Team

Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Virginia is the Founder and CEO of a young green nanochemistry company, Sylvatex Inc. She has been involved with the development of Sylvatex’s nanoparticle technology since 2000 assisting the founding chemist, late Dr. William Klausmeier, in laboratory testing and help to develop the intellectual property portfolio. Virginia attended Singularity University completing the Executive Program and previously earned her B.S. in Chemistry/Economics and a M.S. in Biomechanics at the University of Oregon. Virginia currently has 10+ patents pending and has been a speaker at a number of domestic and international events along side thought leaders within the petroleum and alternative fuels industry. Prior to this venture, she managed the new development ideas for fortune 500 medical device companies and led the US clinical and biomechanical research. Virginia was recently featured as one of the “Top 10 women in biofuels” and was selected by Forbes for “30 under 30 in Energy”. Sylvatex has won numerous awards/funding at industry conferences and venture funding competitions (e.g. Silicon Valley LAUNCH & Greenstart), and has recently developed collaborations with National Laboratories (LNBL) and USDA. Virginia is currently active in Alliance of CEO’s, Astia, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and is actively working on the growth and commercialization of Sylvatex Inc.
Chief Technology Officer
Kristen is the CTO for Sylvatex Inc. where she has been leading the development required for formulation optimization, obtaining EPA registration, CARB approval, and partnerships required for pilot projects. Prior to this she was the lead chemistry developer for Wolfram Research where she led and managed all of the chemistry content and functions for what eventually became Wolfram Alpha. Kristen also worked for the Illinois State Geological Survey where she outlined plans and carried out experiments for a variety of energy endeavors. Kristen completed her masters in chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Steven Zimmerman where she designed and synthesized dendrimers with tailored solubility. Her thesis focused on the synthesis and surface-functionalization of dendrimer encapsulated quantum dots for biomedical imaging.
Paul Miltenberger
Chief Financial and Operations Officer
Paul Miltenberger has over twenty years of broad based functional and operational experience encompassing strategy, finance, business development, and sales and marketing. He has worked with large publicly traded technology companies, and has successfully founded, financed, operated, and sold start-up companies in multiple industries. Paul started his career with finance and sales and marketing positions at Tektronix and Conner Peripherals. He went on to lead business development and sales at Silicon Gaming, which was successfully sold to IGT. While at Silicon Gaming, Paul co-founded WagerWorks, an online gaming company for which he served as CEO and CFO, and ultimately sold to IGT for $90 Million. Most recently, Paul served as CFO for FWD:Power and FWD:Energy helping to found and build the companies and secure both corporate and project financing. Paul earned a Masters in Business Administration in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts in Science in 1987, both from Santa Clara University.
Business Development
Chuck joined Sylvatex in February 2012 and has been working directly with CEO, Virginia Klausmeier, providing valuable support for Sylvatex’s on-going business, finance, and strategy needs. Chuck has over 14 years of experience working in the biotechnology sector, and brings a sincere passion for renewable fuel and energy solutions to Sylvatex. Mr. Vacin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from California State University, Humboldt, and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business where he worked with diverse companies such as Intuit, Panasonic, National Semiconductor, and Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI).
Corporate Development
Devoted to Environmental progress through technical, business, and financial mechanisms, Ben has worked extensively on carbon reduction and renewable energy project finance and business strategy with both well established and start-up companies. Previously, Ben directed environmental and humanitarian partnerships at Planet Labs, a remote sensing technology startup. He managed solar power project finance for Chevron Energy Solution and SunEdison, and he launched the emission reductions procurement group at 3Degrees. Ben has a B.S. in Symbolic Systems with a minor in East Asian Studies (focused on Japanese) from Stanford University.
Mark Webb
R&D
Mark currently works on the research and development of current and new formulas within the scope of EPA requirements and partner needs. With a background in chemistry, self assembling nanomaterials, materials science, and engineering from Berkeley, he is able to push the formula development process forward in a big way. He also has an extensive background in technical patents and composition and will be supporting the legal staff in both prior art screening as well as drafting. Since his time at UC Berkeley he has worked in two labs involving nanofabrication and self-assembling molecular nanostructures where he studied micelle and self assembly behavior in great detail. In his spare time Mark loves rock-climbing, hiking, and cooking.
Corporate Development Associate
Anandi leads up the Corporate Development efforts at Sylvatex and works directly with the CEO, Virginia Klausmeier to manage some of the company’s ongoing projects. She has been providing support for the growth of Sylvatex in its strategy and business development departments bridging the technology findings to specific applications. Anandi has a strong technical background in nanotechnology and holds a M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich in Germany. She also has a diploma in Project Management and Global Business Management from the University of California, Berkeley.
Director, New Applications
Dr. Ramez Elgammal earned his honors B.S. degree in chemistry and biology from Central Michigan University as a Centralis Scholar. He then went on to pursue graduate studies at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as a Rosen Fellow earning a M.S. in applied physics in 2001 and a Ph.D. In chemical physics in 2005. His research at Caltech involved developing ultrasensative spectroscopic methods to study III-V semiconductor materials and the fabrication of MEMS sensors. Dr. Elgammal then was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Michigan where he studied hydrogen storage materials. He then accepted an appointment as a research fellow at the University of Tennessee working on homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. In 2012 he co-founded two companies, Novoform Technogies and Saratoga Energy, and in 2014 returned to the University of Tennessee as a senior research associate developing novel fuel cell and rechargeable battery chemistries. He has consulted for several small companies on both technical issues and business strategies.

 

Technical Researcher
Dr. Seda Aktas earned her BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey, during which time her research focused on renewable energy studies. Then, she earned her PhD degree in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. During her PhD, she worked for various academic and industrial projects on characterization and processing of complex fluids; such as hydrogels, foams, suspensions, emulsions, and polymers for diverse applications.
Founder, Chairman
Virginia is the Founder and CEO of Sylvatex, Inc. Virginia has been involved with the development of Sylvatex’s microemulsion technology since 2000. She assisted the founding chemist, late Dr. William Klausmeier, in laboratory testing and helped to develop the intellectual property portfolio. Previously, she managed new development ideas for a fortune 500 medical device company and led US clinical and biomechanical research. Virginia earned her B.S in Chemistry and Physiology and M.S. in Biomechanics at the University of Oregon and is also active in Astia, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the San Francisco’s Biofuel Task force. Virginia was recently featured as one of the “Top 10 women in biofuels” and was selected by Forbes for “30 under 30 in Energy”. She has recently been selected with a small number of other female CEO’s to be mentored by Sen. Feinstein and continues to collect powerful mentors and colleagues.
Board of Directors
Mr Rubin has over 35 years in the energy,refining and petrochemical sector. He was the former SVP of Sunoco Inc and CEO of Sunoco Chemicals, generating over $ 4 Billion annually. Mr Rubin also served as the first CEO of Braskem America and oversaw the successful transition of Sunoco Chemicals to Braskem , as well as supporting the acquisition of Dow chemical’s polypropylene business worth $ 325 Million. Bruce continues to serve as an advisor for Braskem America. He also served as an Executive advisor for Court Square Capital and serves as a Director for DISA Global Solutions ( A Court Square Capital Company). He is currently serving as an Operating Advisor for the Carlyle Group. In that capacity, he is helping to evaluate and source deals in the Chemical sector. Bruce has also served on a number of other boards including the American Chemistry Council, AFPM, and The Franklin Institute
Board of Directors
Mr. Khoh has an aerospace engineering degree from the University of Southern California and an MBA from INSEAD. He previously worked in management consulting for Booz Allen and Hamilton and in M&A and Finance with Citigroup and Barclays. Since he left banking four years ago, he has been managing a private fund dealing in private equity, real estate, and capital markets investments.
Board of Directors
K’Lynne has more than 25 years of chemical industry experience working within the oil and petrochemicals industry for Amoco, BP and Innovene, and most recently as the founding CEO and President of Elevance. She has worked in a variety of roles covering general business management, supply chain optimization, HR management, strategy, and organizational design and effectiveness. Prior to her role as CEO and president of Elevance, K’Lynne was senior vice president of the Global Derivatives operating company within BP Innovene, one of the world’s largest global petrochemical and refining companies. K’Lynne’s SVP role included profit and loss accountability for multiple global specialty and commodity chemicals businesses with revenues of over $3 billion and 1,100 employees across North America, Europe and Asia. K’Lynne has a master’s degree in organizational behavior from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management and a B.S. in organizational psychology.
Advisor
Mel Luetkens serves as Chief Operating Officer of Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. since November 2007. Mr. Luetkens has over 23 years of experience enhancing value delivery in the chemical industry across global operations in Amoco, BP, Innovene and most recently INEOS. Mr. Luetkens served as Europe Technology Director of Innovene and was responsible for leading an organization of 330 technologists across five European sites to meet the process engineering, catalysis, technical services, technical development, and Health, Safety and Environmental objectives. Mr. Luetkens’s background includes P&L management, R&D leadership, new business & product development, strategy development and execution within Amoco, BP, Innovene and INEOS. He has a PhD from the University of Michigan and an MBA from University of Chicago.
Mr. Polanco, a former California State Senator and State Assembly Member, served from 1986 until his retirement in 2002. Polanco was Senate Majority Leader from 1998-2002, and chaired the California Latino Legislative Caucus from 1990-2002. In 2002 Polanco established the California Latino Caucus Institute for Public Policy, a non-profit development organization focused on public policy, education and leadership. Prior to elected office, Polanco served on the staff of Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman, Assemblyman Richard Alatorre and former Governor Jerry Brown. Mr. Polanco attended East Los Angeles College, the University of Redlands and the Universidad de Mexico. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Meruelo Maddux Properties, Inc. and California Delta Dental, Inc.
Advisor
Mr. Shafer is a founder of 2 leading bio-material companies with a long track record establishing compelling value propositions and creating growth from disruptive innovations, building corporate and product brands, and establishing and leading business strategies, commercial capabilities and teams. His background as an executive at NatureWorks, LLC and Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc. and with Cargill, Inc. and The Dow Chemical Company gives him a unique understanding of the dynamics required for success at both start-up and Fortune 50 multi-national companies.
Dr. Wright is retired from Chevron where he was employed for over 32 years. Ron had positions in Refining, Supply & Distribution, Strategic Planning, Commercial Aviation marketing and Diesel Fuel Marketing. He was the Manager for New Business Development with the Downstream Business, with prime focus on acquiring and developing externally sourced technology. His specialties are focused in business negotiations and extensive experience in all phases of downstream business development.

 

Dr. Anton has brings nearly 30 years of relevant experience, including prior technology and business leadership roles at some of the industry’s most innovative companies. Currently he is COO of Cellana Inc prior to that he was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Joule, spent five years at Codexis in multiple leadership roles, including Senior Vice President of Bioindustrials, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Process Development & Manufacturing. During his tenure, he oversaw development and commercial application of the company’s bioindustrial platform and led the global R&D and manufacturing organization. He previously spent 25 years at DuPont in multiple senior management positions across bioprocessing and biocatalysis, including the role of global business lead for development of DuPont’s advanced biofuel. Dr. Anton holds a BS in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota.[/member]

 

Mr. Cooper has substantial experience in IP prosecution, licensing and litigation. His technical background is in chemistry and materials science, and his legal experience has involved IP work concerning a wide variety of technologies, art and brands. His firm, Kolisch, Hartwell, PC–a nearly 60-year-old firm specializing in IP–is based in Portland, with a Palo Alto office and a long list of both foreign and domestic clients.[/member]

 

Board of Directors
Ms. Schena has 26 years of experience in international business, including translation, contract documentation, commodities trading and management. She was a commodities trader for ConAgra (1985-1988), and was promoted to chemical department manager, and later President of NuSource Chemical Corporation (1988-1993). Ms. Schena co-founded TeleChem International, Inc., and expanded into government contracting and the biotechnology sector in 1996. TeleChem was acquired by Arrayit Corporation (OTCQB: ARYC) in 2008.

 

Advisor
Bob has an extensive background in bringing renewable fuels to market. Mr. Ames served as Vice President, Fuels Commercialization at Solazyme. He previously led Tyson Foods’ renewable energy business where he was responsible for commercializing Tyson’s portfolio of renewable energy initiatives, which includes a joint venture with Syntroleum Corporation called Dynamic Fuels, an alliance with ConocoPhillips, and other energy projects now in development. Prior to this position he served in roles with increasing levels of responsibility with Tyson’s international, corporate strategy and business development groups. Prior to Tyson Bob spent 9 years with Arthur Andersen’s tax practices in the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan, most recently in charge of the energy-focused Kazakh tax practice. Mr. Ames also serves on a joint USDA / DOE panel advising the Secretaries on biofuel research and development, and is a member of the MBA Executive Advisory Committee at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he holds a CPA license (inactive) from the state of Minnesota and an MBA from Yale where he was a John M. Olin Foundation fellow.

 

Advisor
Susan spent 12+ years in the global financial data & technololgy sector. As a senior executive at SNL Financial, she ran a start-up business unit and also led the company’s European expansion from London, U.K. Susan is now the Principal at One+ Leadership, a boutique leadership development firm and a Director of TheAngelFund. Susan holds a BA as an Echols Scholar from the University of Virginia and a MAPP from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on behavioral science and positive organizational leadership. [/member]

 

Mr. Weaver is the president and founder of Engine, Fuel, and Emissions Engineering, Inc., an international consulting, research, and development firm that specializes in mobile-source emissions, alternative fuels, and environmental issues. He invented, directed the development, and wrote all of the control software for the Ride-Along Vehicle Emission Measurement (RAVEM) system.

 

Advisor
Ms. Miller has over 29 years of experience in the telecommunications and computer industries, and over 10 years of experience in entrepreneurial – venture backed start-ups. Jo Anne began her investing career with Nokia in 2003, and as Managing Partner at Brown Dog Partners, Investor/Managing Partner at Golden Seeds, Investor at Sand Hill Angels, and Partner at Milk Street Ventures, Ms. Miller brings a wealth of investment experience to Sylvatex. The Former President and CEO of Gluon Networks, Ms Miller is also aboard member at MentorNet and former board member at Astia. Jo Anne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, and an MBA the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.