Bob Evans, Master of Science (Hon. Causa), Co-Founder

Bob Evans is a visionary, an entrepreneur, who identifies and materializes significant solutions.

He has invested his life in identifying opportunities, putting the teams together and executing the programs necessary to realize projects in the ocean, while addressing needs of society. Bob has spent approximately 6,000 hours under water (equivalent to 3 full-time working years), during which he established and documented ocean observatories, aquaculture programs, undersea programs, some for which required he design and produce equipment. His manufacturing experience includes establishing polyurethane production facilities and development of revolutionary methods of molding.

He has more than 30 patents, work in Museums (New York Museum of Modern Art, Department of Architecture and Design, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc.), and international design accolades, including a “Time Magazine Innovation of Year Award.”

Susanne Chess, Co-Founder
Managing Director

Susanne Chess is the daughter of entrepreneurs, from whom she acquired her passion for business. She brings to Tiabzu more than 30 years executive level management experience as a Board Member of Bob Evans Designs, Inc., which she co-founded with Bob Evans, Brian Chang, Brian Chang Group, Singapore and Tariq Kadri, real estate developer and former president of Horsham. Among the many roles she undertook throughout her career are that of Corporate Secretary/Treasurer responsible for financial and corporate reporting.

Operational Management Experience: Established systems and coordinated purchasing, production, and inventory control for cash flow efficient and reliable fulfillment through rapid sales growth and intermittent fluctuation.

Marketing: She shepherded Force Fin® from start up through to a network of more than 600 retailers and distributors in 17 countries. Leading in online transformation, developed one of the first 200,000 web pages to exist, through which sales continue globally today. Expeditor for trade shows, museum exhibits, video productions, press communications. Company was featured in thousands of media venues such as Wired Magazine and Blog, USA Today, Businessweek, US News & World Report, The New York Times, Men’s Health, Esquire, Glamour, In Style, Outside Magazine and Blog.

A recognized business leader in Santa Barbara, CA, she was honored to be asked to give a commencement speech to the graduating class of the Women’s Economic Venture Group, and as a guest speaker for symposia on International Business at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2013, she was awarded a Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award by its Foundation for Santa Barbara County.

Ryan Elliott, Professional Engineer
Ocean Engineering

Ryan Elliott, P.E., is a Mechanical Engineer with more than 20 years of experience in design, analysis, testing, assembly and installation of subsea systems. He gets big objects safely into and out of ocean depths. Exactly the expertise required for Tiabzu.

Relevant work experience: Senior Engineer, Makai Ocean Engineering, Inc., Senior Mechanical Engineer, L3 Technologies MariPro, and Tool, Dye & Moldmaking, as High School Intern for Bob Evans Designs, Inc.

Representative Senior or Project Lead Projects: Installation of the NEPTUNE Canada Ocean Observatory for University of Victoria, B.C, Canada (2009), RSN Ocean Observatory, University of Washington (2012), Galway Bay Cable Observatory for Marine Institute Ireland (2015), Juan Fernandez Hydroacoustic Station HA03 (2003, 2014), Crozet Hydroacoustic Station HA04 (2016-2017), for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Vienna, Austria, Sylmar Ground Return System for Los Angeles Department of Water, California (2018)

He gave a lecture on “Enabling Technology to Extend Life and Utility of Hydro-acoustic Systems,” for The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Science & Technology Conference, Hofburg Palace and at the United Nations Center in Vienna, Austria. The lecture covered equipment for sensors installed worldwide in remote, deep sea locations including Diego Garcia. Important to maintaining the integrity of the deep ocean infrastructure for monitoring global compliance with the Nuclear Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The innovations discussed are integral in broadening future application for scientific research.

Michael J. Edwards, Juris Doctor
External Relations

Michael joined Tiabzu in 2023 to lend his more than 26 years of experience in the oil and gas industry to the successful industry transition and transformation Tiabzu promises. Previously, Michael led Investor Relations (IR) for PDC Energy (acquired by Chevron in August 2023). He was selected by Institutional Investor Magazine as one of the top IR Officers, and his team recognized as The Top, having the best Analyst Day. Prior to 2012, Michael was Vice President for a publicly-trading company with offshore assets in California State and Pacific Offshore Continental Shelf (POCS) Federal Waters. His role was that of Land, Legal and acquisition due diligence, but he was also lead on government, public, and community relations. He was recognized as Business Executive of the Year by the Santa Barbara Industrial Association in 2006. He served on the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce for which he chaired its Board in 2003. He also was a member of the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Wildlife Foundation and the Economic Development Corporation of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of Clean Seas and the Corporate Development Committee of the Denver Scholarship Foundation. He is a current member of the California State Bar. 

Lou Mastriani, Juris Doctor
International Trade Adviser

Over the course of his career, Lou Mastriani has counseled and assisted clients in domestic and worldwide licensing and enforcement programs for intellectual property rights, with an emphasis on high-technology patent portfolios. Tiabzu Co-Founders Bob Evans and Susanne Chess have relied upon Lou who has successfully enforced the rights of companies holding their intellectual property for more than thirty years. Lou has been involved in unfair competition investigations and intellectual property litigation in U.S. federal district courts, as well as U.S. federal agencies. He also has represented clients in numerous international trade investigations conducted by U.S. federal agencies, and cases before the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has also been involved over the years in interacting on behalf of domestic and foreign clients with U.S. Customs in matters involving the administration and enforcement of exclusion orders, protection of intellectual property rights, as well as valuation and classification matters, including appeals to the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Lou also counsels domestic and international clients with respect to compliance with export controls and sanctions protocols, as well as representing them in connection with investigatory and enforcement proceedings

Reverse Osmosis Engineering

Michael Hollander, Professional Engineer

Michael Hollander, P.E. is a Chemical Engineer with over 50 years of industrial and consulting experience in engineering, steam systems, utilities, process equipment, and operations management. He has extensive experience in the chemical, pulp & paper, pharmaceutical, metals, aerospace, and automotive industries includes project management, chemical process engineering, equipment evaluation, specification, and design, environmental, health & safety, and environmental/quality management system. While at Innovative Design, Knoxville, TN, Michael Hollander led a team of engineers to develop the concept design for reverse osmosis module and related systems.

Susanne Chess, Bob Evans, Cindy Hollander, President, IDI, Michael Hollander, PE, Vice President, IDI

IDI was chosen to participate as a developmental Team Member for their expertise in industrial process, with specific experience on multi-million-dollar projects, which require the highest standard of quality control. IDI staff engineers were placed under Contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and they did work with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Also, among their staff were engineers with extensive experience in reverse osmosis and have worked with the largest desalination company in the world, (which also builds desalination systems for US Navy nuclear submarines). In 2022, IDI was acquired by a collaborative firm. Michael continues in an advisory capacity.

Dan Tormey, PhD
Scientific Advisor

Dr. Dan Tormey is an earth scientist and engineer with well-developed skills in framing and analyzing environmental issues, and in communicating complex ideas to a wide range of audiences. He is CEO and Technical Director of Catalyst Environmental Solutions Corporation, a full-service environmental science and engineering consulting firm specializing in the energy sector, land development and cleanup, water resources, and global conservation planning. He has a PhD in geology and geochemistry from MIT, and a B.S. in civil engineering and geology from Stanford. Dr. Tormey is noted for the creativity of his approaches, and his commitment to fact-based, objective environmental analysis means that he is equally trusted by government agencies and industry. He has extensive experience with advanced water treatment with a focus on reverse osmosis; he has worked with this and related technologies for treatment of brackish water at oil and gas fields and aquifers, for advanced treatment of wastewater for beneficial reuse at one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the country, the Hyperion Water Reclamation Facility in Los Angeles, and directly for water supply from treatment of ocean water. He has managed or been technical lead on major nearshore and offshore installations, including licensing of eight offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, marine terminals, platforms (operation, abandonment, and reuse) and cables. These projects have included the first application for an offshore LNG terminal in the US (Port Pelican, Chevron), the first such project offshore Southern California (Cabrillo Port, BHP-B), the first such project offshore of Senegal, and development of the greenest of these major projects. Dr. Tormey has worked throughout the US, Australia, Indonesia, Italy, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, Armenia and the Republic of Georgia. Dr. Tormey has been at the forefront of evaluating the impacts of development projects on global climate, including greenhouse gas emission calculations and variability in trapping efficiency of different compounds. He has also evaluated several types of mitigation strategies, including technology replacement and carbon sequestration. Dr. Tormey is also actively working in the field of adaptation to climate change.

David Blankenhorn, Professional Geologist
Environmental Policy Advisor

David “Chip” Blankenhorn joined the Tiabzu Team in 2017. He is COO and Director of Client Services for Catalyst Environmental Solutions Corporation. Chip brings to Tiabzu over two decades of experience in environmental consulting. Over that time, he has worked in all aspects of the business including delivering complex, interdisciplinary projects, preparing and executing focused business development plans and strategies, and leading various operating units including a national division of a publicly traded, global engineering and environmental services firm. He has worked across the United States over a broad range of markets including oil and gas, power generation and transmission, water management and supply, and land development/management. His technical background includes conducting hydrology and geomorphology studies, evaluating groundwater resources and groundwater/surface water interactions, site assessment and remediation, conducting fish passage assessments, and preparing various regulatory permits and environmental planning and compliance documents. He holds a MS in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science, Applied Earth Science from Stanford University.