JIM KESSELI - PRESIDENT:
As president of Brayton, Jim provides technical and managerial support for all of the company’s projects. Jim has worked in the field of energy conversion systems for 30 years, contributing to advancements in small gas turbines, low emission combustion systems, and recuperators.
Jim began his career at Lockheed/Sanders, working on gas turbines, solar-dynamic space power, thermal storage, Stirling engines, and alkali metal heat pipes.
From 1992 until 2001, Jim led the Ingersoll-Rand/NREC Energy Systems Business Unit and was responsible for the technical direction of the PowerWorks 70 and 250-kW microturbines, recuperators, and other advanced energy system development programs. Under Jim’s leadership, Ingersoll-Rand and NREC successfully introduced a line of microturbines, the WR21 recuperator, and the Siemens-Westinghouse hybrid fuel cell gas turbine, and participated in several gas turbine design programs for commercial and military clients.
From 2001 to 2003, Jim was Ingersoll-Rand’s Director of New Product Development and Director of Advanced Technology. During that period he led the high-efficiency ceramic turbine development, introduced innovations in combined heat and power, advancements in low-emission combustion for alternative fuels, and developments in recuperators.
Jim holds 17 patents relating to recuperators, combustors, and gas turbines. He is the ASME chair for the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) Microturbines and Small Gas Turbine Committee, serving since 2002. Jim received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MSME from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
TOM WOLF - TECHNICAL DIRECTOR:
Tom is Brayton Energy’s expert in thermodynamic cycle analysis and performance modeling, as applied to gas turbines and other advanced engine systems. Formerly at Ingersoll-Rand, he led design efforts associated with high efficiency radial inflow turbines and compressors. During the 10-year development of PowerWorks microturbines, Tom led the analysis and testing for over 12 new product development programs. His design, test, and analysis experience at Ingersoll-Rand included the PowerWorks microturbines, gas-turbine driven refrigeration and compressor packages, the Siemens-Westinghouse hybrid fuel cell, hybrid PEM fuel cells, the Chrysler Patriot racecar, and other complex engine cycles. Tom also performed the analysis and testing supporting the Aurora Perseus-B high-altitude turbocharger project.
Throughout his career, Tom has concentrated on challenging fluid dynamics issues within turbomachinery. His 25-year professional career covers a wide range of analysis and testing techniques, including those for propeller blade dynamics and acoustic radiation.
Tom has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (1990) and an MS in Aeronautics & Astronautics (1978), both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS from Cornell University. Tom spends his limited free time golfing.
JAMES NASH - ENGINEERING DIRECTOR:
Jim Nash leads Brayton’s Mechanical Engineering group. He has over 22 years of mechanical engineering experience focused on gas turbine hot-section design. Jim has in-depth understanding of high temperature structures, most notably gas turbine recuperators. His expertise covers a wide range of disciplines, including structural mechanics, testing, manufacturing, brazing, welding, and metallurgy.
Dating back to his early work on the Army’s AGT-1500 and later on Ingersoll-Rand gas turbine recuperators, Jim pioneered innovations in high temperature thermal strain management in heat exchanger structures. Prior to joining Brayton, Jim was the Director of Recuperator Products at Ingersoll-Rand and led the highly successful recuperator program from concept to full production of several successful products including the Rolls-Royce/Northrop-Grumman WR21 recuperator and the IR-70 and 250 kWe microturbine recuperators. Jim also led several recuperated gas turbine integration test programs for IR, including the KHI 700-kWe, the TurboMeca TM1800, and the Siemens-Westinghouse hybrid SOFC programs. Other relevant projects in which Jim served as the PI/PM include the preliminary PBMR recuperator system design and the alternate LV-100 and LV-50 military vehicle recuperated gas turbines.
The first nine years of Jim’s career were spent with Textron Lycoming, where he was a key contributor to the AGT-1500 tank recuperator development and testing. Jim has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire, and completed the Ingersoll-Rand Executive Management Training Program. Jim is an avid bicycle and ski racer as well as cabinet maker when not working at Brayton.
ERIC VOLLNOGLE - MANAGING DIRECTOR:
Since joining Brayton, Eric has accepted many engineering and managerial roles within the company. Eric’s combination of management and technical skills enable him interact closely with Brayton’s technical staff, providing effective program management and the management of our test facilities. Over the past 5-years at Brayton, he has been a key contributor in gas turbine, recuperator, combustor, and solar receiver design projects, providing mechanical design, manufacturing, and testing support. Working on a range of challenging engineering projects, he has developed a strong aptitude for CAD, FEA and CFD tools. Prior to joining Brayton, Eric gained valuable manufacturing and design experience working in the aircraft industry. He was formerly part of a team of engineers tasked with the design and manufacture of automated aircraft assembly tooling and drilling/fastening machines for Boeing and Airbus aircraft. That project led to his participation in the factory layout of an assembly facility for the Airbus A380 aircraft. Eric gained experience from projects which included 3-D CAD modeling of a flexible, automated, configurable wing assembly jig for Boeing aircraft. Eric received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University.
MALCOLM CHILD - CHIEF MECHANICAL ENGINEER:
Malcolm is the leader of Brayton Energy’s mechanical design team, with expertise covering design for manufacturing, finite element analysis, and rotor dynamics. Prior to joining Brayton, Malcolm was the lead mechanical design engineer for the Ingersoll Rand IR-70 and 250 kW microturbine engines, and was also a key team member and co-patentee of the IR recuperator. His focus has been on critical design issues for the core engine, encompassing FEA analysis of rotor overspeed, burst and containment issues, seals, bearings, and shaft dynamics. Malcolm is Brayton’s chief expert in solid modeling and computer-aided design, supervising a team of designers and draftsmen performing these activities. He is also very experienced in the laboratory environment, having directed testing in microturbine programs while at IR. Responsibilities covered instrumentation for rotor dynamics measurements, and for performance validation of engines and recuperators. Malcolm holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
SHAUN SULLIVAN - SENIOR AERODYNAMICS ENGINEER:
Shaun has been working in advanced gas turbine development for over 12 years. He joined Brayton in 2008 and took on the role of a resident expert in the fields of heat transfer modeling, thermal analysis, fluids mechanics, and simulation coding. At Brayton he applies these skills to evaluate designs and to develop innovative solutions to the engineering challenges encountered in the company’s projects. Prior to joining the Brayton team he worked at Ingersoll Rand Energy Systems (IR) where he conducted performance analyses of 70kW and 250kW microturbines developing gas turbine simulation models. He was responsible for designing and implementing a conditioning system that pretreats waste biogases for use in alternative fuel applications. At IR, Shaun developed models to perform the transient analysis of gas turbine recuperators, including the WR21 and TM1800. Shaun holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the MIT where he designed, built, and tested a microscale silicon recuperator for use with a 1-inch microturbine that was fabricated using techniques from the microchip industry. He also received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When not working Shaun spends his time playing soccer and Ultimate, running, going to the gym, building models out of LEGO, reading, and spending time with his two daughters.
S BEAR DAVIS - SYSTEMS ENGINEER/PROGRAM MANAGER:
Bear applies several decades of mechanical engineering experience to Brayton’s solar-gas turbine programs. Bear provides expertise in high temperature solar receivers, thermo-optical modeling, structural analysis, and project management. Prior to joining Brayton, Bear worked for 40 years for one company, which changed hands from first Sanders Associates, then Lockheed-Sanders, and finally BAE Systems. There he enjoyed increasing responsibility in roles of engineering management, project leadership, and systems engineer. Under Bear’s direction, Sanders/Lockheed and BAE designed, tested, and deployed scores of military defense systems, related to infrared countermeasures, aircraft deployable decoys, and precision rocket guidance systems. During a period of intensive government investment in renewable energy starting in the late 1970’s and through the early 1980’s , Bear served as principal investigator and project manager for a series of concentrated solar power projects overseen by the NSF, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sandia labs. These projects led to the successful demonstration of the first volumetric solar receivers for Brayton cycle systems. These receivers incorporated ceramic honeycomb matrix absorbers and quartz windows. A series of five programs related to dish and central tower receivers demonstrated air outlet temperatures of 1100 C to 1400 C. Prior to joining Sanders, Bear was commissioned into the US Marine Corps where he earned the Gold Wings of a Naval Aviator living the full gusto of a year-long tour in Vietnam. Bear is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy.
HENDRICK “HENRY” RASMUSSEN - SENIOR LAB TECHNICIAN:
Henry served a marine apprenticeship and underwent blacksmith training in Denmark and has worked extensively in the marine field, both as a ship’s engineer and a shore based marine systems mechanic / engineer. He has co-developed a unique electric drive for yachts and can make, in metal, virtually anything the Brayton Engineers come up with. His hobbies are music and wood working.
JOHN THOMSON - PRINCIPAL ELECTRICAL ENGINEER:
John has worked in the gas turbine industry for over 40 years: with General Electric and, Wingaersheek Turbine, a small hydro-turbine company. John’s lengthy career with GE stationed him at the company’s Evendale and Lynn divisions, and on assignment with the Italian Air force for three years.
From 1998 to 2001 John was a consultant to the NREC and Ingersoll-Rand microturbine group, performing controls, instrumentation, and test support, serving a critical role in that intense new product development effort. Formerly, John served as Chief Engineer on the Westward, an educational sailing ship for the Sea Education Association, and worked 13 years on engineering projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. As evidence of his diverse engineering skills, John is an inventor of a practical variable pitch propeller currently manufactured for the marine engine market. At Brayton, John is the inspiration behind both mechanical and electrical system innovations. John received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University, and held a Professional Engineering license in Louisiana.
JILL WELCH - OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR:
Jill holds an Associates degree in Business Management from Northern Essex Community College.
She also has experience in retail management as well as in education. Jill enjoys hiking, gourmet cooking, gourmet chocolate making and raising her three daughters.
MATT BALDWIN - MECHANICAL ENGINEER II:
Matt is a key contributor to Brayton’s Next Generation Gas Turbine program, working on all aspects of the mechanical design and analysis. Highly involved in the early conceptual design through the fabrication and test, Matt has made significant contributions to the core gas turbine mechanical design. Matt provides expertise in thermal analysis, FEA, the design of aerodynamic structures, as well as the design of bearings and seals. Matt holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. After graduation, Matt worked for seven years at Raytheon where he participated in all aspects of radar system design. At Raytheon he developed analysis and testing skills in thermal-mechanical systems, and shock and vibration. Matt also gained excellent experience as technical advisor to the Lincoln –Sudbury Battlebots Robotics Team.
RANDY FINSTAD - PROGRAM MANAGER:
Randy applies his 30+ years of gas turbine experience to Brayton’s advanced gas turbine projects, providing design and manufacturing direction to the team. At Brayton, Randy supports several gas turbine manufacturing projects related to turbine alloy casting, manufacturing tolerancing, air bearings, and cost reduction. Prior to joining Brayton, Randy was Plant Manager and Laboratory and Test Manager for Ingersoll Rand Energy Systems group over the formative six year launch period for the IR microturbine product line. Prior to that, for over 24 years, Randy was a project engineer at Allied Signal/Honeywell, working on numerous land-based, military, and propulsion gas turbine development products. Randy holds Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, as well as a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Long Beach. Randy brings experience from a career of aircraft and industrial turbine machinery to Brayton. Randy is also a veteran of the US Army stationed in Germany, where he was a fixed wing crew chief specialist.
SHARON PUESCHEL - FINANCIAL MANAGER:
Sharon holds an Associates degree in Liberal Arts from El Camino College, and a Bachelors Degree, plus Multiple Credentials, and a Certificate in Education from the University of California, Long Beach. Sharon’s background includes teaching as well as building a high-end produce business which catered to Hollywood’s elite. She enjoys hiking and hopes to complete summiting all of the 4000 ft peaks in New Hampshire soon. In the meantime, she enjoys beating her kids at paintball.
BILLY VANDERVALK - ELECTRICAL ENGINEER I:
Billy is an exceptionally versatile engineer at Brayton, active in power systems design, controls development, data system design, and fuel system design. At Brayton, Billy has led several advanced turbomachinery testing initiatives, preparing bread-board controllers, data acquisition systems in LabView™ , and running experiments. Billy holds a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to joining Brayton, Billy worked at Lockheed/Sanders, supporting the F22 Raptor testing programs. Billy is also an expert in the conversion and operation of Diesel engines on alternative bio fuels.
KENDALL COTE - ELECTRICAL TECHNICIAN:
At Brayton, Ken is responsible for electrical and building design of data acquisition systems, build-up of special test equipment, hookup instrumentation as well as test rig support on projects. He received an associate degree in ET from Hesser College as well as courses from UNH-MVB and New Hampshire College towards a Technical - Business Degree.
Ken has gained over thirty years of electrical experience with companies such as Bell Labs, First Robotics, Curtis Wright Aircraft and Ingersoll Rand. He is an avid hiker and enjoys outdoor adventures.
JEFF BEACH - PRODUCTION SPECIALIST:
Jeff brings years of manufacturing experience to Brayton. Jeff leads the recuperator manufacturing team, performing a range of responsibilities including manufacturing process development, documentation, quality assurance, and cost analysis. Jeff also provides project scheduling and day-to-day project monitoring for Brayton’s staff. This assignment utilizes Jeff’s exceptional organizational and people skills. Prior to joining Brayton in 2008, Jeff served as the foreman of the Ingersoll-Rand recuperator plant in Portsmouth New Hampshire. His creative problem solving skills and attention to detail made him a key contributor in the development of that successful recuperator product line. Jeff holds a Bachelors degree in Forestry from Oregon State University, Corvallis. Jeff is an avid outdoorsman, pursuing hunting, fishing, snowshoeing and hiking.
FIONA HUGHES - MECHANICAL ENGINEER I:
Fiona specializes in the analysis of complex thermo-mechanical systems, with a concentration on heat transfer and fluid mechanics. Fiona’s strength in the fundamentals of thermodynamics and fluids allows her to develop specialized VBA analysis codes. She is also proficient with commercial computational platforms; including CFD, FEA and turbine and compressor analysis products. At Brayton she has contributed to the design of solar receivers, gas turbine cycles, turbines, and compressors. Fiona holds a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where her studies were focused on thermal fluids and energy conversion. She gained manufacturing and mechanical design experience as a member of the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team. In her spare time, Fiona enjoys hiking, photography and furniture design.
TODD BOWSER - SENIOR DESIGNER:
Todd holds an Associate degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from New Hampshire Technical College. Todd brings a diverse mix of design and manufacturing experience having worked on laser systems and infrared optical systems in the defense industry. When not working, Todd is a boating enthusiast who enjoys spending time on the ocean.
JIM EASON - MECHANICAL DESIGNER:
Jim started his career as a machinist, setting up and running NC lathes and machining centers. He next became a manufacturing engineer, programing NC machines, designing tooling and writing manufacturing procedures. Jim earned an associate degree in manufacturing engineering from Northeastern University. He furthered his manufacturing experience supporting a large semi-conductor production floor, designing continuous flow manufacturing and demand flow work cells, writing engineering change orders, designing tooling, and supporting all production floor needs. Jim became a mechanical design engineer utilizing his unique set of manufacturing skills. Jim’s past design experience has come from the semiconductor industry, where he designed ion implantation and etching machines. Jim’s role at Brayton is providing design support for all the different and diverse design projects, including gas turbines, solar receivers, and recuperators. While away from Brayton, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and watching his son play hockey.
BILL CARUSO - MECHANICAL ENGINEER:
Bill is deeply involved in heat exchanger manufacturing at Brayton, performing design, metallurgical analysis, and finite element analysis. He has led several of the performance characterization and endurance testing projects involving high-temperature recuperators. Bill works closely with the recuperator manufacturing center at Brayton, providing tooling design and process improvements. In conjunction with this work, he has created manufacturing costing models for recuperators and complete gas turbine engines. Bill has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Prior to Brayton, he has gained a unique blend of experience working on projects for London local government, Gillette, and Gallo Wineries. His passion for working in the alternative energy industry was first realized during a position as engineer II for a grassroots waste-to-energy company, where he helped design, build, and launch their onsite food waste conversion system. When not at Brayton, you may find him surfing, snowboarding or composing music.
ADAM VACCARO - AERO PERFORMANCE ENGINEER:
At Brayton, Adam focuses on the analysis of complex aero-mechanical systems, applying advanced computational tools to multidisciplinary thermal-aero-mechanical design. He has made significant contributions to the design of gas turbine combustors, through the application of computational fluid dynamic modeling. Other examples include high-flux heat exchangers, solar receivers, and turbomachinery. Adam holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He gained practical, hands on experience as part of MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team. Prior to joining the Brayton team, he worked three years at Scaled Composites in California as a mechanical design engineer; his work culminated in the design and testing of a retractable landing gear for a manned aircraft. In his free time Adam enjoys triathlons and is an avid Formula 1 and ALMS fan.
ALEX MOERLEIN - MECHANICAL ENGINEER:
Alex is a key contributor to Brayton’s advanced gas turbine development projects, performing thermal-mechanical analysis including finite element analysis. Examples of his project work include the thermal mechanical design of gas turbine hot section, combustor, and turbine duct. Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineer from Penn State University. Alex’s background is in machine design and dynamics, and has extended to renewable energy. Alex’s past work experience includes a start-up subsidiary of a capital equipment company and wave energy research. His specific skills include structural and fatigue analysis, corrosion resistance, FEA, and precision machine design. In his free time, Alex tinkers with his car and plays with his dog.
CHAD EVERBECK - MECHANICAL ENGINEER:
Chad provides a blend of mechanical design, thermal-fluids analysis with his hands-on lab testing skills. He has maintained a key role in the system integration of gas turbines, analyzing and designing the mounting structures, strain-relief, and interconnecting piping and insulation. Chad is skilled in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and CAD tools. He earned both B.S and M.S degrees from University of New Hampshire in Mechanical Engineering. His Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering focuses on thermal and fluid science while using a Brayton project for his graduate thesis. Chad has a strong interest in different forms of renewable energy as well as high efficiency home/building design. He also enjoys the outdoors; particularly during the snowboarding and golf seasons.
WESTON BOWSER - FABRICATOR/WELDER:
Weston is a key member of the Brayton Energy team.
MARYLEE NASSER - HR COORDINATOR/ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT:
Marylee is Brayton’s HR coordinator as well as accounts payable and receivable. She also manages our shipping and receiving department. Prior to coming to Brayton, Marylee worked as HR/Office Manager for a direct mail company.
JUSTIN CLARK - MANAGER of INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY:
Justin began his post-secondary education studying mechanical engineering at the University of New Hampshire before changing his focus to the computer industry. Bringing mechanical understanding to various positions in the IT industry helped him succeed in a variety of roles, beginning as a PC technician and eventually becoming a self-taught senior level network technician. He eventually returned to college to complete an Associates degree in Information Systems Technology from Great Bay Community College. He holds various industry certifications including the FOA’s Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) and FTTx (Fiber To The Premises). With additional extra-curricular experience in electronics & automotive mechanics, he brings a new point of view to the IT environment here at Brayton. When he’s not at work he enjoys the outdoors by mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, hiking and camping, as well as fixing just about anything that’s broken.
DAVID LAFFERTY - MECHANICAL ENGINEER:
David has an extensive background in mechanical design, robotics, system dynamics, controls, and the mathematical modeling of complex electro-mechanical systems. At Brayton, David is responsible for a range of mechanical design disciplines including to hybrid vehicle system models, gas turbine rotor dynamics, high speed alternators and bearings. His work in robotics includes the design of integrated electro-mechanical systems. Other specialized skills include prototyping and debugging, and the development of the software required to manage mechanical control systems. David has substantial experience designing wire harnesses and EMI shielding, as well as electronics and soldering. He spends his free time cycling long distances and exploring caves. David graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2006.
SEAN TORREZ - AERO PERFORMANCE ENGINEER:
Sean has done the majority of his research in reduced-order performance modeling of engines, as well as optimization of fluid-mechanical systems. Areas of research have included stability and control of bicycles, vision-based robots, music transcription, combustion simulation, compressible flow, and system-wide component interactions. At Brayton, Sean works on system optimization of flowpaths and engines. Sean’s skills include development of numerical methods including CFD and other conservation schemes, experimental data analysis, vehicle simulation, estimation, and control, and system stability and feasibility analysis. Sean received has BS in Aerospace Engineering from MIT in 2007 and his PhD in Aerospace from the University of Michigan in 2012. In his free time, he is interested in music, bicycle racing, orienteering, cheering at his wife’s triathlons, and playing Frisbee with his dog.