Leadership and Advisors


Mike G. Hart, President & CEO
Mr. Hart, CEO of Sierra Energy, has over 24 years of active entrepreneurial experience in forming and running industrial companies with a proven track record of success. Mr. Hart has served as Sierra’s CEO since he founded the company in 2004. He also serves as President of Sierra Railroad, a company he has expanded from four employees to over 140 since 1994 when he started the company.Hart was named an “Environmental Hero” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for his work in biodiesel and was recently named a “Champion of Change” by the White House.

Prior to joining Sierra and Sierra Railroad Company, Hart acted as a management consultant for FMC, NASA (Mars Mission), TRW, Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, GMMVO, ARS, and Hay Systems, and worked as a developer for Apple Computers Federal Systems. He led the platform development for the Intelligence All Source Analysis System for the DOD, DIA, CIA in a joint project with Steve Job’s NeXT Computers. Hart has also created a variety of software tools for the analysis of future weapon systems and operational impacts, including developing advanced weapons systems for the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California at Davis and a Stanford Advanced Management Program Certificate.


Daniel Mark Dodd, Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Dodd has been working for Sierra Energy since 2007 and has been responsible for the R&D and commercialization of the FastOx gasification technology platform. Mr. Dodd earned a Masters of Engineering, with first class honors, in aerospace and mechanical engineering from the University of Bristol in England, with joint studies at the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, Mr. Dodd worked for Goodrich Aerospace, The European Space Agency (ESA), Atkins Engineering Consultants and TGL (later acquired by Alstom).


Michael Kleist, VP, Sales & Marketing
Michael brings more than 17-years’ experience in building B2B revenue streams. Prior to joining Sierra Energy, he was the founder and COO of Tradesparq, a B2B platform focused on international trade and licensing that he helped grow to hundreds of thousands of members worldwide and millions in revenue. He also has served as General Manager at Global Sources, a NASDAQ-listed company focused on B2B global trade.


Torgny Nilsson, COO, Secretary & General Counsel
Mr. Nilsson has been with Sierra Energy since 2004 and has extensive intellectual property, corporate governance, and corporate finance experience. Prior to joining Sierra, Mr. Nilsson worked for various law firms and companies including Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, Gartenberg, Jaffe, Gelfand & Stein LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and NASA. After earning two B.A. degrees from the University of California, Davis, Mr. Nilsson received his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Santa Clara Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award. Mr. Nilsson has also completed studies in comparative law at Magdalen College, Oxford University.


Jeffrey D. Miller, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Miller is a seasoned financial executive with more than 25 years of experience encompassing manufacturing, energy, SAAS, transportation, and supply chain businesses ranging from Fortune 100 to early stage equity backed ventures. He began his career in a GE financial management training program at Union Pacific Resources. He has been successful in raising and restructuring capital for both public and private companies resulting in significant valuation increases. His experience includes M&A, as well as the USCS International IPO on NASDAQ, which later sold to DST. He earned an MBA at Texas Christian University and a B.S. degree in Accounting at Iowa State University. He is a licensed CPA and a board member of Financial Executive International (FEI) – Sacramento Chapter.


Lisa Sorvari, Director, Human Resources
Ms. Sorvari is a senior human resources professional with over twenty years’ experience working in technology, media, education, social services and the state legislation. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a concentration in human resources from Sacramento State University and a Master's degree in Human Resources Management from Chapman University. She holds Senior Professional HR and California Certifications from the HR Certificate Institute and a Senior Certified Professional certification from the Society for HR Management.



Advisory Board

Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Advisory Board Chairwoman
Dr. Biggart is a professor of Management and Sociology and the Jerome J. and Elsie Suran Chair in Technology Management at the University of California, Davis.  Dr. Biggart also holds the Chevron Chair in Energy Efficiency and directs the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center. She received her Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Biggart served as the dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management from July 2003 to June 2009.  She is an expert in organizational theory and management of innovation and has written many books, book-length reports and more than 30 articles.  Dr. Biggart has studied a variety of sectors, organizations and markets around the world.  She is active and deeply engaged in the Northern California business community and currently is on the editorial board of Comstock’s business magazine and the board of Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance.


Christine Gulbranson
Named one of the “Top ‘Forty Under 40’ of Business Leaders in Silicon Valley,” Dr. Gulbranson earned five degrees, including an MBA, from the University of California, Davis, all by the age of 25. She began her career as Director of Research Collaborations in the University of California’s Office of the President. Combining her science and business background, Dr. Gulbranson spent two years as a partner at Global Catalyst Partners, a Bay Area venture capital firm that specializes in the high-tech sector. She has launched two nanotechnology firms and a consulting practice. Dr. Gulbranson is a member of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Dean’s Advisory Council.


Michael C. Child
Mr. Child currently serves as a Managing Director for TA Associates, Inc., a private equity investment firm, where he is co-head of the Menlo Park office Technology Group, focusing on investments in technology and technology-based service businesses.  Prior to joining TA Associates, he was a Product Manager for ROLM Corporation, worked with Boston Consulting Group in strategic planning and was a Production Engineer for Hewlett-Packard. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and earned his MBA from Stanford University.  Child serves as a member of the advisory board for Graduate School of Management at UC Davis and is the 2010 Aggie Service Award recipient in recognition of his recent dedication of time, energy, volunteerism and leadership in support of the alumni association and UC Davis.


Bill Davis, Advisory Board Member
Under Mr. Davis’ leadership, Ze-gen successfully raised $35 million through three equity rounds, demonstrated its proprietary technology, and recruited a world-class management team and advisory board. Prior to founding Ze-gen, Mr. Davis’ career in business has included launching numerous companies: Database Marketing Corporation in 1986, Holland Mark in 1997, and Cambridge Brand Analytics in 2003. Mr. Davis serves on the President’s Council for CERES, and an advisory panel to Clinton Global Initiative.


Jim Wunderman
Mr. Wunderman serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bay Area Council, a business-packed public policy organization in the San Francisco-Oakland-Silicon Valley Bay Area.  Prior to the Bay Area Council, he held key positions in both the private and public sectors, which included Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Providian Financial Corporation and Chief of Staff to San Francisco Mayor Frank M. Jordan.  Wunderman is an active member of the community.  In addition to Sierra Energy’s Advisory Board, he serves on the board of California Pacific Medical Center, Bridge Housing Corporation, the Advisory Board of the Partnership for America’s Economic Success and many others.  Wunderman graduated with honors from San Francisco State University, majoring in Political Science.  In 2003, he was inducted into San Francisco State’s Alumni Hall of Fame.


Laura Dodd
Ms. Dodd has a deep history with Sierra Energy. Previously serving as the Vice President of Operations, she led the effort to acquire funding from the California Energy Commission and the Department of Defense opening the gates for a Fort Hunter Liggett project. Ms. Dodd specializes in building strong teams and clear strategic plans. She now applies these skills in software development at Atlassian, a company that’s reinventing the way teams collaborate. Ms. Dodd received a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and also has career background in environmental engineering, permitting, construction, and planning.