OUR TEAM IS YOURS

Management Team
Dr Sharon Blair

Dr Sharon Blair

HyPlat CEO

Sharon is the founder, CEO and a Director of HyPlat. Prior to her move to South Africa in 2012, Sharon had more than 15 years industry experience in nanomaterials, batteries and fuel cells in business and technology development, and as an executive and consultant for startup companies. She was also co-founder of the fuel cell company, Tekion. Sharon has a Doctorate degree in Materials Chemistry from Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Rainer Wellmanns

Rainer Wellmanns

Business Development Manager

Rainer is HyPlat’s Business Development Manager. With an MBA from the UCT Graduate School of Business, and a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Johannesburg, Rainer brings a wealth of experience in leading teams, project management and business development. His six years of engineering consulting experience provides a firm foundation for the development and growth of HyPlat as a professional and trusted partner within the hydrogen fuel cell industry.

Francois Van Schalkwyk

Francois Van Schalkwyk

Operations Manager

Francois is HyPlat’s Operations & Engineering Manager and has over 8 years of experience in the PEMFC industry specialising in fuel cell component and material design, product development and process engineering. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt engineer and holds an MSc in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cape Town.  He was co-inventor of a number of HyPlat’s catalyst and MEA technologies from his time at the South African Council for Mineral Technologies (Mintek) and has continued to add MEA inventions and optimise manufacturing processes while at HyPlat. He is the technical point of contact for HyPlat’s customers.

Directors & Advisors

Board of Directors

Prof Alex Watson

Prof Alex Watson

Non-Executive Director

Alexandra Watson is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Cape Town, having retired from her position as the Richard Sonnenberg Professor of Accounting in 2018.  She has extensive experience in corporate governance and is currently a director of Coronation Funds and was one of the new directors appointed to the reconstituted Steinhoff board in 2018.  She is the Vice Chair of the Global Reporting Initiative, a Dutch based sustainability reporting advocacy organisation, and has recently been proposed as a director of the South African WWF.  She is a member of the Financial Reporting Investigations Panel (FRIP), a JSE affiliated panel that considers financial reporting issues of listed companies.  She is an adjudicator of the EY Excellence in Integrated Reporting awards, and has participated in numerous local and global committees involved in the development of corporate reporting requirements.

Dr Makhapa Makhafola

Dr Makhapa Makhafola

Non-Executive Director

Dr Makhafola is currently the General Manager: Research & Development at Mintek. He worked as Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at Technikon Northern Gauteng (now called Tshwane University of Technology) and University of Venda. In 2004 was appointed Director: Quality Assurance at Border Technikon (now Walter Sisulu University). Dr Makhafola was the Director: Quality Assurance at the University of Venda until he joined University of Kwa-Zulu Natal as the Director Quality Promotion & Assurance in July 2010.

Dr Makhafola served as member of Umalusi Council and as Chairperson of Lovedale FET College Audit Committee. He is currently the Chairperson of DST/MINTEK Nanotechnology Innovation Centre Steering Committee. He served as a member of the Higher Education Quality Assurance Manager’s Forum. He is also serving as an academic committee member of QS World Ranking Universities. Dr Makhafola did post-doctoral training in Analytical Chemistry at Indiana University.

Dr Sharon Blair

Dr Sharon Blair

CEO and a Director of HyPlat

Sharon is the founder, CEO and a Director of HyPlat. Prior to her move to South Africa in 2012, Sharon had more than 15 years industry experience in nanomaterials, batteries and fuel cells in business and technology development, and as an executive and consultant for startup companies. She was also co-founder of the fuel cell company, Tekion. Sharon has a Doctorate degree in Materials Chemistry from Simon Fraser University, Canada.

Advisors
Dr Kerry-Ann Adamson

Dr Kerry-Ann Adamson

Fuel Cell Market Specialist

Kerry-Ann is a fuel cell market specialist with expertise in hydrogen energy storage. Based in the United Kingdom, Kerry-Ann brings over 14 years of industry experience in hydrogen and fuel cell market analysis and reporting. She serves as CEO of 4th Energy Wave, a company covering stationary, transport and portable fuel cells; the market and its associated companies while providing insight into the cleantech space.

Dr Jens Muller

Dr Jens Muller

Business Development Consultant

Jens has extensive FC industry, startup and financing experience and a wide network. He is the previous founder, CTO, COO and non-exec board member of SFC leading the company to a highly successful IPO. He has repeatedly managed innovation to industrial levels (“from lab to fab”) and has broad international boardroom experience in technology companies.

Duarte Sousa

Duarte Sousa

MEA Specialist

Duarte Sousa is an MEA Specialist. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt with over 28 years of manufacturing experience, 15 of those with Ballard Power Systems in MEA process and product development. He brings leadership in lean manufacturing, quality assurance, innovation, and team building.

Waldo Steyn

Waldo Steyn

Director at ENSafrica

Waldo Steyn has focused on the practice of law as it relates to intellectual property since 2001 when he started my legal career in South Africa. He gained experience working in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Jersey (Channel Islands) and the United Arab Emirates and has managed the trade mark, copyright and design aspects of large IP portfolios throughout Africa and the Middle East. He has considerable experience in providing clients with strategic advice on brand development, protection, maintenance and enforcement.

He advises clients on a wide range of intellectual property transactional matters including licensing, franchising, research and development, sales, corporate structuring, confidentiality, South African exchange control regulations and due diligence investigations, as well as intellectual property valuation and royalty rate benchmarking.

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