All during this month we have been spotlighting the achievements of women in green careers. So far, we have profiled 29 women who are excelling in solar and wind power, sustainability, and conservation. Today, we are showcasing women who have found success in the cleantech sector in the United States. While men dominate in pretty much all green career sectors, finding women in the cleantech arena proved most difficult. While we have tried to present you with a well rounded list, please help us identify any we have missed by posting information about them in the comments section below.
by Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post
*Note: The Green Economy Post, is a site that is focused on addressing the unique sustainability issues we face here in the US, so the women spotlighted in this post are from the US. This does not discount the many accomplishments of cleantech women from other countries around the world.
Pamela R. Contag, Ph.D
Pamela R. Contag, Ph.D., is a microbiologist who has been called by some as “serial entrepreneur” having founded two biotech and two biofuel startups. She is the founder of Xenogen Corp. and Cobalt Biofuels, Inc. She is also the founder and CEO of Cygnet Biofuels and ConcentRX, Inc. ConcentRx, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing a unique cancer therapy. Cobalt Technologies, Inc., is a venture backed company that produces biobutanol from renewable feedstock. She founded Xenogen Corporation with two colleagues while at Stanford University, where they invented in vivo biophotonic imaging.
Pamela has filed a patent on a process she developed that utilizes algae to produce polysaccharides that can be easily converted to alcohol fuels or to biolipids, and then to biodiesel. She hopes her process will reduce operating costs by as much as 50 percent once it’s scaled up, and she’s seeking seed funding for her company. She sits on the Department of Energy’s Biomass Advisory Board and the board of Springboard Enterprises, which has worked with more than 380 women entrepreneurs and helped them raise more than $4 billion in equity. She was also named one of the “Top 25 Women in Small Business” by Fortune Magazine.
Nancy C. Floyd
Nancy C. Floyd, Nancy is Founder and Managing Director of Nth Power. Ms. Floyd has led Nth Power’s investments in Silicon Energy (Nasdaq: ITRI), Northern Power (Nasdaq: DESC), Smartsynch, Serveron, SpectraSensors and Propel Biofuels. In addition to these Boards, Ms. Floyd sits on the boards of ACORE (American Council on Renewable Energy) and the Center for Resource Solutions. She has been an advisor to the National Renewable Energy Lab, was a board member of Sustainable Asset Management in Zurich, Switzerland and is an active member of E2. She also helped organize the Northwest Business Leaders for Clean Energy campaign and was also appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to serve on the Oregon Economic and Community Development Commission.
Prior to founding Nth Power, Nancy built, managed and negotiated the sale of two high-growth energy and telecommunications companies. In 1982, she founded NFC Energy Corporation, one of the country’s first wind development firms utilizing advanced technology developed by NASA and Sandia Labs. She developed over $30 million in projects and sold the company, generating a 25-fold return on the original capital invested in three years.
Mary Jo Gresens
Mary Jo Gresens, is the CEO of Barefoot Motors, LLC. Barefoot Motors designs, manufactures and distributes “green” all-terrain utility vehicles. Mary Jo began her career with Ford Motor Company in 1976 as a Quality Engineer, and worked two decades in the automotive industry in various capacities from Supervisor of the Central Laboratory and founding member of the Corporate Strategy and Product Planning group for Volkswagen, to Lear Corporation as Director of Corporate Strategy and Development. She worked at Lear Corporation as Director of Corporate Strategy and Development and also ITT in a dual role as Chief Financial Officer for ITT Industries Europe and Vice President of Finance of the Brakes and Chassis Division worldwide.
Barefoot Motors is an off-road utility vehicle company dedicated to environmental sustainability. The company’s Electric Utility Vehicle (EUV) puts the power and torque of electric motor technologies in a zero emissions vehicle and can be powered by renewable energy sources. Over 90% of the EUV’s components are sourced in the USA (with over 40% in Oregon). Barefoot Motors is the only woman-owned vehicle manufacturing firm in the world.
Dr. Carole Cameron Inge PhD
Dr. Carole Cameron Inge PhD is President and Chief Executive Officer National Institute for the Commercialization of Clean Energy (NICCE). NICCE assists in commercializing clean energy technologies using next- generation modeling and simulation services and tools. The center plans include a World Data Center on Energy with network architecture now being developed. Carole is also the founder of the Virginia Clean Energy Business Incubator, an alternative energy service center focused on research, development and commercialization of clean energy in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Program is part of the Clean Energy Alliance and is affiliated with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U. S. Department of Energy.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Department head, executive director and founder of Virginia Tech Modeling and Simulation Center of Excellence. Executive program leader for a regional economic initiative focused on modeling and simulation to create jobs. Attracted Tetra Tech, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and 10 other businesses to the center. Developed and led sophisticated environmental programs, such as a study of the feasibility of using cellulosic biomass for a regional hospital and energy audits for area manufacturing facilities. Established small business energy services center and created energy efficiency models in cooperation with 3RiverTech, LLC, a woman-owed start-up. Model is the first small business energy service center in Virginia history and one of the first in the nation.
Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, is CEO & Co-Founder of LiveFuels Inc, a company that works to develop the most efficient and scalable algae-based biofuel process. Lissa leads strategic planning and corporate development for the company and has specialized in biotechnology investing since 1990 and been a venture capital limited partner since 1981. After learning about turning algae—animal waste—into fuel, she started her own clean energy venture capital fund in 2004.
She worked to launch LiveFuels which was officially founded in 2006. She raised $10 million from the Quercus Trust and individual investors in May 2007. To date, the company has established pilot operations across the U.S., generated extensive intellectual property and is well on its way to producing an economically feasible and sustainable algal fuel.
Diana Propper De Callejon, General Partner, Expansion Capital
Diana Propper De Callejon has more than fifteen years of work experience in clean technology, in the areas of energy, water, advanced materials and transportation. Diana brings to Expansion Capital Partners her recognized domain expertise and her global network of entrepreneurs, venture capital investors and large corporations active in Clean Technology. Her background encompasses work with Fortune 500 companies, venture-backed technology companies, financial institutions and private investors in Clean Technology. As part of her responsibilities at Expansion Capital, Diana serves on the Board of Directors of ConsumerPowerline, Orion Energy Systems, SensorTran and Tiger Optics.
Prior to joining Expansion Capital, Diana was the co-founder and Managing Director of EA Capital, a financial services firm that advised clients on new business and investment opportunities in resource efficiency and productivity. One of the first firms specialized in this area, EA Capital established itself as a leading investment advisory firm focused on Clean Technology.
Diana Schulz is CEO of Cyber-Rain. Cyber-Rain is a smart sprinkler control system that works through consumers’ PCs to automatically regulate their inground sprinkler systems based on current weather conditions. Customers can monitor the system if they want to, but Cyber-Rain is designed to check the internet for current weather conditions and adjust the sprinkler system accordingly, without human involvement, to reduce inefficient watering. During her tenure Cyber-Rain has doubled sales, opened new distribution channels and introduced a new professional line.
Diana Schulz was recently CEO of IdeaForest, which was the venture capital-backed operator of the Joann.com ecommerce site. While there she grew revenues 40%, significantly expanded web 2.0 content features on the site and negotiated a successful exit to JoAnn Stores. Prior to IdeaForest, Diana headed Corporate Development and Strategic Planning for Universal Studios where she led multiple ecommerce initiatives including the formation of MovieLink and repositioning of Spence Gifts ecommerce strategy. She was also a consultant at McKinsey & Co. She was named one of America’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs by Business Week.
Marianne Wu is a Partner at MDV where she focuses on Cleantech investments. These typically involve significant technology or business model breakthroughs applied to large, evolving markets such as solar, biofuels and chemicals, clean coal, energy efficiency, smart grid, and water treatment and management. She leverages over 15 years of technology development and business experience to help entrepreneurs build meaningful, successful businesses. At MDV, she is on the Board of Laurus Energy and works closely with Zeachem and Catilin.
Marianne has been named one of Top 10 Women in Cleantech and one of Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence. She is on the Advisory Committees of the Cleantech Open, Western Governors’ Association, SdForum and Astia. She is a member of the Hua Yuan Science and Technology Association (HYSTA) VC Group and Environmental Entrepreneurs.
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