Our Team

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Board of Directors



Rick Rutkowski, CEO and Co-Founder

Rick RutkowskiPrior to joining ClearSign, Rick Rutkowski co-founded Microvision, Inc., a leader in optical beam-scanning display and imaging systems and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Director. In 2000, Rick co-founded Lumera Corporation, a leading developer of a broad range of devices used in optical communications, biomedical analysis and broadband imaging that are based on the company’s proprietary nano-materials and electro-optic polymers. Rick has acquired substantial expertise in electronic displays, information visualization and visual interface design, mobile computing, MEMS technology and optical MEMS technology, nano-materials and electro-optic materials technology, electro-optical component and systems technology and communications network protocols. Rick has served several times as an invited member of National Technology Transfer Center’s Advisory Panel. He has frequently been featured as a speaker or panelist at technology and business conferences, and has appeared on local and national television numerous times. He was honored as a Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum in 2002 and has been acknowledged by the University of Washington for his support of the University’s research efforts.

Joe Colannino, CTO

Joe ColanninoJoe Colannino was formerly the head of global R&D at John Zink Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries and a worldwide leader in the supply of combustion and air pollution control equipment to the energy industry. There, his responsibilities included management of intellectual property, oversight of John Zink’s testing facility and of the John Zink Institute, which trains more than 1,000 students per year in various aspects of combustion. Joe has more than 25 years experience in the combustion industry and has authored or contributed to several books including Industrial Combustion Testing, The Air Pollution Control Guide, The John Zink Combustion Handbook and Modeling of Combustion Systems – A Practical Approach. He is a registered professional engineer and has written and reviewed problems appearing on the NCEES professional engineering exam, given in all 50 states for professional engineering licensure. Joe’s areas of expertise include R&D management, combustion, pollutant formation and control, and statistical experimental design. Past and present memberships include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, the Air and Waste Management Association, the American Statistical Association and the National Association of Professional Engineers.

Jim Harmon, CFO

Jim HarmonJim Harmon is the former Chief Financial Officer of Sahale Snacks, Inc., a nationally recognized premium snack manufacturer headquartered in Seattle. There, he was responsible for all financial matters including acquisition of commodities. Previously, Mr. Harmon was Treasurer and Secretary of Sabey Corporation, a Seattle-based real estate and investment company that is among the nation’s largest data center owners, with tenants such as Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase. He was responsible for all financial matters including transactions and financings for large commercial properties and both publicly and privately traded securities. Prior to his hiring, Jim assisted Sabey Corporation in the initial public offering of one of its affiliates, Sun Sportswear, Inc. Previously, Jim was a certified public accountant with Price Waterhouse where he became an Audit Manager specializing in the manufacturing and retail industries, including SEC registrants filing under the 1933 and 1934 Acts. Jim received a B.A. in Business Administration/Accounting from Washington State University.

Geoff Osler, CMO and Co-Founder

Geoff OslerPrior to co-founding ClearSign, Geoff Osler was Director of Partner Marketing for Adobe Systems, Inc. where he was responsible for worldwide programs with membership in excess of 10,000 developers, service providers, and certified training centers. Geoff has managed marketing teams in Europe, Asia and the Middle East in addition to the United States and Canada. Prior to Adobe, he was co-founder and marketing director of Crosstree Systems Inc., the developer of Target, one of the world’s first daily, industry-specific email news services. In 1994 at Science and Information Technology, Ltd., Geoff was part of the team that created MAPS, one of the first software systems to enable web-based image searching and content management. Geoff concluded agreements placing MAPS at some of the world’s leading publications including The Times of London, The Daily Mirror and The Economist. From 1992 to 1994, at the beginning of the shift to a free market, Geoff was a senior manager at Apple Computer in Warsaw, Poland with responsibility for product localization and securing exclusive distribution agreements with leading U.S. software and hardware manufacturers.

Andrew Lee, Senior VP, Business Development

Andrew LeeAndrew Lee was previously Senior Vice President, Sales and Business Development for Adapx, Inc. There, he had overall P&L and revenue responsibility, assisted with three product launches, and developed OEM relationships in the medical, commercial and defense industries. Previously, Andrew held the position of Vice President, Sales of Microvision, Inc., where he developed numerous channel partners in the US, Europe and Asia. During his tenure, Microvision was awarded the “Fast 50” designation from Deloitte & Touche for sales growth in Washington State. Andrew has extensive experience in the aerospace, defense, retail, transportation and medical sectors and expertise in sales force leadership, and the formation of strategic alliances and contract negotiation.

Roberto Ruiz, Ph.D., Senior VP, Product Development

Prior to joining ClearSign, Dr. Ruiz served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of OnQuest, Inc., a division of Primoris Services Corporation, and a provider of engineering, procurement and construction services for fired heaters (primarily in refinery applications), waste heat recovery units and LNG, hydrogen, ammonia and bio-fuels plants. Previously, he served as Vice President of the Process Burners Group at John Zink Company LLC where he had full operating and P&L responsibility for the company’s original product line. His customers included most major domestic and international oil companies and OEMs. As an executive manager, Dr. Ruiz formed and led highly successful teams of engineers, process engineers, project managers, and aftermarket sales and field service professionals. He had previously been VP Technology and Commercial Development at Zink where he was responsible for all R&D as well as the management of the company’s intellectual property portfolio. Prior to joining John Zink Company in 1997, Dr. Ruiz worked with the Gas Research Institute and later with Air Liquide, where he was commercial and marketing manager in the Glass Group. Dr. Ruiz also served as a Director of Arvest Bank in Tulsa, OK, which has over 240 branches and assets in excess of $11 billion.

David Goodson, Chief Scientist and Co-Founder

David GoodsonDuring his career, David Goodson has led the development and commercialization of a diverse array of technologies including electro-optic polymer materials, advanced combustion systems and fermentation technologies. He has also been a technology advisor and consultant to several other companies in related areas. As founder of Air Pollution Systems, Inc., David invented and co-developed with the Electric Power Research Institute a novel pre-charger device to increase the effectiveness of electrostatic precipitators. The company was acquired in 1978 by the Linde division of Union Carbide and the technology remains an industry standard in the reduction of particulate emissions resulting from industrial-scale combustion. Earlier in his career, David was a senior manager at Boeing Aerospace where he was responsible for development efforts at subcontractors such as Bendix, Sperry and IBM, and was granted the US Government’s highest level of security clearance for his work in the defense arena. David’s scientific interests began in high school when he collaborated with James Watson and Francis Crick, co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, to place at the top of the International Science Fair. He was also awarded the Patriotic Civilian Service Award by the United States Army for work of value to the Army.

Board of Directors

Rick Rutkowski, Chairman

(See Biography Above)

Stephen E. Pirnat, Director

Stephen E. PirnatMr. Pirnat is President of Quest Integrated Inc., a technology incubator and boutique private equity firm, and the President & CEO of the newly formed Quest Metrology Group LLC. Previously, Mr. Pirnat served as President & CEO of the John Zink Company, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries and a worldwide leader in the supply of combustion and air pollution control equipment to the energy industry. Mr. Pirnat, a long-time executive with Ingersoll-Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Corporation, went to John Zink from a previous post as President & CEO of Pangborn Corporation, a leading supplier of surface preparation equipment and associated services to the automotive and aircraft industries. Mr. Pirnat began his career as an applications engineer with the Pump and Condenser Group of Ingersoll-Rand, where he advanced through a variety of sales, marketing, engineering, and operational positions with that company and its successor, Ingersoll-Dresser. These positions included Vice President of Ingersoll-Rand’s Standard Products Division, Vice President of Marketing for Ingersoll-Dresser Pumps, President of Ingersoll-Dresser Pumps Canada Ltd., and Vice President & General Manager of Ingersoll-Rand Engineered Equipment Division.

Scott P. Isaacson, Director

Scott P. IsaacsonMr. Isaacson has over 33 years of experience in advising and representing businesses in managing their programs related to environmental, legal and regulatory risk issues. Since 2000, he has held the position as Vice President with California Portland Cement Company where he oversees the environmental programs for this construction materials manufacturing company with operations located in the Western United States. Mr. Isaacson is an experienced legal expert on a broad scope of environmental compliance requirements for major federal environmental laws and programs as well as related state programs. He has been the principal advising attorney on environmental issues for complex, multi‑program projects to include remediation of federal and state cleanup sites, development projects, industrial air emissions, and, more recently, federal and state actions to regulate greenhouse gases. In his prior position as a partner with the Seattle law firm of Bogle and Gates, he advised clients on federal, state and local environmental compliance, land use, government contractor liability and exposure to toxic or hazardous materials as well as issues related to individual and corporate civil and criminal liability under environmental laws. Clients included local governments and a number of large and mid-size businesses and companies involved in manufacturing, production, and service. Previous to that , he was the Chief of the Environmental Law Division at the Department of the Army and the senior attorney responsible for advising commands throughout the United States on environmental policy and compliance issues arising from Army activities, and handled or supervised complex and significant environmental actions that were under the scrutiny of federal, state, and local regulators as well as interested private environmental organizations. Mr. Isaacson holds a BSc. from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington. He is a member of the bar for United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Lon E. Bell Ph.D., Director

Lon E. Bell Ph.DDr. Bell is a leading expert in the mass production of thermoelectric products. He has authored more than 20 publications in the areas of thermodynamics of thermoelectric systems, automotive crash sensors, and other electronic and electromechanical devices. Five of his inventions have gone into mass production and dominated their target markets. In 1991, Dr. Bell founded Amerigon Inc. and has been a Consultant to Amerigon since December 2010. Dr. Bell has served many roles in Amerigon, Inc., including Chief Technology Officer until December 2010, Director of Technology until 2000, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer until 1999, and President until 1997. Dr. Bell served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of BSST LLC, a subsidiary of Amerigon from September 2000 to December 2010. He has served as a Director of Amerigon since 1991. Previously, Dr. Bell co-founded Technar Incorporated, which developed and manufactured automotive components, and served as Technar’s Chairman and President until selling majority ownership to TRW Inc. in 1986. Dr. Bell continued managing Technar, then known as TRW Technar, as its President until 1991. He co-founded Mahindra REVA Electric Vehicle Co Ltd. in 1994 and serves as its Vice Chairman. He has been a Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Nextreme Thermal Solutions, Inc. since 2006. Dr. Bell received a BSc. in Mathematics, an MSc. in Rocket Propulsion, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

David Goodson, Director

(See Biography Above)


Robert E. Breidenthal, Ph.D.

Robert E. Breidenthal, Ph.D.A professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics since 1980, Dr. Breidenthal is a recognized expert in turbulent entrainment, including the high-speed mixing of fuel and oxidant and the high-velocity fluid flow that power jet engines and turbine generators. He has led projects for companies including The Boeing Company, CH2M Hill, ARCO Alaska and PACCAR, and has received research support from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Science Foundation, NASA and ASEA Brown Boveri, Ltd., of Switzerland. Dr. Breidenthal has published numerous papers for major scientific journals on subjects including ignition and flame propagation process, turbulent mixing, flow visualization, mixing and chemical reaction, elements of entrainment, and addressing complexity in laboratory experiments. Journals in which his papers have appeared include the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Physics of Fluids, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and the Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. He has presented papers at the Symposium of Turbulence and Diffusion, the International Conference on Lasers and Applications, and the International Conference on Fluid Mechanics. Among several issued patents, Dr. Breidenthal is the inventor of a method of improving fuel and air mixing in high-pressure combustion systems, which describes an approach to simplify mechanical design while at the same time reducing emissions, improving fuel efficiency and increasing compression ratios (horsepower). His work is also cited in numerous other US and international patents. Dr. Breidenthal received a BSc. in Aeronautical Engineering from Wichita State University, and a MSc. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology.

Uri Shumlak, Ph.D.

A professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics since 1994, Dr. Shumlak’s expertise includes plasma physics, innovative magnetic plasma confinement for fusion energy, electric propulsion, and theoretical and computational plasma modeling. Dr. Shumlak was the recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Abe Zarem Award of Excellence in 2003, and is a two-time recipient of the University of Washington Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor of the Year Award in 1999 and 2002. His work includes theoretical and experimental investigation of the stabilizing effect of sheared flows in magnetically confined plasmas, and he has been invited to speak at numerous international conferences. Dr. Shumlak has published dozens of papers in major scientific journals, including the Journal of Computational Physics, Review of Scientific Instruments, Physical Review Letters, The Journal of Propulsion and Power and Nuclear Fusion. Dr. Shumlak has been awarded several US patents for his invention of a Plasma-Based EUV Light Source. Professor Shumlak received a BSc. from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

John C. Kramlich, Ph.D.

Dr. Kramlich has been a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Chair for Academics at the University of Washington’s College of Engineering since 1992. His principal technical interests include combustion, with an emphasis on pollutant formation and control, and the numerical and theoretical analysis of turbulent reacting flows involving combustion. Earlier in his career, he was vice president, process research and development at the Energy and Environmental Research Corporation, where he led research into the development of pollution reduction techniques for large fossil fuel-fired energy systems. Dr. Kramlich has also worked on a number of consulting projects involving energy systems at power plants, oil refineries and biomass conversion plants. Dr. Kramlich’s research interests include mechanisms of resperable ash generation from coal and biomass fuels, development of an acoustically-enhanced afterburner for shipboard incineration applications, development of a turbulence / chemistry performance model for natural gas reburning and NOX control and flame liftoff and stability in microgravity environments. He has published in numerous scientific journals, including Nature for an advanced selective reduction process for NOX control, Geophysical Research Letters for an artifact in the measurement of N2O from combustion sources and in Fuel Processing Technology for a chemical kinetic model for the homogeneous oxidation of mercury by chlorine species. In 1996, Dr. Kramlich received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award for his work on Nitrous Oxide Behavior in the Atmosphere, and in Combustion and Industrial Systems. Dr. Kramlich’s work at the University of Washington has been supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Gas Research Institute, and various industrial organizations. Dr. Kramlich received his Ph.D. in Engineering Science from Washington State University.

Swapna Hiray, MBA

Swapna Hiray, MBAMs. Hiray is Senior Business Development Analyst at Intellectual Ventures in Bellevue, WA, a position she has held since June 2008. Previously, Ms. Hiray was a member of the technology development group at Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corporation from April 2004. Ms. Hiray directed the marketing of Pratt & Whitney’s Pulse Detonation Engine (PDE) technology, a new product for the removal of ash deposition from utility and other industrial boilers. In this capacity, she worked extensively with customers including American Electric Power (AEP). Prior to Pratt & Whitney, from 2001 to 2004, Ms. Hiray was responsible for managing and marketing of new innovations at University of Washington Center for Commercialization. There, she collaborated with the faculty and administration to establish the technical merits of new innovations and identify potential applications. Ms. Hiray has an undergraduate degree in Engineering. She obtained her MBA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business.