For the last ten years, I have been at the forefront of transforming the energy future of the planet, through efforts to bring to market technologies for producing low-carbon sustainable hydrocarbons. Here is my story...
What I Do
Part scientist, part businessman, I work in the middle ground where technology meets industry. With over a decade of business experience in the energy and clean technology sector, I have a knack for seeking out and fostering those technologies that can truly transform the future of humankind and our relationship with our planet. With an academic background and a wealth of industry experience, I walk both sides of the line between technology and business. I love to enable researchers and entrepreneurs to drive their innovations towards commercial implementation. In parallel, I identify and vet the best technologies to satisfy enterprise-critical needs, delivering strong results from a corporate perspective.
As a trained evolutionary ecologist, I bring a systems perspective to my work in the bioeconomy. As with a natural system, there are so many facets to driving new technologies to market, and complex interactions to understand and shape. Technology is necessary, but it's not sufficient in and of itself to drive change in the bioeconomy. There are barriers in the form of technical standards and sustainability standards, policy incentives and regulations to be navigated, stakeholders to form strategic partnerships with, finance to be acquired, inputs to be secured and customers to be contracted. This complexity is what fascinates me about the work I do, and keeps me excited to be working hard on solutions every day.
What Motivates ME
Humanity is facing challenges at a scale and with an urgency that have never been seen before. We have to move now to tackle those challenges if we want the next generation to inherit an earth that is livable and worth living on. I can't imagine working on anything else but solving those challenges.
A lot about what excites and fascinates me comes down to one simple fact: I grew up on an apple orchard in New Zealand. I lived a childhood of simple, natural idyll; summers spent catching tadpoles and collecting beetles, winters spent chopping firewood and reading. I also learned how hard farming the land is; dealing with a fickle natural world, and the global nature of agricultural markets, both of which give times of plenty and times of hardship.
I learned the cycles and complex systems of nature, and took that love of life and living things into my schooling, eventually progressing to earn my doctorate degree studying the effects of human activities on the interactions of aquatic microbes, just as I had spent the summers of my youth down at the river making "slime-balls" from algal overgrowth caused by nutrient run-off from the local orchards. It is this deep connection to, and understanding of, natural systems that strongly informs the way I think about seeking solutions in the bioeconomy.