We are an international water + energy innovation company based in Alameda, CA
We have created an exciting, dynamic office and manufacturing space in a former “super hangar” on the former Alameda Naval Air Station. We have stunning views of San Francisco and the Bay with easy access to San Francisco and the East Bay by freeway, ferry and bus.
To redraw the map of where and how hydropower is developed.
We are driven by a vision of climate resilient hydropower that solves the problems inhibiting traditional hydropower: capital intensive to develop, negative environmental and community impacts, and inflexible in the face of climate uncertainty.
We are launching a new hydropower product which enables cost-effective production of low impact, distributed baseload energy while maintaining the health of watershed ecosystems and the communities who surround them.
Technically diverse and experienced in product development, renewable energy, and commercialization.
Gia Schneider is a co-founder and the CEO of Natel Energy. Gia holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from MIT and has 17 years of experience in the energy industry. While in the utility practice at Accenture, she provided strategic and tactical solutions to several major energy companies and has significant experience in energy-related strategy development and deal valuation. After Accenture, she worked at Constellation Energy on optimizing generation asset value. Gia left Constellation in 2004 to help start the energy trading desk at Credit Suisse; and in 2005, she started the carbon emissions trading desk at Credit Suisse, growing it to a profitable business in its first year.
Gia is passionate about finding economically viable solutions to mitigate climate change, foster sustainable development and produce inexpensive renewable energy. In her spare time, she can be found surfing, kiting, cooking, dancing and gardening with friends and family.
Abe is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Natel. He is named on multiple linear hydroEngine patents, and brings 13 years of experience to bear on Natel’s engineering activities. In addition to broader program management, Abe also directly contributes on a wide range of technical areas, including product specification, system architecture, computational fluid dynamics, structural design and analysis, and manufacturing supply chain development.
Abe earned undergraduate and masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and gained experience with large firms like The Timken Company and innovative startups such as Makani Power, now part of Alphabet (Google X). At Timken, he worked as a Senior Engineer in Advanced Product Development, developing innovative gear reducers, hybrid vehicle drivetrains, and micro-scale energy harvesting systems to power intelligent bearings. At Makani, he managed a group of engineers broadly responsible for their aero-mechanical systems. Additionally, Abe has provided independent consulting services on two small hydropower refurbishment projects in the Northeast US.
In his spare time, Abe enjoys the outdoors, particularly surfing and kitesurfing, climbing, and flyfishing, with his wife and friends.
Andrea is responsible for all finance and administration functions for Natel Energy and its wholly owned subsidiary Upstream. She has more than 15 years of global experience in finance, management, complex M&A transactions, and capital markets, and also has extensive experience with growing businesses from a humble beginning to more than $1 billion in revenue. As Managing Director at Canadian Solar, she led corporate and project finance, corporate development activities, and raised funds from a variety of sources. Additionally, she was the valuation lead to prepare Canadian Solar’s asset-based IPO. She accomplished significant equity investor engagements selling more than 400 MW of solar assets which resulted in billion-dollar revenues. Previously, Andrea served as an investment banker at Deutsche Bank RREEF Infrastructure in London where she started the Renewable Energy Investment group. She started her post Ph.D. career at J.P. Morgan in London, New York, and Frankfurt, executing $80 billion M&A transactions, including the two largest banking mergers in U.S. history.
Andrea obtained her Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University and was awarded a Siemens Ph.D. fellowship. She holds a Master’s in Economics and Political Science from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany.
Besides work, Andrea has made expeditions to the U.S. weather station in Antarctica, traveled in Patagonia, the Sahara Desert on horseback, and summited Mt. Whitney and Mt. Shasta most recently. She advised the Council of Economic Advisors at the White House and the OECD Board and is engaged with the Downtown Streets Team in Palo Alto.
Katie is Natel’s Director, Operations. She serves as the technical lead for development and new product introduction programs. She integrates engineering innovations into manufacturing processes and leads manufacturing growth. She works closely with sales and engineering to set production goals and develop operational systems. Katie earned her undergraduate degree in Engineering and History from Yale University and her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Natel, she was a Program Manager in New Product Introduction at Tesla Motors.
Outside of work, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband Marc and daughter Mabel. She is an avid runner and an active community volunteer, particularly in youth science education. Before earning her graduate degree, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Vermont.
General Manager, Founder Upstream Tech
Marshall is co-founder of Upstream. Upstream provides services to monitor and measure natural resources for efficient project implementation, via an easy to use, cohesive dashboard.
After gaining a broad set of technical and product experience working at Microsoft, Twitter, Drift (business customer communication), and Wistia (analytics visualizations), Marshall (along with his best friend and longtime colleague, Alden) started public benefit corporation Upstream with the broad goal to use technology to help the environment, particularly the underserved water space.
Using satellite imagery, environmental datasets, and machine learning, Upstream is now powering decision making at The Nature Conservancy, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Freshwater Trust.
Upstream was acquired by Natel Energy, where it will operate as an independent unit with ample funding to grow its team and broaden its impact.
Alden Keefe Sampson
Technical Lead, Founder, Upstream Tech
Alden is co-founder of Upstream. Upstream provides services to monitor and measure natural resources for efficient project implementation, via an easy to use, cohesive dashboard.
After learning to work with large datasets at software technology companies Crashlytics, Twitter, and Drift, Alden (along with his colleague Marshall) founded Upstream to distill satellite and ground data into information conservationists use to grow their operations.
Today Upstream helps The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation work with farmers to reduce water use, revitalizing rivers and fisheries. The Nature Conservancy uses Upstream’s systems to monitor migratory bird habitats across California. And its neural networks are scanning vast regions to identify locations for river friendly hydropower generation.
Upstream was acquired by Natel Energy, where it will operate as an independent unit with ample funding to grow its team and broaden its impact.
VP Accounting & Administration
Dave manages finance and administration functions for Natel. He has 25 years experience in finance and operations for both public and privately held technology and energy companies, with extensive experience with growing businesses from $10 to $200 million in revenue. As CFO for emerging companies, he has managed finance, administration, IT, legal and corporate development activities, raised funds from a variety of sources, and established a foreign subsidiary to support manufacturing and back office functions. He managed strategic partnerships and international sales through distributors for 40 countries. Earlier, Dave held progressively responsible finance, corporate development and general management positions for publicly reporting energy and technology companies including Gulf Oil Corporation, Eastern Gas and Fuel Associates, Triad Systems and Epicor (formerly Activant).
Dave received his BS in Economics from MIT, an MBA from Stanford, and began his career in the San Francisco office of KPMG. Dave was awarded a patent for a system that optimizes supply chains with predictive models combining demographic and demand data.
Marketing and Communications
Director, Project Engineering
Adam is a project engineer at Natel, focused on project diligence, interconnection, and construction design. Prior to joining Natel, Adam was lead electrical engineer for the distributed generation solar group at NextEra Energy Resources. He has spent 12 years as a senior engineer in the solar industry on many sides of the table – EPC contractor, developer, and owner. Adam’s expertise includes solar design, electrical engineering, grid interconnection, electrical code compliance and production modeling, and he has a portfolio of over 600 projects totaling over 300 MW.
Adam holds a M.S. in Engineering from the Building Systems Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College.
Director, Project Development
Alex Campbell is a Director of Project Development at Natel Energy. He is focused on business modeling, project and corporate valuation, strategic partnerships, and project development.
Prior to Natel Energy, Alex worked at Reykajvik Geothermal, a Paul Tudor Jones investment, as a Director of Project Finance where he focused on business modeling, financial modeling, project and corporate valuation, lender discussions, and early stage project development in the Caribbean and Africa. Prior to Reykjavik Geothermal, Alex worked at Sithe Global, a Blackstone portfolio company, as a financial analyst where he focused on project valuation, environmental & social compliance, and early stage development projects in Africa, South America, and Asia.
Alex holds a M.Sc. degree in Energy Systems & Policy from the University of Iceland and University of Akureyri. He holds a B.Sc. degree in Business Management from the University of Delaware with minors in international business and environmental engineering.
Testing and Mechanical Technician
Alex is a testing and mechanical technician at Natel. He spends his time fabricating and assembling hydroEngine machinery, as well as running and maintaining Natel’s various hydraulic and fatigue testing equipment. He has experience operating both manual and CNC machine tools, welding, and repairing electronic components. Prior to Natel, Alex worked as a bicycle mechanic.
In his free time Alex enjoys building and flying quadcopters, watching documentary films, reading nonfiction books, and mountain biking.
Machine Learning & Backend
Amadou is a Machine Learning & Backend engineer at Upstream, where he helps environmental organizations quantify their restoration and conservation efforts. Upstream makes it easy for these organizations to measure and monitor their on the ground work by providing an easy to use dashboard powered by machine learning and geospatial data. He previously co-founded a music social network, Cymbal, where he led the engineering team as CTO. He is based in Brooklyn, NY where he loves to cook and surf.
Archivist & Graphic Design
Andy is an Archivist and Graphic Designer at Natel. Currently he splits his time between photographically documenting the construction of the hydroEngine, and designing graphics for web and print. He also assists in web development and GIS.
Andy received a BA in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, but has also worked as a graphic designer, photographer, and video editor.
While not at Natel Andy enjoys working on personal projects which combine his interest in photography, art, and computer science. He also enjoys watching and listening to audio-books, podcasts, YouTube videos and films.
Anita is responsible for coordinating the multimedia effort at Natel, and works as a web and graphic designer for the company. She develops design concepts for a variety of communications in both print and digital formats, including technical and promotional brochures and the company website.
She holds an AA degree in Graphic Design from FIDM – Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising – with a focus on UI/UX design and branding. Before starting her career as a designer, Anita received her BA in Arts at the Università degli Studi di Padova, and a MA in Philology at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris III, and worked as a writer and a communication professional in Italy and France.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband and little son Leo, cooking and eating good food, and perusing design blogs.
At Natel Ben works on the Commercial team in project development and customer support. After several years of service in the US Navy, Ben graduated from Johnson & Wales University. He also holds a solar installation NABCEP certification. Previously Ben focused on the build out and launch of critically acclaimed Bay Area restaurants, emphasizing the use of renewables and sustainable practices.
Business Development, North America
Dan is a member of Natel Energy’s OEM sales group. He comes to Natel with 10 years of experience in sales and business development in renewable energy. He is focused on building strategic partnerships, educating customers on Natel’s technology, and assessing site feasibility.
Prior to Natel, Dan worked for a non-profit in Haiti providing shelter and sanitation solutions after the 2010 earthquake, provided market analytics to grow solar integrators with Repower, and led a technical sales team at CivicSolar.
Dan received a BA in Economics from the University of Vermont.
In his spare time, Dan can be found sailing, flyfishing, tinkering with old engines, and going for long bike rides with his partner, Amy.
Dana is Natel’s office manager. Prior to Natel, Dana worked in finance for a healthcare management consulting firm. Dana received her BA in International Relations from San Francisco State University. She is interested in learning about the development of social, healthcare and environmental policies.
VP, Project Development
Dorothy joined Natel on October 2 to lead project development efforts. Dorothy comes to Natel with over 16 years of experience in electric utilities and renewable energy. Prior to joining Natel, she led solar project development and acquisitions in the western U.S. with NextEra Energy Resources’ distributed generation team. Dorothy has an M.B.A. in finance and general management from the University of Virginia and a B.A. from Tulane University.
Business Development, North America
Eric currently heads up Sales and Marketing for Natel Energy developing and implementing the support strategy for customers and strategic partners. He also works directly to help with Natel Energy customer project development. Eric has 25 years of experience in the deployment of innovative renewable energy technologies and in building energy projects. Previously he was Co-Founder/VP Business Development at Nordic Windpower, a manufacturer of megawatt-scale wind turbines for the distributed energy market. By teaming with customers on project development, he signed over $30M in the product rollout phase of the company. Before that, Eric helped companies deploy new technology in wind, solar, energy efficiency and energy software including leading energy companies like QBotix, Itron, Green Mountain Energy, Fenway System and Environmental Defense Fund. In addition to the US, he has worked in China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Eric has a B.S in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell and completed an Asia Foundation Fellowship Program on Indonesia electric utility resource planning.
Eric and his wife Cynthia have two young children, so that recreation and relaxation center around the garden, soccer practice, gymnastics class, family camping and active family involvement in community and the public schools.
Gregor joined Natel June 2018 as Director of Engineering for the OEM turbine product. He acts as the technical staff and program lead for hydroengine development, coordinating development efforts with the rest of the organization to drive for Natel’s overall product objectives. An MIT Aero-Astro grad, he brings over ten years of engineering and management experience in fast-paced startup environments as well as a passion for clean energy technology. When not at work, Gregor spends time with his wife and dog hiking, biking, cooking, and traveling the world.
Ian is a Mechanical Engineer Natel working on test equipment design. Prior to joining Natel he completed his master’s degree at the University of New Hampshire in mechanical engineering where he designed the support infrastructure for a tidal turbine as a part of the Living Bridge Project. In his free time Ian enjoys cooking and spending time outside, especially skiing.
Jessica Penrod is the Western US project developer and builds strategic partnerships for Natel Energy. The Western market is primarily in partnership with irrigation districts and government water agencies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Oregon. In 2020 she will proudly an M.S. degree in Energy Systems Management from the University of San Francisco.
In her free time, she can be found exploring oceans and the water as Captain Jess and working with organizations to bring awareness to plastic pollution and ways to manage the damaging elements of plastics in the ocean. She is passionate about sharing her respect of water, and helping others understand the importance of conservation and conscious living.
Jessie Norriss leads business development and partnerships at Upstream and holds a Master of Science in Water Resource Engineering and Environmental Policy from Tufts University. Jessie brings a background in stakeholder engagement for water and environmental management from land trusts to global engineering operations.
Jin works as an Civil/Environmental Engineer. Jin graduated from UC Berkeley with a M.S. degree in environmental engineering in 2015. He holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering from University of Michigan, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Joanna is a mechanical engineer at Natel, interested in machine design and manufacturing. She has designed and fabricated a variety of tools used for hydroEngine assembly and component testing.
Joanna has an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley. Before joining Natel, she worked on structural design and fabrication at Makani Power, an airborne wind turbine company. She has also researched 3D ultrasound techniques, repaired hospital equipment in Tanzania, and explored the use of 3D printed tools for injection molding.
Outside of work, Joanna enjoys reading novels, listening to public radio podcasts, and climbing.
Sr. Mechanical Engineer
Johannes is a mechanical engineer at Natel working on testing, control systems, and mechanical design. Prior to joining Natel he spent five years working at a startup, building a high-compression ratio, liquid tolerant natural gas compressor and gaining experience with taking a new technology from concept to field operation.
Johannes holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
Outside of work, he enjoys building an riding his bikes, photography, and eating delicious food.
Director, Project Engineering
Joe is a project engineer at Natel, tasked with the field installation of the hydro engine at sites across North America. He started his career flying around Alaska in helicopters, prospecting for uranium. He later went to work for Nerco Minerals, where he ran computer simulations to optimize ore extraction, designed containment systems for toxic materials and supervised an engineering team at the Cripple Creek gold mine. After earning his Masters, he switched from mining to telecommunications. While working for US Cellular, he managed the design and construction of numerous wireless broadcast and switching facilities. Following that, he worked for NextEra Energy designing and building commercial-scale PV solar projects. He has a BS in Geological Engineering and a Masters in Satellite Communications. He is a Professional Civil Engineer registered in Colorado.
Jun provides fabrication and testing support for hydroEngine development. Prior to Natel, he developed and implemented efficient commercial HVAC programs for utilities and was also a museum exhibit designer. He has a BSME from UC Berkeley and trained at Laney College on the operation of manual and CNC machine tools.
Jun is interested in machine design and climate change issues, and outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his family, making things with cardboard, and dabbling in film making.
Kelsey works as a mechanical engineer at Natel and her primary interests surround mechanical design and design for manufacturing. Prior to joining the Natel, she carried out research in alternative energy sources in Douglas Hart’s lab at MIT where she completed both her B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering as well as a minor in architecture.
Outside of work, she participates on a gymnastics team and enjoys planning and building her own hardware/electronics projects.
Business Development, S & SE Asia
Michael leads Natel Energy’s business development efforts in South and Southeast Asia, which currently includes sales and pipeline development in Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from St. Olaf College and a Master’s Degree in International Development Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Michael brings 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, development consultant and project developer in geographies spanning mainland Southeast Asia on issues and projects related to rural electrification, infrastructure and agricultural development, sustainable natural resource management and the water-energy-agriculture nexus.
Michael is passionate about people and the limitless potential of the human spirit to help create of a more equitable and compassionate world. A Colorado native, he enjoys slow-cooked food, star-filled skies, deep breaths of crisp mountain air and long hikes with his wife and family.
Natan is a Mechanical Technician. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering at UC Davis, where he is a member of the Formula Electric SAE team. He is interested in the manufacture, testing, and assembly of machines, as well as clean energy and sustainability.
Peder provides prototyping support to Natel’s engineers, fabricating components for a variety of product development projects. He has several years of machining experience, including the programming and operation of CNC mills and lathes. Prior to becoming a machinist, Peder worked as a teacher for over 15 years, teaching mathematics at a high school in Oakland and at an international school in Guatemala.
Peder holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University.
When he’s not at work, he enjoys exploring Oakland on bicycle, fixing his VW bus, and spending time with his wife, Lupe, and their two children.
Peter is a mechanical engineer at Natel working on power train and composite structures. He is primarily interested in mechanical design. Peter brings with him experience in composite structures for aerospace applications.
Peter has a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union, and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.
Outside of work you will find Peter enjoying photography and/or hiking.
Rodrigo holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad Simon Bolivar and a master’s in Manufacturing from MIT. He has a broad set of previous experiences in industries ranging from oil and gas to electronics manufacturing to medical devices. He specializes in design for manufacturing and assembly and development of stochastic models for systems design.
Within the company Rodrigo help build cost models for different hydropower technologies, has designed and constructed several test benches for key system components and has built numerical models for assembly and manufacturing. At Natel, Rodrigo’s main role has been the development of the drive-axle system; structure and power take-off systems, and the tolerance stack up management for the system.
Rodrigo also enjoys bread baking, beer brewing, mountaineering and doing statistical analyses on traffic and political elections.
Ryan designs and develops the watershedOS software platform for Restoration Hydro development. Prior to working at Natel, Ryan founded Voyager Search, a tool for finding and using complex geospatial data. Ryan was also a founder and developer of Instructables.com. He received a BS in computer science from the University of , San Diego, and an MS from MIT.
Sterling is a mechanical engineer at Natel, interested in mechanical and system design for sustainable energy technologies. Prior to joining Natel, she was a graduate student at MIT focusing on village-scale, solar-powered desalination system design and optimization for the developing world. Sterling earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.
Will is a Program Manager for Natel’s product development team. His focus is building out technical programs that deliver critical infrastructure to both Natel’s engineering efforts and hydroEngine installations. Prior to joining the company, Will launched several R&D programs at Google [x], with projects that ranged from wearable headsets to passenger ferry services. He is a co-inventor of a floating photovoltaic power generation system, holds a long list of certifications relevant to large hardware projects, and brings enthusiasm for adventuring the unknown.
Outside of work, Will enjoys learning to speak Norwegian, shaping surfboards in his garage, and spending time with family and friends.