SHINE Technologies’ mission is to deploy state-of-the-art fusion technology to solve global problems as a scalable path to practical fusion energy. Through our team’s expertise and proprietary technology, we believe we can achieve this mission. Our guiding philosophy is of long-term, consciously iterative growth, using each achievement as a stepping stone toward the next phase in the evolution of our technology and our business. To these ends, our leadership is focused on good, sustainable, and forward-thinking corporate governance, running SHINE with transparency, and ethical leadership that prioritizes our core values.

Meet the SHINE leadership team

GREG PIEFER

Chief Executive Officer

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TODD ASMUTH

President & Chief Strategy Officer

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HARRIE BUURLAGE

General Manager, SHINE Europe

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TOM D’ORAZIO

CEO, Phoenix Imaging

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JESSICA GIFFEY

General Manager, Systems and Manufacturing Division

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CHRIS LEE

Chief Financial Officer

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PATRICK O’CONNELL

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

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BEN PRATT

Chief People Officer

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ROSS RADEL

Chief Technology Officer

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NATHAN SCHLEIFER

General Counsel

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ERIC SCHUTT

Chief of Staff & Vice President Government Affairs

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DOUG TURECEK

Vice President of Cybersecurity and Information Technology

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CHRIS VESSELL

General Manager of the Therapeutics Division

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DON ZYBAK

Chief Accounting Officer

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Meet our board of directors

Greg Piefer

Piefer is the founder and CEO of SHINE Technologies and has over 15 years of executive management experience at growth-stage technology companies. Before SHINE, he served as the president of Phoenix Nuclear Labs, where he managed the development of high-output particle sources. He formerly served as the chief technical officer of Gillware Inc., a leading data recovery and backup company. He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, and B.S. degrees in physics and electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Piefer has received numerous awards and honors including the prestigious UW-Madison Early Career award, is the primary inventor on multiple patents and author or co-author of numerous publications, and serves on the boards of several profit and non-profit entities. His passion is the growth of technology companies that take scientific advancement to commercialization, providing the opportunity to serve and better humanity.

Todd Asmuth

Asmuth has been a member of SHINE’s board since 2013 and has 25 years of experience as an operator, investor and board member in early-stage companies. He joined SHINE as the company’s president in September 2015 and served in the additional role of chief financial officer from 2018 to 2021. In 2021, he was appointed chief strategy officer while retaining his responsibilities as SHINE’s president. Prior to SHINE, Asmuth took multiple venture -capital-backed companies from concept to commercialization to profitability using lean startup, customer-focused product development techniques. He has also served on the boards of directors of multiple early-stage companies and non-profit organizations and currently is an operating partner for the private equity group May River Capital. Early in his career, Asmuth spent four years in management consulting with Booz Allen & Hamilton on strategy engagements with Fortune 500 companies. He earned an M.B.A. with honors from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Yale University.

Tamanna Bembenek, Ph.D.

Dr. Bembenek is a senior health care executive with broad experience in imaging and radiopharmaceuticals. She has more than 20 years of global experience in marketing, sales, product development, strategy and commercialization. She has a strong track record of opening new markets through the entire product cycle. Bembenek is Senior Vice President, Health Systems Marketing, at Royal Philips. She joined the company in 2013 as senior director of global product marketing for its magnetic resonance imaging products. She held other global marketing leadership positions before being appointed to her current position. Before joining Royal Philips, Bembenek spent more than a decade as a marketing leader in diagnostic imaging at GE Healthcare, including global leadership positions in PET/SPECT and CT imaging for neurological applications, and global point-of-care ultrasound marketing and product management. Bembenek earned a B.A. from Lake Forest College and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Texas A&M Health Science Center. 

Brett Chugg

Chugg joined SHINE’s board of directors in June 2021. He has more than 25 years of experience leading strategic investing in venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and growth equity. As managing director at Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), Chugg has led investment initiatives across the software, medical technologies, life sciences, semiconductors, and industrial technology sectors. He is a board member at Sense Biodetection, a UK-based diagnostics company; Vayyar Imaging, an Israel-based 4D imaging radar solutions company; and INSIGHTEC, a transformative health care platform applying focused ultrasound. During his 20-plus years at Koch Industries, Chugg has served as managing director at Koch Equity Development; vice president of INVISTA, a subsidiary of Koch Industries; and Managing Director at Koch Ventures, where he helped develop and lead Koch’s initial venture investment strategy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Weber State University and an MBA in finance and strategy from Brigham Young University.

Holli C. Ladhani

Ladhani joined SHINE’s Board of Directors in April 2022. In addition to serving as a public company CEO and CFO, she brings more than 17 years of experience across six boards. Ladhani has more than three decades of professional experience within the energy sector, including a strong track record in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, international operations, CEO succession and shareholder engagement. Ladhani is also well-versed in upstream oil and gas, power and specialty construction fields, as well as risk management and compliance monitoring in highly regulated businesses. Most recently, Ladhani served as the president and CEO of Select Energy Services, a premier provider of innovative, efficient, end-to-end water management solutions for energy producers. From 2011-2017, she rose to be president and CEO of Rockwater Energy Solutions, which she carried through to a merger with Select Energy Services in November 2017. Ladhani held her posts with Select until January 2021. She also spent more than a decade with Dynegy, Inc., a certified retail electric service provider, including serving as executive vice president and CFO. Ladhani currently serves on the boards for Quanta Services, Priority Power and Marathon Oil Company, as well as the Rice University Board of Trustees and the Junior Achievement of Southwest Texas. Holli holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Baylor University and a master’s in business administration from Rice University.

Dr. Thomas “Rock” Mackie, Ph.D.

Dr. Mackie is an Emeritus Professor in the departments of Medical Physics, Human Oncology, and Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and serves as the board chair for the UW Health Isthmus Project. He is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed publications, 50 patents, and has supervised more than 40 Ph.D. students. In 2021, Mackie was named National Academy of Inventors fellow, the highest professional distinction given to academic inventors, in recognition of his accomplishments. With his expertise in radiation therapy treatment planning and intensity-modulated radiotherapy, his group developed the PinnacleTM treatment planning system, now marketed by Philips Medical. He was a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of TomoTherapy, Inc., a Madison-based public company (NASDQ: TOMO) that employed 650 people. Mackie received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan in 1980 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alberta in 1984.

David Newberg

Newberg began his career in 1980 as a law clerk for a U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York. He has extensive experience in corporate and commercial matters, intellectual property, real estate development and financing, and mergers and acquisitions, including advice and representation in the financing and securities areas, both public and private. Newberg represents corporations and joint ventures both domestic and abroad in high technology and basic industry, acquisitions and divestitures and intellectual property matters, including licensing and distribution of high technology products and processes. In addition, Newberg provides legal services to individuals and family businesses and their estate and succession planning issues. Among his pro bono activities, Newberg serves on the panel of mediators for the Federal Courts in the Southern District of New York. He has also been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Pace University Law School where he taught Securities Regulation. He earned an A.B. degree from Princeton University and his J.D. degree from Columbia University. 

Paul Ryan

Ryan was the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years. During his tenure, Ryan spearheaded efforts to reform our nation’s tax code, rebuild our national defense, expand domestic energy production, combat the opioid epidemic, reform our criminal justice system, and promote economic opportunity. As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he worked to protect health care choices, advance free trade and strengthen the economy. Ryan also served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee. In 2012, he was selected to serve as his party’s vice-presidential nominee. Ryan was elected to Congress at age 28 and represented Wisconsin’s First District for two decades. He serves on the board of directors of the Fox Corp. He was named a Professor-of-the-Practice at the University of Notre Dame for the 2019-2020 academic year. He holds a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university.

Gregory OD Smith

Smith has more than four decades of leadership experience in the nuclear and power industries. During that time, he established a track record of developing leaders, creating effective partnerships and establishing operational excellence. He serves as a member on several boards as well being an instructor in leadership in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Smith served as the chairman of URENCO UK, URENCO’s chief culture officer as well as chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Louisiana Energy Services (LES), a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of URENCO. As CEO of LES, he oversaw the construction and startup of the National Enrichment Facility in New Mexico. Before joining URENCO/LES, Smith worked for Ontario Power Generation as the senior vice president for the four-unit Darlington Nuclear station. From 1992-2002, he worked at Energy Northwest where he held several positions, including operations division manager, plant general manager, vice president nuclear operations, and vice president, generation. 

Janet S. Wong

Wong joined SHINE’s Board of Directors in April 2022. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies and emerging technology companies that grew to successful publicly listed companies. Wong has broad experience in helping global innovative companies navigate strategic and operational issues; risk and regulatory matters including cybersecurity, digital transformation, internal controls, R&D expenditures; and mergers and acquisition transaction advice. She currently serves as an experienced strategic business executive for several publicly traded companies across various energy and high-technology industries including: Lucid Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: LCID), an electric vehicle manufacturer and energy storage company; Enviva Inc. (NYSE: EVA), a leading global energy company manufacturing sustainable wood bioenergy; Lumentum Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: LITE), a market-leading high-technology manufacturer of innovative optical and photonic products; and Allegiance Bancshares, Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTX), a commercial banking organization. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and recognized as an experienced Financial Expert by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. She previously served as a senior partner with KPMG, a global professional services organization, where she spent most of her career providing industry experience in technology, manufacturing, services and consumer products. Wong earned her master’s in professional accountancy from Louisiana Tech University and master’s in taxation from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Meet Our Advisers

Dr. Paul M. DeLuca

Dr. DeLuca joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971. He has served as a professor in the departments of Medical Physics, Radiology, Human Oncology, Engineering Physics and Physics. He now serves as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. DeLuca’s research interests have concentrated on fast neutron dosimetry, including production of intense sources of fast neutrons, determination of elemental neutron kerma factors and application of microdosimetry to radiation dosimetry. He is vice chairman of the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements at Los Alamos. DeLuca received his B.S. in physics and math in 1966 and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Notre Dame in 1971.

Brad Wucherpfennig

Mr. Wucherpfenning is president of Baker Construction Enterprises, Inc. Prior to joining Baker in 2010, he served as CEO of Phillips-Medisize, a global leader in outsource design, development, and technology-driven manufacturing for drug delivery, medical device, and medical diagnostic products. Wucherpfennig served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Schwing America, Inc., a member of the Schwing Group, a worldwide designer, manufacturer and distributor of concrete production and handling equipment. His career began with Ernst & Young in Minnesota, where he performed client audits as a CPA. After his time in public accounting, he served as the director of international finance for Synder General Corp., a designer and manufacturer of commercial and industrial air conditioning and handling equipment. Wucherpfennig has a degree in finance and accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota. He has served on numerous boards in the construction, manufacturing, and medical technology industries. 

Frederick Robertson, M.D.

Dr. Robertson is a seasoned corporate director and health care executive in the medical device, life science, and pharmaceutical industries. He has been a Venture Partner at Baird Capital since 2011 and retired from the anesthesiology faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 2018. Previously, Robertson held the role of CEO and director of TomoTherapy Inc. before that company was acquired in 2011. Prior to joining TomoTherapy, Robertson served in a variety of roles in the medical industry, including president and CEO of GE Marquette Medical Systems and later as CEO of GE Medical Systems, as well as management positions with Marquette Medical Systems, including president and CEO. He served as a director of Lantheus Holdings from 2016-2021. He serves on the board of directors of the University of Wisconsin Foundation; the Morgridge Institute for Research; Alpha Source, Inc.; Ensodata, Inc.; Elucent, Inc.; and Zurex Pharma, Inc. Robertson received his M.B.A. from San Diego State University and earned his M.D. from University of Wisconsin Medical School. 

Harrison Schmitt, Ph.D.

Dr. Schmitt has a diverse professional background, having served as a geologist, pilot, astronaut, businessman, writer, and U.S. Senator. Selected for the Scientist-Astronaut Program in 1965, he served as a mission scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. After training as backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 15, Schmitt flew in space as lunar module pilot for Apollo 17, the last Apollo mission to the moon. He was the only scientist and the last of 12 men to step onto the moon. He served in the U.S. Senate, continues to work in science, aerospace and business, and chaired the NASA Advisory Council from 2005-2008. Schmitt serves as adjunct professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to being active in considerations of space biomedical adaptation, he has worked in the biomedical field as acting CEO for the Lovelace Medical Foundation and is a director of PHDx Systems, a software developer and supplier for medical device outcomes. Schmitt is the author of “Return to the Moon” (Copernicus-Praxis 2006), a book advocating a private sector initiative to develop lunar helium-3 fusion power for use on Earth. 

James Connaughton

Connaughton is executive vice president of C3 Energy, which offers big data energy analytics solutions to utilities and to oil and gas companies. Prior to joining C3 Energy, Connaughton served as executive vice president and senior policy advisor of Exelon Corp., and executive vice president, corporate affairs, public and environmental policy for Constellation Energy. From 2001-09, Connaughton was chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In this capacity, he served on President Bush’s staff as Senior Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Advisor and as Director of the White House Office of Environmental Policy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. 

Scott Klug

Klug is the managing director of public affairs at the national law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP. He chairs the firm’s client service team. For eight years, Klug represented Madison, Wisconsin, in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he developed an expertise in health care, energy policy and financial services. He was appointed by President Bush for two terms to the Advisory Committee to the United States Trade Representative. Prior to his election to Congress, he was an Emmy award-winning reporter and anchor in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and his native Wisconsin. Klug is a novelist whose freelance writing has appeared in a number of U.S. newspapers and magazines. Before he joined Foley, he founded a regional magazine and book publishing company, which he sold in 2007. Klug holds an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern and a B.A. from Lawrence University. 

Christopher Manuele

Manuele is a results-oriented, innovative executive with 35 years of comprehensive U.S. and international expertise in nuclear medicine and medical isotope production. A longtime veteran of Amersham Health and GE Healthcare, he has launched core products, expanded products internationally, led the design, construction and FDA approval of two new U.S. manufacturing facilities, and held responsibility for several full-GMP radiopharmaceutical manufacturing sites across the United States and Europe. Before his retirement in 2008, Manuele served as general manager of global nuclear medicine supply chain for GE Healthcare, and general manager of Oncura, GE’s global I-125 brachytherapy seeds business. He has an impeccable track record of operational excellence, continuous profitability improvement, and implementation of industry-leading quality systems. 

Donald J. Whelley

Whelley is the managing member of DJW Advisors, providing advisory services to institutional and high-net-worth clients. He has worked for more than 30 years in energy and financial services, providing valuation and advisory services and most recently supporting clients investing in other industry sectors including mining and biotech. After graduating with a B.S. in accounting from Clarkson University, Whelley began his professional career as an auditor for Arthur Andersen. His career has included accounting, finance and acquisition work for companies involved in oil and gas, agricultural biotech, broker dealer and syndication of real estate investments and energy consulting. In addition to being an advisor of SHINE, Whelley also serves as a director of Phoenix Nuclear Labs, a private manufacturer of commercial neutron generators; a director of GeoResources Inc., a Houston, Texas-based publicly traded exploration & production company; board observer of Dynamis Therapeutics, Inc., a private biotech company; board observer of Flugen, Inc., a private manufacturer of medical devices and vaccines; and advisory board member of Blue Ocean Consulting, Inc., an internet software and consulting firm.