President and Co-Founder
Ben Polito has been building clean energy technology since his high school days on an island farm in Maine, beyond the reach of grid power. Ben was the lead mechanical engineer on the team that developed the groundbreaking Skystream small wind turbine. Prior to launching Pika Energy, Ben built the east coast office of GreenMountain Engineering, a design consulting firm serving clean technology startups, and served on the founding team of 1366 Technologies, where he developed texturing methods for high-efficiency silicon solar cells. He holds patents and patents-pending on technology ranging from implantable medical devices to algae biofuels to solar cells. Ben earned a mechanical engineering degree from MIT, where he developed 3D printers, built autonomous submarines, and worked on Eink, the display technology of the Amazon Kindle.
Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder
Joshua Kaufman grew up on the Great Plains of Kansas where he learned first-hand of the power of the wind and the sun. Joshua served as the sole electrical engineer at Southwest Windpower, where he led development of control electronics for the Skystream, Whisper and Air wind turbines. He also served as a consultant to numerous startups developing wind and solar energy products, including Windspire, California Wind Systems, PetraSolar, SunPower and SolFocus. Many of these companies struggled to meet their power and data transmission needs, and this experience led Joshua to develop Pika’s REbus™ Nanogrid technology. Joshua holds BS and MEng degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, with a focus on power electronics and feedback control.
Chief Operating Officer
Bill Hetzel leads Pika Energy’s operations and finances. Bill developed his passion for outdoor adventure and the environment working summers as a camp counselor in Maine. Bill started his career as a management consultant for Oliver Wyman, and then he moved to Merck & Co. where he engineered global chemical plant capacity for their active pharmaceutical ingredients. For the next 13 years, Bill worked at Tom’s of Maine as leader of Procurement, Supply Chain, and then as Plant Manager, responsible for all the operations of their Sanford, Maine facility. Bill holds a BS in chemistry from Yale, and an MS in chemical engineering and an MS in management, both from MIT.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Rob Smart spearheads Pika Energy’s partnering efforts as Director of Strategic Partnerships. Rob has spent over seven years in the renewable and distributed energy space, including leading marketing and strategy for Northern Power Systems, where his team helped grow sales from $16MM to $45MM and oversaw the company’s new product development process. He also served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing at NativeEnergy, an innovative project development company in the carbon market, and in corporate development at Intel Capital. Rob earned his MBA from the University of Washington and BS from Arizona State University.
Director of Channel Sales and Sales Operations
Andrew Hickok joined the Pika team in 2011 to lead the company’s early stage business development, marketing and sales activities. Andrew’s background spans the electric utility and clean-tech sectors, including consulting for Concentric Energy Advisors and strategic planning for demand response pioneer EnerNOC. Prior to joining Pika, Andrew managed sales operations for solar panel manufacturer Evergreen Solar. At Pika Energy, Andrew has grown Pika’s international partner network of solar and wind dealers, all while ensuring consistent quality of installations at Pika customer sites. Andrew earned his MBA from Boston College and holds a BA from Middlebury College. He is a current Board Director with the Small Wind Certification Council.
Director of Sales Development
Chip Means leads Pika Energy’s marketing and media-related activities. Chip permanently relocated to Maine in 2000, leaving Boston’s North Shore for southern Maine’s artistic culture and outdoor opportunities. He spent the first decade of his career in media, first at EBSCO Publishing, where he worked as a writer for academic databases, and then at MedTech/HIMSS Media, where he led the development of digital media products for audiences in the health care sector. His background includes lead generation, branding, marketing communications, writing and editing, project management and web development. Chip’s personal pursuits include classical guitar, creative writing and homebrewing. He earned a BA in English from Bates College.
Senior Electrical Engineer
Ed Hall has led the design of dozens of commercially available inverters and other power converters. Ed developed power electronics for MIT’s Lincoln Labs in the 1980s, after which he founded Advanced Energy Systems to commercialize PV inverters. Before joining Pika Energy to lead power converter and embedded software design, Ed offered freelance design services for companies needing power converters for wind and solar power products. He brings decades of specific power converter expertise to the team.
Ben Wilkins joined the Pika team in 2011 after moving to Maine in 2010. He holds a B.S. in Biology from Florida Atlantic University with focus on marine ecology. Ben brings to Pika a decade of experience building and managing multi-million dollar construction projects, and a detail-driven approach to problem solving. Ben’s work at Pika has focused on alternator development and manufacturing, establishing SOPs for component assembly and the organization and management of test site installations. He is an experienced yoga instructor, having learned under the tutelage of a direct disciple of Swami Vishnu Devananda.
Rachel Taylor builds Pika Energy’s products and leads facility improvement efforts. She comes to Pika with a diverse background in technical design and construction as well as project management. Rachel, a Cum Laude mathematics graduate from the College of William and Mary, came to Pika Energy in mid-2016. Post graduation, Rachel moved to Maine where she took up work on an organic farm, spurring a new passion and appreciation for environmental stewardship. This new passion, combined with over a decade of experience as a stage technician and carpenter led her to a career in renewable energy. Rachel worked as a NABCEP certified solar installer and project manager before joining the Pika team. When she’s not working on the next big thing at Pika, Rachel might be found performing with the Maine Pops Concert Band, playing any one of five instruments or singing.
Eric Senecal leads production and quality control for Pika Energy’s products, including the T701 Home Wind Turbine and EconoTower DIY Kit. Eric came to Pika in 2014 as a manufacturing technician from a diverse background in public planning, conservation and craftsmanship. After earning his BA in geology from the University of Rochester, Eric went on to earn a masters degree in urban and environmental planning from Tufts. He used his masters degree to plan bicycle and pedestrian access in Ipswich, Massachusetts and in watershed/water quality management planning. Eric’s passion for fine craft extends beyond his work at Pika, and into luthiership, boat building and backyard farming. Eric also plays baseball in the wooden bat league.
Tony Nuzzo is an electrical engineer who also leads Pika’s technical service and troubleshooting. Tony is a Maine native who built his first wind turbine out of junkyard parts while attending the Maine School of Science and Mathematics in Limestone. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maine. While attending UMaine, Tony worked in the Power Conversion and Renewable Energy Lab developing hardware to support research efforts in wave energy converter systems. He also worked closely with Black Bear Robotics and launched t-shirts from the group’s robotic t-shirt launcher at Fenway Park.
Lance Doiron participates in the design of Pika products, and is heavily focused on testing and improving products before they go out to market. Lance came to Pika Energy as an intern from the Blackstone Accelerates Growth foundation and wasted no time showing his potential. Since starting work in June 2014 he has made major contributions to the design of our B801 charge controller and Pika’s power electronic nanogrid technology. Prior to coming to Pika, Lance studied at the University of Maine, where he graduated with a BS in electrical engineering in just three years. During that time he was awarded several scholarships, most notably the Horatio Alger National Scholarship for Distinguished Americans. His work on AC to DC power conversion has been published by the APEC. In his spare time, Lance enjoys contributing to innovative crowdfunding campaigns and building high-powered gaming computers.
Jacob Miller-Mack performs design, analysis, prototyping, and testing of mechanical components and assemblies related to Pika Energy’s wind turbine products. Jacob came to Pika Energy in 2013 as a mechanical engineer. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, where he studied robotics and computer programming. Jacob is responsible for the development of motion controlled and automated equipment for manufacturing and testing of our products. One example is a thermal-cycling dynamometer used to test the T701 Turbine’s performance in extreme temperatures. When not designing and building machines for Pika, Jacob can be found bicycling or cross-country skiing in the beauty of Southern Maine. He also enjoys woodworking projects at his home in North Yarmouth, Maine.
Terran Siladi designs and builds Pika Energy’s products. Terran, a mechanical engineering graduate of UMaine Orono came to Pika in 2015. Terran uses his engineering skills in the design, automation, testing and manufacturing of Pika’s manufacturing process development. Terran is responsible for the immaculate manufacturing processes behind the cleanroom-assembly of our turbine’s intricate alternator cores, as well as much of the mechanical innovation in our solar optimizers. Before coming to Pika Terran worked on the design of the VolturnUS turbine, a 1/8th scale version of a 6MW floating off-shore turbine concept, a first for the world. Other projects included the design of composite racing bicycles and alpine ski presses. In his free time, Terran enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling, and cooking foods that he can’t pronounce.
Sales and Marketing Technician
Jeremy Niles designs, builds and tests Pika Energy’s production design materials, marketing collateral and customer support materials. Jeremy came to Pika in 2013 as an intern from Blackstone Accelerates Growth foundation while earning his BS in Business Administration at the AACSB accredited USM school of business. He has been part of the team ever since, managing Pika Energy’s website, trade show equipment, and marketing materials, and supporting sales. When he is not working, Jeremy can be found far away on his motorcycle, or on Maine’s beautiful shores and waterways chasing fish.
Devon is responsible for the the construction of Pika’s products, specializing in clean-room assembly and the the construction of our class-leading T701 wind turbine. He graduated from the University of Maine with a BS in philosophy. While he was in school his studies focused on environmental ethics, deep ecology, and Indian philosophy. He brings a detailed-oriented set of construction skills to Pika, honed building net-zero sustainable housing. His passion for sustainability and environmental ethics has led him to work as a farmer; both as an apprentice on a small diversified organic vegetable farm in Montville Maine, and to help establish a farm cooperative in Brooks Maine. Devon is a talented musician and audio producer. He spends his free time writing songs, recording music, and collaborating with a diverse array of musicians from Maine to New York.