Caine Finnerty, PhD – President, COO and Founder of WATT Fuel Cell, Board of Directors
A leading authority in the field of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC), Caine founded WATT Fuel Cell in 2010 and serves as President and Chief Operations Officer of the Company. From the beginning, he has successfully led the Company through innovation of the technology, product development, testing, certification and into full commercialization. Under his leadership, WATT Fuel Cell entered into partnership agreements with Erwin Hymer Group North America and Peoples Gas, secured a portfolio of 294 issued or pending patents, raised required capital, recruited key technology and production talent, and established a state-of-the-art additive manufacturing facility to produce the most commercially viable SOFC systems for small-scale power applications. Caine was also responsible for the acquisition of Pittsburgh Electric Engines Inc., WATT’s wholly-owned subsidiary.
Prior to founding WATT, Caine engaged in research, development and production of SOFCs, helping to establish the viability of SOFC technology for portable and small-scale applications. His 20+years of experience includes standing-up several state-of-the-art fuel cell development and pilot production facilities. He designed development labs and production lines to enable both research and full system production. He was responsible for building and leading an international team of innovative engineers and scientists at NanoDynamics Energy Inc., covering a range of expertise including materials scientists, thermal and flow analysis, electrical and software engineers, mechanical and product engineers, and pilot and production personnel. Because of the leadership he demonstrated, Caine was promoted to CTO for the parent company NanoDynamics Energy Inc.
Richard Romer – CEO
As CEO, Rich is leading WATT Fuel Cell’s commercialization activities, including being actively involved in market expansion, sales, marketing and building out the Company’s executive team. He has 15+ years of commercialization experience in the fuel cell industry and more than twenty years of international sales and marketing experience. Prior to joining WATT Fuel Cell, Rich held executive leadership positions at General Electric, Siemens, Plug Power and IdaTech where he was responsible for defining and launching new products, driving market adoption, and building global sales teams and international distribution networks.
Throughout his career, Rich has been known to be a high-energy, results-oriented and hands-on business leader with a strong executive management, sales, marketing, and engineering background. In addition to General Electric and Siemens, he has held positions as a Field Engineer at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Director of Product Development at Berkshire Corporation, Product Manager at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cyclics Corporation.
Rich holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Union College, Schenectady, NY) and an MBA (State University of New York at Albany).
Paul DeWald – Vice President of Engineering, Founder
With over 14 years of experience in portable, high-energy density system design and integration, Paul leads the engineering team at WATT Fuel Cell responsible for the design and production of WATT’s stacks, controls and product packaging. He developed WATT’s fuel cell testing equipment with a focus on production efficiency and was instrumental in the testing and passing of ANSI/CSA American FCI, UL-1741 and CAN/CSA-C22.2 No. 107.1 Certification for WATT’s Imperium SOFC system, impressively on the first try.
Prior to WATT, Paul led teams of engineers in stack, controls, and packaging design for liquid and gaseous fuel cell programs. He has extensive experience in developing portable SOFC systems, including those for lightweight, man-portable applications. He successfully managed millions of dollars of both federally and privately funded fuel cell development programs.
Paul received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Dr. Wenhua Huang – Director of Fuel Cells, Founder
With more than 20 years of experience in ceramic processing, microstructure design and characterization, Wenhua is responsible for the development of WATT’s proprietary Additive Manufacturing Process (“AMP”), including scaling AMP for commercial production. He works intimately with WATT’s material sets, including advancing performance and use of new materials in the manufacturing of WATT’s fuel cells.
Prior to WATT, Wenhua was a Senior Chemist at Henkel Corporation for conductive adhesive research. He also held the position of Fuel Cell Development Engineer at ND Energy, where he was involved in the development of high performance tubular SOFC technology.
Dr. Huang is frequently invited to serve as a reviewer for many leading technical journals in the fuel cell and materials sciences fields, such as the Journal of Power Sources, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, and Electrochemical Act.
Wenhua has written nearly twenty publications on fuel cell materials, fabrication and operation. In 2007, he was selected as the 1st Place Winner for the 2007 Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research, presented by The Bernard S. Baker Fuel Cell Scholarship Fund and the Fuel Cell Seminar. Wenhua received his Ph.D. in Manufacturing Engineering from Boston University.
Sarah DeWald, CPA – Director of Finance & Operations, Corporate Secretary, Founder
A Certified Public Accountant, Sarah brings over 14 years of experience to her role of Director of Finance & Operations at WATT Fuel Cell. She has been instrumental in raising private equity and the acquisition of Pittsburgh Electric Engine, Inc. Sarah manages all human resource, accounting, finance, legal, export controls and corporate operation activities. As Corporate Secretary, Sarah takes the lead on investor relations and management of all corporate matters and record-keeping.
Prior to her time at WATT Fuel Cell, Sarah spent five years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, specializing in oil and gas utilities and manufacturing. Additionally, she held positions at the Catholic Health System of Buffalo and Canon, Inc. Sarah has extensive experience preparing financial statements, implementing new accounting systems at international financial institutions, and assisting with the application of Sarbanes-Oxley.
Sarah graduated from Canisius College in 2004, with degrees in Accounting and Accounting Information Systems.
Bob Berger, Director of Sales
Bob joined WATT Fuel Cell as Director of Sales with a 20+ year career in sales and sales leadership in the energy and telecommunications industries. He came to WATT with extensive experience in selling technology-based solutions to both federal and state agencies and managing large scale strategic customer engagements. So far at WATT, Bob has been instrumental in the company’s transition into commercialization by expanding the number of customer channels WATT serves, targeting high volume and profitable deployments.
Prior to joining WATT, Bob held several business development positions across the United States, including Siemen’s where he was responsible for the sale of transmission planning/distribution software and power industry consulting services to the utility industry, consistently achieving objectives and maintaining a pipeline to support sales of $11M per year. Bob was involved with solution selling across the Siemens business units, negotiating with clients, product marketing, pricing strategies and proposal development.
He also served as General Manager Government Sales, Federal and Northeast State Government at United Technologies in their fuel cell division. Bob directed Government growth and market expansion in the U.S., lead a cross functional team in sales and business development for government markets, managed business requirements and supported goals for strategic business planning.
At Plug Power, Bob was Director of Sales North America for both commercial and government channels. In this position, he led the sale of fuel cell technology, exceeding 100% quota and earning the reputation as an industry leader in the sale of fuel cells for backup applications.
Before his tenure at Plug Power, Bob served as Sales Vice President, State Government for WilTel Communications, overseeing the start-up and development of the state government division. He also held positions at AT&T, including Director of Sales Operations: New York State/New York City Government, where he increased sales of $8M in 1997 to more than $100M annually in 2003. Bob has more than 20+ years of experience in the telecom industry.
Owen Taylor, President, PEEI
Owen has over 27 years of experience on development programs, including an extensive history with cathode-supported SOFC technology. Owen is the President of PEEI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WATT. Owen developed the detailed conceptual design of the Turbo Fuel Cell Engine and corresponding business plan that enabled the PEEI business to secure over $14M toward the development of cathode-supported SOFCs.
Previous to PEEI, Owen designed and developed hydrodynamic bearings, mechanical face seals, and aerodynamic components for single and multi-stage centrifugal compressors; design and development of electric drive systems for ship propulsion including high current density current collection for large DC motors and generators including electromagnetic launchers.