As part of our company’s work towards commercialization, we have onboarded a new, world-class team dedicated to translating our innovative, first-of-kind design concepts into commercial scale systems.
“Building a highly competent team of in-house expertise not only advances our transition to commercialization but it ensures that our processes and facilities can evolve and adapt as battery technologies change,” said ABTC CEO Ryan Melsert.
With deep expertise in the design, commissioning, expansion, and operations of large manufacturing factories and plants for global company programs, this new team lead by Mitch Dreier will directly drive continuous innovation of our lithium-ion battery recycling and primary resource development facilities for domestically-produced battery materials.
“Our Fernley facility will not only be a lithium ion battery recycling plant, but it will also become our development center for testing our new innovations for efficiently processing, extracting and refining the key battery materials that feed the transition to sustainable energy,” says Dreier. “I am both excited and humbled to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of scientists and engineers. We’re continuing to seek out excellent technical minds that care about the global impact of this industry and reflect our company’s values.”
Dreier’s team is ramping up for the commissioning of Phase 1, expected to occur in the first half of 2023, and the commissioning of Phase 2 in the first half of 2024.
Meet the Team
Mitch Dreier brings nearly 15 years of experience in engineering and technical programs leadership to ABTC and will oversee the Engineering department as Director of Engineering. Prior to joining the company, Mitch led a team of multi-disciplinary engineers, designers, and project managers that delivered all infrastructure design for Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada advancing key company programs such as Cell Recycling, Cell Assembly, Semi, Megapack, and Powertrain. Of note, Dreier recently designed Tesla’s first advanced water treatment facility, allowing factory processes to consume reclaimed water and recycle all process water to achieve a zero liquid discharge facility. Additionally, in previous role as Tesla’s Systems Engineer Manager for global infrastructure design, he managed a diverse team of engineers to optimize the development of five major Tesla factories producing battery cells, vehicles, and stationary storage.
Prior to his work at Tesla, Dreier led a team of field engineers that designed and commissioned hydrogen technology systems for chemical plants around the globe for Honeywell. He also served as a pilot plant operator at Virent Inc. where he supported plant operations including experiment design and plant modifications to develop drop-in, low carbon biofuels.
Kallie Winners joined ABTC in August 2022 as a Staff Engineer. She has 10 years of controls engineering and project management experience, having spent the last five years working in the EV sector with Telsa and Rivian. She has designed best-in-class factory automation systems for electric vehicle and cell manufacturing facilities on three continents. Prior to attaining her electrical engineering degree from the University of Denver, Kallie spent 10 years with the US Navy as a Machinist and was an assistant engineer/EMT/firefighter for the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department.
Brooke Buchanan also joined ABTC in July as our Chemical Process Engineer. She has over 10 years experience in engineering, with organizations including UNVC, pdblowers, Inc., Element Six, and sp3 Diamond Technologies. In addition to her Chemical Engineering degree from San Jose State University and her Master of Science in Construction Engineering and Management from Arizona State University, Brooke also has her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Green Belt from Villanova University.
Mike Herauf is ABTC’s new Senior Technical Programs Manager, joining the company in September 2022. He comes to ABTC with over 20 years of experience leading engineering teams to deliver new products and technologies to market with companies like Heitkamp & Thumann Group, Tesla, Apple, FormFactor and Clorox Co. He has a Bachelor of Science in Analytical Chemistry from Oregon State University.
Bryce Taute joined ABTC in September 2022 as the Digital Design Lead. In his role, Bryce will lead all of our efforts in 2D designs (CAD), 3D modeling (3D/BIM) and virtual design and construction (VDC). Bryce’s skills and knowledge from over 15 years of experience spans from detailed design development to technical program and people leadership. He has designed factory chemical, mechanical, and electrical systems down to a fabrication level of detail. He has a BASc from Arizona State University in Operations Management and an AS in Computer Aided Drafting and Design from Southeast Community College.
Liz DeMonte joined ABTC as Staff Process Engineer in November 2022, where she will provide technical leadership and expand our team’s breadth of experience as we quickly scale our new technologies. As a chemical engineer-turned-manufacturing engineer, Liz has nearly 10 years’ experience in chemical processing, ramping automated production lines, design and construction of facility systems, and cell manufacturing. Her most recent projects centered on the design and construction of manufacturing facilities for EV battery cells and cathode materials – as an engineer, technical program manager, and engineering manager. She has extensive experience in factory integration for cell manufacturing pilot lines, R&D labs, and mass production facilities. She received her undergraduate in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Brian Olson joined ABTC in mid-December as Staff Process Engineer, and brings a breadth of experience that will accelerate our commercial-scale metallurgy and extraction technologies. Brian moved to the Reno-Tahoe area in early 2021 from Colorado. He formerly worked at Redwood Materials where he was developing copper foil electroplating systems. Prior to his time at Redwood, Brian has focused his energy in the mining industry, providing engineering services for numerous developing mines and refineries around the world. He most enjoys evolving innovative technologies from the bench to large scale process systems. He has a Chemical Engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines. He is also a registered Qualified Person and registered P. Eng (Canada).
Our talented team is continuing to grow. Check back on our stories to meet future members of the ABTC team.