Evan A Thomas, PhD, PE, MPH is the CEO of SweetSense Inc., a spin-out of Portland State University. Evan is also an Associate Professor and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. Evan works at the interface of engineering, environmental health and social business, with professional experience working in government, industry, non-profits and academia. Evan holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder, is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.) in Environmental Engineering in the State of Texas, and holds a Masters in Public Health from the Oregon Health and Science University.
Evan is also a social business entrepreneur engaged in global health programs. Evan was a founding volunteer with Engineers Without Borders-USA in 2002, which led to co-founding Manna Energy Limited in 2007. Manna was acquired by DelAgua Health in 2013. In 2012, Evan co-founded SWEETSense Inc.
Previously, Evan worked as a civil servant at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for six years. At NASA, Evan was a principal investigator and project manager in the Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch working on flight hardware for the Space Shuttle, the Space Station, and concepts for Moon and Mars spacecraft.
Dexter Gauntlett has worked for ten years at the nexus of distributed renewable energy generation and international development in the United States and internationally in both the private and non-profit sectors. He has extensive experience working with development agencies, development banks, and government programs intended to catalyze cleantech projects in urban and off-grid settings. As an analyst and consultant Gauntlett has covered global renewable energy markets including solar PV, wind, ocean and hydrokinetic energy. In this capacity he has researched the main technological, economic, and political drivers and barriers affecting the deployment of emerging technologies and analyzed many of the most innovative companies in the cleantech sector. He has also worked with Green Empowerment, an international non-profit that partners with local NGOs to install renewable energy systems in rural villages in developing countries, in partnership with local NGOs.
Zdenek Zumr earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering and MS in Electrical Engineering from Portland State University. He is a staff engineer with SweetSense, focusing on the custom design and production of sensors for developing world applications. Zdenek was born in the Czech Republic and raised in Switzerland where he acquired professional FEAM certification in electronics. He worked as a contract technician and project manager on international projects for Swiss companies in Europe, South America and the Middle East. During a ten year sabbatical from technology he earned a Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, practiced and taught Chinese Medicine and published an instructional workbook for students.
Lauren earned a MS in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah and a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Philadelphia University. Prior to Sweet Sense, Lauren worked in Nairobi for Sanergy, a social enterprise dedicated to providing affordable sanitation to informal settlements. She specializes in project management of new services implementation, operations research, and leading process improvement. Previously, Lauren worked at American Express for 6 years analyzing large data sets and managing international and domestic projects.
Zak White – Mechanical Engineer
Zak White earned his BSCE from Portland State in 2012. He is a staff engineer with SweetSense, working on the testing and deployment of technologies in developing countries.
Christian Muragijimana earned his BSc in Environmental Health Sciences from University of Rwanda in 2014. Christian is a full time field technician for SweetSense Inc. Christian was born in Rwanda- Kigali, where he has worked in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for the last three years.
Board of Directors
Chris Ulum is the Chairman of SweetSense. Chris was previously CEO of Agilyx, an alternative energy company and brings diverse industry experience in high-impact leadership positions in large established organizations such as Frito-Lay, IBM and Sun Microsystems, as well as small start-up companies such as Agilyx. Chris has strong business and technical leadership qualifications with more than 25 years of hands-on, rapid growth experience in general management, corporate development, strategic planning, organizational development, operations, project management and new product development.
Ron is a highly decorated Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot, Explorer, Entrepreneur and Humanitarian who believes that appropriately designed /targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems facing our world. Ron traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet over 178 days in space and 27 hours of EVA during four spacewalks. His last position in the US Government was with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where Ron led an effort called Unity Node to develop a universal, open source, collaborative platform to enable humanitarian organizations around the world to work together toward their common goals.
Corey Nagel, PhD, RN, MPH – Academic Consultant
Corey Nagel, PhD, RN, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Public Health (Epidemiology) at Oregon Health & Science University. He has substantial training in advanced statistical methods and machine learning and has experience analyzing sensor-derived data from hand-pumps, latrines, and cookstoves employed in public health interventions in developing countries.
He is currently the recipient of a fellowship from the John A Hartford Foundation to apply machine-learning and data mining techniques to the prediction of health and functional outcomes. Dr. Nagel’s work with SweetSense includes experimental design and data analysis of programs and studies deployed in developing countries.