On the Move – Protera appoints Novozymes Exec, Transform Materials new CEO, Stora Enso VP & RSB Executive Director leave, AgBiome new board members, renewable energy lawyers move, 10 new bioeconomy additions to Lee Enterprises, Biotalys, Eagle Genomics

May 20, 2021 |

As birds migrate in the spring, we see many transitions going on in the bioeconomy right now too. From a new CEO for Transform Materials (a company that uses microwave plasma technology to convert natural gas into acetylene and hydrogen), some departures from Stora Enso and the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, new board members at AgBiome, Protera, Biotalys, and Eagle Genomics, to an impressive 10 new bioeconomy additions at Lee Enterprises Consulting, check out all the latest moves from your friends and colleagues in the bio sectors.

If you have an “On the Move” for us to cover, please contact Helena Kennedy at [email protected].

Protera Appoints Novozymes Executive Thomas Videbaek as Chair of the Board of Directors and Non-executive Board Member

Protera, an AI-driven startup designing and developing new proteins to enable a wide range of natural and sustainable solutions, appointed Novozymes senior executive Thomas Videbaek as Chair of the Board of Directors and non-executive board member.

Dr. Videbaek has spent the last 13 years on the executive team at Novozymes, the world leader in industrial enzymes. After three decades at the firm, which included positions in Europe and the U.S., Dr. Videbaek will transition to focus on his career as a professional board member.

Most recently, Dr. Videbaek was Executive Vice President (EVP) of Corporate Strategy & Business Transformation at Novozymes. Previously, he held a number of senior business development roles, most recently as EVP. Dr. Videbaek has also led initiatives that created a number of new business areas for the firm, including the now significant microbial area of bio agriculture, as well as supply chain operations, where he helped build a global supply chain organization.

Protera is developing the manufacturing process to deliver commercially viable proteins designed using its proprietary madi technology. Dr. Videbaek’s experience in the field and strategic vision will be crucial to scaling up and strengthening Protera’s commercial position with partners along the food value chain.

Transform Materials Expands Leadership Team with Appointment of Stuart Jara to CEO

Transform Materials, a sustainable chemical company that uses microwave plasma technology to convert natural gas into acetylene and hydrogen, appointed Stuart Jara as chief executive officer. Dr. David Soane, Transform’s founder and current CEO, transitions to chairman of the board.

Stuart Jara has broad and deep experience in the industrial process manufacturing sector, including building hydrogen production plants, as well as an extensive background in the hydrogen, acetylene, and natural gas sectors. Jara has led a broad spectrum of organizations in this sector to expand their profitability—from mid-market, private-equity-owned entities to billion-dollar divisions of public companies.

Transform Materials has developed a highly selective, cost-effective process that converts the methane in natural gas into high-value products that are suitable for direct use or downstream reactions without producing carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Founded in 2014, the company accelerated its commercialization strategy in 2020, generating significant interest from customers whose processes require a ready and cost-advantageous source of hydrogen or acetylene, and from customers who must find constructive uses for their supplies of waste methane. Transform has already developed a large project pipeline with prospective blue-chip customers in North America and in Europe.

Change in Stora Enso’s Group Leadership Team

Ulrika Lilja, Executive Vice President, Communications and Marketing, has decided to leave her position at Stora Enso. After eight years in the company, she will assume the role as Head of Group Marketing and Communications at SEB, a leading northern European bank, where she will also be a member of the company’s Group Executive Committee. She will join SEB at the latest in November 2021. The search for a successor will be initiated immediately.

Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) Leadership Transition

After an eight-year tenure as RSB Executive Director, during which he led the establishment and consolidation of RSB as an independent organisation and its expansion to new products, markets and partnerships, Rolf Hogan has decided to explore new horizons.

The RSB announced that RSB’s Standards Director, Elena Schmidt, has been appointed as interim Executive Director by the RSB Board of Directors.

Elena Schmidt joined the RSB in 2015 and has served as the RSB Standards Director since that time. Prior to joining the RSB, she was Head of the TÜV SÜD Certification Body for Climate and Energy. Elena has extensive experience with sustainability programmes and a strong record of delivering product and business model innovations.

AgBiome Adds Krysta Harden and Alison Lawton to Company’s Board of Directors

AgBiome, which discovers and develops innovative biological and trait products for crop protection, announced Krysta Harden and Alison Lawton joined AgBiome’s Board of Directors.

Currently, as president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Krysta Harden leverages experience with agriculture, sustainability, food policy and the federal government to help fulfill USDEC’s mission to promote dairy exports and enrich the well- being of people, communities, and the planet. Prior to joining the USDEC, Harden was VP External Affairs and Chief Sustainability officer at Corteva. Harden has served as the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and was the Chief of Staff for the Secretary of Agriculture under Tom Vilsack in the Obama administration.

Alison Lawton joins the AgBiome board with extensive experience leading and operating biotech and pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, Lawton was CEO of the microbiome company Kaleido Biosciences, leading the company through a successful IPO. Prior to Kaleido, Lawton was COO for Aura Biosciences, X4 Pharmaceuticals and OvaScience. Lawton spent two decades of her career at Genzyme, serving in senior management roles during its growth from a small US company to a global commercial organization with over 10,000 employees. Lawton sits on the Boards of several biotech companies, including: ProQR Therapeutics, Magenta Therapeutics, X4 Pharmaceuticals, Aeglea BioTherapeutics, and SwanBio.

McGuireWoods adds 3 renewable energy project finance/deal lawyers in San Francisco from DLA Piper

McGuireWoods adds San Francisco partner Evelyn Kim, an accomplished project finance attorney with extensive experience advising clients in acquiring, developing and financing renewable energy generation facilities. Kim represents investors, lenders, private equity funds, independent power producers, sponsors and developers involved in solar, battery energy storage, wind and biomass projects. She leads projects in various stages of development, from initial bid through financial close and into commercial operation. She advises on debt and equity tax financing, development, and acquisition and disposition of those facilities. Her deal experience includes representing clients in commercial and utility-scale solar projects in all regions of the country, as well as battery energy storage system projects in California and Texas. Kim and associates Kim Stouffer and Caroline Jo come to McGuireWoods from DLA Piper.

U.S. Grains Council Promotes Marlyn Montenegro To Office Manager Of Latin America

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) promoted Marlyn Montenegro to office manager in the organization’s Latin America office, effective May 1. Montenegro previously served the Council as the administrative assistant in the same office. In the new position of office manager, Montenegro will take on responsibility of the day-to-day functions of the Panama office through a range of administrative, procedural and managerial tasks.

“In recognition of her talents and vast contribution to the organizational effectiveness, I am very pleased to announce the promotion of Marlyn Montenegro,” said Marri Tejada, regional director for Latin America.

Clean Energy Counsel Continues Growth with Addition of Six Attorneys and Chief Operating Officer

Clean Energy Counsel, LLP (CEC), a boutique law firm serving companies in the renewable energy sector, added six attorneys and a new chief operating officer to its team. The new additions to the CEC team are:

Diego Atencio – Atencio’s primary focus is project development, with an emphasis on the real estate sector, including site acquisition agreements, options, leases and title and survey review.

Zach Crowley – Crowley advises developers, investors and lenders on project and asset financing transactions and acquisitions, as well as dispositions of clean energy and sustainable infrastructure assets. He has significant experience handling large, complex equity and debt financing transactions and brings a commercial mindset to risk analysis in order to achieve successful and efficient outcomes.

Shae Harvey – Harvey focuses on the sale and procurement of power and energy services for commercial and utility-scale renewable generating facilities and storage projects, including PPAs, capacity sales agreements and grid services contracts. She also has significant experience advising on interconnection agreements, supply chain agreements and construction contracts.

Brian Joyce – Joyce represents borrowers, sponsors and tax equity investors in project finance, structured finance, project development and general corporate transactions in the renewable energy space. His broad financing experience with a variety of clean energy projects ranges from rooftop solar to utility-scale wind.

Brett Martino – With extensive experience in the areas of project development, acquisition, disposition and financing, Martino focuses on real estate transactions, EPC contracts, power purchase agreements, renewable energy credit purchase agreements, land use entitlements and permitting approvals. He has also advised on project acquisitions and dispositions, as well as tax equity and debt financings.

Marlena Schultz –Clean energy project development and finance are the core of Schultz’ deep experience representing project lenders and developers. These transactions range from traditional solar and wind farms to advanced energy storage and energy efficiency systems. Schulz also advises clients on structuring complex financings and joint ventures, particularly growing cleantech clients.

Kami Calderon – As CEC’s Chief Operating Officer, Calderon brings her expertise in creating and executing operational strategy for a growing law firm. She will lead CEC’s core business support functions, including administrative operations, human resources, information technology, marketing and finance.

Lee Enterprises Consulting Announces Promotions and Additions to Bioeconomy Team

Lee Enterprises Consulting Inc., announced the addition of several new experts and the promotion of three executives. New additions to the team are:

Dr. A.R. (Tony) Cartolano who has an EngScD in Chemical Engineering and over 35 years of experience in chemical process research, process development and process engineering. He is the current Chair for the Process Development Division of AIChE, and will assist with projects involving pyrolysis, hydrogenation, chemical processes & process engineering, technology assessments, and plant scale-up/operations.

Dr. Kent Goeking who is based in Thailand and has a PhD in Engineering, an MBA, and over 30 years of experience in developing and deploying next generation business and technology solutions. He will assist with projects involving synthetic biology, food ingredient production, and those in Asia markets.

Dr. Peter Gommers who is based in the Netherlands and has a PhD in Biotechnology/ Chemical Engineering, an MBA, and has worked in the Chemical Industry over thirty (30) years. He will assist with projects involving biotechnology, sustainability, surfactants, commodity inorganic chemicals, catalysis, and adhesives.

Dr. Rajesh Gupta who has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and more than 20 years of experience with petrochemicals, renewables, and petroleum industry. He will assist with projects involving biomass pretreatment & enzymatic hydrolysis for biofuels production, techno-economic analysis, process engineering & simulation, PFD/P&ID, equipment sizing, process safety and costing.

Lowell Howard, P.E., who has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the States of Washington, Oregon, California, and Florida. He will assist with projects involving biogas remediation, composites, carbon dioxide removal from biogas, RNG, landfills, wastewater treatment, and dairy industry support.

David Peterson who has a BS in Forest Products, Pulp & Paper Engineering, an MBA, and a 35+ year career in biomass-based businesses and technologies. He will assist with projects involving biomass and biofuel technology commercialization, pulp and paper, forest products and co-products, biomaterials, and IP Protection.

Dr. Leonora Rios de Souza Moreira who is based in Brazil and has a PhD in Molecular Biology focused on biotechnology application, and is an experienced researcher specializing in enzymology.  She will assist with projects involving enzymology, enzymatic hydrolysis of biomass, enzymatic cocktails, waste to energy, protein purification, enzyme characterization and projects in South America.

Dr. Chuck Sorensen, P.E., who has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and over 35 years’ experience in new process and product technology commercialization, oil refinery operations, manufacturing planning, process engineering, design, safety, project management, and process R&D functions. He will assist with projects involving conventional/bio refining interface, renewable fuels & chemicals, technology commercialization, and water filtration.

Dr. Loren Steenhoek, P.E., who has a PhD in Agricultural Engineering, an MBA, is a licensed professional engineer, and has over 20-years’ project management/development experience.  He will assist with projects involving agricultural and biological engineering/science, feedstocks, technology, as well as project review, analysis and management.

Mike Sticklen who has a degree in Chemical Engineering and 40+ years’ experience in the biological and chemical industries, including leadership roles at major renewable fuels groups and chemical companies. He will assist with projects involving advanced process monitoring & control, ethanol & protein feed ingredients, due diligence, and project management.

The group also announced the promotion of Mike Fatigati to Executive Vice President, Dr. Richard Giles to VP of Administration, and Dr. Brett Schreyer to VP in Project Leadership

Eagle Genomics, Adds 3 New US Advisory Board Members to its Global Panel

Eagle Genomics, a pioneer in applying network science to biology, announced the appointment of three prestigious US-based advisory board members to its global panel, to help shape the next phase of its growth internationally. The move comes as the world’s biggest brands in food, personal care and agriculture biotechnology (AgBio) look to play their part in addressing real-world challenges with innovative, sustainable, next-generation products that work symbiotically with the microbiome.

Kelly C. Huang, based in San Diego, California, is co-chair of Boardroom Ready at Women In Bio, an organization of professionals committed to promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship of women in life sciences.

Jim Frates, Chief Financial Officer at Amylyx Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, started his career in Biotechnology investment banking before becoming more embedded in the industry in company financial leadership roles.

Joshua Anthony, based in the New York City Metropolitan Area, is a scientist, innovator and entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of personalised nutrition innovation start-up, Nlumn.

Biotalys Appoints Simon Moroney as Chairman of the Board

Biotalys, an AgTech company focused on addressing food protection challenges to enable a more sustainable and safer food supply, announced the appointment of Simon Moroney as Chairman of the Board, following the Company’s Annual General Meeting.

The announcement follows the recent submissions to the EU and US regulatory authorities of the registration dossier for the Company’s first protein-based biocontrol product, Evoca, Biotalys’ first biofungicide which aims to provide fruit and vegetable growers with a novel modeofaction to control key pathogensin selected crops.

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