Management Team

Maverick Synfuels > About Us > Management Team

Maverick Synfuels is managed by an experienced start-up team and experts in organic chemistry, biofuels, and chemical engineering.


Sam_Yenne_thumbSam Yenne, MBA, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Sam Yenne is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Maverick Synfuels. He is also responsible for overseeing commercialization and implementation of the Maverick Biofuel production technology. This includes development of project plans, establishing vendor relationships, and overseeing the process optimization efforts. Sam has over 20 years of product discovery and development expertise in the life sciences and related industries. He has held many roles in managing complex product development activities crossing many organizational and discipline boundaries while utilizing internal and external resources i.e. contract research organizations. Sam has held positions of Project Manager and VP of Development in 3 different biotechnology companies where he was responsible for developing products from inception to market launch. Prior to this Sam was a strategic business consultant, a project manager for an international chemical and life sciences company, and a scientist conducting complex biological experiments to determine the fate of xenobiotic compounds. Sam earned his MBA from Duke University, his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Idaho. Sam’s educational degrees span chemistry, biology, and complex system interactions along with the traditional MBA experiences in strategic business concepts including finance and organizational design. Sam currently resides in Raleigh NC where he is active in the local biotechnology and entrepreneurial community.


David_Bradin_thumbDavid Bradin, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder

David Bradin is Maverick’s Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, where he is responsible for providing strategic and technical leadership.  David is the inventor of the technology on which Maverick Synfuels was founded. David is an organic chemist and a patent lawyer. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wittenberg University in 1986, and his master’s degree in organic chemistry from the Ohio State University in 1989. He worked as a synthetic organic chemist until 1991, at which point he entered law school (Rutgers University School of Law-Camden, Class of 1995). During law school, he briefly worked at Mobil as a contract research chemist, was an adjunct professor of chemistry at Camden County Community College, and was a patent agent. Since 1995, he has obtained a patent on a biodiesel fuel composition, and been listed as an inventor on several patent applications in various areas of technology. He also won a synthetic challenge on Innocentive.com for his improved synthesis of butane tetra carboxylic acid. He has been focusing his inventive efforts on renewable fuels for over 10 years, and has been actively involved in the management of several start-up biofuel ventures since 2004. One of David’s inventions, related to the use of glycerol ethers as a jet fuel additive, is currently being pursued by another biofuel company pursuant to a grant from NC IDEA.

Two of his other biofuel inventions, related to the production of hexane and heptanone from fermentable feedstocks, are being pursued by a third company, which was a finalist in the California Clean Tech Open for two years based on submissions related to these ideas. During the past 15 years, and as part of David’s intellectual property law practice, he has been extensively engaged with a variety of start-up companies and developing intellectual property strategies. For the past five years, Bradin has been actively engaged in the start-up of biofuel related ventures to commercialize his intellectual property. David has been a member of the American Chemical Society since 1989, and is a member of the Georgia Bar Association (currently inactive), the North Carolina Bar Association, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. In addition, David resides in Chapel Hill with his wife Heather, and is an avid woodworker who builds and designs custom furniture.


Jeff_Harrison_thumbJeffrey Harrison Ph.D., Chief Engineering Officer

Jeffrey Harrison has more than 25 years experience working in the field of process engineering, alternate energy, energy conversion processes and business development.  In his 17 years at Texaco Inc., he held positions as a Senior Research Chemist, Group Leader, Technology Manager and VP Upstream Gas Development.  In that period, he identified and implemented many new technologies, including gasification, methanol and Fischer-Tropsch processes, that ultimately contributed significantly to the increased profitability of the company’s upstream and downstream businesses.  In that same period he developed a number of lasting partnerships with some of the world’s largest and smallest companies – all revolving around innovative approaches to solving technical, logistical and operational problems. Since leaving Texaco, Jeffrey successfully led two early stage fuel cell technology companies through the technical and business transitions fundamental to their growth and maturation.  He served as Director of Sustainable Technology at Innovatek Inc. from 2003 – 2005 and in 2006, he joined INI Power Systems as their Chief Operating Officer.  Jeffrey also founded and operated his own company, RightStart Business Enterprises, to mentor and guide small businesses into and through their start-up phase. In his free time, Jeffrey enjoys racing cars, cycling, and just about every other outdoor sport so long as he can keep moving.


Karl_von_GuntenKarl von Gunten, Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Karl von Gunten is the VP of Marketing and Communications at Maverick. With more than 30 years of experience in marketing and public relations, Karl brings a deep knowledge of products and trends to the communications business. Prior to joining Maverick, Karl was director of business development, managing supervisor, at Gibbs & Soell Public Relations and vice president at Brodeur Worldwide, where he oversaw the regional office and managed PR efforts for industry leaders such as IBM, Nortel, Acterna, and Internet Security Systems. . Karl began his career at IBM where he helped launch the IBM PC in the early 1980s. He serves as an adjunct professor for Duke University Pratt School of Engineering and holds a B.A. in Physics from Wittenberg University.


Eric_Cumming_thumbEric Cumming, Vice President of Corporate Development

Eric Cumming is Vice President of Corporate Development of Maverick Synfuels. Eric has nearly 30 years of executive, entrepreneurial, and business strategy experience in technology, building systems, energy and venture funding. In addition to several years in the alternative fuels and chemicals space, Eric’s experience includes development of residential and light commercial solar energy equipment, as well as energy-efficient high-end systems-built residential custom building projects. Eric Cumming has, with another partner, started a project services firm and grew it to annual revenue of almost $30 million before selling the firm to a larger entity. This firm was funded entirely through cash-flow. Eric’s roles have also included product development and technology architecture, as well as product management and investment fund raising. Eric earned his MBA from the University of Michigan and his B.Sc. from Oakland University.