Our Team

Comprised of best-in-field expertise in catalysis, IP management, engineering scale-up, and early stage commercialization.


Mr. Larry Clarke joined the team as CEO in May, 2015. Larry is a former Executive Vice President with Bunge and brings more than 30 years of agribusiness experience including trading, international assignments and multiple Board positions providing a broad network of connections.

Director Research and Development
David Martin Alonso Ph.D. is Director, Research and Development for Glucan Biorenewables LLC. Dr. Alonso brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in catalysis having earned his Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Salamanca (Spain) and his PhD at Catalysis and Petroleochemistry Research Institute (Spain). His doctoral thesis focused on the production of biodiesel using heterogeneous catalysis. In 2009 he moved began work with Prof. James A. Dumesic as a Research Associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying new catalytic processes to convert lignocelluloses into valuable chemicals and fuels. He is (co)author of 9 patents and 36 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters.

IP & Licensing
Duke Leahey is a founding member of Nidus Partners L.P. and adds more than 35 years of entrepreneurial, technology licensing and intellectual property management expertise to the team. Leahey specializes in the plant and life science industry, and provides ongoing support to Glucan Biorenewables LLC in licensing and intellectual property strategy.

Director, Center for Biorenewable Chemicals at Iowa State University, Co-Founder Glucan Biorenewables LLC and SusTerea Biorenewables LLC
Dr. Brent Shanks is a Steffenson Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University and Founding Director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC). He received his B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1983 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the California Institute of Technology in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Dr. Shanks worked as a Research Engineer and Department Manager in the Catalyst Department at the Shell Chemical Company technology center in Houston, Texas (1988-1999). After joining the Iowa State University faculty in 1999, his work has primarily focused on the research and development of novel heterogeneous catalyst systems for efficiently converting biological-based feedstocks to chemicals and fuels. He is co-founder of two bio-based chemical related startup companies, Glucan Biorenewables, LLC and SusTerea Biorenewables, LLC.

Vice President Engineering
Jeff Fornero Ph.D. is Vice President, Engineering for Glucan Biorenewables LLC. Dr. Fornero brings a unique combination of industry and academic experience, including 20+ years of hands-on engineering at Shell Chemicals prior to launching his academic research career in bio-electrochemical systems. As founder of Six Convert, Dr. Fornero oversaw the merger with Electrochaea LLC in August 2011 and went on to lead the successful scale up of the technology from lab to demonstration plant.

sikander-hakimSIKANDER HAKIM, Ph.D.
Project LeaderĀ  R&D
Sikander (Sikki) Hakim, Ph.D. is Project Leader, Research and Development for Glucan Biorenewables LLC. Dr. Sikander Hakim brings expertise in the field of chemical catalysis, in particular, for the production of bio-renewable fuels and chemicals. He received his Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay (India) and his Ph.D. at Iowa State University in Chemical Engineering working with Prof. Brent Shanks, specializing in the synthesis and applications of catalytic materials for biomass conversion. He moved to work with Prof. James Dumesic in 2010 as a Post Doctoral Research Associate, gaining experience with catalytic processes for biomass conversion. He has (co)authored 10 peer-reviewed manuscripts and patent.

Professor and Chairman College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Founder Glucan Biorenewables LLC & Virent, Inc.
James A. Dumesic earned his BS degree from UW-Madison and his MS and PhD from Stanford University, under the supervision of Professor Michel Boudart. He currently serves as the Steenbock Chair in the College of Engineering and Michel Boudart Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UW-Madison. Highly recognized for his catalysis work, Dumesic is the recipient of the 2011 Michel Boudart Award for advances in catalysis, the 2012 George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and most recently the 2013 National Academy of Investors (NAI) added Dumesic to its 2013 class of fellows for significant advances that have made an impact on the economy and human welfare.



Board of Advisors

VickiVicki Gonzalez
Managing Partner, Nidus Partners
Vicki has more than 30 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience having held operational and executive positions at DuPont and Monsanto. Ms. Gonzalez is a serial entrepreneur with experience in energy and agriculture start-ups.

holtVicki Holt
CEO Proto Labs Inc.
Vicki brings more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles with Global Fortune 500 companies across a broad range of manufacturing, chemicals and materials industries

terryTerry Sutter
Executive Advisor for Aurora Capital Group
Terry has 25 years of experience in various operating roles in refining, specialty chemicals, plastics, process automation and steel in roles ranging from R&D, M&A, operations and executive leadership

peterPeter L Keeling, Ph.D.
Director of the Innovation Program – NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), Iowa State University
Peter has over 30 years of R&D and management experience in the biotechnology and biorenewables.