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The Team

Management Team and Board of Directors:

Mr. Bruce Dannenberg – President, CEO and Founder

Mr. Dannenberg’s industrial career has focused on the management of the technology commercialization process and of manufacturing high technology processes and products. He has been involved in the semiconductor industry, the biotechnology industry, and the capital markets arena. He has expertise in industrial management, strategic planning, financial management, business development, industrial biotechnology, renewable chemicals, bioenergy, biofuels, synthetic biology, microbiology, limnology, genomics, and coalition & alliance building.

Mr. Dannenberg holds a Master of Science degree in Industrial Management from Clemson University, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Vermont, and a Bachelors degree in Zoology from the University of Vermont. He has also attended executive management programs at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management and the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is a former Chairman of The Financial Management Association’s (FMA’s) Institutional Board of Directors and is active in the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), where he is a member of BIO’s Synthetic Biology Working Group, BIO’s Biobased Products and Renewable Specialty Chemicals Working Group,  and The EuropaBio Synthetic Biology Task Force.

Mr. Gordon Skene – Chairman & Executive Vice President and Director

Mr. Skene has a broad range of experience in the management, strategic direction, corporate governance, and financing of emerging companies in the technology sector, and has served as a director of many technology companies. He has acted as President, CEO, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer of several early stage technology companies.  Before joining Phytonix in 2015, he was the CEO of an environmental technology company where he gained 10 years of experience in waste-to-energy, renewable fuels, waste water treatment, and greenhouse gas reduction. Prior to that, he was the founder & CEO of a $35 million venture capital fund. Mr. Skene has raised more than $150 million of equity for early stage technology companies. As the Director of Corporate Finance for Canada’s largest forest products company, he raised $500 million of equity and long term debt, and arranged over $1.5 billion of long term bank loans and credit facilities.  Mr. Skene has extensive expertise in corporate finance, including project financing, public equity and debt markets, private equity, government funding, banking, investment banking and acquisitions.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (physics and economics) and a Master of Science in Business Administration degree (Transportation and Finance) from the University of British Columbia.

Mr. Michael Weedon – Independent Director

Mr. Weedon has held senior finance and general management positions in the industry with over 25 years experience with large corporations including the B.F. Goodrich Company, Sherritt, Inc., and the Loewen Group, Inc.  For the past ten years he has been the Executive Director of the British Columbia Bioenergy Network (BCBN) and is also a Member of the BCBN Board.  Mr. Weedon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario.  More recently, as a consultant in the environment sector, he has evaluated a number of alternative energy technologies including many in the bioenergy sector.

Mr. Richard Hopp – Independent Director

Mr. Hopp is a strategic business development specialist with over 30 years experience in the conventional, renewable energy, biomass and technology development sectors. Mr. Hopp has a solid background in advancing companies from concepts to commercial realities. He is well versed in project financing, government policy initiatives and funding, permitting, administration and operations management.

Mr. Hopp is involved in several renewable energy companies at the senior management and board level in Canada and North America. Throughout his career he has been instrumental in identifying and commercializing renewable energy development opportunities domestically and internationally. Mr. Hopp began his career with the Province of British Columbia, Canada as an economist and senior energy policy advisor to the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Finance Treasury Board Staff. He left the public sector in 1989 and joined Inland Natural Gas Marketing Ltd. where, as President, he expanded the company into one of the largest regional marketers of energy services to the industrial and utility markets. In 1995, he co-founded Maxim Power Corp., an Alberta, Canada based power generation company with an initial focus on renewable power in Europe. Today Maxim has over 800 MW of generation capacity in Europe and North America. He left Maxim Power in 2006 and helped develop and manage several high technology and renewable energy companies in British Columbia, Canada. His most recent post was with Run of River Power Inc. (’ROR’) as the President and CEO. ROR was acquired in August 2014 by Concord Green Energy. Presently, Mr. Hopp is the President and CEO of Prairie Green Renewable Energy Inc. who is developing a world scale next generation biofuels plant in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Mr. Hopp holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Agricultural Economics) from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Victoria.

Mr. Bill Cory – Independent Director

Mr. Cory has over 30 years experience managing engineering and manufacturing operations in technical, high volume, rapidly changing environments.  His particular area of expertise focuses on the use of strategic planning to drive growth and manage supply chain and in process operations, allowing technical manufacturing processes to scale.

Mr. Cory has held senior engineering and operations management positions with several technical, high growth companies including Sun Microsystems, where he was accountable for maintaining infrastructure – supporting the world’s largest server farm/ test environment of over 6,000 concurrent units, shipping 150,000 servers per quarter, and generating $9+B in annual revenue.  Additionally, Mr. Cory served as Vice President of Operations and Corporate Officer of Larscom, Inc., a manufacturer of high reliability WAN internetworking products and was a member of the Executive Team that grew the business to allow a Nasdaq IPO.  Mr. Cory was also an early employee of the ground breaking game company, Atari, where as Product Engineering Group Lead and Technical Liaison between engineering and global manufacturing facilities, he developed and implemented Atari’s first assembly processes for high volume manufacturing of video games allowing assembly capacity to grow from 1 unit to 20,000 units per day.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Industrial Engineering and Management Science) from Northwestern University and a Master of Management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.


Technical & Engineering Team:

Dr. Peter Lindblad – Project Leader, Butanol Organism Development

Dr. Lindblad is the Director of the Angstrom Laboratory and Professor of Microbial Chemistry at Uppsala University in Sweden. Dr. Lindblad’s and his senior scientific team’s research focuses on renewable solar fuel production via engineered cyanobacterial microbial cell factories. His research includes the development of liquid transportation fuels and microbial-based H2-production/hydrogenases at applied, physiological, biochemical and molecular levels – in total 130 scientific publications. At present Dr. Lindblad is leading one of the research groups in the Swedish Energy Agency program on Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis.

Dr. Gary Anderson – Project Leader, Phytoconverter Equipment Development

Dr. Anderson is a professor in the Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering department at South Dakota State University and consults part time. He has worked at SDSU for 25 years on a variety of projects including diaphragm action and indoor air quality in agricultural systems. Current efforts are in Photobioreactor Development (Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling, light affects, gas transfer, and mixing) Finite Element Modeling, and Acoustic Emissions from materials.  Dr. Anderson received his PhD (Agricultural Engineering) and a Master of Science (Agricultural and Structural Engineering with minor in Energy Systems Engineering) from Iowa State University and his Bachelor of Science (agricultural Engineering) from South Dakota State University.

Patrick Neill P.Eng.Phytonix Director of Engineering:

Mr. Neill is a Professional Engineer with 25-years of engineering management experience. Mr. Neill has a track record of managing multidiscipline technical teams to develop industrial solutions for bioenergy, water, wastewater, and paper industries. He has managed the design, build and commissioning of industrial process and control solutions for water, wastewater, pulp and paper, and steel industries. He has led research and development projects from concept to successful product launch including the design and construction of a $6 million pilot plant for bacteria-based technology. Patrick has global experience having worked in Belgium, USA, UK, and Canada and with customers and operations groups all over the world. He brings innovation, practical engineering experience, problem solving skills, and good engineering processes to the Phytonix team.  Mr. Neill holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Engineering (Electronic Engineering) from the University of Sheffield, UK.

Board of Advisors:

Phytonix’s seven member Advisory Board provides a powerhouse of management, business and technical expertise that serves the firm well as it moves forward toward product and licensing revenue generation, pilot and demonstration scale production, and full commercialization:

Dr. Victor Der:  Dr. Der is Executive Adviser for North America operations at the Global CCS Institute. Prior to this, he worked at the US Department of Energy (DOE) for over 37 years retiring as the Assistant Secretary (acting) for Fossil Energy. He has led the Office of Fossil Energy in the areas of clean coal, CCS, oil and gas R&D, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He had served in various prior capacities at DOE including the Principal Deputy for Fossil Energy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal and CCS. Victor is also the former Chair of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum Policy Group, and had also served as the Chair of the CSLF Technical Group. As the Assistant Secretary (acting), Victor managed a multi-billion dollar portfolio of clean coal technology and CCS demonstration projects in addition to a multi-million dollar research portfolio on CCS, power generation, and enhanced oil and gas recovery research. Victor’s prior experience includes research and management in advanced nuclear energy, geologic storage of high-level nuclear waste, and superconductivity for magnetic fusion energy. Victor has also worked on NASA’s Apollo 15 moon mission project and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration program on modelling the upper atmospheric density. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Science degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland.

Mr. W. Scott Hickman:  Mr. Hickman currently serves as a Director and Chairman of the Finance Committee at Mission Health System in Asheville, North Carolina.  Previously he held the position of CEO at the W.P. Hickman Company (2009 North Carolina Small Business of the Year runner up) which was sold to public company Handy & Harman (HNH) at the end of 2012. Scott has over 30 years of sales, marketing and management experience with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, including a 13 year stint with technology pioneer Sun Microsystems including the opportunity to manage Sun’s Eastern European operations out of Budapest, Hungary.  Scott holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

Mr. Peter Hoyle:  Mr. Hoyle is Marketing Director for Quadra Chemicals, a leading North American distributor of industrial chemicals including butanol. Owner, Antler Oil & Gas Development, sales and marketing of biofuels and other renewable formulated products for the replacement of hydrocarbon-based products.

Dr. Robert Stewart:  Dr. Stewart is an independent biotechnology consultant with 20 years of industry experience in fermentation, biofuel technologies and industrial biotechnology. Most recently he was Biotechnology Manager at Lanxess Chemicals Company focused on reviewing and evaluating renewable routes and new bio-synthetic pathway technologies related to butanol production. Prior to this he was Senior Manager of Process Monitoring and Analysis at Iogen Biofuels, where he led a team of 20 scientists in support of Iogens’ biofuel development program. Previously he was Global Manager of Fermentation, Microbiology and Chemistry at InBev. Robert holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto.

Mr. Michael Macdonald: Mr. Macdonald brings 30 years of experience in the methanol and related industries from his career at Methanex and its predecessor companies (1983-2013). For his last ten years at Methanex, Michael was on the company’s Executive Team. Michael’s extensive experience, including chemical process technology and the technical and commercial aspects of project development and execution, will support Phytonix’s transition from laboratory to demonstration, and then to commercial operations. Michael’s organizational and business experience will also support Phytonix’s evolution. In his last role at Methanex, Michael was Senior Vice President, Global Operations, where he was responsible for all manufacturing activities globally. This role included eight operating methanol plants and approximately 800 people in Canada, Chile, Egypt, New Zealand and Trinidad, operating costs of ~ $1 billion annually including the cost of natural gas feedstock, and more than $50 million annual sustaining capital. In that role, Michael was also responsible for capital projects in the United States worth at that time over $1 billion.

Mr. John Robertshaw:  Mr. Robertshaw BSc MRICS is a Chartered Surveyor (UK) who established his own property consultancy and property company in London in 1990. He built a substantial investment portfolio between 1995 and 2004 before moving to Vancouver in 2005 with his wife and family. In the last 10 years he has developed almost 1m sq ft of industrial warehouse space in Vancouver and built a portfolio of private equity investments in local and North American companies. He is currently Chairman of Brunswick Property Holdings Ltd. and Stage 3 Systems Inc., a company providing SAAS services to the worlds shipping industry.

Dr. Thomas Lee:  Dr. Lee is the Chairman of the Medical and Life Sciences Committee for the Orange County chapter of Tech Coast Angels (TCA-OC).  He is the Tech Coast Angels’ deal lead for Phytonix, authored the due diligence report for TCA, and spearheaded TCA’s initial round of funding for Phytonix.  Dr. Lee is a practicing anesthesiologist in Orange County, California with interests in neurosurgical and trauma anesthesia.  He has published works in the medicinal natural products research space and is also heavily involved with the medical, pharmaceutical, and medical device startup community in Orange County.  Thomas received his M.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and his M.B.A. from the George Washington University School of Business.  He also holds a B.A. in Chemistry and East Asian Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.