Board of Directors & Advisors

Mehrdad Nejhad

Mehrdad Nejhad founded Adama in 2008. He is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A., and is the founding director of the Advanced Materials Manufacturing Lab. (AMML), Intelligent and Composite Materials Lab. (ICML), and Hawaii Nanotechnology Lab. (HNL). He is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials. He received the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering and Center for Composite Materials from the University of Delaware in 1992.

Dr. Ghasemi-Nejhad is an ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Fellow and a member of SPIE, ASC (American Society for Composites), and SAMPE (Advancement of Material and Process Engineering). He is a technical committee member of Adaptive Structures and Material Systems (ASMS) of ASME/Aerospace, Co-Chair and Chair of ASMS Symposium in 2006 and 2007 ASME/IMECE, respectively, Chair of the First ASME International Conference on Multifunctional Nanocomposite in 2006, and Co-chair and Chair of Active and Passive Structures and Integrated Systems of the 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 SPIE Conferences, respectively. He has over 150 publications in composites, smart structures, and nanotechnology, including publications in Nature Materials and Science, numerous pending patents, and is an award recipient of the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records for creating the world’s smallest brush. He initiated the use of Nanotechnology in Renewable Energy at UHM.

Amit Shah

Amit Shah is a General Partner at Artiman Ventures. He focuses on early-stage investments, creating globally renowned businesses, where technology innovation and markets intersect. He targets large markets across all business sectors including materials-related technologies (Adama Materials); construction (Aditazz); dynamic, large-scale analytics (Guavus); and consumer motion processing (NYSE:INVN) amongst others.

Prior to founding Artiman Ventures, Amit was a successful repeat entrepreneur. Both companies he founded were acquired: Zeitnet (acq. Cabletron) and PipeLinks (acq. Cisco). He was also General Partner of Anthelion Capital, a seed stage venture firm based in Menlo Park, CA.

Over his career he has led investments in many companies such as Everest Design Automation (acq. Synopsys), IKANOS (Nasdaq: IKAN), iManage (Nasdaq: IMAN), Lightwire (acq. Cisco Systems), Netscaler (acq. Citrix), Sierra Design Automation (acq. Mentor Graphics), Tavant (acq. Ameriquest). He is currently on the boards of Adama Materials, Aditazz, Auryn, CellMax Life, Guavus and InvenSense.

Amit holds a B.S.EE from M.S. University Baroda and did graduate work at UC Irvine.

Frank Thibodeau

Frank Thibodeau began his business career as Founder and CEO of Geobiotics, an industrial biotechnology firm that has diversified to become GeoSynFuels and GeoFossilFuels today.  In the past, Frank was VP of Business Development at Genbook, which he grew from 400 to 2,000 clients in 8 months, garnering attention from The New York Times, USA Today and Fortune Small Business along the way. Earlier in his career he was Founder and CEO of WorldPages (was NYSE:WPZ), an internet directory company that the Wall Street Journal called “one of the 20 Most Useful Sites for Business on the Web” and General Manager of Zona Research, an Internet market research and consulting firm with Microsoft, HP, Sun and Merrill Lynch among its clients. He later became Director of Venture Investment at Itochu Technology, the most senior US venture professional for a Fortune Global 20 multinational. He is also developing a company that will create revolutionary advances in motors, generators, sensors and actuators.

Frank’s academic background includes five years on the faculty at Harvard University, a Ph.D. from Tufts University and a MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Tim Dick

Tim Dick is a Partner at Startup Capital Ventures. He is a Director or Advisor to the firm’s investments including Silvertail Systems, RadioTime, TagArray and Suturenetics. A serial entrepreneur, Tim co-founded Grassroots.com, the leading political web technology company in 1999 (acquired by Edelman). In 1995, he founded WorldPages.com, the internet’s first white and yellow pages (NYSE:WPZ, then acquired by BT). He was also the first investor in match.com (NASDAQ:IACI), and Accept.com (acquired by Amazon.) A believer in social responsibility, he has an energy conservation foundation – usehalf.org. He is an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at the University of Hawaii. Tim co-founded TRUSTe.org which is internet’s privacy standard and is a founding Board Member of Reef Check Hawaii and an active member of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association.

He holds an MBA from Stanford University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine where he founded the UCI Cycling Team.

Jud Smith

Jud Smith served as General Manager of Ashland Composite Polymers for more than twenty-five years before developing an independent consultancy. Mr. Smith joined Ashland in 1987 as a District Manager for the composites distribution business and served as Manager of supplier relations from 1992 to 1994. He also served as Business Development Specialist of Ashland’s Planning & Development group since 1994. From 1995 to 1997, Jud served in the chemicals line of business as a Director of sales and Business Director. Beginning in 1997, he served as Business Director for the Latin American operations of Ashland’s plastics business. He then served as the Director of Sales for the ingredients business from 1999 to 2000. He served as Vice President and General Manager of the composites business (FRP Supply Division) since 2000 and when Ashland Distribution implemented a regional organizational structure in 2002 he served as Vice President of the Southeast Region and Vice President of source management since August 2003.

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in education from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree in marketing from Hofstra University.

Steve Speak

Steve Speak is an executive member of the team. Read his full profile here.

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