Scientists, Engineers and Over Achievers

Phoenix Nuclear Labs was founded in 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin with the vision of commercializing nuclear fusion technologies for practical applications with a longer-term goal of producing abundant, clean, fusion energy.  This relatively broad and lofty goal has led us through a number of seemingly disparate fields and applications across medicine, defense and energy. However, at the core of almost all of our technologies, lies an extremely high current ion source, a proprietary, high voltage, electrostatic accelerator, and ultimately the highest-yield compact neutron generator in the world.

Our technology has evolved through several generations of products over the last decade, and only in the last few years has PNL grown from its inception as a custom R&D shop into an industry-leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art particle acceleration and neutron generation systems.  Despite the fact that this evolution has caused us to mature as a company, at our heart we’ve managed to retain our lofty goals of changing the world by pushing new technologies to unprecedented levels of performance.

We’re problem solvers and engineers.  We love complex hardware and we’re really good at building it.  Most of all, we love putting that hardware to work to solve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity.

Meet our Management Team

Over the past 10 years, PNL has build a strong management team that combines deep technical expertise, years of manufacturing experience, and success in growing small businesses into industry-leading suppliers. Don’t be fooled by the PhDs – we understand the practical realities of bringing a highly specialized, technical product to market, and we know how to build systems that work and work reliably.

Dr. Ross Radel

Ross is the President and Board of Directors member of Phoenix Nuclear Labs. He holds a MS and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously worked as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and has extensive experience with nuclear reactors and advanced power conversion systems that are directly applicable to PNL’s core technologies. His previous research at the University of Wisconsin focused on high flux neutron generation for detecting clandestine material, specifically highly enriched uranium.

Prior to taking over as President, Ross led the R&D effort to redesign the existing PNL ion source and neutron generator technology, leading to drastic performance increases. He is also an expert in radiation transport simulations and has experience designing shielding, moderators, and reflectors for high-neutron environments. Ross joined PNL in 2010 and took over as President in July of 2011. During his tenure as President, PNL has more than tripled in size. As President, Ross has a very hands-on management style and is still intimately involved in almost all aspects of the daily technical and business operations at PNL.

Dr. Tye Gribb

Tye is the VP of Research and Development at PNL. He has over 20 years’ experience developing products for high technology companies. He was the co-founder of Imago Scientific Instruments (now part of Cameca Instruments Corporation) where he led the development of the Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP), Imago’s flagship product, from initial sketches through commercialization. From its market introduction, this instrument has dominated the world market with sales in excess of $100M. Tye has wide-ranging design, fabrication, and scientific analysis expertise focused on the development of ion beam and other high-energy systems. He is the author of numerous papers and patents covering a wide range of technical innovations. Tye holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Metallurgical Engineering. As the VP of R&D, Tye leads a talented team of technicians in engineers in both next-generation product design and in moving prototype technologies onto commercial platforms.

Dr. Evan Sengbusch

Evan is the VP of Business Development at PNL and holds a BS in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Iowa and an MS and PhD in Medical Physics, and an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Evan has extensive experience with computational modeling, ion beam transport simulations, and particle accelerator design. He has also worked in the venture capital industry evaluating technologies in the physical and life sciences and has served as a consultant for several technology development firms. Evan is a past recipient of a DoD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship, an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and a National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Grant. He has technical experience working in accelerator physics at CERN, plasma physics at the University of Iowa and medical physics at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Since joining PNL in 2012, Evan has increased the variety and size of PNL’s revenue sources and has drastically expanded PNL’s market reach.

Mr. Steve Books

Steve is the VP of Operations at PNL. He is a seasoned executive with extensive experience in General Management and Operations in entrepreneurial manufacturing organizations that required leadership to accelerate from early stage to the next level of business success. As part of Marquette Medical Systems, Steve was responsible for the P&L of the $200 million Cardiology division after filling a number of manufacturing and engineering management roles. GE purchased MMS in 1999 and Steve began managing Global Operations and Supply Chain for GE-Marquette. More recently, Steve was responsible for R&D, Service, Manufacturing and H/R as COO of TomoTherapy, an innovative radiation therapy device manufacturer for cancer treatment.

Mr. Ted Staub, PE

Ted is the Director of Engineering at PNL. He holds an MS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and has thirty years of experience in designing and building reliable high voltage power supplies. He has designed and built air-to-air missile electronics for Raytheon, airborne high voltage power supplies for Texas Instruments and the US Navy, and the power subsystem for two NASA missions to Mars for Lockheed Martin. Mr. Staub has been a member of the IEEE for 31 years and is a registered professional engineer.

Board of Directors

Dr. Tsahi Gozani recently retired from Rapiscan Laboratories where he served over the years as President, CTO and chief scientist. In addition to sitting on the PNL board, he provides technical consultation to PNL scientists and engineers. He earned his DSc in Reactor/Neutron Physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). He has developed and implemented active non-intrusive assay and inspection techniques for nuclear materials and other threats relevant to defense and homeland security. Dr. Gozani has authored more than 250 papers in technical journals and conference proceedings. He is the inventor or co-inventor on eight patents (plus 3 pending) in the area of explosives and nuclear material detection.

Mr. Terry Kelly recently retired as the President and Principal owner of Weather Central, Inc. He currently represents Wisconsin Investment Partners on the PNL board. He is the President of Venture Management, LLC and a member of the Advisory Board of Venture Investors, LLC. Over the course of his career, Mr. Kelly has founded and exited a number of successful technology companies. He holds The American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval and the AMS award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist. Mr. Kelly received a degree in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Dr. Gregory Piefer founded Phoenix Nuclear Labs in 2005 following the completion of his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to serving on the PNL board, he is the CEO of SHINE Medical Technologies, a company that spun out of PNL and is focused on building a medical isotope production facility in the United States that will utilize PNL’s core neutron generator technology. He previously served as Chief Technical Officer to Gillware Inc., a leading data recovery and remote data backup company.

Mr. Larry Weyers is currently the Lead Director of Green Bay Packers, Inc. and previously served as treasurer there.. Mr. Weyers was formerly President and Chief Executive Officer of Integrys Energy Group, Inc. (alternatively, WPS Resources Corp.). He has a wealth of experience in the nuclear and fossil fuel power generation industries and possesses substantial corporate leadership and governance skills. He is a registered professional engineer. He received a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Doane College. Mr. Weyers holds Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Harvard University.

Mr. Donald Whelley is the Managing Member of DJW Advisors. He serves on the PNL Board of Directors as a representative of Knox, LLC. Mr. Whelley has worked for over thirty 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. Since earning a BS in Accounting from Clarkson University, his career experience 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.

Scientific Advisors

Dr. Paul M. DeLuca Jr. is Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was previously the chair of the Medical Physics Department and holds an appointment as Professor in the Departments of Medical Physics, Radiology, Human Oncology, Engineering Physics, and Physics. His 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 also the chair of the Nonproliferation and International Security Division Review Committee (DRC) at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He earned a BS in physics and math and a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Thomas “Rock” Mackie currently serves as the Director of Medical Devices for the Morgridge Institute for Research. He was previously a Professor of Medical Physics, Human Oncology, and Engineering Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of TomoTherapy, Inc. Dr. Mackie was the cofounder of Geometrics Corporation (acquired by Philips) and TomoTherapy (acquired by AccuRay). He has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed publications and is an author on more than 25 patents. Dr. Mackie currently serves on the Boards of BioIonix, Cellectar, ESCAPX, and Compact Particle Acceleration Corporation. He holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Harrison Schmitt previously served in the US Senate and was the Lunar Module Pilot on the final Apollo 17 mission to the moon. He also served as a Mission Scientist in support of the Apollo 11 mission. He was the only scientist and the last of twelve men to step onto the Moon. He continues to work in science, aerospace and business, and chaired the NASA Advisory Council from 2005-2008.