Our Leadership

You are Here: Our Leadership

The Algae Foundation is currently governed by a Board of Directors. The 2018/2019 Board leadership is:



  • Ike Levine, President
    and Board Chair
  • Tiffany Cannis,
    Vice President and Vice Chair
  • Michael Lakeman
  • Greg Mitchell
  • Jakob O. Nalley
  • Rebecca White
  • 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.

  • 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

    Dr. Jakob Nalley is the Agronomist and Production Coordinator for Qualitas Health, Inc., a Texas-based company that produces algae-derived Omega-3 products. Jake oversees the company’s lab and research and development initiatives at their Imperial, TX production facility. In 2016, he finished his PhD at Michigan State University where he researched how algal communities can be optimized for production under a variable environment. 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. Prior to joining Qualitas, Jake held a position at Northwestern University’s Science in Society, a research center focused on scientific education, literacy and outreach. Nalley received a dual Bachelor’s of Science in Biological Science and Environmental Science from Loyola University – Chicago.

  • Rebecca White

    Dr. Rebecca White is the Vice President of Operations for Qualitas Health, Inc., a Texas-based nutrition and supplements company with headquarters in Houston, Texas. At Qualitas, Dr. White leads the company’s applied R&D and technical programs, oversees all production staff and ensures on spec production from several facilities. Dr. White has almost 10 years’ experience in the algae industry, having previously held the title of Director of Cultivation at Sapphire Energy, Inc. At Sapphire, she advanced algae harvesting and cultivation efforts that successfully demonstrated the commercial viability of using algae to produce fuels and other high-value products. Dr. White’s specialties include the application of traditional agriculture principles to the domestication of algae as a crop, the establishment of field testing and process monitoring facilities and protocols and public/educational outreach on algae in general. Dr. White received her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Texas A&M University, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She currently serves on the Algae Foundation’s Algae Academy K-12 project committee, and is an active member of ABO.

  • 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, EDFP, is one of the biomass industry’s experienced tax professionals. Mr. Byrne is a Tax Manager for CarlsonSV, LLP. A Certified Public Accountant since 1979, Mr. Byrne provides expertise in business structure, tax consulting, feasibility studies, financial modeling, business plan preparation, equity meetings organization, startup management, and grant application. Mr. Byrne has a passion for the emerging algae-to energy-industry. His company, co-hosted the inaugural Algae Biomass Summit in November 2007 in San Francisco, California and the 2008 Summit in Seattle, Washington, which were the foundation for establishing the Algal Biomass Organization in 2008. Mr. Byrne was elected to the ABO’s first Board of Directors and continues to serves as both a director and Board Secretary.