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Colin Huwyler


Colin is a veteran of the renewable fuels industry. Prior to becoming CEO of Optimus, he was the founder and CEO of Fossil Free Fuel, a renewable fuel company, and was the Director of Research and Technology at Steel City Biofuels, a biodiesel program of Penn State University. Colin is the co-inventor on a number of Optimus patents, holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and earned a certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

Colin has consulted and given lectures on biofuels, product development, the low-carbon economy and a variety of other topics for non-profits, government agencies, corporations, and universities throughout the country. When he finds a few minutes of free time, he enjoys building and deconstructing almost anything, playing soccer, riding his motorcycle, and mountain biking.

Lori Dunn


As COO, Lori helps direct the growth of Optimus Technologies and its operational needs. An alumna of California State University, Fullerton, and the Heller School at Brandeis University, her career focus is making a difference in climate tech. She came to Optimus because of its real-time effect on reducing carbon and cost savings; the team's dynamic and passion was the icing on the cake! When Lori isn't working, you can find her out in nature with her dog, traveling, and mentoring up-and-coming salespeople. 


Gavin Crain


As Controller, Gavin is responsible for keeping track of all the debits & credits and dollars & cents into and out of the company. With over 20 years of experience as an accounting professional and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, he is well suited for the job. All his efforts support the carbon emission reduction goals that Optimus has set and his hopes to leave the world a little better than he found it. When Gavin isn’t working at Optimus, he can be found spending time with his family, playing disc golf, hiking, snowboarding or whitewater kayaking somewhere just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Jon Ewing

Director of Engineering/Production

As Engineering Manager, Jon is in charge of the engineering and operations teams and helps in keeping close communication with our growing customer base. He was also a co-inventor for many of the Optimus patents, including The Vector System. Before joining Optimus, he received his BS in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science from the University of Pittsburgh and spent four years in an Army Special Operations Unit. Jon chose to work at Optimus because he would rather grow the energy needed for fueling the transportation sector above ground and in the soil of the United States than fight for oil dominance in foreign wars. He enjoys the everyday challenges that the job brings and the comradery of Optimus’ small team. When Jon isn’t working, he enjoys cycling, archery, and spending time with his family. 


Kevin Smyth

Senior Mechanical Engineer

As Senior Mechanical Engineer, Kevin plays a key role in product design and support, project management, and regulatory approval. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and wanted to work at Optimus for the opportunity to have hands-on product design and engineering work, in addition to the environmental benefits of using more biodiesel in the transportation sector. Kevin enjoys the team dynamic and how well everyone works together to solve problems and improve the products. When he is off the clock, Kevin divides his free time between riding mountain bikes, hanging out with his wife and dog, and taking on house projects.  

Evan Palmer

Field Systems Engineer

As Field Systems Engineer, Evan is a specialist when it comes to knowing the ins and outs of The Vector System, from its function and design to its construction and installation. He is the primary customer-focused technical field operative. With a work background as a mechanic and his Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, his experience and expertise are a great asset to our existing operations. During his free time, he plays music and enjoys outdoors activities like baseball, tennis, shooting, and archery.  


Ben Chady

Production Manager

Ben comes to Optimus as Production Manager after spending the majority of his career in the automotive, robotics and autonomous vehicle industries. He leverages his hands on ability and experience collaborating with ME / EE on various projects to help move production forward. His education includes a BS in Sociology and an MBA and his passion for alternative energy drives his commitment to reducing carbon emissions with Optimus. 

He spends his time outside work enjoying a variety of hobbies: cooking and baking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors, swinging clubs at the driving range and traveling. He enjoys all sports and is an avid Buffalo Bills fan. He has built and repaired a range of things from houses to motorcycles, cars, trucks and has been known to restore a few 1980s BMX bicycles. He supports charities close to his heart and enjoys the hunt for vintage machinist tools and antiques at estate sales.

Rick Davis

Field Service Technician

Experienced in what he does, Rick has 10 years on the road Field Experience and a B.S. in natural science. While he does a little of everything, his main duties are installation of The Vector System and troubleshooting existing systems to make sure our customers are getting the best from us.  Rick joined the team because he wanted the chance to build and grow something that's not only profitable but positive. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." At home, Rick spends time with his wife and 2 boys, taking them to the zoo and museums and all around the city, plus an occasional vacation to Hilton Head SC.  


Maximillian Marchioli

Mechanical Engineering Associate

Max works as a Mechanical Engineering Associate at Optimus. His responsibilities at the company include assisting senior engineers in design & field work and assisting in installs and site visits. He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Max's role is very hands on and he enjoys working with a team who is passionate about what they do. With true love for what he does, Max enjoys welding in his free time as well as camping and chess. 

Ananth Palaniappan

Mechanical Engineering Associate

Ananth joins us after completing his bachelors and masters at Cornell University. Optimus intrigued him because of the many opportunities to see the Vector System in the field as part of a larger network as well as the close-knit team that is driven to consistently improve our clients' experience. After work Ananth enjoys playing soccer and travelling to new places. 

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Reese Hawk

Mechanical Engineering Associate

Reese joins us after gradating from University of Pittsburgh with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Math. Outside of work, he enjoys working on his plaid seated car, hitting the slopes, and anything else outdoors. He's passionate about Optimus and the positive impact we make in the world.  Reese is especially excited to be part of a team that cares just as much as he does!

Jason Via

Assembly Technician

Jason works as an Assembly Technician for Optimus. He manages the flow of our onsite workshop, shepherding each Vector system from production all the way through shipping. Jason comes from a background in the theatre industry, with an array of experience in management and technical design. He completed a Bachelor's degree from the College of William & Mary in Theater and Psychology. Jason was drawn to Optimus because of his commitment to sustainability, and his drive to contribute to a future of renewable energy. Outside of Optimus, Jason enjoys creative writing, antiquing for his tea cup collection, board games, and hiking.

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Amelia Earhart

CDO (Chief Dog Officer)

Amelia joins us after being adopted from Buddy Dog Humane Society in Massachusetts in 2016. She utilizes her degree in cuteness everyday on the job bringing smiles to all her coworkers. After 7 years of experience in the field, she surely deserves all the head scratches. 

Outside of the office, Amelia stays active by hiking and taking walks on the beach. Invested in her community, Amelia enjoys volunteering at the local assisted living facility, making many friends along the way. 

Harper York

Project Support Specialist

Harper acts as our front line, providing a bridge between the various groups that swirl around in the Optimus orbit. As the Product Support Specialist, she is in charge of customer care and market research revolving around our clients. She is truly a jack of all trades having worked in offices, cafes, warehouses, as a carpenter, and completed multiple Masters degrees dedicated to performing dramatic works of old dead English folk! Harper was drawn to the company by her passion to preserve the beauty of the Earth and doing what she can to help it sustain itself. She enjoys this beauty outside of work while kayaking around The Point, camping, and enjoying whiskey with a good book, particularly Neo-Noir novels!


Katie Crandol

Office Manager

As Office Manager, Katie is in charge of organizing and streamlining activities for our engineering team. Katie received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary and her MFA from Mary Baldwin University, studying Shakespeare and Early Modern Theatre. She joined the team not just because it is the closest she’ll ever get to working for Stark Industries, but because she appreciates the opportunity to work towards something beneficial to the larger community. On the side, Katie can be seen still flexing those theatre muscles, working with Pittsburgh Classic Players.

Maria Ali

Marketing Associate

As Marketing Associate, Maria oversees all Optimus social media. She also writes press releases and promotional material and creates the brand that customers love. Maria graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a bachelors in Marketing. She was excited to join the company due to her passion about all things sustainability and the chance to work at an organization that has the ability to really make a difference in our community and environment. Outside of work Maria enjoys testing her skills in the kitchen and adding to her travel list. 

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