NUvention: Energy Advisory Board members bring expertise and perspective from a variety of relevant disciplines and contexts. We are pleased to introduce them:
Tim Stojka, Advisory Board Chair
CEO, Agentis Energy, Chicago, IL
Chairman, Fast Heat, Inc., Elmhurst, IL
Agentis is an energy technology company delivering wireless energy management systems for commercial and industrial applications. Fast Heat Inc, a designer and manufacturer of heating elements, sensors, and controls. As CEO of Fast Heat Tim is responsible for the global operations of the company with manufacturing, sales, and technical support facilities in Singapore, United Kingdom, and France. Prior to his position at Fast Heat Tim served as co-founder / Chairman and CEO of Commerx™.
Mr. Stojka has been featured in a variety of top business publications including Business Week, Fortune, Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Business 2.0 and is a frequent guest speaker at tech industry conferences. In early 2000, he was named one of 25 “E-Champions” by BtoB magazine and was a top 10 finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. Mr. Stojka also serves in leadership roles in many business and civic organizations including the Young Presidents Organization, Easter Seals, The Executives Club of Chicago, Vistage, the Economic Club of Chicago, and is a member of the Board of Trustees at Illinois Institute of Technology. Mr. Stojka holds a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering from Northwestern University and has attended the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
CEO and Managing Director
IllinoisVENTURES, LLC, Chicago, IL
John Banta serves as the CEO & Managing Director of IllinoisVENTURES, LLC, and the Managing Partner of the Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund. John is the former President and COO of DigitalWork, Inc., a Draper Fisher Jurvetson, TL Ventures and Dell Ventures portfolio company, having served previously as its Senior Vice President of Corporate and Business Development. Prior to DigitalWork, Inc., John served as Vice President of Corporate Services for UBS PaineWebber (formerly Kidder Peabody), and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Investment Management Consultant's Association. John has worked with a wide variety of portfolio companies, with an emphasis on clean technologies including biofuels and biochemicals. John serves on the Board of Directors of several early-stage clean technology, instrumentation and IT businesses, as well as the Advisory Boards of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois and the Chicago West Side Entrepreneurship Center. John earned an MBA in finance and statistics with high honors from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business where he has been a frequent guest lecturer, and a bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Illinois College of Commerce.
Equilibrium Capital Group LLC, Portland, OR
Dave’s focus on sustainability is a result of his work in venture capital, regional economic development and energy policy. In 2007, he was a visiting executive at the Meyer Memorial Trust developing a investing thesis on mission related investing (MRI); this tool has since been adopted by several institutions. In late 2007, he formed Equilibrium Capital Group; an investment firm focused on growth equity investment opportunities in the area of sustainability. Most recently Dave was a general partner at OVP Venture Partners, joining the firm in 2001. His investments at OVP include @once (acquired by InfoUSA), Ambric, Intelligent Results (acquired by First Data), Net6 (acquired by Citrix), Tzero, and UXComm. He served on the board of @mobile prior to its acquisition by software.com. Until 2002 he served on the board of HNC Software when it was merged with FICO (NASDAQ:HNCS, now NYSE:FIC).
Prior to OVP, Dave founded GeoTrust (acquired by Verisign 2006) & The Ascent Group; was Vice President Marketing Mentor Graphics; was an associate at McKinsey & Co; and was an early team member in 1978 at Solectron.
- Board Member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Portland Branch
- Governor-Appointed Chairman of the Oregon Innovation Council
- Chairman of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI)
- Advisory Board Member of the Oregon Investment Fund (OIF)
- Advisory Board of the X Prize for Energy & Environment
- Board member of National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA)
- Past Chairman of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum (2006)
Clean Energy Trust, Chicago, IL
Amy Francetic has over 18 years of operational and executive management experience in the high technology sector with specialties in cleantech and information technology. She helped found Clean Energy Trust with Nick Pritzker and Michael Polsky. Prior to Clean Energy, Ms. Francetic worked as an investment professional for MVC Capital, a publicly-traded private equity firm (NYSE:MVC), in their Chicago office. Before joining MVC, she commercialized R&D as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California and produced the prestigious wireless product launch event, DEMOmobile, for IDG Publishing with high-tech industry expert Chris Shipley. Ms. Francetic served on the Board of Directors of Glu Mobile (NASDAQ:GLUU), a wireless games publisher, whose founder she advised during fundraising. Earlier in her career Ms. Francetic was Co-Founder and CEO of Zowie Intertainment, a high-tech toy company funded by Vulcan Ventures which spun-out of Interval Research. She sold Zowie to Lego Systems, the Danish toymaker, in 2000. Zowie employed RF sensing tags, a custom ASIC, and software to enable a natural interface for the PC for children. She began her career producing software for Electronic Arts and Hasbro Interactive. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science from Stanford University where she ran Varsity Track.
Founder, Cornerstone Angels, Northbrook, IL
Co-Founder/Partner, Independence Equity, L.P., Northbrook, IL
Michael Gruber is a Co-Founder and Partner of Independence Equity, L.P., an early stage investment fund focused on sustainable technologies and industrial innovation. Michael also founded Cornerstone Angels and its predecessor group Keiretsu Forum Chicago/Midwest, angel investment groups focused on early stage Midwest-based opportunities. Michael has been active as a trusted advisor, executive, entrepreneur, and investor with early stage companies, including a significant number in Silicon Valley. Michael is a Managing Partner in SCIUS Capital, a boutique investment bank focused on early stage companies with offices in Chicago and New York. Previously, Michael was a Director at Taproot Ventures, a seed stage venture capital firm and affiliate of Harbour Group, a private equity and operating holding company. Michael also held senior level positions at Intuit, InsWeb, Motorola, blaxxun interactive, and Silicon Investor. Michael also sits on the Advisory Board for Factory Physics, Inc. and AOTMP, Inc. Mr. Gruber holds a B.A degree from University of Pennsylvania, a Certificate in Japanese studies from Nanzan University in Japan, and an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Chairman, Clean Power Finance, Inc., San Francisco, CA
Gary Kremen is a leading Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
In 2006 he founded Clean Power Finance, the leading software and financing platform for solar installers, used for over 40% of all residential solar installations in the last 12 month. The company recently raised $25m from Kleiner Perkins, Google and Claremont Creek Ventures. He is an investor in Solar Universe (solar installer franchising) Ready Solar (solar mounting systems, company sold to Sun Edision), Sun Link (the leading flat mounting systems for commercial solar), Enmetric (energy efficiency for small businesses), People Power (residential energy efficiency devices), Sustainable Space / Recurv (software for home energy audits), Watersmart Software (behavioral software for water conservation) as well as other clean technology companies.
Gary has had a long and active history as an entrepreneurship. In 1991 he co-founded Full Source Software, the world's first open source software company. Gary then co-founded Los Altos Technologies in 1992, a computer security company that is still in business as of 2011. In 1993 Kremen invented Internet dating, founding Match.Com. He wrote the original business plan, recruited the first 20 employees, raised angel and venture capital and lead the company as CEO and Chairman into high growth and revenue. Gary then co-founded NetAngels, which he merged with Firefly Network (first in collaborative filtering), which was then purchased by Microsoft.
He registered several premiere domain names in the early days of the internet, including sex.com, jobs.com, Housing.com , and autos.com. Gary's sale of the Sex.Com domain name was the high price ever paid for a domain name.
He has three patent to his name, including the invention of dynamic web pages, which are used by virtually all Internet web sites.
Gary received both a degree in Electrical Engineering and a degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University. He also has an MBA from Stanford University.
PROactive Strategies, Chicago, IL
Dr. Phil O'Connor is President of PROactive Strategies, a Chicago consulting firm providing advice in the energy and insurance industries. For over two decades Phil has been recognized as a leading advocate of competitive market solutions for regulated businesses. In addition to a lengthy career in the private sector, Phil has had extensive government and political experience, having chaired the Illinois Commerce Commission serving as Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance and as a member of the Illinois State Board of Elections. Five consecutive Illinois Governors have appointed him to various boards and commissions.
From March 2007 to March 2008, Phil worked in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US State Department as an advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity.
A magna cum laude graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Phil received his Masters and Doctorate in Political Science from Northwestern University.
Business Services Manager
OnStar, LLC, Detroit, MI
Paul Pebbles is Business Services Manager for OnStar. In this capacity, Paul has created customer-facing services for the GM Volt, leveraging OnStar’s unique connectivity and control. Those services include the OnStar MyLink mobile application, MyVolt.com website and a unique OnStar e-mail. All of these capabilities allow the Volt customer remote access and control of their Volt charging. Leveraging that capability, Paul is currently focused on using those same enablers to develop Smart Grid solutions for Utilities, Energy Companies and Consumers that will create unprecedented access and control of their Volt electric vehicle.
Paul has been with OnStar for the last decade, following previous engagements with Motorola, where he worked on automotive electronics and launched the Iridium Satellite phone, and with Amphenol, where he worked on connectors for the international space station. Paul has a MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1999), a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1992), and an Associates Degree in Engineering Science from SUNY-Alfred (1990).
Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Business Initiatives
The Jones Group, New York, NY
Jason Schmitt serves as Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Business Initiatives for The Jones Group, a Fortune 500 retailer with such iconic brands as Jones New York and Nine West. As part of this role, he is responsible for leading the development and execution of TJG’s environmental sustainability strategy. Jason Schmitt was the Fund Manager for the Clean Technology Fund of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, and represented the company as an Observer on the Board of Directors for Miasole and Power-It Solutions. In addition, Jason was actively involved with ArcelorMittal’s government relations efforts related to environmental matters at both the federal and state level. Previously, Jason was a consultant at McKinsey & Company focused on consumer products and held management positions at Mattel. Jason received an A.B. magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard College and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. Jason was named to Crain’s Chicago Business "40 Under 40" List in 2009 and selected for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Program in 2010.
Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning
Edison International, Rosemead, CA
Bertrand Valdman is senior vice president of strategic planning for Edison International. Valdman is responsible for directing the strategy of Edison International, which is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest utilities, and Edison Mission Group, an independent power producer and provider of capital and financial services. Prior to joining Edison International, Valdman was executive vice president and chief operating officer of Puget Sound Energy where he was responsible for regulated electric and natural gas distribution operations, as well as the Customer Service, Information Technology, and Community Affairs functions. Valdman also served as Puget Energy’s Chief Financial Officer from 2003 through 2007. Before joining Puget Energy, he was managing director with JP Morgan where he spent 16 years in a variety positions in the investment bank in New York and Paris. Valdman has a bachelor’s degree in history from Northwestern University and masters and doctoral degrees from Stanford University.
Former Sr. Business Development Associate
Coskata, Warrenville, IL
Doug Williams is the former Sr. Business Development Associate at Coskata, a biofuels technology start-up located in Warrenville, IL. At Coskata, Doug identified opportunities for licensing Coskata’s unique biofuels production process and maintains relationships through the emerging biofuels industry. Prior to Coskata, he was Operational Excellence Manager at Genentech, a leading biotechnology firm in South San Francisco, CA. Early in his career, Doug held a number of engineering and operations management roles at Nalco Chemical and Colgate-Palmolive. He has also worked with a number of start-up companies including SuccessFactors, a publically-traded cloud application company, and CleanSource Power, a solar PPA provider in Mill Valley, CA. Doug has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
NUvention: Energy INDUSTRY COUNCIL
James Cahan - Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Rafael Coven - Managing Director and Index Manager, The Cleantech Index (Cleantech Group, LLC)
Thomas Cushing - Director of Strategic Partnerships and Policy, Delta Institute
Tom McMahon - Retired Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
Ford Pearson - Principal and CEO, Herbst, Lazar and Bell
Rick Tonielli - Sustainability Strategy and Marketing Consultant, Greenpoint Partners