Meet the SunTech Drive Team
Bud Michael: CEO
Bud Michael is a C-level executive with 40 years of industry experience leading hardware, software and services companies. He is the President and CEO of SunTech Drive, a provider of power electronics for the energy industry. He has held executive level sales and marketing positions with large, industry-leading product companies including Intel, Tandem Computer, Sequent Computers and KANA Software, and has successfully contributed marketing, sales and general business leadership to mid-sized software and services companies. Bud has been CEO at four privately funded technology and data services companies where he led the scaling of these businesses, selling two of these companies for substantial return to the shareholders.
Bud is on the Board of Directors for Rockliffe, a leader in enterprise collaboration solutions for mid-tier companies, IRT Software, a leading provider of incident management software for public safety organizations and SunTechDrive. Bud is an advisor to Innosphere, a 501c3 nonprofit incubator formed to accelerate the development and success of high-impact scientific and technology Startup and Scaleup companies in Colorado. He is also an Independent Consultant for NAVIX, the leading services provider helping business owners achieve their goals for their business exit. Bud is author of “Favorite One-Liners for Business,” a business leadership book published in 2010.
Bud and his wife, Barbara, live in Denver, CO.
Dr. Nikola Milivojevic: CTO
Dr. Nikola Milivojevic is an energetic entrepreneur with strong technical background, and experience with managing research and development teams in the renewable energy sector. He is the CTO of SunTech Drive, setting the technology development and strategy.
Previously, he was Vice President at Bright Energy, the company that acts as a think-tank in the energy storage space. Nikola led a research team that developed compressed air energy storage system, as a part of the NAVY project in 2013/14. For the purpose of that project, Nikola put together the team of 20 engineers and successfully developed 100kW, 400kWh compressed air thermal energy storage system, which was tested by NAVY specification.
Prior to that he was the Director of Engineering at Southwest Windpower, a company that was a leader in small wind industry, with more than quarter a million wind turbines sold. Nikola led a team of dozen engineers, developing scalable turbine controllers, and doing value engineering to existing units of a product line. He personally was involved in certification testing with UL and GL, where Skystream 3.7 was the first turbine to be certified in a small wind turbine industry. The technology Nikola developed was acquired by Xzeres Wind and Primus Wind, companies that are still selling those wind turbines worldwide.
Nikola was also a founder of MagDrive, a start-up company that was developing electronic controllers for wind and solar industry. In 2011 Nikola was a Principal Investigator on the project granted by WE Energies, a Wisconsin utility.
Dr. Milivojevic earned his PhD at Illinois Institute of Technology, and his MsC and BS from Electrical Engineering school from University of Belgrade. He published several journal papers and few dozen conference papers on renewable energy, and also holds few patents.
In 2005 Dr. Milivojevic led a team of students at World recognized International Future Energy Challenge that won a first prize at finals in Chicago, IL. The President of Serbia, Mr. Boris Tadic, honored Dr. Milivojevic’s team with “Mihailo Pupin Award”, the highest national prize for the innovation in technology and science. In addition, Serbian independent daily magazine DANAS listed Nikola Milivojevic as one of 100 most successful Serbians in 2005.
Jeff Lints: Vice President Business Development
Jeff Lints has served executive management functions at several early stage companies. He has over 20 years of experience in startup, high growth, and Fortune 100 companies. Positions have included business development and general management at high technology companies in a range of industries, primarily commercializing new products.
Mr. Lints was Managing Director for Technology Reserve from 2014 through 2016, where he coordinated technology transfer from Fortune 500 companies to medium sized enterprises. Prior to that, Mr. Lints was VP Business Development at OptiEnz Sensors where he commercialized a new enzymatic sensor technology for the oil and gas industry. Previously, he was Vice President at ALD NanoSolutions, enabling new product development for li-ion batteries, LED lighting, fuel cells, and thin film solar. Mr. Lints was also Managing Director of the Energy Fellows Institute, a non-profit he helped launch with the National Renewable Energy Lab, the State of Colorado, and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.
Mr. Lints has experience in global business development, strategy, innovation management, product management and product launch. He has worked across Asia, Europe and the Americas. Mr. Lints received an MBA from Cornell University, a MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University.
Dr. Yusuf Gurkaynak: Chief Engineer
Dr. Yusuf Gurkaynak is an experienced system engineer with strong technical background and analytical skills in power electronics, motor drives, control and automation systems. Previously, he was a system control engineer with Bright Energy and a senior engineer at Southwest Windpower. Dr. Gurkaynak is also an Adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. He developed a graduate level curriculum for a course in adjustable speed drives as a part of a Department of Energy grant. Dr. Gurkaynak earned his PhD from the Illinois Institute of technology in the area of neural networks and adaptive control algorithms.
Scott Shambo: Director of Operations
As Director of Operations for SunTech Drive, Scott is responsible for commercializing product, supporting the company’s go-to-market strategy and managing EPC projects. Prior to SunTech Drive, Scott held similar roles at Kindara and Modular Robotics, two Boulder-area hardware startups. Years of global manufacturing roles at Flextronics and an APICS supply chain certification have provided Scott with a strong foundation for helping young hardware companies set and execute their supply chain and manufacturing strategies. Scott is an advisor with Innosphere, a colorado Front Range technology incubator and has a Business Management and Marketing degree from Cornell University.
Caleb Avery: Director of Finance
Caleb Avery provides financial and strategic analysis to SunTech Drive, assisting with budgeting, fundraising, and financial modeling. He was previously focused on the UPC Renewables Asia Pacific Wind and Solar development portfolio. Caleb spent a year working Internationally for UPC Renewables performing financial modeling for various UPC Projects. He has a strong background in Finance, Venture Capital, and Entrepreneurship. For the past six years, he has served as CFO of PayBright, a startup credit card processing company. He was responsible for managing company finances, payroll, and budgeting. During his time with PayBright, Caleb managed a network of sales agents and thousands of accounts across the United States. Caleb received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Furman University.
Professor Dragan Maksimovic: University of Colorado Boulder
Prof. Dragan Maksimovic received his B.S. (1984) and M.S. (1986) degrees from the University of Belgrade (Serbia, Yugoslavia), and his Ph.D. degree from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1989. In 1992, he joined the University of Colorado at Boulder where he is currently a Charles V. Schelke Endowed Professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering. In 1998, with Prof. Robert W. Erickson, he co-founded the Colorado Power Electronics Center (CoPEC), and has since served as the CoPEC Co-Director. CoPEC research program in smart power electronics and digital control for high-frequency switched-mode power converters has attracted significant support from numerous industrial sponsors and agencies (NSF, DARPA, ARPA-E, DOE, ONR, DOEd). Prof. Maksimovic is also affiliated with the University of Colorado Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI).
Prof. Maksimovic is a Fellow of the IEEE. He has published over 250 papers in journals and at professional conferences, and holds over 30 US patents. He co-authored the textbook Fundamentals of Power Electronics, 2nd edition, Springer 2001, and the textbook Digital Control of High-Frequency Switched-Mode Power Converters, Wiley-IEEE Press 2015. He received NSF CAREER Award in 1997, IEEE Power Electronics Society Transactions Prize Paper Award in 1997, IEEE Power Electronics Society Prize Letter Awards in 2009 and 2010, CU Boulder Inventor of the Year Award in 2006, the IEEE PELS Modeling and Control Technical Achievement Award for 2012, Bruce Holland Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2004 and 2011, Charles Hutchinson Memorial Teaching Award for 2012, and the 2013 Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Teaching Award. He served as an IEEE PELS Distinguished Lecturer 2011-2017, and as the General Chair of IEEE COMPEL 2010. Prof. Maksimovic is currently an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics (TPEL), and an Editor for the IEEE Journal of Emerging and Selected Topics in Power Electronics (JESTPE).
His current research interests include power electronics for renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, high frequency power conversion using wide bandgap semiconductors, digital control of switched-mode power converters, as well as analog, digital and mixed-signal integrated circuits for power management applications.
John LoPorto: Executive and Entrepreneur
John LoPorto is a C-level executive who has a mix of both entrepreneurial and Fortune 500 executive management experience. He co-founded SunTech Drive and is an advisor to the team. He is also currently an energy industry advisor for the Blackstone Entrepreneur’s Network as well as a consultant to several top tier sources of capital in evaluating the commercial viability of emerging technologies. He was previously the Chairman and CEO of Navitus Power Services, Inc., an independent power provider focused on operating grid scale energy storage systems for the ancillary services energy markets. Previously he was the founder and CEO of Power Tagging, an energy technology firm serving the electric power industry.
Mr. LoPorto holds an engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and completed graduate business studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Mr. LoPorto currently serves on the Colorado Governor’s Venture Capital Advisory Committee and also recently testified at a Congressional Hearing on Energy Policy.
Dr. Peter Lilienthal: HOMER Energy
Dr. Peter Lilienthal is the original developer of the HOMER® software and founded HOMER Energy in 2009 to enhance and commercialize the software. He has a Ph.D. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Peter has been active in the field of renewable and distributed energy and energy efficiency since 1978. Before founding HOMER Energy, he was president of Green Island Power, which provided analytical services for renewable and distributed power projects. From 1990-2007 he was Senior Economist with the International Programs Office at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. His experience has included project development of distributed power projects, designing and teaching courses at the university level, and consulting to industry and regulators. His technical expertise is in utility modeling and the economic and financial analysis of renewable and distributed power projects. He was the lead analyst and one of the creators of NREL’s International and Village Power Programs.
Gerhard Hautmann: Entrepreneur and Solar Expert
Mr. Hautmann is a Co-Founder of Suntech Drive. He started his career in the early days of Smart Automotive where he gained experience in product and process development of high volume production parts. After 10 years in the automotive industry, he co-founded Novatec Solar – the leading company in Concentrated Solar Power based on Fresnel technology. Gerhard was responsible for production and procurement, and with his team built a 30 MW power plant in Spain and a 10 MW power plant in Australia.
After working in Vancouver for New Leaf, and Bright Energy in Denver, he spent time in Germany as an advisor for startups. In 2018, Gerhard co-founded rhls, a company specializing in Artificial Intelligence and embedded systems.
Andy Goldstein: Senior Operations and Engineering Executive
Mr. Andrew Goldstein, also known as Andy, is an Entrepreneur in Residence and Group Advisor at The Stage Fund. Mr. Goldstein serves as an Advisor of Cool Energy, Inc. Previously, Mr. Goldstein was the Chief Operating Officer at TerraLUX, Inc since June 2010 and was responsible for leading day-to-day operations. He has over 30 years of experience in the commercialization of technology in the data storage, optical communications, and medical industries. Mr. Goldstein is
John Wallington: UPC Capital Ventures
John Wallington, Managing Partner, is a qualified accountant with over 20 years experience in senior management positions in large global manufacturing and service based industries. John trained as an accountant with Unilever PLC working in a number of accounting and financial management roles in different business entities across the UK and Europe. In 2000, John joined Clifford Chance LLP as the Global Head of Financial Planning and Business Analysis providing analytical support to various client teams in various industry sectors including Banking & Finance, Energy and Technology. In 2005 John was appointed the CFO of a technology startup, which secured seed capital funding from the UPC Energy Group. In November 2006, John was appointed Group Corporate Controller of the UPC Group of companies, managing the finances and accounting for an international business portfolio of renewable energy related companies, property, mining, oil & gas and energy and technology investments. In addition to his role as Managing Partner of UPC Capital Ventures, John is Chief Operating Officer of UPC Management, CFO of UPC Solar, Treasurer of UPC Wind Partners II (minority shareholder of First Wind now part of Sun Edison) and a Partner in UPC Renewables Asia Pacific Holdings. John is a Director of the K2 Wind Foundation, which supports philanthropic endeavors in Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and the Environment, an advisory Board Member of the UBS Sustainable Trends Group, a Board Member of the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (C.C.I.A) and a Board Director of Llanllyr Water Company, Ltd, WindESCo, Inc, Plastics for Change Ltd and Sun Tech Drive, LLC . John received his BA (Hons) degree in Geography from Exeter University (U.K.), is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.
Mark Loch: Highland Ventures Group
Mark Loch is the Founder and Managing Director of Highland Ventures Group, and a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company. He has over thirty years’ experience leading business development, growth strategies, and business/organizational design initiatives across 100+ growth project and 40+ new business, product and service development efforts spanning a range of industries in the US, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Mr. Loch serves as a Director of Redstone Strategy Group, LLC, a leading advisor to private foundations and non-profits worldwide, where he assists clients on growth, business model design, and organizational effectiveness, with an emphasis in the climate response and conservation space. Mr. Loch is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council of New World Capital Group, a private equity firm that invests in the Environmental Opportunity sector; and also serves as a Growth Advisor to the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in Colorado. Mr. Loch began his career at Procter & Gamble Company where he developed his passion and experience for creating new products and businesses. Mr. Loch holds a bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree with an emphasis on energy systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He currently lives and works in Boulder, Colorado.