Executive Bios

Norbert “Bert” Wank

Founder & CEO

Bert Wank Mr. Wank is a 21-year veteran of the power semiconductor industry, having served companies that created more then $10-Billion in acquisition value. Bert defined and launched 14 power management product lines which generated over $100MM in new product revenues for companies such as Texas Instruments and Dallas Semiconductor. Before starting infiniRel as its founder and Chief Executive, he held product development, marketing and applications engineering positions at Apex Microtechnology (acquired by Cirrus Logic, later divested), Dallas Semiconductor (acquired by Maxim), Burr-Brown (acquired by Texas Instruments), and austriamicrosystems. His product innovations were recognized for early revenues with nine "Mach-1" awards from Texas Instruments, resulting in six company and four industry firsts. While at infiniRel, Bert authored four pending patent applications for energy conversion prognostics and motion control systems, one of which moves to allowance in Europe. In 2012 he served as an outside Director on the Board of Pancon Corporation, a privately-held, global manufacturer of high reliability film capacitors and connectors, and recently joined the Advisory Board of U.S.-based Supreme Ventures & Technology, a subsidiary of an Indian Smartgrid company for remote monitoring.

During his career, Mr. Wank has published 12 technical articles in both English and German, presented at PCIM, Comdex, and Photon conferences, and co-authored a widely-cited business article on knowledge supply chain issues in Intellectual Property Management. In 2001, Mr. Wank also served as expert witness for battery management in an asserted patent infringement for Silicon Valley law firm Blakely Sokolof Taylor & Zafman.

Bert holds an MBA in International Business from Thunderbird, Glendale, AZ, and a B.S.E.E. in Control Systems Engineering from the University of Cooperative Education (BA) in Lörrach, Germany. A dual citizen of Germany and the United States, he is fluent in German, English, and speaks basic Mandarin Chinese.

Dr. Robert Horst

Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Robert Horst Dr. Robert Horst leads infiniRel's technology development, translating his 35-years of industry experience in fault-tolerant systems and distributed computing architectures to infiniRel’s resilient, distributed energy storage network solution. Most recently Bob served as Chief Technology Officer of Robotics at AlterG, which acquired Tibion, another venture Dr. Horst co-founded. Dr. Horst holds 79 patents. At AlterG he was developing control and power systems for its anti-gravity treadmills. He started his career at Hewlett Packard and rose through the ranks at Tandem Computers to Technical Director, before Compaq acquired Tandem Computing in 1997. He has developed many new concepts in distributed, fault-tolerant computers system including the first System Area Network, ServerNet, which later became part of the InfiniBand System Area Network standard.

Dr. Horst has also served as Vice President of Research & Technology at 3ware and Technical Director at Network Appliance. Throughout his career, Dr. Horst authored and co-authored more than 24 publications on fault tolerance, processor architecture, storage, and networks. He has been elected IEEE Fellow for his contributions to the architecture and design of fault tolerant systems and networks in 2001, and has served as expert witness on computer design and fault tolerant systems. Dr. Horst received his BSEE Summa Cum Laude from Bradley University, MSEE and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois.

Thomas Sutrina

Co-Founder and Director of Electro-Mechanical Engineering

Tom SutrinaMr. Thomas Sutrina has delivered numerous ground-breaking engineering projects for high-power electrical, electro-mechanical and solid-state power conversion systems at Hamilton Sundstrand (now UTC Aerospace Systems). These included high efficiency, light-weight power converter designs, power distribution systems, and compression-bonded aerospace weight semiconductor packaging innovations for thermal management, resulting in 12 highly relevant out of 36 awarded patents. Most notably, he was instrumental for the design of a compact, 350-HP torpedo propulsion system, and solid-state aircraft generator systems, that were consequently deployed in the F-16, Boeing 737, and Comanche helicopter. Tom is the key inventor for the GyroVerter architecture and first-named inventor on its patent applications.

Tom holds an MS in mechnical engineering and a BS in aeronautical engineering, both from the University of Illinois.

Advisory Board

Dr. Silviu Darie

Advisor, Power Flow Analytics

Dr. Silviu DarieDr. Silviu Darie joins the infiniRel advisory board after 47-years of research, training and consultancy in the power flow and energy industry. As Vice President of Engineering at Power Analytics from 2005 through 2013, Dr. Darie developed the majority of the modeling software and documentation for the EDSA/Paladin DesignBase. He is also fluent in competing power flow modeling software tools such including PSS/E, PSS/U, SKM, ETAP, Easy Power, DigSILENT, NePlan, ASPEN, CYME, and PSCAD/EMTDC, conducting professional training course through-out the globe, training to more than 2,450 engineers worldwide. Dr. Darie also served as Senior Consultant and Leader of the Electrical Engineering Department, Compusoft, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
During his tenure as Professor of Power Systems and Professor of Electrical Engineering at Technical University of Cluj Napoca, Romania, from 1967 to 1990, he also served as Award Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He served as Scientific Secretary from 1984-1990, during which he was promoted to Scientific Vice Chancellor in 1988. Between 1996 and 1997 he was a Technical Advisor to the National Manager at DesignPower, Auckland, New Zealand.

During his extensive career Dr. Darie published 120 papers, co-authored and published 35 technical books and created 35 animated tutorials based on the EDSA power flow design software. He secured 160 research project contracts for industrial applications, out of which 19 prototypes were launched into mass production. Dr. Darie holds three registered patents.

Andy Zetlan

Advisor, Marketing Strategy, Microgrids

Andy ZetlanAndy Zetlan is an executive consultant to utilities and utility vendors. During his 35-year career in the utility industry, he is a recognized expert and a frequent speaker at industry conferences on Smart Grid technologies. While in senior management roles at Coopers & Lybrand, later acquired by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), as well as Oracle and SAP, Andy lead marketing strategy and product roadmaps for utility industry solutions. Under his leadership, SAP's utility industry practice grew market share from 5% to 30%. He also served as instructor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Delaware, prior to his relocation to California in 1999. Andy also serves on the advisory board of ee.me, a startup company focused on analytics of electricity consumption to support efficiency and demand response programs.

Andy has both a BS in Electrical Engineering and a BA in Applied Science from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, and holds an MBA from the University of Delaware.

Thomas Dinan, PhD.

Advisor Process Development & Manufacturing

Thomas Dinan Thomas Dinan, Ph.D., joined infiniRel's technical advisory board, assisting with the development of chemical processes and transferring them into manufacturing through his consulting firm Electrolytics.
With over 30 years of applied electrochemical research, Dr. Dinan has become an expert in process development and process transfer in the areas of electroplating, electroetching and chemical etching. He holds 28 U.S. Patents and authored 9 publications relating to electrochemical processes and equipment development. He has developed manufacturing processes for IBM, Read-Rite, Touchdown Technologies. As Senior Member of Technical Staff at Twin Creeks Technologies he reduced electroplating costs by 33%, and most recently, at Invensas, he increased yield from 10% to over 50%.
Dr. Dinan received his Masters in Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, with his thesis on Gold Electrodeposition and Low-Temperature Electrochemistry from Columbia University in the City of New York, and is a licensed professional engineer (CH 6213) in the State of California.

Charles Nunu

Advisor Corporate Strategy and Financing

Charles NunuMr. Charles L. Nunu has over two decades of experience as an executive in the international agribusiness industry. He is a superbly experienced commodity trader who has lent his substantial skills in emerging markets to the emissions and allowance markets. Mr. Nunu has worked extensively in various commercial and operational management positions in start-up, development, going concerns, and turnarounds, including trading, origination, trade financing, logistics, pricing, structuring, and administration in Europe, South America and the US. In 2005 Mr. Nunu founded Element Markets LLC, a Houston-based renewable energy and emissions-based trading enterprise, and served as its Managing Director.

With Continental Grain then co-founded another agricultural trading operation in Switzerland. Part of his strong belief in nurturing leadership, Charlie mentors Stanford MBA candidates and is a judge at the Rice University Business Plan Competition. He is Managing Partner of International Advisory Services LLC, an advisory firm focused on helping businesses with key growth initiatives and financing strategies. Mr. Nunu holds and MBA in International Business from Thunderbird at Glendale, Arizona.

Vess Johnson, Ph.D.

Executive Operations Advisor

Vess JohnsonVess joined the infiniRel Advisory Board with 17+ years’ experience leading all aspects of operations supporting engineering, sales, and marketing functions for electronics, semiconductor, software, and energy companies, lastly as the founder and CEO of XYenergy Management, Inc., a startup company delivering automation systems for residential and small-scale commercial/industrial markets. Mr. Johnson built the business in less than two and a half years and successfully sold it in December 2010. Prior, he was the Chief Executive at the helm of SemiSouth Laboratories, a Semiconductor Company delivering the world's first and only SiC vertical power JFET, and also served as the CEO at Nascentic, Silicon Metrics, and OpenView Design Automation. At SemiSouth, Mr. Johnson saved $12 million annually by turning around and rebuilding customer relationships into collaborative partnerships. He also reduced the net-cash burn rates by 50% in less than 30-days, and within a year grew sales by 147% and increased product yields 40%.
At Nascentric, a start-up delivering high-speed circuit simulation solutions, Vess raised $11 million in funding and established relationships with early development partners for high-end computing semiconductors, such as, ARM, Infineon, and ST Microelectronics. At Silicon Metrics, $6 million in annual sales growth garnered after devising and executing strategy to position firm as “industry leader” in characterization and modeling of foundation IP, resulting in winning more than 60 customers worldwide. He completed the sale of firm for $32MM.

Mr. Johnson currently serves on the Board of the Mississippi University, the Dean’s Advisory Board and the Misssissippi State University Entrepreneurial Center, and is a member of the Texas State University Advisory Boards, Department of Computer Science. He is a Partner at SOLIDexecutive, Inc., a management consulting firm, Director at Logic Refinery, Inc., and earned his PhD in 2015 for Decision and Information Technologies from the University of North Texas at Denton.