Our team is driven by a collective desire to deliver climate solutions that work.

WHO WE ARE

We are entrepreneurs and technologists from top engineering, energy and finance firms, passionate about climate solutions. We draw from our diverse backgrounds and individual experiences to produce creative, collaborative results.

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Our Leadership

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Gia Schneider
Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder

Gia Schneider

Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder

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 20 years of experience in the energy industry. While in the utility practice at Accenture, she provided strategic solutions around asset management to major energy companies. 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 co-founded Natel in 2009 with her brother, Abe Schneider, motivated by the theme of climate change driving changes in water patterns and focused on the opportunity for innovative hydropower solutions to be force multipliers for positive change given hydro's position at the energy-water nexus.

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, and cooking with friends and family.

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Abe Schneider
Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder

Abe Schneider

Chief Technology Officer, Co-founder

Obsessed with water and fish since birth, Abe Schneider has carried this passion through to his work today as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Natel Energy where he is committed to his conviction that efficient renewable energy production can co-exist with biodiverse, connected rivers.

Schneider leads the company’s technical teams, including overseeing all forms of design and fish safety testing for Natel’s leading fish-safe hydro turbine.

Before co-founding Natel Energy with his sister, Gia, in 2009, Schneider worked as an engineer for more than 14 years within large firms like The Timken Company and innovative startups like Makani Power, now part of Alphabet. At Timken, Schneider worked as a senior engineer in advanced product development, designing innovative gear reducers, hybrid vehicle drivetrains and micro-scale energy harvesting systems to power intelligent bearings. At Makani, he led an engineering team responsible for aero-mechanical systems and led independent consulting projects on two small hydropower refurbishment projects in the Northeast U.S.

Schneider developed and holds numerous engineering and design patents and is the author of several hydropower and fish safety publications. In 2014, Schneider was invited to be a member of the Department of U.S. Energy’s Technology and Performance Task Force for HydroVision, a landmark report outlining the untapped potential of hydropower in the U.S. Schneider has also been a guest lecturer on the topic of hydropower at Stanford University.

Schneider earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Schneider enjoys the outdoors and is happiest surfing, kitesurfing, climbing, and fly fishing with his wife and kids. Schneider and his family live in San Francisco, CA.

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Kizzie Brown
Chief Financial Officer

Kizzie Brown

Chief Financial Officer

Kizzie Bozeman Brown, MBA, has an extensive finance background spanning both corporate finance and investment banking. Kizzie began her career on Wall Street at Morgan Stanley, Inc. where she helped to raise capital for global companies in the fixed income market. She continued her career at Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. where she provided financial advisory and capital raises for public and private real estate investment trusts. After a 10-year career in investment banking, Kizzie shifted her focus from advising large, global corporations to acting as a Chief Financial Officer for solar development firms hep Petra and ReNew Petra, and real estate firm, Bundy Development Corporation. Kizzie led the companies’ operational functions and project finance efforts, including structuring debt and tax equity capital for solar transactions.

As Chief Financial Officer at Natel Energy, Kizzie works across the hydro team and Upstream Tech, providing leadership for fundraising efforts, back-office operations, as well as project finance for the company’s hydro repowering and green field development projects.

Kizzie is a very active member of her community, with a special emphasis on promoting economic development in minority communities. She also enjoys entertaining and traveling.  

Kizzie has a Masters in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelors in Business Administration from Howard University.

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Gregor Cadman
VP, Engineering

Gregor Cadman

VP, Engineering

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.

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Johann Bertrand
VP, Supply Chain

Johann Bertrand

VP, Supply Chain

Johann is the Vice President of Supply Chain for Natel. He was recently Purchasing Executive with Engie in France, where he successfully managed the creation of the global purchasing organization for the Engie Solutions Tiers one up to the preparation of its recent spin off

Prior to this role Johann was Global Tendering Sourcing Leader for the GE Hydro business where he focused on the industrial strategy. He joined GE from Alstom Hydro where he was in charge of the creation of the supply chain for the Russia and CIS region, located in Moscow.

Previously at Alstom, Johann was in charge of the tendering sourcing activities in Europe where he contributed to the creation of the region.

Before joining Alstom, Johann worked a decade in the automotive industry where he led large purchasing projects abroad for first rank car manufacturers

Johann holds an BTEC Higher National Diploma in mechanical engineering and a master’s in management specialized in procurement. He is a French national and has two kids, Eva and Ethan

In his spare time, Johann enjoys the outdoors, particularly skiing in the Alps with his friends and family.

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Our Administration & Communications Team

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Dave Sheldon
VP, Administration & Accounting

Dave Sheldon

VP, Administration & Accounting

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.

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Linda Womack
Controller

Linda Womack

Controller

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Dana Nyugen
HR & Office Manager

Dana Nyugen

HR & Office Manager

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.

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Kate Stirr
Director of Communications & External Affairs

Kate Stirr

Director of Communications & External Affairs

Kate Stirr is the Director of Communications & External Affairs  at Natel. She leads storytelling for the company, working to build relationships and communicate science concepts through an artist’s lens. Prior to Natel, Kate was an educator at the Exploratorium before spending seven years at Alphabet, where she prototyped hardware for early-stage X projects and later managed flight testing logistics and led external communications for the airborne wind turbine project, Makani. Kate holds undergraduate degrees in art and Spanish from Lewis & Clark College, as well as a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in sculpture from San Francisco Art Institute. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Mills College.

Kate is interested in telling stories about technology that can strengthen connections to the natural world and facilitate balanced access to the world’s resources as our planet rapidly changes.

Outside of work, Kate enjoys exploring beaches and forests with her husband and toddler, cooking, and climbing and paddling when she has the opportunity.

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Miles Hall
Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Lead

Miles Hall

Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Lead

Miles Hall acts as Natel’s Policy and Stakeholder Engagement Lead, where his primary duties include promoting legislative, regulatory, and budgetary policies to enable and support growth of Natel's business, expanding relationships with key stakeholders, and deepening the company's work with federal and state agencies, industry groups, and with the national labs. Prior to Natel, Miles was a DOE contractor to the Water Power Technologies Office, where he helped develop and execute stakeholder engagement campaigns as well as tech-to-market programs for the hydropower and marine energy sectors. He holds undergraduate degrees in economics and Spanish and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico.

In his spare time, Miles enjoys playing and watching soccer, discovering new bands, and spending too much money on craft beer.

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Our Product Development Team

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Alex Conn
Mechanical Technician

Alex Conn

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.

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Andy Baumgartner
Software Engineer, Multimedia Designer

Andy Baumgartner

Software Engineer, Multimedia Designer

Andy is a Software Engineer and Multimedia Designer at Natel. Currently he splits his time between developing hydro turbine analysis and controls software, and designing graphics, animations, videos, and websites.

Andy received a BA in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota, and has worked as a web developer, graphic designer, photographer, and video editor.

While not at Natel Andy enjoys working on personal projects which combine his interest in photography, art, computer science, economics, and civics. He also enjoys watching and listening to audio-books, podcasts, YouTube videos and films.

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Chris Bechtel
Mechanical Technician

Chris Bechtel

Mechanical Technician

As a technician for Natel, Chris draws from experience in a broad range of fields including the building trades, motion picture production and the automotive industry. He is excited to be working in clean energy.

Chris is an East Bay native and, before joining Natel, maintained his own workshop in Alameda for 10 years where he performed general fabrication and prototyping for a variety of clients including designers and scientists.

Chris enjoys eating out, cycling, motorcycling, dreaming up mechanical design projects, and rescuing stray cats.

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Bobby Stone
Assoc. Mechanical Engineer

Bobby Stone

Assoc. Mechanical Engineer

Bobby helps to commission and test new hydro-turbine systems at site installations and at Natel headquarters in Alameda, CA. Prior to starting at Natel he worked at an Alphabet company called Makani, filling engineering roles designing, building, and testing flight electronics assemblies and packaging on prototype 600kW energy kites. He helped to commission energy kites in Alameda, Southern California, Hawaii, and in Norway. 2 years prior to that he worked as a technician helping to build a prototyping shop and then an electronics technician assembling avionics. Bobby studied English literature and sculpture at San Francisco State University and worked at Half Price Books for 8 years.In his free time he works on (and sometimes drives) an OEM 2000 Ford Ranger EV. He also makes art and music and likes going on hikes with his family and friends in the Oakland redwoods.

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Johannes Santen
Staff Mechanical Engineer

Johannes Santen

Staff 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.

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Ian Gagnon
Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Ian Gagnon

Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Ian is a mechanical engineer at Natel. His work focuses on the installation, operation, and maintenance of the RHT fleet and the plants that they are operated in. He particularly enjoys working in the field and working with the on site teams who install and operate Natel’s turbines. Ian developed his passion for this type of work during his masters degree at the University of New Hampshire where he helped to deploy what, at the time, was one of the only grid connected tidal turbines in the US. Ian is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of California. Outside of work he spends his time cooking, cycling, surfing (sort of), and ski touring all over Tahoe.

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Jun Furuta
Mechanical Engineer

Jun Furuta

Mechanical Engineer

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.

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Alex Wickersham
Production Manager / Tech Team Lead

Alex Wickersham

Production Manager / Tech Team Lead

Alex leads the prototyping technician team at Natel’s Alameda, CA headquarters, building and testing new turbine hardware. He is also working on the hardware manufacturing effort for commercial production as well as ISO certification for the company. Alex holds a BSME from UC Santa Barbara where he gained a passion for environmental preservation and renewable energy technology. Prior to joining Natel, Alex spent 10 years at Makani Power, building and testing Energy Kites in California, Hawaii, and Norway.

Outside of work, Alex enjoys camping with his family, backyard gardening and entertaining, and restoring vintage VW campers.

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Kelsey Seto
Staff Mechanical Engineer

Kelsey Seto

Staff Mechanical Engineer

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.

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Miguel Mejia
Mechanical Technician

Miguel Mejia

Mechanical Technician

Miguel is a Mechanical technician at Natel with a focus on Milling and CNC Machining. He currently attends Laney College for Machine Technology and Industrial Maintenance. Prior to Natel Miguel worked as a bicycle mechanic.

In his free time Miguel enjoys cycling.

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Onur Talu
Mechanical Engineer

Onur Talu

Mechanical Engineer

Onur is a Jr. Engineer at Natel, whose primary focus is mechanical design and design for manufacturing. He graduated from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. At Olin, he found a passion for alternative energy generation and storage, and designed the chassis and suspension geometry subsystems for his Formula SAE Electric team.

In his free time, Onur likes to read and explore cities on foot. He also loves trying out new recipes, particularly Turkish ones, and cooking large meals for his friends.

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Peter Ascoli
Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Peter Ascoli

Sr. Mechanical Engineer

Peter is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Natel and enjoys having an impact on many aspects of turbine development, engineering, and production. During his time at Natel he has worked on numerous static proof and fatigue testing rigs, developed plant and powerhouse designs, designed composite assemblies and steel fabrications, and has implemented controllers and automation schemes on turbines and testing infrastructure. He has also participated in field work to install and commission turbines, built complex composite assemblies, and machined the occasional turbine component on Natel’s CNC mill.

Peter currently splits his time between structural design and analysis, and turbine actuation, test rig controls and automation.

Peter has a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union, and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Prior to Natel, Peter worked at SpaceX on Dragon 1 and Dragon 2 (Crew Dragon) — some of the parts he worked on have flown with astronauts in space!

Outside of work you’ll likely find Peter on a surfboard, SUP, pair of skis, or eating his way around Oakland and the East Bay.

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Rosalind Jackson
Compliance Manager

Rosalind Jackson

Compliance Manager

Rosalind is the Compliance Manager at Natel’s Alameda, CA headquarters, ensuring continued compliance with ISO 9001/14001. She is also leading the team on product safety compliance for Natel’s products. Rosalind gained interest in engineering while becoming a member of the MESA program spearheaded by UC Berkeley. She went on to earn her BS in Electrical and Electronic Technology from Grambling State University. She was introduced to regulatory compliance soon after graduating and it is now her passion. Prior to joining Natel, Rosalind worked at several testing laboratories, including General Electric and PG&E in the Bay Area, CA and in Atlanta, GA.

Outside of work, Rosalind enjoys spending time with family, entertaining, and traveling.

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Sterling Watson
Staff Mechanical Engineer

Sterling Watson

Staff Mechanical Engineer

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.

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Will Shields
Sr. Program Manager

Will Shields

Sr. Program Manager

Will is a Senior 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.

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Willa Grinsfelder
Assoc. Mechanical Engineer

Willa Grinsfelder

Assoc. Mechanical Engineer

Willa Grinsfelder is a Junior Mechanical Engineer at Natel. She splits her time between designing components of the RHT turbines, writing the RHT manuals, and assisting with fish passage studies. Willa holds undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University.

Willa is excited about implementing technological solutions that integrate seamlessly with the natural environment.

Outside of Natel, Willa enjoys reading widely, biking around the Bay Area, and cooking.

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Ryan Scribner
Sr. Program Manager

Ryan Scribner

Sr. Program Manager

Ryan is a Technical Program Manager working with the product development team to deliver Natel’s Restoration Hydro Turbine to a growing list of customers. Passionate about  ongoing process improvement, driving data-based decisions, and collaborative development, Ryan is energized by the opportunity to apply his experience to renewable energy. Ryan holds a BSME from Northeastern University and prior to working at Natel, he gained extensive experience as a product development consultant bringing kitchen appliances, juvenile products, IoT devices, micromobility vehicles, and vertical farms to market.

Outside of work, Ryan enjoys cycling, graphic design projects, evaluating jelly beans, and the (fringe) sport of Goaltimate.

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Owen Hale
Mechanical Engineer

Owen Hale

Mechanical Engineer

Owen is a Mechanical Engineer at Natel whose primary focus is mechanical design. Owen holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. Prior to joining Natel, he worked on the iPhone systems engineering team where he shipped several generations of iPhone and patented several designs for both shipping and future products. So if you have a gripe about your iPhone, he’s the one you can blame ;). Prior to that experience, Owen worked for a few bay area startups primarily in the fields of subsea robotics and aviation.

Outside of work you can probably find Owen building things and tinkering in his garage, backpacking in the Sierras, or training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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Jue Wang
Sr. Hydraulic Design Engineer

Jue Wang

Sr. Hydraulic Design Engineer

Jue is a hydraulic design engineer at Natel. He earned his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering, specialized in hydraulics and hydrology. Jue has over 10 years’ experience in Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He mainly uses CFD methods to assist and validate the design of fluid structures. Prior to Natel, he worked as a water engineer at Jacobs Engineering for four years. Jue likes cooking for families in his spare time.

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Rodrigo Linares
Principal Engineer

Rodrigo Linares

Principal Engineer

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 has designed multiple powertrains and structures for different turbine generations. He has also led the deployment of our PLM systems and design processes.

Rodrigo also enjoys cooking, fermenting, and pretty much anything edible. He also practices mountaineering and games.

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Our Project Development, Operations & Sales Team

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Pat Donahue
Director of Hydro Plant Operations

Pat Donahue

Director of Hydro Plant Operations

Pat is the Director of Hydro Plant Operations for Natel Energy. Recently he managed Wind Farms in New England for Siemens Gamesa. Prior to that, for 18 years he was with Enel and CHI Energy in various roles in Hydropower Operations and Maintenance.

Pat is responsible for the day-to-day Operations of the Portfolio, as well as Agency and Utility relationships, Fish Passage performance, Maintenance Planning, community/stakeholder engagement, and strategic alliances.

Pat is an advocate for Hydropower. He has lobbied for Energy bills at the Massachusetts Statehouse. He also has led dozens of walking tours and speaking events at various sites to further the understanding of how Hydropower and Communities coexist.

He lives in Massachusetts with his Wife and three children.

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Nick Arnold
Director, Project Office

Nick Arnold

Director, Project Office

Nick holds a bachelor of science degree in Electrical Engineering from Colorado State University. He has a broad set of previous experiences managing complex hydropower, commercial, industrial, institutional, and government projects to successfully achieve corporate goals and objectives. He is adept at cultivating partnerships and building lasting relationships with customers and colleagues, and experienced with leading continuous improvement objectives to consistently transform productivity, improve efficiency and drive profitability.

Within the company Nick will develop robust project execution mechanisms and lead the execution of projects which are developed by Natel or sold by Natel to its customers.

Nick also enjoys watching his two daughters play competitive soccer, watching his son play basketball and lacrosse, snowboarding, mountain biking, riding electric skateboards, hiking with his family and three dogs, working out, camping and four-wheeling.

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Adam Smith
Sr. Engineer, Project Electrical

Adam Smith

Sr. Engineer, Project Electrical

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.

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Ben Ward
Project Development Associate & Facilities Manager

Ben Ward

Project Development Associate & Facilities Manager

At Natel Ben works on the Project Development team to advance projects and support customers. 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.

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Emrat Nur (Tatiana) Marzan
Analyst, US Projects

Emrat Nur (Tatiana) Marzan

Analyst, US Projects

Tatiana supports Natel’s Business Development team through the provision of GIS-based analysis and related research of prospective project sites and the ecosystem service endowments associated with these sites. She also uses her background in civil engineering to support our development team on one-off projects. She graduated with an MS in Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and earned bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. In her free time, she enjoys good food, books, and traveling.

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Jessica Penrod
US Project Development Manager

Jessica Penrod

US Project Development Manager

Jessica Penrod is the US Project Development Manager and builds strategic partnerships for Natel Energy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science 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.

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Jin Zhao
Civil / Environmental Engineer, Technical Sales

Jin Zhao

Civil / Environmental Engineer, Technical Sales

Jin works as an Civil/Environmental Engineer supporting both project development and turbine sales. 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.

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Joseph Head
Sr. Engineer, Project Civil

Joseph Head

Sr. Engineer, Project Civil

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.

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Dan Panko
US Sales Manager

Dan Panko

US Sales Manager

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.

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Michael Spolum
Regional Director of Business Development, S & SE Asia

Michael Spolum

Regional Director of 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.

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Harry Driscoll
EU Sales Lead

Harry Driscoll

EU Sales Lead

Harry is Natel’s sales lead in Europe, based in the UK. He has more than 15 years’ experience in the small hydropower sector, which began with the publication of his undergraduate thesis on powering up old watermills in his home county of Dorset in the South of England. Prior to joining Natel, Harry was a director of UK-based hydropower consultancy, Hydroplan, where he was involved in the design and construction more than 50 hydropower projects, delivering over 40MW of renewable power to the grid. Harry holds a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Leeds and an Advanced Apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering. Outside of work, Harry plays the drums and helps his wife to raise their three young sons.

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Giovanni Fornasa
EU Project Development Lead

Giovanni Fornasa

EU Project Development Lead

Giovanni is the European Project Developer for Natel Energy. He is an Hydraulic Engineer with international experience in business development, sales and project management of renewable energy projects.

He has more than ten years of experience in the hydropower industry and he has managed international projects with some major players in the sector. He also coordinated the bidding phase of some projects in developing countries, financed by the World Bank and the European Union.

Before joining Natel, he was Country Manager France for EPC construction of biomethane plants.


In his free time, he enjoys hiking, playing basketball, eating good food with friends, but especially spending time with his beautiful family.


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Get in Touch

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