The Pajarito Powder team brings extensive experience from both fuel cell startups and the industry as a whole, from theoretical and practical applications in research, and finally from manufacturing and business development.  Pajarito Powder is poised for success, given its world-class Technical Advisory Board, experienced Board of Managers, a Chairman & CEO with a successful fuel cell exit and a CTO & President with extensive catalyst engineering experience.

All contribute to the effort to produce advanced Engineered Catalyst Supports (ECSs) for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs), as well as Precious-Metal Free (PMF) catalysts for other fuel cell applications, at a fraction of the historical cost while optimizing performance. Pajarito Powder’s  patented VariPore™  process is readily-scaled for high-volume manufacturing – the condition ultimately necessary for cost-effective, widespread fuel cell adoption.

Management Team

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Thomas J. Stephenson

CEO & Chairman

@Pajarito_CEO

Prior to co-founding Pajarito Powder in the spring of 2012, Mr. Stephenson was a co-founder of the Verge Fund in 2003, and currently serves as Managing General Partner in addition to his responsibilities with Pajarito Powder. Mr. Stephenson has worked with a number of current and past Verge portfolio companies, including Altela and Wellkeeper, and was previously on the Board of Directors of LabStart, a joint-venture entity created to assist in commercialization of technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the sources of technology for Pajarito Powder. He previously served as a director and the lead investor for Mesofuel, a start-up company commercializing novel hydrogen reforming technologies for the fuel cell industry.

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Dr. Barr Zulevi

CTO & President

@BarrZulevi

Dr. Barr Zulevi has extensive experience in materials science, both from his academic career and commercialization experience since co-founding Pajarito Powder in 2012. Dr. Zulevi has overseen and led the Pajarito Powder team in developing the world-class VariPore manufacturing platform and VariPore line of Engineered Catalysts and Catalysts Supports. Under his leadership, Pajarito Powder has licensed, scaled-up, and re-engineered catalytically relevant materials, including catalyst technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratories, University of New Mexico, INRS, and Northeastern University. A team of scientists and technicians supports him with extensive expertise in developing catalysts, technology-transfer, scale-up, and manufacturing of electrocatalysts for fuel cell and electrolyzer applications.

Alexey Serov

Dr. Alexey Serov

Chief Scientist

style=”text-align:justify;”> Dr. Serov’s technical research began with the Samsung SDI R&D Center, before joining the Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of New Mexico in 2010, as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Serov was later promoted to Research Assistant Professor in 2013 and Research Associate Professor in 2015.

In his research, Dr. Serov has published more than 260 peer-reviewed articles. His IP portfolio consists of 74 issued patents and more than 120 patent applications. His primary research interests include synthesis and characterization of new materials for clean energy technologies, such as fuel cells, electrolyzers and the synthesis of “electrofuels”. Dr. Serov collaborates with multiple research groups around the globe, including academic and industrial partners. He also developed a new generation of catalysts for oxygen reduction reactions that were successfully integrated into the Daihatsu FC ShoCase prototype, introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2013.

Dr. Serov began consulting with Pajarito Powder in 2013, where he shared his expertise in the field of PGM-free electrocatalysis for fuel cell applications. He began his full-time position with Pajarito Powder in 2016 as Chief Scientist, where he manages projects related to the design and manufacturing of electrocatalysts and supports for energy-related applications.

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Douglas Penner, CPA CMA

Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Penner is an accounting professional with more than 25 years of experience. He began his career in public accounting, and has earned his CPA and CMA designations. Mr. Penner has 11 years of managerial experience in startups, and is experienced as a CFO and Controller.

 

Board of Managers

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Thomas J. Stephenson,

Board Chairman

 @Pajarito_CEO

Prior to co-founding Pajarito Powder in the spring of 2012, Mr. Stephenson was a co-founder of the Verge Fund in 2003, and currently serves as Managing General Partner in addition to his responsibilities with Pajarito Powder. Mr. Stephenson has worked with a number of current and past Verge portfolio companies, including Altela and Wellkeeper, and was previously on the Board of Directors of LabStart, a joint-venture entity created to assist in commercialization of technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the sources of technology for Pajarito Powder. He previously served as a director and the lead investor for Mesofuel, a start-up company commercializing novel hydrogen reforming technologies for the fuel cell industry.
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Dr. J. Byron McCormick

Dr. McCormick is widely regarded as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of modern mobile hydrogen fuel cells. He began his career in the Electronics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked with many talented and mission-driven scientists on fuel cell technology. Dr. McCormick’s leap of considering fuel cells, which had played in a role in getting a rocket to the moon, for use in automobiles, was borne of a desire to avoid another energy crisis like that of the late 1970’s. Dr. McCormick founded the Department of Energy’s Fuel Cells for Transportation program, where research in PEM fuel cell technology for future automotive applications was developed and funded.

Dr. McCormick worked at General Motors for three decades, where he formed and was Managing Director of Delco Propulsion Systems, which developed and commercialized the integrated electric propulsion systems, subsystems and component design for GM’s EV1 and S10 electric vehicles. Subsequently, forming and leading GM’s Global Alternative Propulsion Systems organization, which was responsible for all aspects of GM’s hydrogen and fuel cell development activities worldwide, was then incorporated into the main operating divisions of GM in preparation for the launch of GM’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Dr. McCormick retired from GM in 2008 and consults for various governments and corporations globally on sustainable energy initiatives through Prepared Minds International.

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Paul Short

Mr. Short was a co-founder of Pajarito Powder, along with Mr. Stephenson. Mr. Short holds a BS and an MS in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University, and held positions with both NMSU’s Physical Science Laboratory and Honeywell as a Principal Engineer. Later he founded InnovASIC, a design services company that developed integrated circuits for other companies. Mr. Short later evolved InnovASIC from a services firm to a semiconductor producer that designs, manufactures, and sells integrated circuits, earning over $5 million in revenue during a period of industry contraction. He was also the founder of Metaphor Computing and Chief Operating Officer of Altela, a water treatment equipment manufacturer. At Altela, he led the team that designed, manufactured, installed and tested the next generation product, generating $1.6M in revenue in one year.

 

Technical Advisory Board

Pajarito Powder has a world-class Technical Advisory Board that drives the company’s technology and product to be of the highest performance and durability, while meeting the price and manufacturability targets required by industry.

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Dr. Piotr Zelenay, Chairman

Dr. Zelenay is a prominent expert in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and a Team Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). He has led the electrocatalysis and direct methanol fuel cell research at LANL for the past 12 years. In June 2010, he was a recipient of the United States Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Program R&D Award, in recognition of outstanding contributions to fuel cell technologies. With 166 research items and over 10,000 citations on ResarchGate, 15 fuel cell patents or applications, and 20 fuel cell and electrocatalysis research projects, Dr. Zelenay is recognized as a world leader in fuel cell technologies.

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Dr. Plamen Atanassov

Dr. Atanassov has over 25 years of experience in industry and academia, focusing on materials processing and electrochemistry relating to fuel cells. He was a Director of the NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center, and later the founder of the UNM Center for Emerging Energy Technologies. His research programs include development of PMF electrocatalysts for fuel cells, new materials and technologies for micro-power sources, enzymatic bio-fuel cells, designs for sensor systems and integrations of micro-analytical systems. Dr. Atanassov has 461 research items and over 10,000 citations on ResearchGate.

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Dr. Scott Calabrese Barton

Calabrese Barton is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. His research group studies new electrocatalysts, materials, and electrode design for both fuel cells and chemical conversion. Transition metal electrocatalysts are studied for fuel cell and electrochemical conversion applications. Bioconversion involving enzyme electrocatalysts are also studied as a means of producing value-added chemicals from renewable resources. To this end, regeneration of enzyme cofactors and high-surface carbon materials are developed for immobilization of enzymes, catalysts, and cofactors. Throughout this work, mathematical models promote understanding of electrochemical kinetics and transport, leading to tools for analysis and optimization of novel electrode architectures. Dr. Calabrese Barton received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 1999, after studying aerospace engineering at Notre Dame and MIT. He is the recipient of a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Petroleum Research Fund award from the American Chemical Society. Dr. Calabrese Barton has 100 research items and over 3,000 citations on ResearchGate.

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Dr. Jean-Pol Dodelet

Jean-Pol Dodelet is Professor of Physical Chemistry at L’Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS, Canada). After receiving his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1969 from L’Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) he became a Postdoctoral Fellow and then Research Associate in Radiation Chemistry at the University of Alberta (Canada). In 1976, he became Professor of Physical Chemistry at L’Universite du Quebec a Trois Rivieres (Canada), where he worked until 1981 on the photoconducting properties of molecular photoconductors, before he took his current position. At INRS, he first continued his work on molecular photoconductors before becoming interested, in 1990, in non-noble metal electrocatalysts, the research area where he is still active today. In the last several years, Dr. Dodelet collaborated with General Motors in the frame of an Industrial Research Chair in electrocatalysis, sponsored by General Motors of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He has 255 research items and over 12,000 citations on ResearchGate.

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Dr. Sanjeev Mukerjee

Dr. Sanjeev Mukerjee is a Full Professor of Physical/Materials Chemistry in the College of Science and Director of the Laboratory for Electrochemical Advanced Power (LEAP) at Northeastern University. Dr. Mukerjee’s research involves an interdisciplinary approach, encompassing the areas of solid-state chemistry, spectroscopy, and electrochemistry of electrode materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. The current focus is on technologies for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and for batteries, which include: electrocatalysis of oxygen reduction, CO tolerance and methanol oxidation reactions, elevated temperature polymer electrolyte membranes, advanced rechargeable batteries with nickel metal hydrides and lithium insertion electrodes for lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries. Dr. Mukerjee received his PhD from Texas A&M University and his M. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He is the 2013 recipient of the NEU Excellence in Research and Creativity Award. Dr. Mukerjee has 254 research items and over 10,000 citations on ResearchGate.

Dr. Hubert Gasteiger

Dr. Hubert Gasteiger is a Full Professor of Electrochemistry at the Technical University of Munich. Dr. Gasteiger began his research as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1994 on surface electrocatalysis using electron- and ion-spectroscopes, before spending four years as an Assistant Researcher at Ulm University in Germany, investigating gas-phase & electrocatalysis related to fuel cell systems. In 1999, Dr. Gasteiger moved to General Motors, to become the Technical Manager for Fuel Cell Activities, focusing on catalyst and MEA development for eight years, before moving to Acta S.p.A, where he focused on MEAs for alkaline membrane electrolyzers and fuel cells. Dr. Gasteiger later returned to academia, taking a position as a visiting Professor at MIT to study catalysis in lithium-air batteries and model oxide catalysts for fuel cells, before moving to his current position with the University of Munich. Dr. Gasteiger has over 219 research items on ResearchGate, including 15 book chapters, 38 registered or pending patent applications, and has been the Editor-in-Chief of the Handbook of Fuel Cells.

Investors

Omphalos Venture Partners, LLC

A Minneapolis, Minnesota based venture fund, founded and managed by successful entrepreneurs, that seeks investment opportunities in early stage companies developing disruptive technologies, and led by driven entrepreneurs with vision. Omphalos Venture Partners currently holds investment in Education, Medical Device, Health Services, Bio Sensor Technology, Nano Particle Technology, Environmental, Manufacturing, B2B and B2C. Click here to learn more about Omphalos Venture Partners.

Verge Fund

verge-logoVerge Fund is a highly motivated venture capital fund that invests in seed-stage, high-growth ventures. This partnership focuses on opportunities at the earliest stages of their development, even if the business plan hasn’t been fully built out. Click here to learn more about Verge Fund.