Bios in order of appearance

Maury Dobbie, Executive Director, Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory & Assistant Director, Center for the New Energy Economy, Colorado State University

Since July 2016, Maury has split her time as the Executive Director for the Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory and the Center for the New Energy Economy.  Started in 2008, the Collaboratory has been a research partnership between Colorado School of Mines, University of Colorado-Boulder, Colorado State University and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  In 2011, Maury has been Assistant Director at CNEE, an energy policy center under the direction of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and based out of Colorado State University.  Maury began her entrepreneurial career at age 19. Since then she has founded and operated six diverse companies, holding CEO or principal positions.  Before joining CNEE, she was president/CEO of a regional not-for-profit economic development corporation in Northern Colorado.  In 1994, Maury founded a video production company and expanded it rapidly into an award-winning multimedia enterprise, with a web-development department and live event services.  Dobbie served as a board member on the Northern Colorado Clean Energy Cluster and has been a part of Colorado’s new energy economy initiative for years.  She worked with industry partners to create Colorado State University’s Systems Engineering Program and the Clean Tech Certification Program at Front Range Community College.

Terri Fiez, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, University of Colorado Boulder (Current Chair, Collaboratory Executive Board)

Dr. Terri Fiez joined CU Boulder in September of 2015 as the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. In this role, she is responsible for the $507 million research portfolio that includes supporting current research operations, growing cross-disciplinary collaboration, and building research partnerships with other universities, industry and federal laboratories. The Research and Innovation Office (RIO) has been expanded to include the office of technology transfer and the office of industry collaboration. RIO is leading the university’s first grand challenge focused on space exploration and earth observation. Additionally, RIO is leading the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative. Prior to joining CU Boulder, Dr. Fiez was Head of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University (OSU). In this role, she built strong industry partnerships, grew nationally known research strengths and she was an education serial entrepreneur. In 2008-09 she took a leave of absence from OSU to co-found, launch and serve as CEO of a solar electronics startup company and since then she has helped support several other early stage startup companies. Her scholarly interests focus on analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits and novel approaches to innovative education where she has published over 150 papers and advised over 80 graduate students.

Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research, Colorado State University (Past chair of Collaboratory Executive Board)

Dr. Rudolph has had an active career in translating interdisciplinary life sciences into useful applications for technology development. His experience spans basic research to advanced development in government laboratories, the nonprofit and private sectors and most recently in academia.  He has published more than 100 technical publications, 3 books and 15 patents in areas including molecular biophysics, lipid self-assembly, drug delivery, blood substitutes, medical imaging, tissue engineering, neuroscience, and diagnostics. After a decade at National Research Council, he was recruited to join the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to lead new strategic efforts to extract and exploit useful principles and practices in life sciences and technology and establish an agency-wide strategy for investments in biosciences and biotechnology. As Chief of Biological Sciences and Technology, Dr. Rudolph established a framework for investments in interdisciplinary life sciences that continues today.  In 2003, he founded two biotechnology companies with one currently in human clinical development of novel blood therapeutics.  Dr. Rudolph served in the Senior Executive Service leading the nation’s investments in biological threat defense and biosecurity from 2010-2013.  Dr. Rudolph started the International Neuroscience Network Foundation in 2006 that has funded research over the last decade in brain machine interface science and education.  He has a doctorate degree in zoology from the University of California at Davis and an MBA from George Washington University.

Bryan Willson, Executive Director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University

At the Energy Institute ( Dr. Willson also serves as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He served as a Program Director at ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy from 2012-2016 and continues to serve as a consultant / advisor to the agency. Dr. Willson has worked for over 25 years to develop and deploy large-scale technology solutions related to energy, air quality, and human health. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Willson is co-founder of: Envirofit International, a global company that has developed solutions for clean mobility (direct injection retrofits for 2-stroke cycle engines) and is now manufacturing and distributing clean cookstoves in the developing world; Solix BioSystems, a developer of large-scale production systems for algae-based fuels and specialty chemicals; and Factor(e) Ventures, a venture development firm supporting early stage ventures working on access to energy in the developing world. In his university role, he has helped to launch or enhance numerous other companies. His research laboratory, the Engines & Energy Conversion Laboratory, has made important contributions in many areas, including: internal combustion engines, oil & gas production technology, advanced electrical grids, advanced biofuels, technology for the developing world, and advanced building technologies. Dr. Willson has worked in over 40 countries.  Bryan Willson was recently awarded a $6 million Presidential Chair by the Bohemian Foundation.

Ted Weaver, President, First Tracks Consulting Service

Ted Weaver has over 35 years of experience in the energy industry. He is a nationally recognized expert in sustainable energy, and was a pioneer in the movement towards integrated resource planning and demand-side management that have led utilities to vastly increase their investments in clean energy supplies. He has helped clients develop over 2,000 MW of electric generation and over 3 billion dollars of energy efficiency services, has testified as an expert witness in 16 proceedings before state utility commissions, and has worked in more than 40 states and provinces throughout North America. Mr. Weaver is also active in the Colorado cleantech ecosystem. He chairs the Colorado Cleantech Community networking group, and has worked with a range of cleantech accelerators, including the Rocky Mountain Cleantech Open, the Boulder Energy Challenge, and the International Growth Forum. Prior to founding First Tracks, Mr. Weaver held senior leadership positions with the consulting firm Barakat & Chamberlin and the retail energy supplier PG&E Energy Services.

Howard Branz, Senior Research Associate, University of Colorado, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI)

Dr. Howard Branz is Senior Research Associate at the University of Colorado’s Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) and a consultant to early stage technology companies and investors.  As a Program Director at the U.S. DOE Advanced Projects Research Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), Branz chose a portfolio of 13 projects in the 2012 OPEN FOA.  He also conceived and launched the FOCUS Program, which was ARPA-E’s first solar conversion program. FOCUS combined thermal storage with advanced PV and optics to produce low cost, low carbon, dispatchable electric power.  Before his term at ARPA-E, Branz was a Research Fellow and group leader at the the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). During more than 25 years at NREL, Branz led research in photovoltaics, nanotechnology, electrochromic windows, semiconductors, optics, epitaxy, photoelectrochemistry and materials science, and published over 110 scientific papers in refereed journals.  More than half of his 20 patents have been licensed by industry.  The record-efficiency “black silicon” solar cell designs his group pioneered are today the foundation for more than 1 GW of industrial black silicon PV modules. Branz earned his Ph.D. in Physics at MIT, was named a Fulbright Scholar and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Ryan O’Hayre, Professor and directs the Advanced Energy Materials Laboratory, Colorado School of Mines

His research centers on advanced ceramics and energy materials, emphasizing aspects of electronic and ionic oxides, transparent conducting oxides, catalysis, fuel cells, and electrochemistry with over 120 peer-reviewed publications in these areas as well as several patents and book chapters. Prof. O’Hayre is lead author of Fuel Cell Fundamentals, the world’s best-selling textbook on the subject of fuel cell science and technology (translated into both Chinese and Korean) and he recently published an undergraduate textbook on Materials Kinetics (Materials Kinetics Fundamentals, John Wiley and Sons, 2015) based on a course he teaches at CSM on this subject. Prof. O’Hayre has received several research and teaching honors including CSM’s Research Excellence Award (2015), Chinese Academy of Sciences Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (2012-13), 2011 Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, The ASM Bradley Staughton Award (2010), and the 2009 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), the US’s top honor for early-career scientists and engineers. He collaborates with a number of National Labs and international Universities, including the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak-Ridge National Laboratory, Risoe-DTU in Denmark, and DICP in China.

Greg Rieker, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Greg Rieker is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. He leads the Precision Laser Diagnostics Laboratory, which aims to understand and improve energy and atmospheric systems through laser-based sensing. The laboratory recently spun out LongPath Technologies, Prof. Rieker’s second startup, that will offer methane monitoring and leak detection services on a regional basis for oil and gas companies. The company is the result of an ARPA-E funded program. Greg earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He was awarded an NRC research associateship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which he completed before joining the University of Colorado in 2013. Greg received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2015, and the Vogel Family Faculty Fellowship and RIO Faculty Fellowship in 2017.

Prof. Rieker will discuss his experiences with the ARPA-E MONITOR program. The program funded 10 teams across industry and academia to develop low-cost technologies for locating methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure. Prof. Rieker led a team from CU, NIST, and NOAA to develop a laser-based regional monitoring system. They successfully completed all ARPA-E milestones over a two year period, leading to the formation of a new startup company and ARPA-E plus-up funding.

John McKay, Professor of Plant Evolutionary Genomics, Colorado State University

John McKay leads a research group on the genetics of adaptation in crops and model systems, with a focus on drought. In 2014, when US ended prohibition of hemp, McKay co-founded New West Genetics to apply modern genomics and breeding to Cannabis sativa. His research examines evolution and gene function at both the phenotypic and molecular levels. His genetic discoveries are in the commercial breeding pipeline for multiple crops. McKay’s publications have been cited over 4,000 times, and he serves on scientific review panel in the US and internationally.


Aaron Ptak, Senior Scientist, National Center for Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Dr. Ptak is a Senior Scientist in the National Center for Photovoltaics. He received his doctorate from West Virginia University where he worked on growth kinetics and doping of III-Nitride materials grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). He joined NREL after graduation in 2001 and has since worked on the growth and characterization of various materials and devices, including dilute nitrides and dilute bismides, coincident-site lattice matched alloys, and other novel materials for photovoltaic applications. Recent work has focused on the use of hydride vapor phase epitaxy to enable the use of highly efficient III-V materials in one-sun and low-concentration applications. Dr. Ptak has authored or co-authored more than 110 papers and 2 book chapters, given more than 50 invited and contributed presentations, and been awarded five patents. His research interests include growth kinetics, MBE of new materials, low-cost III-V deposition techniques, and photovoltaic materials and devices.

Ryan Richards, Associate Vice President for Research, Colorado School of Mines

Dr. Richards’ appointments include Professor (2013-) and Associate Professor (2007-2013), Department of Chemistry, Interim Director, Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC) (2016-), and Associate Vice President of Research (2016-), Colorado School of Mines and Joint appointment at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (2014-). In addition, Dr. Richards is Associate Professor (2007) and Assistant Professor (2002-2007) of Chemistry and BioChemical Engineering, School of Engineering and Science, College Master (2003-2007), Jacobs University Bremen (formerly International University Bremen), Germany. He was a Max Planck Research Fellow (Postdoctoral) and group leader for EU Apollon project, Max Planck Institute für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim a.d. Ruhr, Germany, August 2000-July 2002. In addition, he was visiting Researcher, Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Novosibirsk, Russia, January-June 1999. Group of Heterogeneous Catalysis. He earned his Ph.D. from Kansas State University, M.S. from Central Michigan University and a B.A./B.S. from Michigan State University.