Kurt is an entrepreneur who works at the interface of technology and natural resources as well as an Adjunct Professor in Stanford University’s Energy Resources Engineering Department. In 2008, he founded his first company, C12 Energy, to develop enhanced oil recovery projects using CO2 from industrial sources – C12 Energy acquired multiple properties containing over 60 million barrels of tertiary reserves.
In 2015, Kurt established Phase Change Resources (PCR) as a direct investment platform to acquire North American natural gas assets. At PCR, Kurt helped develop a proprietary, physics-based tool that more accurately forecast natural gas production from hydraulically fractured wells. Leveraging its big data tools, PCR partnered with two large private equity funds to underwrite 12 investment opportunities worth over $1.5 billion combined.
Previously, Kurt was a KAUST Research Fellow at MIT where he studied the optimization of miscible flooding projects. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in earth & planetary science and his B.A. in physics from the Claremont Colleges. Kurt has also worked in private equity and corporate advising for Bain & Company.
Jeff Jurinak, Ph.D.
Jeff is a 35+ year professional in petroleum exploration and production with 20+ years in management of engineering and technology groups. His professional foundation is reservoir engineering and project assessment, and he has significant career experience in exploration management, business strategy and portfolio management, corporate restructuring, and organizational start-up.
The core of his career was with Conoco and ConocoPhillips. Jeff served as Chief Reservoir Engineer, responsible for reviewing and approving reservoir engineering for all major exploration and production projects for ConocoPhillips worldwide and for overseeing corporate reserves bookings of 11.5 billion bbl. In this role, Jeff also helped oversee COP’s global exploration portfolio.
From 2011-2014, Jeff was Vice President of Development for QGC, part of BG Group, based in Brisbane, Australia. He was responsible for the upstream component of the US$21 billion QCLNG CBM to LNG project, including development geoscience, operations geology, reservoir engineering, production technology, and water resources.
As a principal of Phase Change Resources, Jeff was responsible for technical underwriting on all private equity investment proposals, ranging from heavy oil thermal recovery to unconventional dry gas. Jeff also led PCR’s development of proprietary production forecasting for dry gas reservoirs.
Jeff has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he conducted research on solar energy applications.
Josh Goldman, Ph.D.
CFO / CTO
Josh was an advisor to top executives at oil & gas, electric power, and energy equipment and services firms with the Houston office of McKinsey & Company. Josh was at the forefront of McKinsey’s deployment of advanced analytics, leading operational transformations that delivered 10%+ performance improvements in power and oil & gas equipment engineering design and sourcing and power plant operations. His work on strategy and corporate finance ranged from E&P business unit growth strategy, to electric power utility disintermediation strategy, to acquisition target scans and due diligence.
As principal of Phase Change Resources, Josh led business development, sourcing investment opportunities and leading commercial underwriting and valuation of all PCR transactions. He also wrote PCR’s proprietary forecasting and valuation software and led PCR’s big-data digital prospecting efforts.
Josh earned his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University for experiments in atomic physics that demonstrated how trapped electrons could be used to make quantum computers. He also holds master’s degrees in history of science from Imperial College London and applied mathematics from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a B.A. in physics from Cornell.
Ian Pearce has worked for over 40 years at the most senior levels in the field of mining and metallurgy.
In addition to his role as Senior Advisor at KoBold Metals; Mr. Pearce serves as Chair and Non-Executive Director of MineSense Technologies, a mining technology company; Vice Chair and Non-Executive Director at Outotec Oyj.; Chair of the Board at New Gold; and Non-Executive Director at Nexa Resources S.A.
Mr. Pearce was partner of X2 Resources, a private partnership focused on building a mid-tier diversified mining and metals group from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that he served as Chief Executive at Xstrata Nickel. As CEO, he was responsible for global nickel and ferronickel operations and projects in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the South Pacific. With a portfolio of Greenfield and Brownfield projects, his focus was on the continuing growth of the nickel commodity business.
Mr. Pearce was Chief Operating Officer at Falconbridge Corporation, and before that he worked on Canadian oil sands projects as well as metallurgical and mining projects for Fluor Inc. in Canada, Indonesia, Chile, and South Africa.
Mr. Pearce served as Chair of the Mining Association of Canada; Chair and Director of the Nickel Institute; served on the Advisory Board of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100; and presently on the Trans Canada Trail Foundation Board.
He holds an Engineering HND in Mineral Processing and a BSc degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He also attended the Management Advancement Program at the University of the Witwatersrand and received strategic and general management training at Henley College in the United Kingdom.
Murray Hitzman, Ph.D.
Professor Murray W. Hitzman is a world-leading economic geologist with particular interest in basin-hosted metallic systems and iron oxide-copper-gold deposits and over 30 years of experience in the mining industry, academia, and government. In March 2018, he was appointed Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professor at University College Dublin (UCD) and Director of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). He previously was Associate Director for Energy and Minerals at the US Geological Survey, where he served from 2016-2017, and prior to that, he was the Fogarty Professor in Economic Geology at the Colorado School of Mines from 1996 to 2016.
Dr Hitzman has a proven record as an ore-finder and mine developer. He began work in the mining industry in 1976, and from 1982-1993, he served throughout the world for Chevron Resources Company and initiated and managed base and precious metal exploration projects in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Spain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Tanzania, Canada, and the United States. In Ireland he led the discovery of the Lisheen zinc-lead-silver deposit, which he then guided through exploration and pre-feasibility.
His key research achievements have centered on the development of new generic models for both established and poorly understood classes of metallic mineral deposits. In addition to his industrial and academic experience, Dr Hitzman has served as a government policy advisor, including: Geological Society of America Congressional Fellow on the staff of U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman (1993-94); and American Association for the Advancement for Science/Sloan Foundation Executive Branch Fellow, serving as a senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1994-96).
Dr. Hitzman has been recognized for his work by his receipt of virtually every major award and citation in the field, including the Haddon Forrester King Medal by the Australian Academy of Sciences in 2016, the Des Pretorius Award by the Geological Society of South Africa in 2015, the Daniel C. Jackling Award from the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, and the Society of Economic Geologists Silver Medal. Dr. Hitzman received B.A. degrees in Earth Science and Anthropology from Dartmouth College in 1976, an M.S. in geology from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1978 and a Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University in 1983.
Peter Lightfoot, Ph.D.
magmatic systems lead
Dr. Peter C. Lightfoot, P.Geo. has spent 20 years as a geologist with Inco and Vale. Dr. Lightfoot served as Chief Geologist with Vale Base Metals; Vale is one of the four largest mining companies in the world, where he led exploration teams and oversaw geologic evaluation in Canada, Greenland, Scandinavia, Finland, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Angola, South Africa, and the U.S.
Dr. Lightfoot was a member of a team that made major discoveries in every one of the cobalt-producing Ni-Cu sulfide deposits in Canada. He was responsible for exploration at Voisey’s Bay, an important Ni-Cu-Co producing mine in Labrador; at Sudbury, the largest Ni-Cu-Co producing deposit in North America, Dr. Lightfoot helped make new discoveries at Victor and Totten; at Thompson, Peter was part of a team that discovered the North Hangingwall Deposit; and at Carajas, a highly productive transtensional rift in Para State, Brasil, Dr. Lightfoot worked with a team of geologists who discovered the Jaguar iron oxide nickel deposit.
In 2017, Dr. Lightfoot was appointed as the Hutchinson Visiting Industry Professor at the University of Western Ontario. In 2016, he published Nickel Sulfide Ores and Impact Melts, the first comprehensive textbook on the nickel-copper-cobalt-precious metal ore deposits of the Sudbury Igneous Complex. Dr. Lightfoot received his B.A. in Earth Sciences from Oxford in 1980, his M.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 1982, and his Ph.D. from the Open University (U.K.) in 1985. He completed post-doctoral studies at the University of Toronto and undertook extensive research on the geology and geochemistry of the Noril’sk ore deposits during his tenure as an Adjunct Professor. Dr Lightfoot is now a consultant to the mining industry through his company (www.lightfootgeoscience.ca).
David Broughton, Ph.D.
Hydrothermal systems lead
Dr. David Broughton is world renowned expert in in sediment-hosted copper deposits. David has been instrumental in several significant discoveries, including Kamoa and Platreef. Early in his career, David worked primarily in the Abitibi greenstone belt. In 1997, he became Geologist and Project Manager for Cyprus Amax’s Kansanshi pre-feasibility project, which became Zambia’s largest producing copper mine, and he later worked as a part of the AMIRA p544 team that investigated mineralization controls in the Zambian Copperbelt. In 2008, David became Head of Exploration at Ivanhoe, and there he was co-leader of the Kamoa Discovery team that was the 2015 recipient of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) prestigious Thayer Lindsley Award for International Mineral Discovery, and co-recipient of AME BC’s 2016 Colin Spence Award for Excellence in Mineral Exploration, for the discovery of the Platreef deposit. He was recently awarded the Des Pretorius Memorial Award from the Geological Society of South Africa for lifetime achievement in economic geology.
Dr. Broughton received a BSc. (Hons) and a MSc. in Earth Sciences from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. in Geology from the Colorado School of Mines. He is a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists, the Geological Association of Canada, and the Geological Society of South Africa.
Elizabeth Main, Ph.D.
Director of Data Science
Liz is a data scientist and physicist who has worked at the intersection of software and clean energy for nearly a decade. Her expertise includes driving software R&D projects, developing production machine learning systems, and cultivating new datasets. Liz holds several patents covering novel analysis techniques for electricity usage data.
Liz received her PhD in physics from Harvard University, where she built an atomic-resolution microscope from scratch to study high-temperature superconductors. She also holds a B.S. in physics from Harvey Mudd College.
Jessica Kirkpatrick, Ph.D.
Director of Data Science
Jessica Kirkpatrick has been working as a data scientist in the tech industry for the past seven years. Her previous companies include Slack, Microsoft, Hired, and Chegg. Before making her transition to the private sector, Jessica earned a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley, where she discovered and studied some of the most distant and brightest known objects in the universe, quasars, and worked with large and complex data sets. Her work led to the discovery of 200,000 new quasars.
As a data scientist, instead of spending her days finding patterns in the structure of the universe, she has spent them finding patterns in the behaviors of people in order to make technology work better for us all. She now gets to combine her love of the physical sciences with her love of data to lead Kobold Metals digital exploration and data science team. In addition to her work in private industry, Jessica maintains an active role in giving back to the astrophysics and data communities. She is on the Board of Trustees for the American Astronomical Society and the advisory board for Udacity’s data science program.
Mark Topinka, Ph.D.
Mark Topinka is a physicist and data scientist who has worked in a range of technical fields in the past two decades. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship in 2008 at Stanford University where he researched organic (polymer-based) solar cells, he co-founded Alion Energy, a thin-film solar panel manufacturing start-up. As Chief Scientist at Alion Energy, he helped grow the company to 50 employees and a full-scale R&D pilot line before moving on in 2012. Since then he has worked as a scientific advisor and consultant to a number of bay-area companies, from Google to a number of different small green-tech startups, helping solve varied challenges in data science, computer vision, and other technical areas that those companies faced.
He received his BA/BS in Physics and Engineering from Swarthmore College, and continued on to do his Ph.D in Applied Physics at Harvard University in low-temperature condensed matter physics, where he worked on imaging electronic wave functions in one of the the basic building blocks for quantum computers. He continued his work as an Urbanek Post-doctoral Fellow at Stanford where he switched from quantum computation research into thin-film and organic solar cells.
John Thompson, Ph.D.
TECHNICAL & BUSINESS ADVISOR
Dr. John Thompson has over 35 years in the mining industry and related research. He is the Chair of Genome BC, and past Chair and co-founder of both Geoscience BC and the Canada Mining Innovation Council. He was a member of the Global Agenda Councils: the Future of Mining and Metals and Advanced Materials, both with the World Economic Forum, and President of the Society of Economic Geologists.
Over the last six years, he has divided his time between Cornell University, where he was the first Wold Professor of Environmental Balance for Human Sustainability, and Vancouver, BC where he consults on exploration, mining and sustainability. He has held diverse leadership roles in many organizations including Director of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) at the University of British Columbia and Chief Geoscientist/Vice President of Technology and Development for Teck Resources.
He holds a BA from Oxford University and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Toronto.
Patrick Redmond, Ph.D.
Patrick is a professional geoscientist with +25 years of experience in international mineral exploration and the mining industry. He has a track record of value creation through exploration and discovery in multiple jurisdictions and across a range of commodities.
Prior to joining KoBold Metals, he worked for Teck Resources for over 12 years in successively more senior roles including; Regional Exploration Manager, Exploration – Europe and Africa, General Manager, Exploration – The Americas, and Technical Director of Geoscience Services. Prior to joining Teck he was Chief Geologist for QGX, a successful TSX-listed exploration company focused on Mongolia.
His diverse career has given him direct hands-on experience of all stages of the exploration business, from grass-roots exploration programs, to mineral inventory drilling and resource/reserve definition on advanced projects, through to resource expansion and orebody characterization within existing mines. He also has significant commercial and deal making experience within the exploration business.
Patrick has a strong academic geoscience record and is a recognized expert on ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal systems across a range of ore deposit types. He received his Ph.D. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University, his M.Sc. in Geology, and BA (Hons) in Earth Sciences from Dublin University, Trinity College. He is an Adjunct Professor at Dublin University, where he taught an “Introduction to Economic Geology” course to undergraduates for 8 years, and has acted as an academic advisor for a number of graduate students.
Danielle Schmandt, Ph.D.
Danielle is an economic geologist who has worked in minerals and energy resources for many years. She was first introduced to minerals exploration through her undergraduate summer job exploring for copper in Alaska. She graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Geology working under Dr. Meinert for her undergraduate thesis. She then went to get her M.S. in Geology at the Colorado School of Mines with research on the world-class Kamoa Deposit under Prof. Hitzman and Dr. Broughton.
The following years she worked in base metals exploration in the Americas, ore deposit modeling and resourcing, and geochemical analysis and interpretation of shale gas plays. She then returned to academia to pursue her Ph.D. in Australia working on the world-class Olympic Dam deposit. Her research was multifaceted and included the advancing merging of mineralogy and metallurgy studies that contribute to both enhanced understanding of deposit formation and efficient metal extraction.
Danielle has worked across the globe in a variety of geologic settings for both industry and academia. With experience across the value chain she has seen the benefits of multi-disciplinary approaches and lateral communication and believes in the ability to apply new information and technology results in success.
DIRECTOR OF DATA ENGINEERING
Joanne Wood studied materials science, chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, with a focus on titanium alloys and low-cost production methods. After a stint in management consulting, Jo followed her passion for science back into a technical role as a data engineer and infrastructure engineer. She specialized in materials science data curation and developed her expertise in data extraction and data engineering for artificial intelligence applications in the hard sciences.
Taylor Kilian, Ph.D.
Taylor is a data scientist and geologist who is passionate about leveraging geospatial data using machine learning. His career began with a heavy focus on research and education, helping design and execute multinational projects in order to gather data and analyze the ancient history of tectonics on Earth back to the first supercontinent. He earned his Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics with distinction from Yale University, where he focused on supercontinent reconstructions in deep time using paleomagnetism, geochronology, and geochemistry. He was subsequently a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley and managed the Berkeley Paleomagnetism Lab.
He has conducted field work across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Siberia, Mongolia, Canada, Sicily, India, and Wyoming. His work is published in Nature, Geology, the Geological Society of London, and Lithosphere, among others. Taylor also holds a B.A. in Physics and Geology from Colby College.
Jef Caers, Ph.D.
Data Scientist Advisor
Jef Caers is Professor of Geological Sciences at Stanford University. He is also director of the Stanford Center for Earth Resources Forecasting, an industrial affiliates program in decision making under uncertainty with ~20 partners from the Energy Industry. Dr. Caers’ research interests are quantifying uncertainty and risk in the exploration and exploitation of Earth Resources. Jef Caers has published in a diverse range of journals covering Mathematics, Statistics, Geological Sciences, Geophysics, Engineering and Computer Science. He was awarded the Vistelius award by the IAMG in 2001, was Editor-in-Chief of Computers and Geosciences (2010-2015). Dr. Caers has received several best paper awards and written four books entitled “Petroleum Geostatistics” (SPE, 2005) “Modeling Uncertainty in the Earth Sciences” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), “Multiple-point Geostatistics: stochastic modeling with training images” (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015) and “Quantifying Uncertainty in Subsurface Systems (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018). Dr. Caers was awarded the 2014 Krumbein Medal of the IAMG for his career achievement. Jef received both an MSc (’93) in mining engineering / geophysics and a PhD (’97) in engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Traci Paramore, CPA
Director of Finance and Operations
Traci is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She began her career with the international accounting firm KPMG and has 20+ years of accounting and auditing experience across several industries including financial services, insurance, non-profit and construction. Traci has a B.S. in Accounting from Troy University.
Jake Edman, Ph.D.
Director of Machine Learning
Jake is a data scientist and atmospheric physicist with experience tackling a wide variety of problems related to climate and sustainable energy. His previous work has ranged from researching the basic physics of climate change to developing software and data science tools to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy.
Jake received a B.S. in Physics from UC Irvine before moving to UC Berkeley, where he earned his PhD in Earth and Planetary Science. His dissertation focused on the physics and dynamics of convective clouds, and how they interact with large-scale weather patterns in the tropical atmosphere.
Associate Data Scientist
Savannah is a geospatial analyst and geologist who is excited about the growing intersection of Earth Science with geospatial and remote sensing technology. Before joining the Kobold team as a geoscience data analyst, Savannah completed a Masters with distinction in Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley with a focus in Geology and Remote Sensing. Her thesis focused on modeling shallow landslide occurrences in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties CA, using Geospatial Information Systems software (GIS).
Savannah received a Bachelors degree in Earth Science as well as a Bachelors in Evolutionary Biology at UC Berkeley. As an undergraduate, Savannah worked as a fossil preparator in the University of California Museum of Paleontology and conducted research in vertebrate paleontology on topics ranging from biomechanics of extinct mammals and fish to the last occurrence of a dinosaur linage before the Cretaceous extinction event.
Associate Data Scientist
Abdel is a geoscientist with over five years of geochemical data acquisition and analysis experience. Abdel conducted field sample collection, geochemical transport analysis, and geospatial modeling on complex federal and multinational corporate projects.
Abdel holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and an M.S. in Applied Geosciences from University of Pennsylvania. His master’s research project focused on characterizing unsaturated zone biogeochemical properties and soil moisture dynamics. As a cross-disciplinary environmental humanities fellow at UPenn, Abdel translated complex scientific concepts from his research into an interactive public humanities exhibit.
Associate Data Scientist
Erika is a geologist and data scientist interested in geoinformatics. She received her B.S. in Geology and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating, she worked in the Macrostrat Laboratory where she developed text mining applications and helped to build a global database of geoscientific information.
Erika obtained her M.S. in Geoscience from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her thesis work involved using groundwater models and geostatistical techniques to assess wetland restoration efforts.
Senior Software Engineer
Nancy brings over a decade of industry experience in software engineering. She has worked in problems as diverse as financial data warehouses, language processing, and healthcare, building highly curated datastores and large-scale data processing pipelines. Before going into engineering, Nancy was a mathematics Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin.
I-Kang Ding, Ph.D.
Senior Data Scientist
I-Kang is a data scientist and machine learning engineer who has over a decade of experience in a variety of fields, including financial services, semiconductor manufacturing, and solar cell R&D. He has years of hands-on experience in the full lifecycle of machine learning models at scale, from business problem definition and refinement, data and feature pipelines, model development, and model deployment and monitoring in production.
Prior to KoBold Metals, he was a data science manager at Capital One, where his work focused on developing machine learning models to detect and prevent various types of credit card fraud for the company’s entire credit card portfolios (with purchase volume equal to ~2% of US GDP), and deploying models to customer-facing production systems on AWS. He has also created inner-sourced Python packages and learning modules including self-directed trainings and in-person courses to empower hundreds of analysts to more easily automate their work with Python.
I-Kang completed his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. His Ph.D. thesis focused on the development of advanced characterization techniques to better understand the structure-property relationship of perovskite-family of solar cells. He is the author or coauthor of more than 15 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents in design of advanced solar cells. He also holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from National Taiwan University.
Director of Corporate Development
XinXin Xu has experience working on a variety of corporate transactions across a broad spectrum of industries. She started her career in investment banking at Foros Group, a boutique M&A firm, focusing primarily on the technology sector, advising clients such as Dassault Systèmes, IFS, and Kodak. She then worked as an investor at Basin Holdings, an integrated energy and industrials holdings company. Most recently, she was the Director of Finance and Operations at a PropTech SaaS startup, where she led the company to a successful Series A raise.
XinXin obtained her M.S. in Geology & Geophysics as well as her B.S. in Economics and Geology & Geophysics from Yale University, and was the part of the inaugural class of Energy Studies scholars. During her time at Yale, she worked on a variety of problems including supercontinent reconstruction with a focus on the Kalahari in Namibia, seismic anisotropy in North America, thermochronology of Glacial Valleys in Patagonia, and Chinese Rare Earth Elements policy.
Nick Knezek, Ph.D.
Senior Data Scientist
Nick is a data scientist and geophysicist with years of experience applying programming, statistics, and physics in a wide variety of fields. He received a B.A. in Physics from Dartmouth College where he built instruments and studied magnetospheric ions around Earth and near Jupiter’s moons. He joined NASA JPL in 2013, where he helped shield spacecraft from radiation and other hazards. He left to earn a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Science at U.C. Berkeley, where he studied magnetic waves in Earth’s core and the evolution of magnetic fields on Earth and Mars using a variety of computational and statistical techniques.
Nick transitioned to data science in 2018 as an Insight Data Science fellow. Prior to joining KoBold, he was a data scientist at Arceo.ai, studying cybersecurity risk using various machine learning models. There he led projects spanning the full lifecycle of data science from project proposal and management, data acquisition and cleaning, prototyping, training, and deploying and maintaining production code on AWS. He is excited to combine his physics and data science experience to important work facilitating a transition to green energy at KoBold Metals.
Staff Software Engineer
James Stevenson is a software engineer with over a decade of experience in data engineering. He has helped to build data processing pipelines from small- to petabyte-scale in a range of industries including healthcare, education, and e-commerce. In addition, he has developed a diverse array of data-driven applications in the fields of natural language processing, recommender systems, and healthcare cost and quality assessment. James studied English literature and music composition at Johns Hopkins University before going into software engineering.
Staff Software Engineer
Matthew Plough brings a broad range of software development experience. He has developed machine learning systems in the human resources space and has created infrastructure and applications for petabyte-scale healthcare data processing pipelines. Prior to his data engineering work, Matthew developed safety-critical avionics software, automatic control systems for marine and aerial robotics, and sensors for network security tools. Matthew studied electrical engineering at Princeton University and computer science at Johns Hopkins University.
Daniel P. Schrag, Ph.D.
Daniel P. Schrag is the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology at Harvard University, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, and Director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Schrag studies climate and climate change over the broadest range of Earth history. He is particularly interested in how information on climate change from the geologic past can lead to better understanding of anthropogenic climate change in the future. In addition to his work on geochemistry and climatology, Schrag studies energy technology and policy, including carbon capture and storage and low-carbon synthetic fuels.
From 2009-2017, Schrag served on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Among various honors, he is the recipient of the James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union and a MacArthur Fellowship. Schrag earned a B.S. in geology and geophysics and political science from Yale University and his Ph.D. in geology from the University of California at Berkeley.
David is an exploration geologist with diverse interests in a range of ore-forming systems. Over the last eight years he has worked with prospecting, mapping, sampling, and drilling programs on early to mid-stage gold and polymetallic exploration projects in Nevada and Alaska. As an undergraduate and graduate student, David conducted research in igneous-hydrothermal and sediment-hosted ore deposits, paleomagnetism, and structural geology.
Prior to his geological training, David was involved in resource conservation and spent several seasons with trail crews in central Idaho before developing a passion for geoscience as an undergraduate. David has an M.Sc. in Geology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a B.A. in Geology from Colorado College.
Country Manager – Zambia
Alex has managed exploration programs in Zambia and DRC from conceptual target generation through to resource definition drilling for both copper-cobalt and lead-zinc sediment-hosted deposits. Alex has been based in Zambia since 1999 and led programs for Avmin, Teal, and MMG. Earlier in his career, Alex was section geologist on a Witwatersrand gold mine, before moving into exploration geology in Namibia, where he undertook regional and detailed geochemical and geological mapping programs, the results of which led to planning, implementing and interpreting diamond and percussion drill programs. Alex holds an MSc in Mining Geology from the Camborne School of Mines.
Ian has spent +20 years working in the mineral exploration and the mining industry. Prior to joining KoBold Metals, he worked for Vale/Inco, largely on greenfield projects in Canada, Scandinavia and Africa. He has also worked in the mines and brownfield exploration in two of the larger Ni-Cu Mining camps of the world, those being Thompson and Sudbury.
This diverse career has given him valuable experience in the various stages and aspects of the mineral exploration business from project generation, to field work to management of projects, having set up and managed exploration projects in several countries. Ian has a strong background and passion for the structural controls and pathways for mineral deposit formation having received his M.Sc. from University of Manitoba with a focus on economic and structural geology, and his B.Sc. (Hons) in Geology and Applied Geology from Glasgow University, Scotland.
Damian Burch, Ph.D.
Senior Data Scientist
Damian is an applied mathematician who has developed data-driven and physics-based models for almost 20 years. He spent most of his career in the upstream oil & gas industry, where he worked on geoscience and engineering projects that spanned exploration, development planning, drilling, and production.
Damian earned his Ph.D. in physical applied mathematics from MIT, where he studied nonlinear phenomena in rechargeable battery materials and in microfluidic devices. He also holds a B.S. in computer science and mathematics from Caltech.
Senior Infrastructure Engineer
Kawai Washburn is a software engineer with over a decade of experience in a variety of roles, from fullstack engineering to backend system development and service automation. He has worked in wide-ranging operating environments, from siloed bare-metal linux clusters backing a handful of monolith applications to global container orchestration platforms serving hundreds of thousands of concurrent requests per second, at companies that include Palantir Technologies, Digital Ocean, and Apple. In addition to his software engineering experience, Kawai has worked in public policy econometric analysis, international microfinance, climate policy advocacy, and as a teacher of math, english, and vocational computer studies. He is also a published author, with a novel that was included in many “best of” lists of 2020.
Kawai received his Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Portland and his Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University.
Yuem Park, Ph.D.
Associate Data Scientist
Yuem is a data and Earth scientist who combines statistical, machine learning, and numerical modeling techniques to improve our understanding of Earth systems. He received a B.A. in Geosciences from Princeton University in 2015, then a Ph.D. in Earth and Planetary Science from U.C. Berkeley in 2020, where he studied the drivers of climate change over the past 1 billion years of Earth’s history.
Yuem utilizes a diverse array of skills ranging from field expertise to cutting-edge computational methods, and his work spans a variety of domains including geology, tectonics, geochemistry, and climate science. He is excited to leverage these data and Earth science skills and knowledge to help society evolve into a more sustainable and equitable future.
Lib Covington began her career in public accounting as an auditor of companies ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit organizations. She subsequently specialized in the effective mitigation of operational risk at one of the largest banks in the United States. Lib holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Business from Rhodes College and a Master’s of Accountancy from The University of Alabama. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (inactive with experience).
Connie Chan is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she focuses on investing in consumer technology. Connie joined the firm in 2011 as a deal partner on the investment team before becoming a general partner in 2018. She serves on the boards of Whatnot and KoBold. She also led the firm’s investments in Knowable, NewNew, Reface.ai, and Run the World.
Before joining Andreessen Horowitz, Connie worked at HP leading its webOS efforts in China. She started her career as a private equity investor at Elevation Partners, investing in media and entertainment.
Connie is well-known across Silicon Valley for her deep knowledge of the Chinese consumer technology landscape and is often tapped as an expert to translate how trends may move from Asia to the west.
She has been named to LinkedIn NextWave Top Professional 35 and Under, Wired’s Next 20 Tech Visionary, and Fast Company Most Creative People 2017. Connie won a Sidney award for her writing on WeChat and is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum.
Connie received her B.A. in Economics and M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.
Karl White leads the Capital Formation effort at Breakthrough Energy Ventures and sits on the boards of Baseload and KoBold Metals. Karl is an experienced institutional asset management professional and has broad global investment experience having invested in venture capital, private equity, distressed securities, global tactical asset allocation and currency overlay. In addition to experience at major firms like Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Putnam Investments, Karl was also Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer for the ~$2 billion MBTA Retirement Fund. He has also been an entrepreneur in the investment industry and co-founded Elements Capital Partners Limited (Nicosia, Cyprus).
Karl has extensive board experience having served in the following capacities – Vice Chair, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees where he was also responsible for Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property; Audit Committee Chair and Member, the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees; Board of Governors, Tufts Medical Center (Boston); Board of Directors, Progress Investment Management (San Francisco); Advisory Board, European Strategic Partners, Standard Life Private Equity Funds (Edinburgh, Scotland).
Karl earned a BS degree in Pharmacy from Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and received his M.B.A. in Analytic Finance and Statistics from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.
Jeroen van der Hoek
Jeroen is an Investment Manager at Equinor Ventures and sits on numerous boards including KoBold Metals. His focus is on investments in subsurface and digital exploration and production technologies. Jeroen is passionate about investing in early phase start-ups and providing hands-on support to companies with unique technologies and broad implementation potential in the energy industry.
Prior to his current role, Jeroen had 17 years of experience in the oil and gas industry worldwide. He held various technical roles in exploration and geoscience, from Petroleum Engineer to Project Manager on exploration campaigns.
He holds an M.Sc. in Applied Earth Sciences from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.