Pika Energy Leadership
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.
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Kristen A. Helsel leads commercial business development efforts and marketing for Pika Energy. Kristen was formerly vice president of sales and business development for CyPhy Works, a market leading maker of persistent tethered drones and for Aerovironment, makers of EV charging solutions. She has also held sales and executive positions with Eclipse Management, Swift Engineering and General Motors. She holds a BS in Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Michigan.
Chief Finance Officer/Chief Operating Officer
Bill Hetzel leads Pika Energy’s finance, operations, and human resources.. 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 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.