Our Leadership

You are Here: Our Leadership

The Algae Foundation is currently governed by a Board of Directors. The 2016/2017 Board leadership is:



  • Ike Levine, President
    and Board Chair
  • Tiffany Cannis,
    Vice President and Vice Chair
  • Michael Lakeman
  • Corrine E. Messinger
  • Greg Mitchell
  • Jakob O. Nalley
  • Philip Pienkos,
    Emeritus Board Member
  • Matt Carr, Executive Director
  • Tom Byrne, Treasurer
  • Ike Levine, President

    Ike is a tenured professor of Natural and Applied Science at the University of Southern Maine and the CEO of Algal Aquaculture Professionals, LLC. Dr. Levine combines 25+ years of applied algal farming, cultivar enhancement and new product development with 15+ years of academic appointments including; Chemistry Department, University of Hawaii; Biology Department, Duke University; and Biology Department, Chaminade University. Ike has served as the CEO of Coastal Plantations International, Inc., an algal farming, processing and marketing company; CEO of PhycoGen, Inc., a marine biotechnology company; and V.P. of Biological Services, Inc., a bioscience laboratory and consulting services company. Ike received his master’s at the University of South Florida’s School of Marine Science under one of our country’s last great naturalists, Dr. Harold J. Humm, and his doctorate from the University of Hawaii, Manoa studying with the father of commercial algal farming, Dr. Maxwell Doty.

  • Tiffany Cannis, Vice President and Vice Chair

    Tiffany Cannis is Vice President of Strategy & Operations for Global Algae Innovations where she leads corporate operations, financial, and marketing efforts, and collaborates on business development and strategic growth. She has over 13 years of management experience in a diverse range of businesses, including the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Tiffany was Executive Director of Our House Grief Support Center, a nationally recognized, multi-million dollar charity that serves over 7,000 individuals each year. She was an integral contributor to the film project, One Last Hug, an Emmy-Award winning HBO documentary about children’s grief. Tiffany is an active member of several nonprofit Boards and both her corporate and philanthropic focus is on developing strategic direction and leading teams to meet operational and financial milestones. Tiffany received her Bachelors of Arts in Communications with a minor in Chinese Studies and International Negotiations from the University of California, San Diego.

  • Michael Lakeman

    Michael is a Regional Director of Biofuel Strategy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he is responsible for developing and executing sustainable aviation fuel projects and engagements in Asia-Pacific. Michael also has lead responsibilities for shaping Boeing’s Biofuel technology strategy. His interest in Biofuel development stems from more than a decade in applied plant and algae science. He was awarded his doctorate from University of Washington’s Biology Department, where he researched the effects of human land-use change on toxic algal blooms. In 2007, an opportunity to work at a Seattle start-up, Imperium Renewables, introduced him to the commercial realities of the biofuel sector, experience he has brought to the specific field of sustainable biofuels for aviation. A native of New Zealand, Lakeman attained his Bachelor of Science in Biological Chemistry from the University of Canterbury and began his employment working on crop improvement genetics at the New Zealand Institute of Crop and Food Research.

  • Corrine E. Messinger

    Cori Messinger is the Director of Philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy in Africa and has worked to raise funds for conservation programs in Africa and across the world for the past five years. She is from Portland, Maine, and worked with The Nature Conservancy in Maine prior to the Africa Region. Cori has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit management, major gift fundraising and volunteer board development. Cori holds a Master of Public Policy and Management from the University of Maine’s Muskie School for Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Dr. Greg Mitchell is a Research Biologist and Senior Lecturer at the University of California-San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Greg’s research on microalgae photosynthesis, plankton ecology, ocean optics and satellite remote sensing has been sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, NSF, NASA and the NOAA. His laboratory work focuses on growth and photophysiology of microalgae. He is currently active in coordinating research and commercial demonstration of algae mass culture for biofuel, animal feed and abatement of waste CO2 and nutrients. The focus of his research on algae commercial applications is optimization of yields of bioenergy and animal feed molecules in the light-temperature-nutrient matrix that regulates algae growth. Greg received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Aquatic Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1987 he received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southern California.

  • Jakob O. Nalley

    Jakob recently finished his dual PhD in Integrative Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior (EEBB) at Michigan State University under the advisement of Dr. Elena Litchman. Jake’s research addressed how ecological principles can be applied to assemble resilient and productive algal communities for outdoor mass cultivation under fluctuating environmental conditions. A partnership with a local craft brewery also led to research investigating the feasibility of coupling algal production with brewery wastewater remediation. Jake’s passion for exciting others about algae led him to the Algae Foundation, where he began co-leading the Algae Academy’s K-12 STEM Initiative. He recently started a position at Northwestern University’s Science in Society, a research center focused on scientific education, literacy and outreach. Here, Jakob will continue to pursue his passion for science and its dissemination through helping develop and implement meaningful science learning opportunities for underserved youth. Nalley received a dual Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Science and Environmental Science from Loyola University – Chicago.

  • Philip Pienkos

    Dr. Philip Pienkos is Principal Group Manager, National Bioenergy Center, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He has nearly 30 years of biotechnology experience in the pharmaceutical, chemical and energy sectors. He is a co-founder of two companies: Molecular Logix, an early stage drug discover/development company, and Celgene, an established biotech/pharma company. He joined NREL in August, 2007 as Principal Research Supervisor to work in various aspects of cellulosic ethanol and algal biofuels production, and he currently leads the algal biofuels R&D program for the National Bioenergy Center at NREL. He was promoted to Principal Group Manager in May, 2011. Phil is also principal investigator for a number of algae projects including NREL roles in the DOE-funded Sustainable Algae Biofuels Consortium and the COD-funded Algenol-Dow Integrated Biorefinery project. He is heavily involved in partnership development efforts. He is part of a team of algae experts from NREL and Sandia National Laboratory who worked with the Department of Energy to organize the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap Workshop held in December, 2008 and was a contributor to the National Algal Biofuels Technology Roadmap document, published in May 2010, designed to be an instrument in the acceleration of the commercialization of algal biofuels. Philip is a founding member of the Algae Biomass Organization, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2010, he was named #60 in Biofuels Digest’s list of the top 100 people in biofuels. Phil earned in B.S. in Honors Biology at the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin.

  • Matt Carr, Executive Director

    Matt joined the Foundation as Executive Director in 2014. Matt is also Executive Director of the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the non-profit trade association for the algae sector. Matt joined ABO in 2014 after nine years as Director, then Managing Director, of the Industrial and Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). At BIO, Matt led successful efforts to establish a national mandate, tax incentives and other federal programs for fuels and products from algae and other renewable sources. Before joining BIO, Matt was the American Meteorological Society AAAS Congressional Fellow on the Senate Agriculture Committee for Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), where he contributed to the development of the biomass provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Prior to his move to Washington, Matt was a middle school math and science teacher in Washington State and environmental reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington and a B.Sc. in Atmospheric & Ocean Sciences (Honors) from McGill University.

  • Tom Byrne, Treasurer

    Thomas Byrne, CPA, CGMA is one of the renewable energy industry’s most experienced project consultants. His experience dates back to 1979 when he began his career in public accounting, later becoming a consultant to the renewable energy industry. Since forming Byrne & Company Limited, he has worked on many successful projects, offering a broad array of client services including feasibility studies, financial modeling, business plan preparation, equity meetings organization, startup management assistance, project organization, and preparing grant applications. Mr. Byrne has developed a passion for the emerging algae to energy industry. His commitment began with XL Renewables, Inc., now known as Phyco Biosciences, Inc., serving as the CFO since 2007. Mr. Byrne deepened his commitment to develop an algal technology as the President of Algaedyne Corporation in 2008. In November 2007, Byrne & Company, Limited co-hosted the inaugural Algae Biomass Summit in San Francisco, California and the 2008 Summit in Seattle, Washington. The Summits were the foundation for the establishment of the Algae Biomass Organization in 2008. Mr. Byrne was elected to the ABO’s Board of Directors and serves as Board Secretary.