Advanced Carbon Utilization
John J. Rockwell
CEO and President
John has more than 25 years of experience managing and developing companies commercializing products in numerous CleanTech markets as well as making venture capital investments in these markets. Prior to Accelergy, he has served as the leader of four companies all of which became leaders in their market and realized successful exits for their investors. John has invested, developed and managed companies broadly across the CleanTech sectors including cleaner chemicals and fuels, materials substitution, manufacturing efficiency, supply chain, energy storage, energy efficiency, smart grid, and solar. During his career, he has invested in 22 companies in the CleanTech space, with 14 of those investments having realized an exit.
Previously he was a Founder and Managing Director of Element Partners, an $800 million venture capital and private equity firm focused on CleanTech investments. Prior to Element, John was a Partner at Advent International Corporation, now a $30 billion global private equity firm, during which time he managed the firm’s California office for 9 years
Before Advent, John spent 7 years at Materia Ventures Associates, investing in and managing early-stage companies that were commercializing applications of advanced materials technologies. He also served as CEO of Luxar Corporation, a manufacturer of CO2 lasers for the medical market and as President of SSC, Inc., a manufacturer of high performance ceramic oxide materials used in superconductors, fuel cells, catalysts and other applications. Both Luxar and SSC had successful exits, the former through a merger with ESC Medical and the latter through a sale to Praxair.
Early in his career, John held various positions at 3M Corporation in its Acquisitions and Business Development Department including working in the company’s corporate venture capital program.
Prior to his business career John had a successful hockey career including playing professionally, being a member of the U.S. Junior National Team and of a U.S. Select Team that won the Spengler Cup.
John received a BS in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. John has served on the boards of more than 25 companies in his career including, among others, the boards of Accelergy Corp., EdeniQ, Inc., FiveCubits, Inc., GarrettCom, Inc., HiQ Solar, Inc., Luxar Corp., OK International, Inc., RedPrairie Corp. and SSC, Inc. John is a member of the Michigan Technological University School of Business and Economics’ Dean’s Advisory Board, past Chairman of the CleanTech Venture Network Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Michigan Technological University Hockey Enrichment Campaign. He is a member of the Michigan Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Dr. Rocco Fiato
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Rocco Fiato brings over 30 years of experience in synthetic fuels catalysis science and process engineering, corporate strategic planning, and intellectual property management from the oil and gas industries to Accelergy.
Before joining Accelergy, he was with ExxonMobil, where he retired as a member of the executive staff for the Research & Engineering Company with responsibilities for advanced catalytic process technology development, strategic planning and IP program development on synthetic fuels. Over the course of his career, he served as Head of Catalysis Science in Exxon Corporate Research, Head of Competitive Technology Assessment in the Process Engineering Department, Intellectual Property Manager for the Gas-to-Liquids Technology Division, and Technical Advisor to the Corporate Planning Department of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company.
Dr. Fiato served on the 2011-2012 DOE Quadrennial Technology Review Panel for the US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Strategy Development initiative.
Dr. Fiato served as 2005-2006 chairman of Energy Frontiers International, a non-advocacy association of the world’s leading oil-gas-power companies, and has been active in programs for the U.S. Department of Energy, the US Department of Defense, the NSF, and the National Research Council. He also serves as a corporate board advisor to Global Thermostat Corporation and to Calera Corporation, and has served as a contributing editor to the Materials Research Society.
He is a named inventor on 82 U.S. and 296 foreign patents and author of more than 48 publications on various aspects of alternative energy and synthetic fuels production. He holds a PhD in physical organic chemistry from the University of Rochester and BS in chemistry from Clarkson College.
CFO & Vice President – Corporate Development
Mr. Smitherman brings over 25 years of working with early and midsized companies in a range of industries. He brings a wealth of experience as an operator, venture capitalist, and M&A specialist. Since 2007, Mr. Smitherman has been working as an entrepreneur with early and mid-sized companies. He came in as CEO to turn around FreeConference.com, the largest free conferencing company in the U.S. He was COO of mKlik a mobile video start up and CEO of Expert Insight a mobile content company. Additionally, he has worked with a variety of companies supporting their business development, financial, and fund raising strategies.
Prior to his operating experiences, he was brought in the help build American Capital Strategies’ Technology Group and establish a Silicon Valley presence. In its first year of operation, the group invested $330MM in both early and revenue stage companies. From 1997 through 2004, Mr. Smitherman was a partner with Advent International. He was the managing partner responsible for a joint venture investment fund in New Zealand and Australia and a lead member on the investment committee. From 1988 to 1997 Mr. Smitherman was a venture capitalist and M&A specialist for Ameritech, one of the Regional Bell Operating Companies formed from the breakup of AT&T. He executed a broad range of deals from early stage ventures to multi-billion dollar acquisitions.
Mr. Smitherman has served on over 25 boards including Topspin Communications (Acquired by Cisco), Broadvision (NASDAQ:BVSN), Combinet (Acquired by Cisco), Advanced Radio Telecom (NASDAQ:ARTT), Connexn (Acquired by Azure Solutions), DTI Networks (Acquired by Coppercom Communications), XIOtech (Acquired by Seagate), Lightware (Acquired by Plus Corp), Level One Communications (NASDAQ: LEVL, Acquired by Intel) and Radish Communications (Acquired by Systemsoft).
Mr. Smitherman received a BS in aerospace engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Mark P. Allen
Vice President – Integrated Carbon Solutions
Mark Allen is a licensed professional engineer with more than 25 years of experience in the design, construction and operation of large-scale engineering, infrastructure and environmental projects, including biological process systems with capacity of more than 500 million gallons per day. As a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Allen co-founded A2BE Carbon Capture in 2007 and a corporate knowledge management company in 1999. Previously, he managed large engineering organizations for Rust Environment and Infrastructure, Metcalf & Eddy, SAIC, and others. Under these organizations he had full profit and loss responsibility for multiple lines of business, including water and wastewater engineering, environmental engineering, hazardous and solid waste engineering, transportation engineering, information technology and other professional service offerings. In the algal biomass industry, he focuses on process engineering, systems integration and systems architecture for scalable algal biomass production and deployment. He is a thought leader in carbon capture and reuse, employing algal biomass and terrestrial carbon sequestration integration with large scale industrial processes. Mr. Allen is a founding board member of the Algal Biomass Organization and has served as Chairman and President. He continues to serve as a board member and provides a leadership role in the Executive Policy Council with frequent policy engagement on Capital Hill and with the various departments and agencies of the federal government that oversee renewable energy and low carbon initiatives.
Mr. Allen holds a Civil Engineering degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is also a former Adjacent Professor of Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology.