Pajarito Powder Team

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 has an experienced Board of Managers, a Chairman & CEO with a successful fuel cell exit, and team with extensive catalyst engineering experience, along with relevant patents and world-class Technical Advisory Board.

All contribute to the effort to produce advanced catalysts for mobility and hydrogen generation. Pajarito Powder’s patented VariPore™ process is readily-scaled for high-volume manufacturing – the condition ultimately necessary for cost-effective, widespread fuel cell adoption.

Board of Managers

Thomas J. Stephenson

Thomas J. Stephenson

CEO & Board Chairman

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.

Paul Short

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.


Prof. Dr. Christian Mohrdieck

Prof. Dr. Christian Mohrdieck is Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG. He had been CEO of Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH since 2015, which in June 2020 was first merged into Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG, then in March 2021 into cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG in March 2021, for which he served as Managing Director. After studies of physics in Germany and France, Prof. Mohrdieck joined Daimler-Benz Research in 1989. In 1995 he became head of the Executive Office of the Member of the Board responsible for Research and Technology in Stuttgart.

From 1999 on Prof. Mohrdieck was a Senior Manager for Fuel Cell Systems with Daimler-Chrysler Corporation in the United States. Back in Germany, he became a Director of Structural Materials at DaimlerChrysler AG and afterwards in 2003 Director of Alternative Energy and Drive Systems. In 2005 Prof. Mohrdieck assumed the responsibility for Fuel Cell Drive System Development. In 2006 he got the additional responsibility for Li-Ion battery development at Daimler AG. Two years later Prof. Christian Mohrdieck became a Director of Fuel Cell & Battery Drive Development. He became a Director Fuel Cell at the Daimler Group in 2012. In 2013 the University Ulm appointed Dr. Mohrdieck Honorary Professor. He currently teaches at the University of Ulm and the Technical University of Vienna.


Dr. Sukhwan Yun

Dr. Sukhwan Yun is Senior Manager at Hyundai Motor Company Venture Capital (CVC) Team. He had a seven-year career in automotive fuel cell development, prior to joining the venture capital arm of Hyundai. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and is also a board member of Impact Coatings, AB (Sweden).


Dr. Inge Schildermans

Dr. Ir Inge Schildermans is the Senior Vice President of Fiber Technologies at Bekaert, a world market and technology leader in steel wire transformation and coating technologies. After finishing Chemical Engineering studies in Belgium, she combined a PhD in Applied Bio Sciences with R&D project management at Bekaert Fiber Technologies. Mrs. Schildermans held several positions within Bekaert, ranging from Technology and Innovation management at the HQ to Operational & Country management in Eastern Europe (Slovakia) before she returned to Belgium in 2019 to take up the current role of SVP in Fiber Technologies. Her Business unit develops, manufactures and commercializes high-end metal fiber products for several end-applications in Filtration (polymer, semicon, gas) and in Automotive applications offering Conductive & Heat resistant Textiles and Heating Cables. Since 2000, Bekaert Fiber Technologies is active in the development and commercialization of Porous transport layers for PEM electrolysers. Additionally, Mrs. Schildermans is Board member of Hyve, a consortium of Belgian industry and research players developing new breakthrough water electrolysis solutions.


Mark Marlow

20+ year finance executive with two successful IPOs. Helped grow Virtual Radiologic Corp into one of the largest Telemedicine providers in the United States. Former Managing Partner at Omphalos Venture Partners. B.S.B.A in Accounting and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Management Team

Dr. Michele Ostraat

Dr. Michele Ostraat

Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Ostraat is the Chief Operations Officer, after having joined Pajarito Powder in the role of Chief Scientist in 2023, after serving as chief operating officer of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Ostraat provides strategic direction, leadership and management of Pajarito Powder's technical efforts. Previously, Ostraat served as senior downstream research center leader at Aramco Services Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this role, she championed the launch, growth and expansion of Saudi Aramco’s Global Research Center, with a focus on game-changing, high-risk/high-reward, long-horizon research portfolio and strong engagement with the scientific community and innovation ecosystem. Ostraat brings a strong record of leadership and expertise across energy, chemicals, defense, environment and health. Ostraat holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in chemical engineering from California Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemistry from Trinity University.

Melissa Brock, Controller

Melissa Brock


Melissa Brock joined Pajarito Powder as Controller in August 2022. She has a strong history leading finance teams in both public and private accounting. Prior to joining Pajarito, she worked as a C.P.A with Gruenloh Hardy & Associates. Education/Certifications · University of South Alabama, 2008 · Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.) 2012

Kyle Ellis

Kyle Ellis

Manager, Production

Kyle Ellis began his career working for Sartomer Company as a Chemical Production Operator, producing Polybutadiene products under the Ricon Brand. Upon moving to New Mexico, Mr. Ellis worked as Field Chemist for Rinchem under contract to Sandia National Laboratories, where he specialized in Hazardous Chemical identification in the field and led teams to pack and ship hazardous waste for disposal.

Before joining the team at Pajarito Powder, Mr. Ellis served as Production Facilities Manager for xF Technologies, another New Mexico venture backed company. In this position, he led a team of engineers, chemists and technicians in a pilot facility, producing novel biofuels and green chemical platforms from renewable biomass.


Fort Lewis College, B.S. Chemistry/Biochemistry, 2010

Webb Johnson

Webb Johnson

Senior Director of Business Development

Mr. Johnson joined Pajarito Powder in November 2015 as Director of Business Development. Over his career, Mr Johnson has worked in varying capacities for software and hardware startups, including his own. Mr. Johnson was Vice President of an emerging technologies consortium called “Next Generation Economy Initiative” in the early 2000s, based upon cluster research developed by Michael Porter and later, the Milken Foundation aimed at leveraging National Laboratory strengths in technology development while addressing weaknesses in commercialization. At SWSH, LLC he helped recruit and assemble senior engineering and science teams for startups throughout the southwest, including Lumidigm, a biometric startup acquired by Swedish firm Assa Abloy through its Texas-based U.S. subsidiary HID.

In 2014 Mr. Johnson helped establish the ABQid Accelerator, a Global Accelerator Network-accredited program based on the Techstars model using Lean Startup processes to “accelerate” startups.

Dr. Saburo Hori

Dr. Saburo Hori

Director of Business Development Asia

Dr. Saburo Hori started his professional carrier with Kureha Chemical Industries as a project team member to develop a crude oil cracking technology together with Union Carbide Corporation and stayed in the USA for four and a half years. After returning to Japan, Dr. Hori started working on ceramic materials, took a position at Toyota Central R&D Laboratories in 1989 and was Ceramic Laboratory Manager of Toyota Central R&D in 1992-1994 before joining American venture company Lanxide Corporation developing ceramic composite materials. During various technical and management positions of dmc2/OMG/Umicore in Japan, including General Manager of Advanced Materials, General Manager of Tsukuba Plant, Senior Manager Fuel Cells and R&D Manager responsible for battery materials R&D, Dr. Hori was also a Visiting Professor at Kagoshima University.

Dixie Colvin

Dixie Colvin

Human Resource Manager

Dixie Colvin, Human Resources Manager, came out of retirement to bring her expertise in Human Resources and Recruiting to Pajarito Powder, LLC because of her passion for changing the world with Green Hydrogen. Dixie has managed all functions within HR, including recruiting, comp and benefit programs, employee relations, leave management, policy and process creation, and organizational development. As a full cycle Technical Recruiter, she has sourced candidates and closed over 5,000 offers in the healthcare and manufacturing industries. In her spare time, she works with the Refugee community helping with acquiring job skills, resume writing and learning the rules of the road for first time drivers. She is an award-winning painter and writes screenplays for fun.

Follow Us

Contact Us

Phone: +1 (505) 293-5367
Fax: +1 (505) 244-8040


Pajarito Powder benefits from resources provided by the State of New Mexico Economic Development Department:  JTIP, STEP and other programs through the Office of Science and Technology.