Leadership

Executive Leadership

Rob Hanson
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

For over a decade, Rob Hanson has led Monolith as its co-founder and chief executive officer, driving toward the vision of “Building the world’s largest clean hydrogen and materials company.” Monolith has developed the world’s first commercial scale methane pyrolysis technology which uses 100% clean electricity to convert natural gas into low-emission hydrogen and carbon black, an essential raw material used in manufacturing everyday rubber and plastic products. Hanson earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University and is a sought-after speaker through the U.S. Department of State and many of the world’s most respected energy conferences. Prior to his time at Monolith, Hanson was the global director of product management at AREVA Solar, the solar division of the world’s largest nuclear company.

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Amy Ostermeyer
Chief Development Officer

Amy Ostermeyer is the chief development officer for Monolith and is responsible for identifying, planning and implementing the organization’s growth strategies. Since joining Monolith, Ostermeyer led the transition of the company’s headquarters from California to Nebraska, executed successful strategies around meeting Monolith’s extensive yet specific staffing needs, provided clear guidance for Monolith’s continued growth through the COVID pandemic, and forged strong partnerships with local communities and regulatory entities. In doing so, she created the blueprint for which she is now taking Monolith’s environmentally advantaged technologies to market.

Prior to joining Monolith, she began her career at Talent Plus before taking on roles as the director of human resources at Bryan Health and the chief operating officer at Tabitha Healthcare. A native Nebraskan, Ostermeyer holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a juris doctorate from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

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Gintas Vildzius
Chief Technology Officer

Gintas Vildzius is chief technology officer at Monolith, where he is responsible for leading the core technology team and product development to continue accelerating the company’s mission to deliver cleaner materials used in everyday life. Prior to Monolith, Vildzius has served in a number of research and development and engineering roles, including 26 years at GE in technical leadership positions. Vildzius’ experience includes systems and design engineering; research, development and launches of new products; sourcing customer and partner solutions; and driving transformation in collaboration with business teams & functions. 

Vildzius began his career in the United States Air Force as a commissioned officer and earned his master's degree in mechanical engineering at Union College and bachelor’s at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.   

 

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Matt Harper
Chief Information & Security Officer

Matt Harper is Monolith’s Chief Information Security Officer, overseeing Monolith’s overall IT architecture and data security practices. Specializing in cybersecurity and risk mitigation, Harper has experience in the public sector with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well the private sector, serving in executive information security roles for companies in the Fortune 500.

Harper has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Science in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Additionally, Harper earned and has since maintained his CERT - Certificate in Cybersecurity Oversight from Carnegie Mellon University and credentials as a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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Russell Webb
Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operations Officer for Monolith, Russell Webb is responsible for leading manufacturing, environmental health & safety, capital projects and supply chain strategies. In his role, he works closely with the company’s commercial, development and technology teams to continue the company’s growth journey.   

Prior to joining Monolith, Webb’s over 30-year career spanned leadership roles at Texaco, Huntsman, Columbian Chemicals, Orion Engineering Carbons and INEOS Styrolution. Webb earned his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. 

Suzanne Grafton
Chief Accounting Officer

Suzanne Grafton is the Chief Accounting Officer of Monolith, where she oversees all aspects of the company’s accounting and financial operations. She serves as a strategic business partner working cross-functionally to optimize outcomes for Monolith and drive profit and growth.

Prior to Monolith, Grafton served as Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer for Kansas City Southern from July 2017 to May 2023. From 2006 to 2017, Grafton held various roles with increasing responsibility in the finance organization at Kansas City Southern, including Vice President of Audit and Enterprise Risk Management and Vice President of Accounting. She spent the early part of her career in public accounting at Deloitte after receiving her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Creighton University.

Tim Rens
Chief Financial Officer

Tim Rens is the chief financial officer for Monolith. He has spent nearly 30 years in various accounting, financial and leadership positions associated with the downstream processing of raw materials including mined minerals, natural gas and crude oil. He has extensive experience in the areas of leadership within private equity owned business, organizational startup, partnership structures, debt and equity capital transactions, and mergers and acquisitions. He has focused primarily on startup opportunities for the last two decades having been in a leadership role with five startup companies since 1995. 

Prior to joining Monolith, Rens held CFO positions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, Executive AirShare Corporation, and CVR Energy, Inc., respectively. Before joining CVR Energy, Inc., he was a consultant to Pegasus Capital Investors. From November 1995 to January 2002, Rens was the controller and chief financial officer of Farmland MissChem Limited and Farmland Hydro L.P., respectively. He received a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Central Missouri State. 

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Phil Joyner
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing

Phil Joyner is the vice president of manufacturing for Monolith’s Olive Creek production facility where he is responsible for developing the operating capability and strategies to reliably deliver carbon black and value-added products to the market. Joyner brings 28 years of experience in industrial manufacturing and operational leadership. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated strong leadership in technical and operational excellence across several industries including pulp, paper and fertilizer manufacturing. 

Prior to joining Monolith, Joyner served as plant manager for Koch Fertilizer in Nebraska while also serving on the board of directors for several other Koch assets. He joined Koch Fertilizer as plant manager of the agricultural fertilizer manufacturing facility in 2012, after 12 years with Georgia Pacific (formerly Alabama River Pulp) manufacturing facility in Alabama. At Georgia Pacific, he held multiple manufacturing leadership roles including responsibility for environmental systems, finished product and power generation. Additionally, he worked for several paper companies where he lead cellulose operations in manufacturing of box, tissue, towel, filter and diaper products. Joyner has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of South Carolina. 

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Alex Hoermann
Vice President of Technology

Alex Hoermann is the vice president of technology at Monolith where he leads the development of our core technology which enables the clean and reliable production of low-cost carbon black with a natural gas feedstock. Prior to Monolith, Hoermann served as the director of product engineering at AREVA Solar, a division of recently renamed Orano, a French multi-national group specializing in nuclear power. During his tenure there, Hoermann was instrumental in the commercialization of a fledgling solar thermal technology, culminating in the construction of a 250MW plant in Rajasthan, India. He started his career at Applied Materials, where he worked on a disruptive product introduction in electro-copper plating. 

He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Stanford. He has published several patents in the fields of copper plating, solar energy, and carbon black production.

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Chuck Firth
Vice President, Safety, Health & Environment

As Monolith’s Vice President of Safety, Chuck Firth, P.E., leads safety initiatives across the company, its operations, and its established and future facilities. He is responsible for directing environmental, health and safety protocols and ensuring regulatory compliance across the company.

Prior to accepting the position at Monolith, Firth served as the Vice President of Environmental, Health & Safety at BKEP Materials in Denver, Colorado. Chuck has over two decades of leadership experience as a safety, health and environmental expert in the energy sector. He received Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Chemical Engineering degrees from Auburn University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Baylor University.

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Tom Lahey
Vice President of Carbon Black Sales

Tom Lahey is the Vice President of Carbon Black Sales at Monolith. Prior to joining, Lahey garnered nearly three decades of experience in sales management at global chemical and industrial manufacturing organizations. In his role, Lahey is responsible for the sales function of Monolith’s cleanly made carbon black product.

Prior to joining Monolith, Lahey served in sales management roles at Evonik Degussa Corporation for 17 years, including as a Global Key Sales Account Director responsible for global tire and specialty plastic and Ink accounts. He earned his bachelor's degree in Logistics and Material Management at Georgia College and State University.

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Ned Hardman
Vice President & R&D Fellow, Carbon

Ned Hardman is vice president of research and development fellow, carbon for Monolith where he is responsible for all analytical analysis, development of new products, and product portfolio management. Hardman began his career at Cabot Corporation in the performance and new business segments where he held a variety of technology development positions working on the manufacture of new and unique carbon black grades as well as alternative carbon nanoparticles, such as graphene. After leaving Cabot, he continued to work on carbon nanoparticles in leadership roles at XG Sciences where he was a senior project manager.

Hardman received his B.S. from Texas Lutheran University and then graduated from UC Davis with a Ph.D. in chemistry. After UC Davis, Hardman was a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos and at Ruhr Universitat Bochum as a von Humboldt Fellow. He is a member of the American Chemical Society.

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Kelsey Roste
Vice President, Decarbonized Solutions

Kelsey Roste is vice president of decarbonized solutions at Monolith. Roste leads the company’s decarbonization corporate strategy, value proposition, product positioning and go-to-market plan of commercial-scale carbon black and hydrogen. Roste brings over 15 years of experience in the energy industry to her role.

 

Prior to joining Monolith, Roste worked in the renewables, power and infrastructure sectors, contributing to deal execution, commercial negotiations and integration, project development and financial modeling. She graduated with a BA in economics and mathematics from the University of Alberta.

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Board of Directors

Rob Hanson
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Rob Hanson is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Monolith, where he leads the development of next-generation technology for producing low cost, low emission hydrogen and carbon black, an important raw material used in the manufacture of rubber and plastic. Prior to Monolith, Hanson served as the global director of product management for AREVA Solar, the solar division of the world’s largest nuclear company. 

He has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford, and has been a guest lecturer at Stanford, UNL, Foothill College and the University of Saskatchewan on topics ranging from thermodynamics to entrepreneurship. Hanson also co-founded uforia studios, a 65-employee health and fitness company with locations in San Francisco and Palo Alto. 

William Brady
Co-Founder & Director

William (Bill) Brady is a member of the board of directors and is a co-founder of Monolith. He was executive vice president of Cabot Corporation, the world’s largest carbon black company. Throughout his 23-year experience at Cabot, Brady held numerous positions in the United States and Asia, including president of the $2B carbon black business, which operated 23 manufacturing plants in 17 countries. In addition, he led the commercialization of two start-up businesses at Cabot in ink jet colorants and elastomer composites. 

Brady is currently CEO of Kula Bio. He also serves on the board of directors of Hollingworth & Vose and Teknor Apex, both next generation materials companies. He is a graduate of the University of Scranton with a B.S. in chemistry and received his M.B.A. from Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

Robert Kerrey
Chairman

Robert (Bob) Kerrey is managing director at Allen & Company and serves as chairman of the board of Monolith. From 2001 to 2011, Senator Kerrey was president of The New School, a university founded on democratic ideals and daring educational practices. 

From 1989 to 2001, he represented Nebraska in the United States Senate, where he promoted equity for rural communities, led in farm and environmental legislation, strengthened taxpayers’ rights, led in restructuring U.S. intelligence agencies, and partnered with local leaders to build projects of lasting value to Nebraskans. Prior to his Senate service, Senator Kerrey served one term as Nebraska’s governor. He served as a U.S. Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War, and is the recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service. Senator Kerrey earned a B.S. in pharmacy from the University of Nebraska. 

Henry Cornell
Director

Henry, a Senior Partner at Cornell Capital, lends his extensive expertise to our Board as a Director. With over 35 years of private equity experience, Henry previously served as Vice Chairman at Goldman Sachs before co-founding Cornell Capital. Noteworthy achievements include founding real estate efforts in Asia and leading principal investments in the region. Upon returning to New York, Henry took the helm of Private Equity Americas and Asia at Goldman Sachs. Henry currently serves as a Director at Blue Mistral, MRC Global, PureStar Linen Group, and Vault.

Beyond his professional achievements, Henry actively engages in philanthropy, serving on the boards of Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Whitney Museum, The Asia Society, and the Navy SEAL Foundation. Additionally, he is a proud member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jonathan Garfinkel
Director

Jonathan Garfinkel is a Partner of TPG based in San Francisco and is a member of the leadership team of TPG Rise Climate, the firm’s dedicated climate impact investing business. Jonathan joined TPG in 1998 and through 2010 worked on the TPG Capital private equity investment team in both San Francisco and London.  Thereafter, he served in numerous firm-related roles, including leadership of corporate development and compensation, and was TPG’s Co-Chief Operating Officer from January 2019 to June 2021.

Jonathan serves or has served on the boards of Summit Carbon Solutions, Monolith, eVoltz, ProSight Specialty Insurance, HS Group, 2Co Energy, Aleris International, and Midwest Air Group. He is a member of the Advisory Council of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and the Stanford Cancer Institute, is the current Board Chair of Climb Hire, and the former Board Chair of Aspire Public Schools. Jonathan holds a BA in Economics from Stanford University, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an MA in Education from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. He and his wife Kimberly live in San Francisco with their four children, Maddie, Ollie, Annabelle and Samantha.

Pieter Houlleberghs
Director

Pieter Houlleberghs joined Decarbonization Partners (a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek) as Managing Director based in New York in February 2002. Prior to joining Decarbonization Partners, Pieter worked for Temasek for 9 years and most recently led Temasek's next-generation clean energy and sustainable real assets investment activity in the Americas.

Before joining Temasek, Pieter held senior investment banking roles covering the energy and resources sector with UBS, Rothschild and Barclays in London and Sydney. He currently serves on the board of Carbon Direct (Carbon management services) and prior board experience includes serving on the boards of Cypress Creek Renewables (solar power), Svante (carbon capture) and Eavor (geothermal energy).

Pieter holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (MEng) from Imperial College London with First Class Honours.

John Rowan
Director

John K. Rowan is based in New York, joined Warburg Pincus in 2011 and focuses on energy investments. Previously, Rowan worked at Goldman Sachs in the principal investment area, focused on energy investments. Prior to that, he worked in the Financial Institutions Group at Goldman Sachs. 

Rowan serves as a director for Monolith, Navitas Midstream Partners, Rimrock, Venari Resources, and Zenith Energy. He received a B.A. in economics from Columbia College. 

Jeff van Steenbergen
Director

Jeff van Steenbergen is a co-founder and the managing partner of Azimuth Capital Management, a Calgary-based energy sector private equity firm. Prior to jointly establishing the firm, he was co-head of North American Oil & Gas with JP Morgan & Co. Van Steenbergen has been active in the North American and international energy sector for 38 years and has a wide range of experience in oil and gas and energy infrastructure as a private equity investor, investment banker, and in operations and development planning roles with Mobil Oil and in field operations with Schlumberger. 

Van Steenbergen has been a finance professional for 27 years and has broad experience in private equity, capital markets, mergers and corporate finance. He also has 11 years of energy sector operating experience in North America, Asia and Western Europe, including eight years in offshore drilling operations. His education includes a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) in civil engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston and an M.B.A. in international business and finance from Dalhousie University in Halifax. He also attended a series of executive programs at Harvard, INSEAD and Stanford. He holds a US Coast Guard Master’s License (Captain) for ExxonMobil Offshore Drilling Units and is a professional engineer registered in the province of Nova Scotia. Van Steenbergen represents Azimuth Capital Management on the boards of Altex Energy, Magma Global, Steelhead LNG and Monolith.

Tony Wang
Director

Tony Wang is a Managing Director at Plutus Capital NY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SK, Inc., where he specializes in sourcing new investment opportunities in the fields of energy transition and industrial decarbonization. With a career spanning various investment sectors, he previously worked at a sovereign wealth fund focusing on infrastructure and real assets investing, at Denham Capital investing in the oil and gas industry and started his career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Global Energy and Power Coverage Group. 

Tony holds a major in Finance and a minor in Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. Outside of his professional pursuits, Tony leads a fulfilling life in New York City with his wife, Bella, and son, Alistair. He is an avid runner who enjoys training for and participating in marathons across the globe in his leisure time.