business strategy will continue to be necessary as the company grows and seeks collaborative partners for its R&D efforts, which will eventually lead the company to its long-term operational and licensing opportunities. His skills in construction management will also be useful during GreenFire Energy’s pilot and commercial scale facilities development.
Randy maintains general engineering contractor’s licenses with the States of CA, AZ, NV, and UT and can seek similar licenses in neighboring states as needed. Randy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Environmental Management Association (PEMA) as well as Chairman Emeritus on the Board of Directors for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) Associates, allowing him access to energy industry executives and lobbying groups that focus on all aspects of the environmental and energy industries.