J.W. Postal — Founder / Chief Executive Officer
J.W. has been a driving force behind multiple innovative companies in the renewable energy industry. He founded Nikola Power and led the formation of the company through its seed round while positioning it for future growth and success. He was also the co-founder of Main Street Power, a pioneer in the distributed generation power purchase agreement space and an innovator in clean energy finance. While at Main Street Power, J.W. spearheaded the first combined New Market and Investment Tax Credit portfolio in the country. J.W. has also served as an executive, Chief Development Officer, and Chief Operating Officer with Milender White Construction, SunShare, and Clean Energy Collective respectively.
J.W. is a leader in clean energy in Colorado and across the county. He has worked on trailblazing legislation for distributed solar, community solar, and renewable energy finance and has traveled the country developing solar projects in AZ, CA, CO, MA, MN, NJ, NM, SC, and TX. He has been a frequent speaker at industry events around the nation for topics such as clean energy finance, community solar, and now solar + storage and entrepreneurship.
Prior to his work in solar, J.W. had a successful 13-year career in the investment management business with A.G. Edwards and his own fiduciary investment advisory firm. In 1997, with nothing more than a pile of index cards and a telephone, J.W. built a nationally renowned fiduciary advisory practice with hundreds of millions of dollars under management.
J.W. is a graduate of the University of Colorado and has a Master in Public Policy degree from Georgetown University. He is married to his college sweetheart, Jennifer, and they have three amazing kids – Carly, Jackson, and Calvin. J.W. is active in Colorado politics, non-profits, and community work. He currently serves on the board of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), Solar Electric Light Fund (www.SELF.org), and is the 2018 co-chair of the Denver Public School Foundation Gala with his wife. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, cycling, fiction writing, and coaching youth baseball.
Ben McConahey — Co-Founder / Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. McConahey has spent over ten years working in business development, project management, operations, and strategic planning roles for a variety of environmentally-based industries including agricultural trade, conservation, renewable energy, sustainable development, and water. Most recently, Mr. McConahey was a Partner at Hydro Venture Partners where he was responsible for the operations of a multi-million dollar water acquisition, storage, efficiency, and transfer investment in Colorado. Mr. McConahey has also worked closely with the environmental community, coordinating transformational land conservation work and cutting-edge strategies to restore and protect stream flows in Colorado at The Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Water Trust, and conducting aerial avian studies for energy development based on existing protocols for habitat monitoring as an independent contractor.
Mr. McConahey has a bachelor’s degree in Politics from Princeton University, and an MBA in International Business & Markets, Management & Strategy, and Management & Organizations from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Evan Hung — Co-Founder / Chief Product Officer
Evan is a skilled leader and entrepreneur with a track record of success in product management, marketing strategy, business development, and team-building. He has led various verticals for multiple start ups as well as Fortune 500 companies, including teams that generated over $180M in annual revenue. Before Nikola Power, he was the Co-Founder and CEO of Zipskee, a travel-tech start up in Denver, CO — he brings a passion for technology and entrepreneurship to the Nikola Power team.
Evan received his B.A. in Economics & Chinese and his M.S. in Management from Wake Forest University.
Bret Labadie — Chief Financial Officer
Bret has spent 13 years in energy finance over the course of his career. He spent the first 10 years at Apache Corporation – an international oil & gas producer, where he worked in escalating roles within strategic planning, investor relations, and corporate finance. Bret was closely involved in $5-10BN annual capital allocation decisions as well as portfolio transactions valued at over $30BN.
He then spent the last 3 years working for community solar developer Clean Energy Collective as Vice President of Finance. While in this role, the company deployed over 80 MW of community solar projects across Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas, and South Carolina. Bret additionally helped lead all capital raise efforts for the company.
Bret has two bachelor degrees in Finance and Economics and an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. In his free time, Bret enjoys exploring the beautiful mountains of Colorado with his wife Sara and two young children, Piper and Gregory.
Dr. Mahdi Motalleb — Sr. Engineer, Battery Systems
Most recently, Mahdi was a research scholar at MIT working on transactive control architectures for enhancing demand response in the US power grid. He graduated with a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on smart grids and power systems from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and wrote his thesis on contingency management in power systems and demand response market for ancillary services in smart grid with high renewable energy penetration. He has published 25 articles in journals and for conferences during his academic career. Mahdi’s list of publications can be found at the following link: Google Scholar
Mahdi has over seven years of experience as an R&D power electrical engineer, project manager, and head of electrical group in energy and power industry with an emphasis on improving efficiency, productivity, quality, and organizational consistency. He has over six years of experience in research and teaching in energy and power systems and has a strong background in programming power system tools, power systems operations and control, smart grids, storage systems, renewable energy integration, demand-side management, big data analysis, and electricity markets.
Ben Joseph — Business Development Analyst
Ben has dedicated his career to using business as a tool to promote sustainability. He previously worked as a Business Development Officer at a solar development firm in the Philippines, Upgrade Energy Philippines, where he helped build a sales pipeline to bring tailored renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to commercial and industrial clients. While in the Philippines, Ben partnered on a consulting project for the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources to revitalize their biomass feed-In tariff to incentivize sustainable biomass fuel production.
Ben has also worked at SOL VISTA, an energy benchmarking platform, and spent a year as an AmeriCorps Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver building houses for low income families.
Ben received his B.A. in Environmental Science from Colorado College. He spends his free time climbing, traveling, and making pizza.
Austin Kinzer — Business Development Analyst
Austin Kinzer is an engineer-turned-analyst passionate about fighting climate change through renewable energy development. Austin holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, accompanied by an Energy Engineering Minor and Renewable Energy Certificate. As an undergraduate, he founded the CU Energy Projects Team, spearheading projects to improve building energy efficiency on-campus and assess the feasibility of a microgrid for CU's East Campus. Outside his business development role at Nikola Power, Austin is an avid chess player and competitive big mountain skier.
Emerson Reiter — Product Operations
Emerson is an "expert generalist" who applies electricity industry knowledge, an engineering mindset, and project management experience to bridge technical and business objectives. While at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), he led the Energy Transition Initiative (ETI), a U.S. Department of Energy program that supports clean energy adoption in island jurisdictions; key projects included the development of long-term energy modeling and visualization capabilities for the Hawaii State Energy Office and microgrid design for the US Virgin Islands. He also drove collaboration with utilities through the Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative, Utility Technical Assistance program, and Virginia Solar Pathways Project with Dominion Virginia Power. Prior to joining NREL, Emerson was a senior market design analyst at Pacific Gas and Electric, where he monitored California's wholesale power and greenhouse gas markets. He holds an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering, a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, and a B.A. in East Asian Studies, all from Stanford University.