The Braemar team

With more than 100 years of combined experience, the Braemar principals have developed extensive relationships with entrepreneurs, industry executives, strategic investors, and other venture and private equity groups — all of which contribute significantly to the firm's ability to identify, structure and exit investments.

Our People

Strategic Advisory Board

Tim Healy

Patient, supportive, thoughtful, insightful partners. Got our business from the start and saw what others didn’t. Gave founders the support we needed and let us focus on the business we dreamed of creating.

Tim Healy, CEO and co-Founder, EnerNOC
Josh Brumberger

Braemar has the necessary elements to help us succeed in a highly complex and regulated commercial environment: patient capital and deep experience in the energy sector. Working with Braemar ensures we have the right conversations with the right people, helping us chart the future of the digital electric grid.

Josh Brumberger, CEO, Utilidata

Neil S. Suslak

Managing Partner

Neil Suslak

Neil Suslak co-founded Braemar Energy Ventures in 2003, and has led Braemar’s investment activities in the mobility and infra-tech segments. He currently serves on the Boards of Getaround, Chargepoint, Enerkem, and Fractal Systems and is Chairman of the Board of Fulham. He is also responsible for Utility Associates.

Prior to co-founding Braemar, Neil was an investment banker at S.G. Warburg & Co. and Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS). He worked in the corporate finance department and was Head of Equity Capital Markets for North America, where he led numerous financing and advisory engagements in the energy, automotive, and TMT sectors. Neil is on the board of directors of the New York Venture Capital Association and is a member of the New York City Investment Fund Cleantech Sector.

Neil has an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. from the University of Rochester, where he was a member of the Varsity Lacrosse team. He is a former member of the executive committee of the Alumni Board of the Rye Country Day School and a board member of the Henry Street Settlement in New York and chairman of its Steering Committee.

It is our belief that many of the solutions to some of today’s most complex sustainability issues will be solved largely by technology advancements coming from a range of different disciplines. We have the great fortune to work with skilled entrepreneurs who set out to tackle such challenges with both a passion and a sense of urgency which is inspiring and contagious.

— Neil S. Suslak

William D. Lese

Managing Partner

Bill Lese

Bill Lese co-founded Braemar in 2003 and leads the firm’s activities in the power, resources, and infra-tech segments. He currently serves on the boards of Carbonfree Chemicals, Voxel8, Fulham, Utility Associates, Lusbio and Brightvolt, and is responsible for Braemar’s investments in General Fusion, Metalenz and Renew Financial.

With experience that spans technical, operating, strategy, and investment roles, he has been active in energy innovation for over 30 years. Prior to starting Braemar, Bill was a Partner at Mantis Holdings, a venture firm focused on environmental and energy efficiency businesses. He was also one of the original team members at Sithe Energies, a global leader in independent power development, and Director of Corporate Development for NPS Industries. Bill designed his first solar panel at 17, has authored several research papers for the Department of Energy and helped pioneer the commercialization of Kinetic Hydro Energy Conversion systems.

Bill serves on the Investment Advisory Board of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), on the Steering Committee of the Northeast Clean Energy Council, as well as the advisory committees of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE), and Chain Reaction Innovations (CRI) of the Argonne National Laboratory.

Bill has an M.S. in Applied Energy Science and a B.A. in Physics from New York University. He is a former Co-Chair of the New Committee of the Royal Academy Trust and a member of the Harvard College Parents Committee.

Venture-backed companies developing innovative, energy-efficient and sustainable technology platforms will play an increasingly critical role in the economic, environmental and social well-being of the global community. Industrialized and developing nations alike recognize the importance of developing cost-competitive, sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions to meet the challenges faced by climate change; and venture-backed companies, working in partnership with large corporations and governments, will be at the epicenter of sustainability. If this collaboration is well-executed, both prosperity and global energy stability will likely follow.

— William D. Lese

Jiong Ma

Venture Partner

Jiong Ma

Dr. Jiong Ma joined Braemar Energy Ventures in 2008, and has been responsible for Braemar’s investment activities in the power and resources  segments.

Prior to joining Braemar, Dr. Ma was with the venture group at 3i, a global private equity firm, where she was responsible for investments in the digital and TMT sectors. Prior to 3i, Dr. Ma held several senior positions at Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs. She led teams in product portfolio strategy, new product launches, and research and product development, and developed expertise in optical and data networking solutions. Dr. Ma was also a founding team member of Onetta, a venture-backed fiber networks start-up company, and a technical staff member of Nortel Networks. She serves on the Investment Advisory Board for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Dr. Ma received a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. in physics from Lanzhou University, China. She is a graduate of the Kauffman Fellows Program, has published or co-authored 15 technical papers, and holds one U.S. patent.

In energy technology, a company’s prospect for success goes far beyond its access to capital. Its financial viability is ultimately dependent upon the integrity of its science. On a daily basis, I am called upon to think as an investor, an entrepreneur, and a scientist. The opportunity to apply a variety of perspectives makes each day unique.

— Jiong Ma

Dennis R. Costello

Venture Partner

Dennis Costello

Dennis Costello joined Braemar Energy Ventures in 2007 and was involved in Braemar’s investment activities in the power and resources segments.

Prior to joining Braemar, Dennis was a partner with Advent International, an international private equity firm where he rose to chief investment officer for North America. Dennis was also a managing director in Rock Maple Ventures, an early-stage technology venture fund in Boston, and a general partner of Zero Stage Capital, of Pennsylvania. Before embarking on a career in venture capital, Dennis was the first Executive Director of the Colorado Advanced Technology Institute in Denver, a project manager at Midwest Research Institute, and a member of the original staff of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Dennis has an M.S. in business from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, an M.A. in economics from Ohio State University, and a B.A. in economics from the State University of New York. He is a founder and former chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Colorado, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography.

I believe venture capital has a vital role to play in our global energy future. But it takes experience to maneuver around the numerous pitfalls that also characterize this sector.

— Dennis R. Costello

Don Tappan

Principal

Don Tappan

Don Tappan joined Braemar Energy Ventures as an Analyst in 2013 and has led and supported Braemar’s investment activities in the mobility and power segments. He currently serves on the Boards of Utilidata and Aledia, and is also responsible for Braemar’s investments in Getaround, Renew Financial, General Fusion, Carbonfree Chemicals and Chargepoint.

Prior to joining Braemar, Don was a consultant at The Boston Consulting Group in Detroit. While at BCG, Don worked with Fortune 100 companies in the energy and automotive spaces on growth strategies and manufacturing excellence. Additionally, he has served as a mentor for Energy I-Corps and TechStars Mobility.

Don has a dual B.B.A. in Strategy and B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. At Michigan, Don was on the boards of MPowered Entrepreneurship and the Society of Automotive Engineers and founded a company focused on ad-supported vertical axis wind turbines. Outside of Braemar, Don is an automotive enthusiast including managing a fleet of Getaround cars in New York City.

John Cavalier

Venture Partner

John Cavalier

John Cavalier joined Braemar Energy Ventures in 2019 as a Venture Partner working on new investments across the power, resources and infra-tech segments and on portfolio matters related to strategy, business development, and capital formation.

Prior to joining Braemar, John was the Co-Managing Partner of Hudson Clean Energy, a green-tech focused investment partnership. John was formerly Vice Chairman of Credit Suisse’s Investment Banking division, Chairman of Credit Suisse’s Energy Group and Head of the Global Renewable Energy Group. Under John’s leadership, Credit Suisse established itself as a leading financial advisory firm in the renewable energy sector, having played a principal role in the IPOs of SunPower, Suntech, REC, Cosan, First Solar, EnerNOC, Iberdrola Renewables, as well as having provided financing and strategic advisory services to those companies and other leading companies in the sector. John started his finance career with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

John has and M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, a J.D. from the University of Illinois School of Law, and a B.S. the U.S. Military Academy. He served in the U.S. Army for 9 years where he was an officer in the Signal Corps, and later the Judge Advocate General Corps. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his role as the first Senior Defense Counsel for the Northeastern United States.

Ben Rogers

Venture Partner

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers joined Braemar Energy Ventures in 2018 as a Venture Partner, where he provides commercial and business development support to Braemar’s portfolio companies across segments.

Prior to joining Braemar, Ben was the co-founder of Broadscale Group, an investment firm focused on accelerating innovation in the power sector. Ben is also on the Investment Committee of the Clean Energy Trust, a regional energy incubator based in Chicago. He has been a keen advisor to companies and programs that focus on energy innovation and transformation. He is a senior advisor to Duke Energy on fleet electrification, and a senior advisor to Workhorse, an all-electric truck manufacturer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was an EVP of Aquilon Energy, a software company focused on digitizing all aspects of commodity trading activities. Earlier in his career, Ben was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs Global Natural Resources Group, and a power trader at Cinergy Corp (now part of Duke Energy) and Enron.

Ben has an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago and a B.A. in Economics from the Catholic University of America. He serves on the New Jersey Board of Trustees at The Nature Conservancy, and is a board member of We Care Solar, a manufacturer of solar suitcases that power critical lighting and medical devices in areas without reliable electricity.

James Russell

Director, Europe

James Russell

James Russell joined Braemar Energy Ventures in 2012 and supports Braemar’s business development activities in Europe. Prior to joining Braemar, James worked for Jacob Rothschild’s family office in London on direct opportunities in the energy and environmental sector, and was a Senior Director at The Clinton Climate Initiative where he focused on transactions in green real estate, waste management, and forestry. James was one of the early employees at Climate Change Capital, the first boutique climate-focused investment bank in Europe. While at Climate Change Capital, James helped set up the first venture capital trust to invest in U.K.-based renewable energy projects and the first private equity funds to invest in carbon credits and their underlying projects. James began his career at McKinsey & Company, working in London, New York and Palo Alto.

James has a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He serves on the advisory board of Berkeley Energy and 3Degrees, and the boards of Tamar Energy, 5th Tier Technologies and The Bedford Estate.

Ariel Wright

Director

Ariel Wright

Ari Wright originally joined Braemar in 2012 as a Research Analyst eventually joining the Investment Team. Prior to Braemar, she received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University, and an M.S. in Engineering Green Technology from University of Southern California. After several years at Braemar, predominantly focused on technology in the built environment, Ari went to receive her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she worked at WeWork and then spent several years working for a global real estate developer, heading up their US Hospitality Business before re-joining the Braemar team in 2020. Ari is passionate about re-imagined real estate, healthcare justice and systems thinking.

Diane Bao

Associate

Diane Bao

Biography coming soon.

Eric A. Schultz, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Eric Schultz

Eric Schultz joined Braemar in 2003 as its Chief Financial Officer, and has served in that role ever since. He is a founder of EAS Accounting Services, CPA LLC, which provides outsourced CFO and controller services, primarily to private equity firms. Previously, he was a partner at Berson & Corrado, a New York City-based accounting firm.

Eric has a B.S. in economics from the State University of New York and is a CPA charterholder.

Dorothea Bersani

Chief Administrative Officer

Dorothea Bersani

Dorothea is Chief Administrative Officer with implementation and oversight responsibilities for operations, human resources, corporate policies, and information and communication technologies. She also oversees the execution of Strategic Advisory Board and Annual meetings. Prior to coming to Braemar, she had over 35 years experience in IT as a Technical Services manager at AT&T, Avon, Squibb, and Dow Jones. Dorothea is an active contributor to the NYC community, most notably in her work with children.

Having been at the forefront of transformational technology for over four decades, it’s both exciting and amazing to see its effects on sustainability. How we are using technological innovation to reinvent materials design and discovery to find more sustainable solutions to climate change, carbon omissions, renewable energy and more is astounding. I am very fortunate to be supporting a company so dedicated and involved in the heart of it all.

— Dorothea Bersani

General Wesley K. Clark

Strategic Advisory Board member

Wesley Clark

General Clark serves as Chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic consulting firm. He retired as a four star general after 38 years in the United States Army. He graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes Scholar. In his last assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing. General Clark is Co-Chairman of Growth Energy; senior fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations; Chairman of Clean Terra, Inc.; Director of International Crisis Group; Chairman of City Year Little Rock; as well as numerous corporate boards. General Clark has authored three books and serves as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative’s Energy & Climate Change Advisory Board, and ACORE’s Advisory Board. His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver star, bronze star, purple heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).

The Rt. Honorable Tim Eggar

Strategic Advisory Board member

Tim Eggar

Tim Eggar was a UK government minister under Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major with responsibility for a number of departments, including serving as energy minister from 1992–1996. Mr. Eggar had a distinguished parliamentary career from 1979 to 1997. He has extensive international experience including Chief Executive of Monument Oil and Gas, Chairman of AGIP UK, Chairman of Harrison Lovegrove, Chairman of Indago Petroleum and Cape plc.. Tim is currently the Chairman of MyCelx Technologies Corporation and Haulfryn Group Ltd. Mr. Eggar is a graduate of Magdalene College, Cambridge and the College of Law.

Eugene McGrath

Strategic Advisory Board Member Emeritus

Eugene McGrath

Eugene R. McGrath retired as chairman and CEO of Con Edison in 2006. He served as CEO of Con Ed from 1990 to 2005. Mr. McGrath joined Con Edison in 1963, following his graduation from Manhattan College where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He has an M.B.A. from Iona College and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University. Mr. McGrath previously served on several other corporate and non-profit boards including Schering-Plough, Barnard College, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Dr. Emily Reichert

Strategic Advisory Board member

Carsten Reinhardt

Dr. Emily Reichert serves as Chief Executive Officer of Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech incubator in North America. As the organization’s first employee, Emily spearheaded the rapid growth of Greentown Labs, incubating hundreds of climate-focused startups that have created thousands of jobs and attracted partners from around the world. Today, Greentown Labs has grown to 35 employees managing a community of nearly 100 startups and 100,000+ sq. ft. of space, headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts with a second location currently in development in Houston, Texas.

Emily started her career at Arthur D. Little as a Ph.D. scientist and progressed into R&D, business development and general management roles. Prior to Greentown Labs, she was the Director of Business Operations at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry where she helped grow the angel-funded startup into a sustainable contract R&D business with a mission to minimize environmental impact of chemical products.

Emily has been appointed to leadership positions on innovation, economic development, entrepreneurship, and clean technology commercialization at the city, state, and federal level including the City of Somerville’s Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Governor’s Economic Development Planning Council, the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

She holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

Carsten J. Reinhardt

Strategic Advisory Board member

Carsten Reinhardt

Carsten J. Reinhardt has 25 years of experience in automotive, commercial vehicle and general industries. From 2012 until 2016 Mr. Reinhardt served as CEO of Voith Turbo and member of the management board of the German industrial group, Voith. Voith Turbo is a supplier of advanced powertrain technologies to the rail, commercial vehicle, marine, power generation, oil & gas and mining industries.

Mr. Reinhardt was COO of Meritor Inc., a leading U.S. drivetrain supplier and President of Meritor’s Commercial Vehicle Division.

Previously Mr. Reinhardt served as CEO of Detroit Diesel Corporation. He started his career as a Management Trainee at Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany.

Mr. Reinhardt grew up in Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1994. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Esslingen Technical University in Germany and a master of science degree in automobile engineering from the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Mr. Reinhardt works as Senior Advisor for the German Engineering Company, RLE International and as Operating Partner for Michigan Capital Advisors. He currently sits on the Boards of Grundfos (Denmark), SAF-Holland (Luxemburg), Rosti Group (Sweden), Rosti Automotive (UK), and WEZAG (Germany).

Ram Sastry

Strategic Advisory Board member

Ram Sastry

Ram Sastry is vice president — Innovation & Technology, reporting to Stephan Haynes, senior vice president - Strategy & Innovation. In this role, he is responsible for identifying new technologies and business models in the United States and internationally that will help position AEP for success. Promising technologies and/or business models are piloted or evaluated and then transitioned to AEP operating companies or business units for deployment.

Prior to this, from 2014 to 2018, he served as vice president — Enterprise Innovation and Resiliency, responsible for developing and implementing plans for creation of new AEP data centers and building a robust business continuity and crisis management organization to serve the enterprise.

Sastry joined AEP in 2002 as director — IT Audits. He was named director — Distribution Research & Technology in 2009 and became director — Utility Research, Processes and Systems in 2012. He was named director — Distribution Support in January 2013.

Prior to joining AEP, Sastry served as senior director at Covansys (now a CSC company in alliance with Hewlett Packard), a global consulting and technology services company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute.

Sastry is a Project Management Professional, a Certified Internal Auditor, a Certified Information Systems Auditor, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional.

He and his wife, Pallavi, have two sons and reside in Dublin, Ohio.

Dr. Volker Sick

Strategic Advisory Board member

Volker Sick

Dr. Volker Sick is the DTE Energy Professor of Advanced Energy Research and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He leads the Global CO2 Initiative at the University of Michigan that aims to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels by transforming CO2 into commercially successful products using technology assessment, technology development and commercialization. Major administrative roles at the University of Michigan include appointments as Faculty Advisor to International Programs in Engineering from 2007–2012 and Associate Vice President for Research from 2012–2018. He is active in developing and applying imaging diagnostics for research in thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and ophthalmology. His teaching portfolio includes a foundational laboratory course, an overseas summer program, and an entrepreneurial course. He received awards for teaching, research, and service, including the President’s Award for Distinguished Service in International Education, the Combustion Institute Silver Medal, and the SAE International Leadership Citation. He is a Fellow of SAE International and the Combustion Institute. His degrees from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, include Habilitation in Physical Chemistry, Dr. rer. nat. and Diploma in Chemistry.

Mohammad Zaidi

Strategic Advisory Board member

Mohammad Zaidi

Mohammad Zaidi is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of Alcoa. As a member of Alcoa’s Executive Council he led developments and growth in the core primary aluminum production as well as in Alcoa’s end markets such as Aerospace, Automotive, Packaging, Buildings, Energy, Consumer Electronics and Defense. He was also responsible for market strategy and corporate quality functions. Overall, two-thirds of Dr. Zaidi’s career has focused on technology management and the other third on manufacturing and business management on a global scale. As a council member on The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, he co-chaired WBCSD’s ‘Vision 2050’ project in collaboration with 29 leading companies, worldwide. A native of India, Dr. Zaidi graduated with a metallurgical engineering degree from IIT, in Kanpur, India. He obtained a master’s degree in materials technology and a Ph.D. in mechanical metallurgy from Imperial College in London.