Meet our Team

Giles Eperon

Giles Eperon

Chief Scientific Officer (Founder)
When Giles is not in the lab working on his passion for solar power and a sustainable future, he can normally be found climbing a rock, mountain or sheet of ice. Giles received an MSc in Physics from the University of Bristol, and subsequently joined Sharp Laboratories of Europe as a graduate researcher. During two years at Sharp, Giles worked on a variety of electronic and optoelectronic device research, finding his passion for solar power along the way there. He thus took the controversial step of going back to grad school and pursued a PhD at the University of Oxford. There, he worked on perovskite solar cells since their inception in 2012 and developed new materials and device architectures. He joined the University of Washington in 2016, gaining a joint Marie Curie fellowship with the University of Cambridge, where he continued his work on all-perovskite tandems in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford and Oxford. He recently joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in CO as a staff scientist. Giles’ work has been published over 70 times, garnering over 19,000 citations. Giles was named a 2016 Forbes ’30 under 30’ fellow in Energy and one of Clarivate’s 2017 Highly Cited Researchers.

Hyunjong Lee

PV R&D Associate
Hyunjong joined Swift Solar with a lifelong learning mindset. He is also a strong bike racer and bike commuter. After finishing his BS in Korea, he received his MS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington. During two years of MS study under Professor Samson Jenekhe, he worked on all-polymer solar cells, helping reach one of the highest all-polymer cell efficiencies ever achieved. He now works on perovskite solar cells, supporting Swift's mission to create a world where all energy is clean energy.
Joel Jean

Joel Jean

CEO (Founder)
Joel is a strong advocate for climate change action. He enjoys running marathons and buys new books faster than he can read them. Prior to joining Swift, Joel served as Executive Director of the Tata-MIT GridEdge Solar research program, which focuses on scale-up of new solar photovoltaic technologies for India and other developing countries. As a researcher and NSF Fellow at MIT, he developed ultra-lightweight and flexible solar cells that were recognized by the 2017 Katerva Award, and he was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow in Energy. He co-authored the MIT Future of Solar Energy Study and has worked extensively on emerging PV materials and devices, techno-economic analysis, and energy and climate policy. Joel holds a PhD and SM in electrical engineering from MIT and a BS with distinction from Stanford University.
Kevin Bush

Kevin Bush

VP of Product and Process Engineering (Founder)
Kevin is our super talented jack-of-all-trades. Prior to joining Swift, Kevin designed and built biogas digestion systems, a remote-controlled amphibious vehicle, a biodiesel-powered ramjet engine, and a 10-foot rocket. Somewhere along the way, he became deeply passionate about climate change and renewable energy, leading him to pursue a PhD in Materials Science. There, as a researcher and NSF Fellow, he led the development of record-efficiency perovskite-on-silicon tandems and assisted in the fabrication of the first all-perovskite tandems. Kevin holds a Master’s and PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, graduating summa cum laude. He was recently named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow in Energy.
Max Hoerantner

Max Hoerantner

VP of Engineering (Founder)
Max is driven by the motivation to solve the problems and inefficiencies that surround us. Growing up next to the Alps, he recently rediscovered his love for the mountains to go rock climbing, hiking and snowboarding. Max received his BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich, where he built robots and an electric car that would outpace a Tesla. To dive deeper into the science of solar cells he obtained a PhD in Physics from the University of Oxford, where he worked in the group of Henry Snaith and was supported by a studentship from Oxford Photovoltaics. During his PhD he started a non-profit to install PV systems on rural Indian schools and co-developed a platform to share research protocols. With coding being his second passion, he participated and won prizes at several hackathons across Europe. Prior to joining Swift, he was a post-doc at MIT and joined the Tata-MIT GridEdge Solar research program to lead the manufacturing efforts and scale up perovskite solar cells for the Indian market.

Nancy Trejo

R&D Engineering Associate
Nancy is an R&D engineering associate at Swift Solar and is currently working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in CO. Her passion for solar started at an early age when she helped secure a grant for a solar installation in her hometown. She worked on emerging thin filmsolar cells while earning her BS in chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to complete a PhD from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. During graduate school she co-founded Science for All, a science outreach organization, and helped triple the size of the team in three years. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting puzzle boxes, sewing useful things, and developing impactful projects for her community.

Robert Wendt

Head of Equipment Operations
Robert joined the Swift team in March 2020 as Head of Equipment Operations. He started his career in an Advanced Materials and Structures Group at Lockheed Martin working on both exploratory and defense satellite programs. While at LM, he was introduced to Solar and lead the Denver-Division CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) programs and has not looked back. Solar, and in particular thin-films, provide a unique and exciting combination of a multi-disciplinary scientific/engineering challenge mixed together with altruism. Robert brings a lot of experience, having had leadership positions at 3 solar start-ups: Global Solar-CIGS on flexible substrates; XsunX-amorphous silicon on large format glass and thin wafer-based CIGS; and Siva Power which was CIGS on large format glass. Born on a small farm in South Dakota, he was the first in his family history to attend college and earn a BS and MS from Colorado School of Mines in Golden. His Master’s included several advanced materials research programs including Sol-Gels, high-temperature SiC composites, and developing corrosion resistance Al and Mg for Gr fiber composites. Leisure now for him is working around the house and on a vintage Honda CT90 as well as planning and traveling with his fiancée.

Rohit Prasanna

Senior Scientist
Rohit is a materials scientist, chemist, and forever optimist. Having been attracted to the beautiful science of chemistry since being in middle school, he studied materials science and engineering in graduate school, researching the basic science of perovskite semiconductors and applying it to make cutting-edge solar cells. He is most at home in big cities packed with activity, having lived in New York and gone to college at Columbia University. He loves to spend Saturday mornings reading nineteenth century British novels at neighbourhood coffeeshops, and Saturday nights at clubs with the best music. He started working on perovskite tandem solar cells during graduate school at Stanford in the early days of their development. As a scientist at Swift, he has continued working on their potential to expand access to clean renewable energy.
Sam Stranks

Sam Stranks

Lead Scientific Advisor (Founder)
Sam is an avid traveler, sports fanatic and father of two, he is passionate about new technologies and solving energy and climate change issues. Sam is a TED Fellow, Royal Society Research Fellow and Principal Investigator at the University of Cambridge (UK) leading a group focusing on transformative electronics applications. He holds a BA and BSc from the University of Adelaide (Australia) and PhD from the University of Oxford (UK), which he completed as a Rhodes Scholar. From 2014-2016, he was a post-doctoral researcher in Henry Snaith’s group at Oxford where he was also a Junior Research Fellow at Worcester College, before spending 2 years as a Marie Curie Fellow at MIT. For his seminal contributions to the field of hybrid perovskites, Sam received the 2016 IUPAP Young Scientist in Semiconductor Physics Prize, the 2017 Early Career Prize by the European Physical Society and the 2018 Henry Moseley Prize and Medal from the Institute of Physics. In 2017, he was named by the MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 under 35 innovators in Europe and was recently listed by Clarivate Analytics as the seventh most influential researchers in the world through highly cited papers.
Tomas Leijtens

Tomas Leijtens

CTO (Founder)
Tomas has been working on a renewable energy future since making hydrogen fuel in teapots at home at age 15. After taking Swift Solar to large-scale commercial success, Tomas plans to join the Dutch national soccer team to bring them back to their former glory. After receiving a BSc with honors in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, Tomas completed his PhD at the University of Oxford. There, he worked to improve the reliability of perovskite solar cells since their inception in 2012. He joined Stanford as a Marie Curie Fellow in 2015, where he developed the first all-perovskite tandem photovoltaic technology with Giles Eperon and Kevin Bush. He recently joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO as a research scientist. His academic work has led to >60 publications with >20,000 citations. He was named a Forbes 30 under 30 Fellow in Science and was recognized as an “Emerging Investigator” by the Journal of Materials Chemistry in 2017.

Zach Dorfman

Engineering Associate
Zach joined Swift Solar driven to fix climate change by his fundamental love for nature. Zach mostly spends his free time outdoors either skiing, scuba diving, or fly fishing. He acquired his B.S in Chemistry from Florida State University in 2012 and subsequently took a gap year, spending most of his time ski instructing in Colorado and backpacking through national parks. He then received his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego by researching novel electrochemical characterization and scalable deposition techniques for metal oxide transport layers in perovskite solar cells.

Advisors

Atiye Bayman

Atiye Bayman is an advisor to Swift Solar. She most recently served as the CTO of MiaSolé, where she led technology strategy and research and development for flexible and lightweight thin-film solar products. Atiye’s 38-year career in Silicon Valley has been focused on semiconductor technology development for solar and integrated circuit products. She has developed expertise in transfer of technology and products into manufacturing. She has held positions in technology R&D at MiaSolé, Novellus Systems, Synergy Semiconductor (acquired by Micrel), and Advanced Micro Devices.
Atiye holds a Ph.D. in solid state physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.

Chris Norris

Chris Norris is a CEO and entrepreneur with a proven track record of building companies and leading organizations. His expertise is built around years of direct, hands-on experience innovating, delivering products to the market, and building diverse, high performing teams. Mr. Norris joined Alta Devices, a solar cell manufacturer, in May of 2008 as President and CEO shortly after its founding. He led the company through multiple rounds of financing, raising over $100M, ultimately leading the company to a successful acquisition in 2014. Prior to Alta Devices, he was a Venture Partner at Blue Run Ventures, focused on hardware investments. Chris was the President and CEO at MicroDisplay Corporation, and led the transformation of the company from chip maker to high definition TV (HDTV) manufacturer. Before becoming a startup CEO, Chris served as the Vice President and General Manager of the consumer, computation, data-com and programmable products divisions at Cypress Semiconductor Corporation. Chris started his career at Intel, where he worked in both manufacturing and development. He has 7 issued patents, a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Computer Engineering.
Mike McGehee

Mike McGehee

Mike McGehee is a Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also a Fellow of the Materials Science and Engineering Program and the Renewable Energy and Sustainability Institute. He was a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University for 18 years and a Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy. His current research interests are developing new materials for smart windows and solar cells. He has previously done research on polymer lasers, light-emitting diodes and transistors as well as transparent electrodes made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. His group makes materials and devices, performs a wide variety of characterization techniques, models devices and assesses long-term stability. Mike has taught courses on nanotechnology, nanocharacterization, organic semiconductors, polymer science and solar cells. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and his PhD degree in Materials Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he did research on polymer lasers in the lab of Nobel Laureate Alan Heeger. He won the 2007 Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award and is a Fellow of the Materials Research Society.

Vladimir Bulović

Vladimir Bulović is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the Director of MIT.nano, MIT's new nano-fabrication, nano-characterization, and prototyping facility, and holds the Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology. Vladimir also leads two of MIT's largest sponsored research programs (Tata-MIT GridEdge Solar and the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center) and the MIT Organic and Nanostructured Electronics Laboratory (ONE Lab). He previously served as the MIT School of Engineering’s Associate Dean for Innovation, Co-Director of the MIT Innovation Initiative, and Director of the MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL). His research interests include studies of physical properties of nanostructured films and structures and their applications in novel optoelectronic devices. Vladimir is a co-founder of QD Vision, Kateeva, and Ubiquitous Energy. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers, the National Science Foundation Career Award, the MIT Technology Review TR100, the Ruth and Joel Spira Award, the Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society Award, and the Bose Award for Distinguished Teaching, among other honors.