Our team

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.


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.


Kenn Flessner – Vice President of Operations and Execution

Mr. Flessner has over 15 years of experience as a senior operations executive in the industrial gas, specialty chemical, medical products, and flavors and fragrances sectors. He has managed numerous end-to-end supply chains from procurement and planning through manufacturing and logistics. As Head of Operations and Execution for Transform Materials, he assumes responsibility for the commercialization, construction and operations of Transform’s plasma production units globally. Previously, Mr. Flessner was Head of Operations for Givaudan’s fragrance manufacturing and supply chain activities in the America, and Head of Operations for The Americas for Linde, including on-site tonnage gas supply schemes. He began his career at E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Mr. Flessner obtained his M.B.A. in finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Drexel University.


Jeff Mason – Chief Commercial 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.


Julyne Derisse-Simmons – Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer

Ms. Derisse-Simmons has more than 20 years of experience leading HR strategy for global companies across multiple industries. As CHRO of Transform Materials, Ms. Derisse-Simmons leads all aspects of the organization's human resources functions, including developing and executing human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of talent acquisition, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, compensation and benefits. Before joining Transform Materials, she served as head of human resources for Orexo US where she launched a new HR function and helped to manage significant growth during her tenure. Previously, she held HR leadership positions with Shiseido, British Airways, Verizon, and Merck. Ms. Derisse-Simmons received a B.A. in Linguistics from Montclair State University, an M.B.A with a concentration in Human Resources from New York Institute of Technology, as well as a certification in Lean Six Sigma.

Our Investors

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 Amberjack Capital, a private equity firm investing in the upstream energy sector, with a particular focus on middle-market manufacturing and service businesses. Amberjack 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.amberjackcapital.com

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