Board of Directors

William Santana Li, Chairman of the Board

William Santana Li

William (“Bill”) Santana Li has served as our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) since April 2013. Mr. Li is an American entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience from working in the global automotive sector and founding and leading a number of startups. From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Li held multiple business and technical positions at Ford Motor Company across four continents.

His positions at Ford ranged from component, systems, and vehicle engineering with the Visteon, Mazda, and Lincoln brands; to business and product strategy on the United States youth market, India, and the emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and South America; as well as the financial turnaround of Ford of Europe. In addition, he was on the “Amazon” team, which established an all-new modular plant in Brazil. Subsequently, he served as Director of Mergers & Acquisitions.

After internally securing $250 million in financing, Mr. Li founded and served as COO of GreenLeaf LLC, a Ford Motor Company subsidiary that became the world’s second largest automotive recycler. Under his leadership, GreenLeaf grew to more than 600 employees, 20 locations worldwide, and annual sales of approximately $150 million. At the age of 28, Bill was the youngest senior executive at Ford Motor Company worldwide.

After successfully establishing GreenLeaf, Mr. Li was recruited by SoftBank Venture Capital to establish and serve as the President and CEO of the Model E Corporation, a newly established automobile manufacturer that focused on the “Subscribe and Drive” model in California. Mr. Li also founded Carbon Motors Corporation in 2003, and as its Chairman and CEO until February 2013, focused it on developing the world’s first purpose-built law enforcement patrol vehicle.

Mr. Li earned a BSEE from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy.

Kristi Ross, Independent Director

Cristi Ross

Kristi Ross is the Co-Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and President of tastytrade, Inc. (“tastytrade”), launched in 2011.  Tastytrade is an online financial network that includes a FINRA authorized broker-dealer subsidiary, tastyworks. In 2021, tastytrade was acquired by IG Group Holdings PLC for over $1 billion. Ms. Ross serves on the IG Group N.A. board of directors and IG Group executive committee, as well as the board of directors of Transportation Alliance Bank, Inc. and 1871, a non-profit innovation hub since 2019 and 2016, respectively.  Ms. Ross has been in the trading and brokerage industry for over 30 years and is actively involved in the Chicago technology and entrepreneurial community.  Since 2015, Ms. Ross served on the ChicagoNEXT Fintech Council of World Business Chicago and Co-Chaired the Capital and Finance Committee of the P33 Technology Initiative in 2018 to 2019. Commencing in 2004 to 2010, Ms. Ross was the CFO of thinkorswim Group, Inc., as a private company, and managing director and from 1998 to 2004, she was the CFO of Automated Trading Desk Specialists, a stock specialist firm on the Chicago Stock Exchange. In 1990, Ms. Ross earned a BBA, majoring in accounting, from St. Norbert College.

Linda Keene Solomon, Independent Director

Linda Keene

Linda Keene Solomon currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Wellspring Solutions, Inc., a position she has held since 2016. Prior to Wellspring Solutions, she served at global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte LLP from 1990 to 2016 where she built their Federal Government Services practice. Ms. Solomon led Deloitte’s homeland security consulting practice from 2004 until 2014 and currently advises national security and law enforcement companies who serve federal, state, and local government agencies. In addition, she has served as Executive Officer and Director on the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council. Ms. Solomon earned a BA in Computer Mathematics, a minor in French, and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Jackeline V Hernandez Fentanez, Independent Director

Jackeline V Hernandez Fentanez

Jackie Hernandez Fentanez is a founding member of Plug and Play since its inception in 2006. Ms. Hernandez serves as its Senior Vice President of global partnerships. Ms. Hernandez Fentanez graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a major in chemistry and a concentration in immunology. She has been a speaker at several international forums such TEDx, Stanford University, ClimateKIC Europe, as well as international universities and incubators. Ms. Hernandez Fenatnez will serve as the chairperson of the Company’s compensation committee.

Patricia L Watkins, Independent Director

Patricia L Watkins

Patty Watkins has been a Managing Partner of M.O.R.E. SALES Advisors, a sales and marketing advisory firm providing services to to technology firms since 2019. In 2019, she served as the Vice President of Sales for the Americas and Europe, and for Conversation AI, SaaS, Software and Services for Avaamo, Inc.  From 2017 to 2019, she served as Vice President of Sales for Genesys, Inc., a provider of cloud and on-premise customer engagement solutions, and from 2015 to 2106, she served as Global Vice President of Sales for Internap Holding LLC, a global provider of infrastructure solutions.  She possesses over 20 years of experience in senior executive roles in the global technology sector, including at HP, AT&T and Teradata, with a background that expands hardware, software, SaaS, Cloud, customer experience, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.  Ms. Watkins holds a BBA from the University of Texas, in Austin (with honors), and a MBA from Santa Clara University where she was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business Honor Society.

Patricia Howell, Independent Director

Patricia Howell

Trish Howell has approximately thirty years’ experience leading operations functions in multiple industries. She joined Element Science as Chief Operating Officer in October 2022.   Ms. Howell also serves as the Independent Director and Audit Committee Chair of CVR Medical, where she was appointed in March 2020. From February 2021 until October 2022, Ms. Howell held roles as Vice President of Manufacturing and Vice President of Operations at Avail Medsystems, Inc. From December 2019 to February 2021, Ms. Howell was Vice President of Operations at Stryker Corporation (formerly ZipLine Medical, where she held the same role from 2016-2019).  From 2013-2016, Ms. Howell served as Vice President of Operations at Pulmonx Corporation where she led manufacturing, quality, and supply chain. Ms. Howell holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She is also a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Suzanne Muchin, Independent Director

Suzanne Muchin

Suzanne Muchin is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Kellogg School of Management, and a graduate of Tufts University. Ms. Muchin is also co-Founder and CEO of Bonfire, a company created to ignite the power of women to change the rules of the modern workforce. Ms. Muchin co-hosts the popular podcast, The Big Payoff, with her Bonfire co-Founder and long time business partner, Rachel Bellow. Ms. Muchin is a leader in Chicago’s entrepreneurship community, helping build the brands and social impact strategies for some of the city’s most well-known organizations and initiatives including 1871, MATTER, Impact Engine and P33. Ms. Muchin was inducted into the Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2013 for her own ventures. Ms. Muchin is a member of the Wexner Heritage Foundation, an LP and Advisory Board member at MATH Venture Partners, a board member of 1871, and this year received the Human Rights Medallion Award from the American Jewish Committee.

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