Mahdi Abu-Omar, Ph.D.
Founder and President
Dr. Abu-Omar has 20 years experience in R&D management, scientific research, and technology development. He is the Mellichamp Chair of Green Chemistry at The University of California, Santa Barbara. Mahdi holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and a Doctorate from Iowa State University.
Ian Klein is a research scientist. Prior to joining Spero Energy, Inc. Ian gained experience as an engineering COOP working within the forest products industry (2009). He holds a BS in chemistry from St. Norbert College. Ian received his PhD in Chemistry from Purdue University in 2015.
Treasurer and Office Manager
Kristen Abu-Omar has broad management experience from building alumni relationships in the Development Office at a small college, managing a three-shop midsized operation for Delaware North Companies Incorporated, developing and maintaining the seasonal employee pool at a large manufacturing factory, and assisting with all management tasks at FAF Associates, a real estate company. Kristen's training in office management includes a Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from SUNY (State University of New York) at Fredonia.
John Stair is an engineer at Spero focusing on process design and technoeconomics. His previous experience includes separation process optimization and industrial waste remediation design. John holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Eric McFarland
Dr. Eric McFarland is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His academic research is focused on chemical reaction kinetics and catalysis related to energy conversion and fuel production. McFarland has always worked closely with industry and is a Board member and advisor for several chemical technology companies. He has held senior management positions in a number of University spin-out companies. McFarland recently returned to UCSB from a two-year position as the founding Director of the Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation and Dow Chemical Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia. He received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.D. from Harvard.
Luca's longstanding principal professional interest has been supporting the transition of emerging sustainable process technologies into the marketplace, while identifying economically and technically viable strategies. Among his most recent efforts was leading the business development and commercialization effort of Greenyug, LLC , which resulted in a world class bio-ethanol to ethyl acetate plant being built in Nebraska. He started his career at Shell Research in the Netherlands where he was involved in the modeling and design of novel oil and petrochemical processes. Later, at Cargill, he focused on bio-fuel and bio-energy in plant operation with a particular emphasis on waste-to-energy and second generation biofuels. There he also led a group which developed both domestic and international projects to produce renewable energy and reduce carbon footprint in the agricultural and agricultural commodities processing sectors. Luca holds a Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine of London, United Kingdom.
Dr. Robert Bedoukian
Dr. Robert Bedoukian, President of Bedoukian Research, Inc. is our business advisor since September 2014. He joined Bedoukian Research founded by his father in 1975. Under his leadership, the company has enhanced its reputation in the Flavor and Fragrance and Insect Pheromone industries for superior quality products, excellent customer service, and availability of technical expertise.
Dr. Robert Bedoukian is currently serving on the board of directors of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) and the International Fragrance Association of North America (IFRANA). He is a past chairman of the board of directors at RIFM. Additionally, he serves on the Purdue University Chemistry Departmental Advisory Committee, the Western Connecticut Health Network Research Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors of Ability Beyond Disability. Dr. Bedoukian is a recipient of the Purdue University College of Science Distinguished Alumni award for 2013.
Eyal Barash is Spero Energy's Legal Advisor. He is a member of Barash Law LLC which focuses on counseling companies solid form patent applications. He will advise Spero Energy in several areas comprising intellectual property, contract negotiations, licensing and technology, life cycle management and business development. Barash is a registered U.S. Patent Attorney and has been admitted to practice in Indiana, Illinois, and D.C.
Commercial Relationships Advisor
William J. Ludlum (Bill) has 30 plus years of experience in Flavor and Fragrance, Cosmetic and Essential Oil industries. He has multi-level management experience with several related companies. With Bill's vast knowledge of the various industries, he will be responsible for developing new business opportunities with the current customer and supplier base. In addition, he will introduce new products, vendors and customers.
Joseph Ramelli currently serves as the CEO of Marina Biotech, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, where before transitioning to the CEO role he was on the board of directors. He has over 20 years of experience in the investment industry, having worked as both an institutional equity trader and as an equity analyst at Eos Funds, Robert W. Duggan & Associates and Seneca Capital Management. Mr. Ramelli graduated with honors from U.C. Santa Barbara, with a BA in Business Economics.