Our Team

Lighting the Way

 

The PowerLight team brings together recognized industry leaders in power beaming, unmanned vehicle application, power management and product development.

Board Members

Claes Olsson, chairman of the board

Over the course of 45 years, Claes has held a variety of position across many industries. In addition to serving our company as the chairman of the board and previously as a senior business advisor, he is the director of the board for EoScene Corporation. He is also the president, CEO and founder of CRH International Inc., providing consulting, advisory, and management; extended knowledge throughout Europe and North America; venture and angel financing; and real estate investments.

 

Claes was also the president, CEO, founder and chairman of the board for PowerIt Holdings, Inc. Under his leadership, its subsidiary, PowerIt Solutions, completed successful funding rounds of more than $18 million, and grew to include more than 70 employees and contractors across three countries. Notably, in 2010, PowerIt Solutions was ranked No. 71 in the Deloitte Technology Fast™ 500.

 

From all of his years in building companies, he has learned that open communication is the key to success, believing “If you can’t talk about it, you can’t solve the problem.” He has also found that he particularly enjoys working with young entrepreneurs, giving them advice arising from his years of experience in supporting numerous international companies.

 

Claes graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1988, from Lunds University, Sweden, with a master of business administration in Finance and Accounting in 1973, and Helsingborg Technical College in Sweden with a bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering in 1969.

Richard Gustafson, CEO and director

Richard became the president and CEO of PowerLight in 2013, two years after he started with the company as an independent consultant. His role has included a focus on technology, operations, capital structure, market assessment, and business development for military and commercial operations.

 

When it comes to his work, Richard most enjoys solving complex challenges with great teams to make a difference for customers while elevating the team’s capabilities to create value. “I like working and developing relationships with people who share my passion for building and doing well by doing good,” he says.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Richard is energized by a sport that reflects his motivators at work—McLaren Mercedes Formula 1, for its combination of technology, speed, teamwork, strategy, and propensity to push human limits.

 

In the community, Richard provides advisory and support for university business/entrepreneurship programs. He, himself, graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor of science in Business Management.

Tom Nugent, CTO and cofounder

Since starting his work on optical wireless power as the first CEO and president of PowerLight predecessor LaserMotive 10 years ago, Tom has shifted into the CTO role. Prior, he was a project scientist at Intellectual Ventures Labs, a multidisciplinary early-stage R&D laboratory in Bellevue, Washington. While there, he was involved in the Photonic Fence project that used lasers to kill mosquitoes, as well as in unpublished medical device projects. He also once served as the research director at LiftPort Inc.

 

One of Tom’s proudest achievements was helping the LaserMotive team win the 2009 NASA Centennial Challenge for power beaming. His pride continuously extends beyond this moment, however, for bringing together disparate technologies and people to make novel solutions to technical problems. About the technology, he says, “I particularly enjoy turning science fiction into reality, and seeing how amazed people are when they think about ways they could use it.”

 

Tom holds a bachelor of science in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a master of science in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT.  He also has a certificate in Japanese from the University of Pittsburgh.

Steve Harvey, Business Development

Our Advisors

Barrie Graham

Barrie is a senior advisor at WR Hambrecht+Co, an investment banking firm in San Francisco. Barrie is also an advisor to several startup companies and a board member of Truett Hurst Winery. Prior to joining WRH+Co, Barrie was the president and chief executive officer of Exchange Bank in Santa Rosa, California, and a senior manager of Wells Fargo in San Francisco.

 

He is on two for-profit boards and several not-for-profit boards. He serves as the chairman of the Marines Memorial Foundation in San Francisco, as a former marine infantry officer.

 

Barrie has a master of business administration from Golden Gate University and a degree in Industrial Engineering from Clarkson University. He is also a graduate of the Executive Management Program at Harvard University, and a graduate and past chairman of the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington.

Johan Bjorklund

Johan is the President & CEO of Novai INC, which is a spin off initiative from Ericsson Telecommunications Company where they are Share Holders. Novai is focused on bringing technology solutions to the fragmented Smart Community Space.
 
Johan joined Ericsson in 1999 and served in a variety of sales & marketing roles globally and in the United States including TDS/U.S. Cellular and Sprint.
 
Johan has served as a member of the Executive Team of Ericsson North America 2012 – 2018 and served as Head of the T-Mobile Customer Unit. Johan expanded the partnership with T-Mobile and grew the business significantly over those years. 
 
Bjorklund has a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Business Management from Lund Institute of Technology and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Stephen Lanza

Retired Lt. Gen. Lanza has 30+ years of experience within the U.S. Army including many high-level senior leadership positions. As the Commanding General of the I Corps, he led the undertaking of several historic projects that ensured that more than 53,000 soldiers remained quick to react globally yet maintaining regional alignment.  He did so with a focus on supporting comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address root causes in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

 

Prior to his I Corps position, Lt. Gen. Lanza served as the Commander of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His operational deployments span from Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia to Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia-Herzegovina to Operation Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn in Iraq.  He is extremely decorated and well-renowned for his commitments, dedication and heroism.  He is the recipient of The Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.  At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he also served as a National Security Fellow.   

Kent Williams

Kent is an investment advisor for mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, joint ventures and new business development across the automotive, battery, life science, intellectual property and alternative energy sectors. He assists automotive companies commercializing highly efficient and environmentally friendly powertrain technologies for light and heavy-duty trucks, buses, vans and SUVs. He also advises battery companies commercializing innovative material science technologies for consumer and industrial applications.

 

Kent serves as an independent director of Ener-Core and ViZn Energy Systems. He is also an executive advisor to the Sherpa Technology Group, applying his extensive experience in strategic partnerships and licensing. Previously, he was a director for ITUS Corporation and a founder of VIA Motors.

 

Kent has been a board adviser to ZAF Energy Systems and Efficient Drivetrains since 2015. Additionally, he has served as a managing member of Vista Asset Management since 2002.

 

Kent received his master of business administration from St. Mary’s College of California in 1977 and bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1971.

Past Contributors

In Memoriam: Jordin Kare

Dr. Jordin T. Kare was a leading physicist and aerospace engineer, and one of the founders of PowerLight Technologies (formerly LaserMotive).  Jordin was one of a rare breed of individuals who had deep, sometimes encyclopedic, knowledge of a wide variety of fields.  He was one of the 20 most prolific inventors in America (measured by patents as of 2018).

Jordin had degrees from MIT and University of California at Berkeley, and was known for his research on laser propulsion and laser power transmission, initially at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and continuing past the founding of LaserMotive.   Over the course of his lifetime, Dr. Kare launched the possible into orbit, as an active advocate of laser propulsion for space launch and in-space propulsion. He achieved several breakthroughs, including his introduction of the Mockingbird conceptual design for a 75-kg dry mass reusable launch vehicle, involvement in the Clementine lunar mapping mission, the first laboratory demonstration of laser power beaming, and development of the Sailbeam interstellar propulsion concept.
 
Dr. Kare’s natural ingenuity also shone through his contributions to the science fiction and filk communities. He was celebrated in science fiction novels as the namesake for multiple characters.  He served as an editor for The Westerfilk Collection: Songs of Fantasy and Science Fiction, earned awards for his filk music including Best Classic Filk Song and Best Writer/Composer, and cofounded the first commercial filk label, Off Centaur Publications.
 
Dr. Kare’s vision opened our way into the innovation we continue to advance at PowerLight today. For his inventiveness, influence, insight, and inspiration, we will be proud to carry on his legacy for many years to come.

In Memoriam: James Judson

Jim was an early Angel investor in PowerLight Technologies (former LaserMotive) and became an incredible supportive believer in the technology. The relationship grew very fast and much closer. Jim was always accessible to the organization with a fast honest response. He became the first outside Advisor to the company and many of the strategic decisions, polices etc. had his philosophy, beliefs and approval.  Our Chairman Claes Olsson met Jim Judson for the first time in 1984, when James was the managing Partner for Davis Wright Tremaine!
 
Jim graduated with a degree from Stanford Law School in 1969 and cum laude with a bachelor of arts from Stanford University in 1966. At Stanford, he was the executive editor of the Stanford Law Review.

 

He was the founding president and a board member of Nextel International of XO Communications. He also served in these roles for a joint venture controlling the Unicom cellular franchise for Shanghai, China, and as an alternate director of China Unicom. Prior to this, he was a member of Eagle River Investments, LLC; a Kirkland-based venture capital fund formed to focus on investment opportunities in communications.
Jim was a board member of GigOptx, Inc., Port Blakely Tree Farms, Garrett and Ring, Joshua Green Corporation, Welco Lumber, Airbiquity, Sonata Capital, Eden Rock Communications, Seattle Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Research, and TSK America. He was also on the board of trustees for the Pacific Northwest Ballet Foundation, Yosemite National Institutes (emeritus) and Washington Athletic Club.