Michael Hart , President & CEO

Mr. Hart, President and CEO of Sierra Energy, has over 24 years of active entrepreneurial experience in forming and running industrial companies with a proven track record of success.  Mr. Hart has served as Sierra’s President since he founded the company in 2004.  He also serves as President of Sierra Railroad, a company he has expanded from four employees to over 140 since 1994 when he started the company.  Hart was named an “Environmental Hero” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his work in biodiesel and was recently named a “Champion of Change” by the White House.

Prior to joining Sierra and Sierra Railroad Company, Hart acted as a management consultant for FMC, NASA (Mars Mission), TRW, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, GM-MVO, ARS, and Hay Systems, and worked as a developer for Apple Computers Federal Systems.  He led the platform development for the Intelligence All Source Analysis System for the DOD, DIA, CIA in a joint project with Steve Job’s NeXT Computers.  Hart has also created a variety of software tools for the analysis of future weapon systems and operational impacts, including developing advanced weapons systems for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.  He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Davis and a Stanford Advanced Management Program Certificate.

Torgny Nilsson , Executive Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel

Mr. Nilsson been with Sierra Energy since 2004 and has extensive intellectual property, corporate governance, and corporate finance experience. Prior to joining Sierra, Mr. Nilsson worked for various law firms and companies including Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, Gartenberg, Jaffe, Gelfand & Stein LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and NASA. After earning two B.A. degrees from the University of California, Davis, Mr. Nilsson received his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Santa Clara Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award. Mr. Nilsson has also completed studies in comparative law at Magdalen College, Oxford University.

Christine Taylor , Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Taylor has over 17 years of corporate accounting and finance experience. With over a decade at Ernst & Young (one of the Big 4 public accounting firms) and as the chief financial officer of an early technology start-up, Ms. Taylor brings holistic, hands-on financial expertise and practical business development perspectives to Sierra Energy’s team.

David Magaw , Treasurer

Mr. Magaw has extensive experience in the electric power industry, as an engineer, a staff attorney, as Manager of Power Marketing for a federal power agency Western States Power, and as a partner with Henwood Energy. He has worked with electric and water utilities in maintenance, construction, power marketing, regulation, and power and facility contracts since 1974.

Russell McGinnis , Chief Information Officer

Mr. McGinnis has extensive experience at building and supporting enterprise software solutions. Most recently he served as Technical Architect and Development Lead for an online community serving the varying needs of veterinarians worldwide. Mr. McGinnis has worked on several high value projects with clients such as Honda and Toyota in the USA and with numerous large financial companies in the UK such as GE Information Systems and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell. Mr. McGinnis earned a Bachelors Degree with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Abertay in Scotland.

The Honorable Paula Stern , Chief of Overseas Markets

A former chairwoman of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and distinguished scholar, The Honorable Paula Stern founded The Stern Group, Inc. in 1988 and leads its practice, serving national and multi-national companies and organizations on business, political and technological issues that affect their competitiveness in a global economy

Development Team


Daniel Mark Dodd , Vice President, Engineering

Mr. Dodd earned a Masters of Engineering, with first class honours, in aerospace and mechanical engineering from the University of Bristol in England. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, Mr. Dodd’s professional experience included engineering work for Goodrich Aerospace Corp., Bridgestone UK Ltd., Atkins Engineering Consultants, The European Space Agency (ESA) and Tidal Generation Ltd. In 2003 Mr. Dodd was awarded the prestigious Engineering Leadership Award Scholarship from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, England.

Laura Carroll, P.E. , Vice President of Operations

Ms. Carroll earned a Civil Engineering degree from University of California, Davis, with some additional coursework at University of Sussex in Brighton, England.  Obtaining her professional license in 2010, Ms. Carroll brings well-rounded experience from the civil and environmental engineering field including work and study in the areas of renewable energy, air quality, climate change effects, land development, and utility planning.

Jessica Hazard , Chemist

Ms. Hazard earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hazard’s previous research with surface and physical chemistry and her ability to use modern instrumental analytical techniques adds to the dynamic research team at Sierra Energy.

Robert Mitchell , Technical Engineer

Mr. Mitchell recently earned a Mechanical Engineering degree with an emphasis in Materials Science from University of California, Davis. His efforts in research in fuel cell technology and assistance with cryomilling of high strength aluminum alloys adds valuable and dynamic experience to the Sierra development team. His dedication to the development and implementation of renewable and green technologies is a driving force in his career.

Corporate Team


Rashael Parker , Director of Marketing and Communications

Ms. Parker brings over a decade of experience in design and communications to the Sierra Energy Team. Prior to Sierra Energy she led a team of designers and developers as the creative director and co-owner of Studio66, a graphic design and web development firm in Davis. In which time she worked with clients such as: Target Corp., AllState Insurance, UC Davis, Regency Centers, and many other companies nation-wide. She has also held design and communication positions in the television and publishing industries. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in graphic design from California State University, Sacramento.

Alex Bieda , Graphic Designer

Ms. Bieda comes to Sierra Energy with over ten years of design, web development, and marketing experience. Over the course of her career, she served as the Art Director for Fortune 100 scientific manufacturing conglomerate: Thermo Fisher Scientific, the Marketing Manager for a technology start-up, and the Creative Director for a green building manufacturing concern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art and Technology from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

Industry Advisors


Dr. David H. Wakelin

Dr. Wakelin received his B.Sc and Ph.D degrees in engineering metallurgy from Imperial College, University of London. He has been employed by LTV Steel Company, and its predecessors Jones and Laughlin, his entire career. He began as a Research Engineer in the steelmaking group at the Graham Research Laboratory in Pittsburgh in 1966. After transferring to Development Engineering in 1974, he became Supervisor of Ironmaking Engineering in 1979. Upon the merger of Republic Steel with LTV Steel in 1984, he assumed his current position of Manager, Development Engineering-Primary. Dr. Wakelin has authored numerous papers on iron and steelmaking and is the holder of a patent for the manufacture of high chromium steels. He is a member of AISE, Eastern States Blast Furnace and Coke Oven Association, and the Iron and Steel Society of AIME, for whom he has lectured on blast furnace topics at continuing education courses. He served as Chairman of the Ironmaking Division of ISS from 1995-96 and was a member of the ISS Board of Directors from 1995 to 1997

Dr. Wei-Kao Lu , Professor Emeritus, University of McMaster, Canada

Dr. Lu received his B.S. from National Cheng-Kung University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lu holds the position of Professor Emeritus of Materials Science and Engineering at McMaster University, Canada where he is engaged in research into heterogeneous kinetics and mechanisms of ironmaking reactions in blast furnaces and rotary hearth furnace, carbonization, reducibilities of iron ore agglomerates, melting of DRI and HBI, and waste oxide recycling. Dr. Lu has authored numerous papers on iron and steelmaking and received the Josef S. Kapitan Ironmaking Best Paper Award from the Association for Iron and Steel Technology in 2007 for a paper entitled “Blast Furnace Performance and Tuyere Practice at Stelco Hamilton No. 5 Blast Furnace”, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 2007.