- Ruben S. Martin III
- Rebecca Boudreaux
- Elliot Hicks
- Bipin Patel
- John Valle
- Erin Zarnecki
- Adrian Plascencia
Ruben S. Martin III, Chief Executive Officer
An early investor in Oberon Fuels, Ruben serves as CEO of Oberon Fuels where he has guided the company from a startup to an emerging growth company in the low carbon fuel industry.
Ruben currently serves as President of Martin Resource Management Corporation and President and CEO of Martin Midstream GP LLC, the general partner of Martin Midstream Partners L.P., a publicly traded master limited partnership (NASDAQ:MMLP).
As a veteran of the midstream oil and gas industry, he provides extensive knowledge and expertise in strategic planning, management, and operations of production and distribution companies.
Ruben holds a bachelor of science degree in industrial management from the University of Arkansas.
Rebecca Boudreaux, Ph.D., President
Trained as a chemist, Rebecca is an entrepreneurial, technology executive with a unique blend of technical skills and business development expertise. She has served on the management team or Board of Directors of various startup companies in the clean tech, life sciences, high tech, and non-profit sectors. Presently, she is President and Director of Oberon Fuels, a California-based company making DME (dimethyl ether) as pathway to zero-emission mobility and carbon neutrality. In her role at Oberon, Rebecca leads the customer development, strategic partnering efforts, and the regulatory and legislative development for the use of DME as a fuel.
Rebecca has a broad range of academic and industrial experience, having performed research at MIT, Princeton University, University of Southern Mississippi, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and National Starch and Chemical. She co-founded Intezyne Technologies, which developed polymer-based drug delivery systems to make existing cancer drugs work better, serving as CFO and Board Director for four years. She earned a B.S. in Polymer Science (magna cum laude) from the University of Southern Mississippi and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Rebecca is an invited lecturer around the world, exploring the interface of science, business, and entrepreneurship in the energy and non-profit sectors. She has co-authored seven peer-reviewed publications and is a co-inventor on 12 patents and applications. Rebecca is the Chair of the International DME Association and Chair of the ASTM International DME Taskforce. She also served on the California Air Resources Board (CARB)’s Dairy and Livestock Working Group focused on fostering markets for anaerobic digesters.
Elliot Hicks, COO
Elliot Hicks is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Oberon Fuels, where he is responsible for technology development, financial forecasting, budgeting, business model development, strategy, and overseeing daily operations. In his role, Elliot works cross-functionally across all areas of the company aiding in the management of specific engineering projects and intellectual property development, while supporting business development efforts by providing engineering expertise.
Elliot has worked in senior management positions in several technology startups covering a broad range of industries, including LEDs, solar cells, online media and software consulting.
In addition to startup roles, Elliot worked for The Wiremold Company as a manufacturing engineer focused on lean production methods, and for the US Navy providing software and IT systems management.
As an undergraduate, Elliot was a member of the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team and raced in the 1994 Tour de Sol. As a co-founder of Quanlight, he worked on novel material systems for high performance red LEDs and full-spectrum solar cells. With a lifelong interest in resource efficiency, alternative energy, and transportation technology, he has a broad understanding of the energy technology space and a passion for bringing novel solutions to market.
Elliot holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a M.B.A. from San Diego State University.
Bipin Patel, Director of Engineering
Bipin brings more than 30 years of experience leading international oil, gas and chemical projects to his role as Director of Engineering at Oberon Fuels. He is an innovative, hands on player-coach with a proven ability to provide the leadership necessary to generate and deliver strategic and effective solutions in highly competitive, rapidly changing business environments.
Bipin leads in-house technology development and application of Oberon’s technology for the company’s California Energy Commission (CEC) project and other projects in the pipeline. In addition, he is leading the demonstration plant commissioning slated for Fall 2020 and the production of the first renewable DME fuel in the United States. He continues to assess third-party technologies on an ongoing basis and integrate innovation solutions into the Oberon product offerings.
Prior to joining Oberon Fuels, Bipin was Chief Technology Engineer at Siluria Technologies, a company whose technology transforms methane into transportation fuels and commodity chemicals, where he led the development of the commercial units focused on its OCM and ETL technologies.
Before joining Siluria, he was a project engineering manager at KiOR where he oversaw the execution of Front End Engineering Design (FEED) for converting 1,500 tons per day of wood chips into 3,000 barrels per day of naphtha and distillate.
Earlier in his career he held consulting, management and engineering positions with LINC Energy, Fluor Enterprises, Foster Wheeler, Shell Global Solutions, Qatar Petroleum and Suncor Energy where he led and oversaw engineering, procurement, constructions and operation of various projects.
Bipin holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Leeds University in the U.K.
John Valle, Director of Operations
John Valle is a Military Veteran with over 30 years of experience in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve. John successfully designed, scaled, and optimized programs and operations across engineering, finance, human resources, and strategy, delivering critical, timely strategic solutions in support of our Nation’s defense. With his proven experience working in ambiguous environments and collaborative problem-solving approaches, John builds dynamic teams and produces innovative solutions.
Joining the Oberon team as Director of Operations, John’s focus is on enabling Oberon’s rapid growth by establishing a corporate framework and leveraging existing processes and procedures established by the founders. He is developing Oberon’s virtual hiring, onboarding, and training of plant operators to ensure our newest team members’ success in light of challenges from COVID-19. John also coordinates the numerous aspects of the California Energy Commission (CEC) project – construction, fuel production, DME station construction, vehicle modification – to ensure timely and successful execution.
Prior to joining Oberon Fuels, John was a Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Program Manager for the Naval Air Force Reserve, where he collaborated with senior managers on strategic business planning and improved workforce development programs for an enterprise with more than 10,000 employees. As a Director of People Operations and Human Resource Programs, he implemented an agile framework in executing process improvements and increasing the operational efficiency of a remote site with 500 employees, boosting the ranking of Navy Operational Support Center Sacramento to #3 out of 19 centers.
John was a nuclear-trained Surface Warfare Officer and holds a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography & General Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy; a Master’s in Engineering Management degree from Old Dominion University; and an MBA in Financial Management from the Naval Postgraduate School.
Erin Zarnecki, Administrative Manager
In her role as Administrative Manager, Erin is responsible for the efficient flow of information, processes and people across Oberon’s enterprise. A Jill of All Trades, Erin not only organizes meetings and projects, she also is responsible for overseeing Oberon’s HR function, onboarding new employees (of which there will be many in 2020), and pretty much doing whatever else needs to be done.
Erin comes to Oberon through her employment with Freedom Makers, an organization whose mission is to support military spouses and their families by providing them with location independent, contract employment opportunities that will be available to them whether or not their family is deployed to a new location.
Prior to joining Freedom Makers Erin was a Territory Manager for Hallmark in Virginia, where she had overall responsibility for 60 key accounts and managed a team of 12 employees. She has lived around the world, with her favorite location being Rota, Spain, north of the Mediterranean. In fact, she credits her organizational skills as the result of frequently coordinating family relocations across continents.
Erin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Russian from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She currently lives outside of Reno with her husband (a U.S. Marine) and two children where hiking, skiing and enjoying the outdoors are the preferred activities.
Adrian is one of the longest-tenured team members at Oberon Fuels. Hired in 2013, he was part of the team that launched and produced first fuel-grade DME in North America, which was used by Volvo Trucks, Mack, and Ford for vehicle demonstrations around the world.
Since then, Adrian has been responsible for ensuring the plant operates at peak performance through planned startups and shutdowns supporting Oberon’s multiple tests and demonstrations with partners around the world. He also has led numerous tours and represented the company before foreign dignitaries, U.S. elected officials, state leaders and private investors.
Now, as the plant enters the next phase of its upgrades, Adrian is evolving his role to become more supervisory, managing a team of 9 in the coming months, conducting the new protocols resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and training all new staff.
A native of the Imperial Valley, he worked as a technician at the Naval Air Facility El Centro for four years immediately prior to joining Oberon. Prior to that, he was enrolled in several programs at Imperial County College where he was trained in residential wiring and also was part of the Solar Energy Efficiency Technician (SEET) program, where he earned a certification as a solar technician.