The Team

The Team

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Evan A Thomas, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Evan A Thomas is the CEO and founder of Virridy. Evan Thomas is also the Director and Endowed Chair of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience and the Climate Innovation Collaboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a tenured full Professor jointly appointed in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Departments. 

Evan has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Masters in Public Health from the Oregon Health and Science University, a MBA in Global Business from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and is a registered Professional Environmental Engineer.

Evan's technical background is in water and air testing and treatment applied in developing communities through to operational spacecraft. Previously, Evan worked as a civil servant at the NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas for six years. At NASA, Evan was a principal investigator and project manager in the Life Support and Habitability Systems Branch working on flight hardware for the Space Shuttle, the Space Station, and concepts for Moon and Mars spacecraft.


Alex Johnson

Chief Strategy Officer

Alex Johnson is the Chief Strategy Officer for Virridy, leading on market innovations, growth and strategic partnerships. For nearly two decades he has developed and worked in American energy and water commodity markets. Alex has a BS in Economics and a Certificate in Markets and Management from Duke University. Prior to joining Virridy, Alex was the VP of Initiatives at The Freshwater Trust, an innovative river restoration NGO operating throughout the Western US. In that role he directed growth and partnership strategies, fundraising and communications. He previously managed the analysis, development and implementation of some of the first watershed programs for Clean Water Act compliance in the US.


Laura MacDonald

Intl. Carbon Programs Director

Laura MacDonald is the International Carbon Programs Director for Virridy. Laura is also the Managing Director of the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering and Resilience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Through her current and prior roles, Laura has more than a decade of experience in research and project management for water quality interventions in low- and middle-income countries. She also has five years of experience in administrative and financial management of a large research portfolio in Sub-Saharan Africa and the western US. Laura holds a PhD in Geography and Environmental Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University.


Jason Quinn

Chief Engineer

Jason Quinn is an associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Operational Director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University. His education and research have always been centered on sustainability. He currently works in carbon accounting and economic viability applied to energy and water systems. Research efforts are dedicated to the development of engineering system models validated through experimentation and leveraged for techno-economic feasibility, life cycle assessment, and optimization of emerging technologies. Results from modeling work are used to focus research and development efforts to high impact areas focused on commercialization. Jason completed a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in nuclear engineering and engineering physics, and a PhD at Colorado State University.

Garrett Cole

Sustainability Engineer

Garrett Cole is a Sustainability Engineer with a passion for being outdoors which drives his ambition to make our world a happier, healthier, and more beautiful place to explore. Garrett conducts life cycle assessments to develop and monitor Virridy's carbon offset projects. He is researching the use of machine learning and advanced statistics to assimilate data from in situ sensors and satellites and enable data-driven life cycle assessments. Garrett earned his MS in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University, focusing on the food, water, and energy nexus. In his free time, you will find him outdoors, cycling, running, hiking, or skiing.


Kat Demaree

Project Manager

Kat Demaree is an environmental engineer with a passion for climate technology and Colorado's natural resources. In her current role as the project manager of the Climate Innovation Collaboratory, Kat utilizes an interdisciplinary background and skillset to coordinate both domestic and international research efforts. She assists in team leadership in coordination on multiple projects coming out of the Mortenson Center and recently completed a statewide report profiling data gaps in Colorado water management strategies and emerging technologies addressing these gaps.

In May 2022, Kat graduated with her MS in Environmental Engineering is currently working towards her PhD. Kat completed her BS in Chemistry at the University of Central Arkansas where she graduated with honors for her undergraduate research in inorganic chemistry, specifically her thesis work on iron heteroscorpionate complexes.


Katie Fankhauser

Data Scientist

Katie uses machine learning and advanced statistics to assimilate data from sensors and satellites to enable data-driven decision making for sustainable and resilient livelihoods. Katie has an MPH in Biostatistics and is currently working towards a PhD in Environmental Engineering. Katie's work creates predictions and forecasts of groundwater to inform the implementation of early warning, early action services and environmental markets for improved water and food security in drought-prone regions. Previously, Katie worked in large-scale water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and sustainable energy programs in East Africa and as a biostatistician with a diverse portfolio of research questions.


Diane Kayitesi

Rwanda Finance Manager

Diane Kayitesi is the Rwanda Finance Manager for Virridy. Diane has over ten years' experience in finance, accounting, and operation management , including work as General Operations Manager at KG Harvest CO. LTD, Accountant at Polyclinique la Medicale, and Procurement Officer at HYGEBAT Construction Company. Currently, Diane works as Accountant at Amazi Yego ltd where she manages accounting operations, bank reconciliation, payroll processes, tax preparation and financial statement preparation.
Diane holds a Master's in Business Administration/Finance and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration/Accounting Sciences from Adventist University of Central Africa-AUCA.

Tessa Landon

Watershed Carbon Manager

Tessa Landon is the Watershed Carbon Manager at Virridy, leading the execution and implementation of the company's inaugural U.S. carbon credit-generating projects.Tessa has spent her career at early-stage start-ups exploring the intricacies of climate policy and industry standards within the carbon sector. Beginning her career as a sustainability consultant in NYC, Tessa executed comprehensive baseline assessments of emissions for large CPG and Fortune 500 corporations helping shape their corporate decarbonization strategies. Prior to her tenure at Virridy, Tessa played a pivotal role in the business development and strategic trajectory of Perennial, a startup specializing in soil carbon removal. Concurrently, she is pursuing her Professional Master's in Global Engineering, aiming to further enrich her contributions to the field.


Gisele Manirabaruta

Rwanda Water Quality Manager

Gisele Manirabaruta is the Rwanda Water Quality manager for Virridy. Gisele has more than six years of experience managing and coordinating research projects in the area of poverty reduction with a focus on agriculture, food security and economic development. This experience spans monitoring and evaluation, impact evaluation methods, designing research protocols, and data management and statistical analysis, with strong quantitative skills and coding/programming in SPSS, Stata and surveycto. Gisele holds a Bachelor's of Science in applied statistics from the National University of Rwanda and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in applied economics at University of Kigali.


Lambert Mugabo

Rwanda Schools Program Manager

Lambert Mugabo is the Rwanda Schools Program Manager for Virridy. Lambert has about eight years of experience in research and project management, including coordination of a process evaluation for a trial that integrated an advanced water filter into the Community Based Environmental Health Promotion Programme in Rwamagana District, and education and training activities for the Tubeho Neza campaign, a program which, between 2014-2016, distributed LifeStraw Family 2.0 water filters and Eco Zoom stoves to more than 100,000 families in Western Province, Rwanda, and improved health outcomes among the beneficiaries.
Lambert holds a master's degree in global health from University of Southampton and, currently, oversees the management of a four-year, USAID-funded research project to evaluate the impact of a large-scale bridge program in Rwanda on different outcomes including economics, health and education.


Denis Muthike

Geospatial Scientist

Taylor Sharpe

Mechanical Engineer

Taylor's work focuses on the design and deployment of environmental monitoring systems to help address food and water security issues internationally. He leads the mechanical design of Virridy's monitoring systems, using rapid prototyping techniques to develop new sensor systems. Taylor holds BS and MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and is working towards his PhD in Environmental Engineering at CU Boulder. In his spare time, he plays music, climbs, bikes, and skis.


Jean Ntazinda

Rwanda Climate Finance Director

Jean Ntazinda is the Climate Finance Director for Virridy. For over a decade of experience in Climate Finance, Mr. Ntazinda supported in designing the Rwanda national country programme and framework for national engagement with the Green Climate Fund and development of Standardized Crediting Framework piloted by Ci-Dev for implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement in Rwanda. He previously supported design and implementation of several carbon credit projects in Rwanda. Mr. Ntazinda holds a BSc in Geography and Environmental Planning, and a MSc in International Development Administration focusing on Climate Change Resilience and Risk Management from Andrews University, Michigan-United States.


Bud Pope


CEO and Executive leader in Startup and NYSE technology based firms. Significant international experience with Cloud based content, Remote sensing and Global Enterprise sectors. Founded and grew two market leading companies for 10 years each- successful exits. Customers and partners ranged from Supermajor Energy, Google, SLB,DigitalGlobe,Airbus, Microsoft and IHSE.Emphasis on Fortune 500 and industry leading customers.


Kevin Webb


An entrepreneur with over 30 years' experience in investing and building successful businesses throughout the U.S., Kevin is the founder of Accord. Beyond being the driving force behind Accord's investment strategy, he provides mentorship and guidance to the entire team. As an entrepreneur himself, Kevin brings a valuable perspective to the firm's investments, connecting with business operators on a personal level. Prior to Accord, he founded and managed several successful businesses, ranging from startups to acquisitions to turnarounds, in a variety of industry sectors including hospice, home health care, hospital, real estate, and lending. He's seen a lot in his time, which enables him to offer expert strategic guidance to each of Accord's valued clients. Kevin received his MBA from the University of Texas and his Bachelor of Science in Economics from George Mason University. When he's not working, he enjoys surfing and spending time with his wife and kids in their home in La Jolla, CA.


Chris Lackner


From evaluating new investments to providing strategic support to current portfolio companies to managing the team, Chris is responsible for Accord's overall performance. The firm has grown a lot since he joined as a financial analyst in 2013, and he has evolved along with it, moving from VP to Director to his current position as Managing Director overseeing a robust network of assets and the infrastructure needed to support them. Chris is the first and foremost face of Accord for many clients, and as a flexible, strategic partner dedicated to building lasting relationships, he embodies the values on which Accord was founded. He received both his undergraduate degree in Accounting and his MBA from Oklahoma State University. On the weekends, you can find Chris hiking or at the beach along with his wife, their young son, and their three dogs.


Ron Garan


Ron is a highly decorated Fighter Pilot, Test Pilot, Explorer, Entrepreneur and Humanitarian who believes that appropriately designed /targeted social enterprise can solve many of the problems facing our world. Ron traveled 71,075,867 miles in 2,842 orbits of our planet over 178 days in space and 27 hours of EVA during four spacewalks. His last position in the US Government was with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where Ron led an effort called Unity Node to develop a universal, open source, collaborative platform to enable humanitarian organizations around the world to work together toward their common goals.