Transform Materials was founded in 2014 by scientist and serial entrepreneur David Soane, Ph.D. Over six years of sustained R&D, Transform has developed a ground-breaking technology that uses microwave-generated plasma to energize the methane in natural gas to form hydrogen and valuable chemical intermediaries, as an attractive alternative to legacy processes in the chemical industry, which generate impurities and form greenhouse gases.
Complementing its contributions to chemical manufacturing, Transform’s technology produces hydrogen in an energy-efficient way, addressing an important need in the burgeoning fuel cell industry. Transform’s systems are compact and modular, thus readily scalable to match customer needs, whether for large plants or small industrial applications, integrating with existing systems and architecture to minimize adoption costs. Transform’s patented technology platform initiates a green revolution in the utilization of natural gas, converting this abundant resource into hydrogen and chemical precursors without requiring combustion or energy-intensive electrolysis.
David Soane, Ph.D. – Founder & Chairman
Dr. Soane is a serial entrepreneur and prolific innovator in the fields of advanced materials, polymer chemistry, and surface science. At Transform Materials, he spearheads the company’s creative problem-solving to provide innovative answers for difficult industry problems. Applying nanotechnology and chemical engineering to a variety of mature industries, he has founded many successful companies: ACLARA (NASDAQ:ACLA), a manufacturer of diagnostic test products; Nano-Tex, a manufacturer of widely-available textile materials; 2C Optics, an eyeglass lens manufacturer; ZMS, a contact lens technology developer; ICBM, an advanced building materials company; Soane Energy, in the oil-and-gas field, Crop Enhancement, sustainably boosting crop yields, and Reform Biologics, developing novel excipients for protein therapeutics. Through the Soane family of companies, he is currently incubating a number of other start-ups. Before his commercial ventures, Dr. Soane was a tenured Professor of Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley, with hundreds of scientific articles and patents in his résumé. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley.
Stuart Jara – Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Jara has over 20 years' experience as an operating executive in the industrial, manufacturing, specialty chemicals, and alternative-energy sectors. He has held P&L responsibility for $1.2 billion business and has been involved in over $2 billion of new capital investment and acquisitions across 12 countries. As CEO of Transform Materials, he assumes full P&L responsibility, implementing top-line growth strategies while executing best operating practices and margin improvement. Mr. Jara has over 10 years’ experience leading PE portfolio companies. He has also held senior management roles in publicly traded companies, including Linde (VP/GM Americas) and BOC (Business Unit Head Latin America, and Global VP Finance and Strategy). He began his career at Westinghouse Power Generation. Mr. Jara obtained his M.B.A. in finance and strategy from The University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He earned dual degrees from Lehigh University, a B.S. in mechanical engineering, and a B.A. in international relations.
Jeff Mason – Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Mason has more than 30 years' experience serving in leadership roles in global operations, business development, procurement and technology management for several manufacturing and consulting companies. His broad career experience has prepared him well for the opportunity of commercializing Transform’s breakthrough acetylene plus hydrogen production technology. Before joining Transform, he led global procurement for Ashland LLC, a global specialty materials manufacturer and leader in acetylenic chemistry. Prior to that, he held business development, marketing, and operations roles with Honeywell and Accenture, beginning his career as a process engineer with Allied Chemical (now part of the Performance Materials and Technologies division of Honeywell). He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Purdue University, and an M.B.A. from the Fairleigh Dickinson Silberman College of Business.
Nathan Ashcraft, Ph.D. – Vice President, Research and Development
Dr. Ashcraft brings expertise in polymer chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering to the Transform Materials team. Spearheading research and development at Transform since its inception in 2014, he has been instrumental in developing the company's core technology platforms and deploying them at commercial scale. Before joining Transform, he served as VP of R&D at Soane Mining, where he pioneered the successful development of an innovative water treatment technology. Prior to Soane Mining, his research focused on advanced materials for alternative energy devices. Dr. Ashcraft holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Bob Wowk – Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Wowk has over 30 years' experience as a finance and business development executive principally in the industrial gas and alternative-energy sectors. Prior to joining Transform, he lead global finance and strategy at BOC Gases Process Systems Group (now Linde) based in Singapore as well as a series of private equity and public CFO roles with start-up and mid-sized clean sector companies including sPower LLC, Fluence LTD and EnergyX Inc. He has extensive experience in large project development and financing with involvement in over $5B of technology driven projects in +25 countries. Mr. Wowk holds an M.B.A. in finance from The Wharton Graduate School of Business and a civil engineering degree from Lafayette College.
Sharon Webb, M.D., Ph.D., J.D. – General Counsel
Dr. Webb has been helping companies and investors with business-oriented intellectual property strategies for over 20 years, focusing on investor-side diligence and company-side portfolio development and technology transfer. She is currently a partner at Danielson Legal LLC, and manages intellectual property for the Soane family of companies. Before joining Dr. Soane, she was a partner at Goodwin Procter LLP in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to entering the legal field, Dr. Webb was a board-certified surgeon, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, with teaching positions at Harvard, Tufts, and the University of Pennsylvania. She received her J.D. from Harvard, her Ph.D. from Yale, and her M.D. from Duke.
Transform Materials has received funding from Ara Partners, a private equity firm specializing in industrial decarbonization investments. Backed by a diverse group of institutional investors, the firm invests in the industrial, chemical and materials, and energy efficiency sectors, seeking to build businesses that are focused on sustainability and that incorporate ethical environmental, social, and corporate governance principles. More information is available at www.arapartners.com.
Transform Materials has received funding from Intervale Capital, a private equity firm investing in the upstream energy sector, with a particular focus on middle-market manufacturing and service businesses. Intervale Capital currently holds investments in twelve companies with operations in oil and natural gas producing regions around the world. Headquartered in Houston, the firm has raised $1.3 billion of committed capital since its inception in 2006 and has invested in over 50 companies, managing hundreds of transactions in energy and infrastructure industries. More information is available at www.intervalecapital.com.