About us

The Pajarito Powder team brings deep experience in fuel cell startups, the fuel cell industry,    theoretical as well as practical application, as well as manufacturing and business development. Poised for success, Pajarito Powder's world-class Technical Advisory Board, experienced Board of Managers, a Chairman and CEO with fuel cell startup experience and a CTO & President with significant industry experience all contribute to a powerful and dedicated effort to produce advanced engineered catalyst supports (ECS) for Fuel Cell Electric vehicles and precious-metal free catalysts for other fuel cell applications at a fraction of the historical cost while preserving performance. And Pajarito's  patented VariPoreTM process allows readily-scaled, high-volume manufacturing – conditions ultimately necessary for cost-effective, widespread fuel cell adoption.

Management Team

Thomas J. Stephenson - CEO & Chairman

Prior to co-founding Pajarito Powder in the spring of 2012, Mr. Stephenson was a co-founder of the Verge Fund in 2003, and currently serves as Managing General Partner in addition to his responsibilities at PPC. Mr. Stephenson has worked with a number of companies in the energy industry, including current and past Verge portfolio companies Altela and Wellkeeper, and was previously on the Board of Directors of LabStart, a joint-venture entity created to assist in the commercialization of technologies from Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the sources of technology for PPC. He previously served as a director and the lead investor for Mesofuel, a start-up company commercializing novel hydrogen reforming technologies for the fuel cell industry. Mr. Stephenson has a B.A. in Physics from Rice University and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Barr Halevi - CTO & President

Prior to becoming the Chief Technology Officer and President of Pajarito Powder, Dr. Barr Halevi was a Research Assistant professor at the University of New Mexico and participated in the research and development of non-platinum group metal ("non-PGM") catalysts. He is a named co-inventor on numerous UNM patent applications, presentations, and publications as well as being a participant of the DOE EERE program "Development of Novel Non Pt Group Metal Electrocatalysts for PEM Fuel Cell Applications." He is an experienced materials scientist and developer of fuel-cell anode and other heterogeneous catalysts, with associated authorships of peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and patent applications.

Dr. Alexey Serov - Chief Scientist

Dr. Serov is the primary inventor of the formulations upon which PPC’s products are based, and is one of the world’s leading non-PGM catalyst researchers. As a Research Assistant Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at the University of New Mexico, he is a named inventor of 5 or the patents undelying PPC's technology, as well as author or co-author of numerous associated peer-reviewed publications, with several relevant additional publications in progress.

Board of Managers

Thomas J. Stephenson - CEO & Chairman
Paul Short

Mr. Short holds BS and MS Electrical Engineering degrees from New Mexico State University, and held positions as an engineer with NMSU's Physical Science Laboratory then as a principal engineer with Honeywell. He went on to found InnovASIC, a design services company that developed integrated circuits for other companies. He then successfully evolved the InnovASIC business model from a services firm to a semiconductor product company that designs, manufactures, and sells integrated circuits, growing the company to over $5 million in revenue during a period of industry contraction. He founded and ran Metaphor Computing, and was COO of Altela, a water treatment equipment manufacturer. There he lead the team that designed, manufactured, installed, and tested the next generation product and increased revenue from near zero to $1.6M in one year. Mr. Short was a co-founder of PPC, along with Mr. Stephenson, in the Spring of 2012.

Technical Advisory Board

Pajarito Powder has a world-class Technical Advisory Board that will help drive the company's technology and product to be of the highest performance and durability while meeting the price and manufacturability targets required by industry.

Dr. Piotr Zelenay - Chairman (Currently on Leave of Absence)

Dr. Zelenay is a prominent expert in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and Team Leader at Los Alamos National Laboratory ("LANL"). He has led the electrocatalysis and direct methanol fuel cell research at LANL for the past 12 years. With more than 100 research articles in renowned scientific journals, including electrocatalysis papers in Nature and Science, more than 270 presentations, 15 fuel cell patents and applications, 20 fuel cell and electrocatalysis research projects, Dr. Zelenay is recognized as a world leader in fuel cell technologies. One of his many recognitions was the DOE Hydrogen Program R&D Award In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Fuel Cell Technologies in June 2010.

Dr. Plamen Atanassov

Dr. Atanassov has over 25 years of experience in industry and academia focusing on materials processing and electrochemistry relating to fuel cells. He was a Director of the NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center and later founded the UNM Center for Emerging Energy Technologies. Prof. Atanassov's research programs include development of non-platinum electrocatalyst for fuel cells, new materials and technologies for micro-power sources, enzymatic bio-fuel cells, sensor systems design and integration of micro-analytical systems.

Dr. Scott Calabrese Barton

Calabrese Barton is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. His research group studies new electrocatalysts, materials, and electrode design for fuel cells and chemical conversion. Transition metal electrocatalysts are studied for fuel cell and electrochemical conversion applications. Bioconversion involving enzyme electrocatalysts is also of interest as a means of producing value-added chemicals from renewable resources. To this end, catalysts are studied for regeneration of enzyme cofactors, and high-surface carbon materials are developed for immobilization of enzymes, catalysts, and cofactors. Throughout this work, mathematical models are incorporated to build understanding of electrochemical kinetics and transport, leading to tools for analysis and optimization of novel electrode architectures. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 1999, after studying aerospace engineering at Notre Dame and MIT. He is the recipient of a prestigious CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Petroleum Research Fund award from the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Sanjeev Mukerjee

Dr. Sanjeev Mukerjee is a full professor of physical/materials chemistry in the College of Science and Director of the Laboratory for Electrochemical Advanced Power (LEAP) at Northeastern University. The research activity in Dr. Mukerjee’s group is an interdisciplinary approach encompassing the areas of solid state chemistry, spectroscopy, and electrochemistry of electrode materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. The current focus is targeted towards technologies for proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and for batteries, these encompass electrocatalysis of oxygen reduction, CO tolerance and methanol oxidation reactions, elevated temperature polymer electrolyte membranes, advanced rechargeable batteries with nickel metal hydrides and lithium insertion electrodes for lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries. Dr. Mukerjee received his PhD from Texas A&M University and his M. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He is the 2013 recipient of the NEU Excellence in Research and Creativity Award in 2013.


Omphalos Venture Partners, LLC

A Minneapolis, Minnesota based venture fund, founded and managed by successful entrepreneurs, that seeks investment opportunities in early stage companies developing disruptive technologies, and led by driven entrepreneurs with vision. Omphalos Venture Partners currently holds investment in Education, Medical Device, Health Services, Bio Sensor Technology, Nano Particle Technology, Environmental, Manufacturing, B2B and B2C. Click here to learn more about Omphalos Venture Partners.

Verge Fund

verge-logoVerge Fund is a highly motivated venture capital fund that invests in seed-stage, high-growth ventures. This partnership focuses on opportunities at the earliest stages of their development, even if the business plan hasn't been fully built out. Click here to learn more about Verge Fund.