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Who we Are

Meet the Team

We are an experienced executive team with a passion for producing sustainable aviation fuel.

Tom Nealon

CEO, SAFFiRE Renewables

Tom Nealon has over 30 years of senior executive leadership experience.  Tom is the CEO of SAFFiRE and also serves as the President of Southwest Airlines Renewable Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines.  His career includes transformative roles as the President of Southwest Airlines, and prior to that he served as the EVP of Strategy and Innovation at Southwest. Tom has also left his mark within the retail and consumer goods industries. Tom has served on several public company boards, including Southwest Airlines, and currently serves as the Lead Director of Academy Sports & Outdoors.  Tom is an alumnus of Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, as well as the University of Dallas, where he earned his MBA. 

Tom Nealon.jfif

Marykate O’Brien

CTO, SAFFiRE Renewables

Marykate O’Brien is an internationally experienced process engineer with a 15-year record of success in analysis, research, and development of alternative fuels and breakthrough process improvements. She is currently leading SAFFiRE’s technology development efforts focusing on technical excellence, versatility, safety, resiliency and scalability in the engineering of product solutions. Marykate has served as a Technology Manager for the Department of Energy, managing a portfolio of Bioenergy Technology projects and focusing on scaling technologies to ready them for industrial applications. She also worked as a BioProcess Engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for 8 years and has an Undergraduate degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering and a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from the University of Colorado.


Anthony Gregory

COO, SAFFiRE Renewables 

Anthony Gregory’s experience spans transportation, technology, and infrastructure. He served as Vice President of Ground Operations at Southwest Airlines, leadings operations at over 120 airports in North America. Anthony also served as Vice President at Cruise, General Motors’ autonomous vehicles subsidiary, leading commercial expansion and infrastructure development. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science from Purdue University, and an MBA and a Masters in Economics from West Virginia University.

Mark Yancey

Principal Investigator, SAFFiRE Renewables 

Mark Yancey, who has been at the forefront of the bioenergy revolution, has entered into a contract with SAFFiRE to serve as the company’s Principal Investigator for the U.S. Department of Energy project supporting SAFFiRE. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of D3MAX. Boasting over 30 years of groundbreaking work in the ethanol industry, Mark's expertise spans project development to technology commercialization. His pioneering spirit has led to the development of seven bioenergy plants, showcasing his commitment to sustainable energy solutions. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University.


Astri Farber Martin

Senior Manager of Strategy & Operations, SAFFiRE Renewables 

Astri Martin focuses on renewable energy, transportation, and scale up. She serves as the Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations for SAFFiRE Renewables. Astri previously worked on the Corporate Strategy Team at Southwest Airlines where she helped align business objectives with strategic initiatives. Prior to that, Astri was a Consultant at Deloitte Consulting where she developed and implemented growth strategies for diverse clientele. Astri holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Texas.


Nitin Kolhapure

Director of Engineering, SAFFiRE Renewables

Nitin Kolhapure brings over 25 years of process engineering experience, leading multi-disciplinary teams while driving process innovations and successfully guiding the commercialization of complex new technologies. His career began as an Engineering Consultant with DuPont Engineering, and included R&D and engineering leadership roles, where he played a pivotal role in scaling up DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol technology. Nitin’s contributions extend beyond industry projects; he has authored sections in Perry’s Chemical Engineer’s Handbook and the Handbook of Polymer Reaction Engineering, and hosted the NAE’s Frontiers of Engineering Symposium at DuPont. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Iowa State University as well as certifications in PMP, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and DuPont Asset Value Accelerator.

Investors and Industry Partners


Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines® operates one of the world’s most admired and awarded airlines, offering its one-of-a-kind value and Hospitality at 121 airports across 11 countries. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Southwest leverages a unique legacy and mission to serve communities around the world including harnessing the power of its People and Purpose to put communities at the Heart of its success. Learn more by visiting



LanzaJet is decarbonizing the aviation industry with low-carbon Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) that is compatible with existing aircraft and infrastructure. While there are several ways the industry can reduce its carbon emissions, sustainable aviation fuel is by far the best opportunity to decarbonize how we fly.


U.S. Department
of Energy
Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

The United States Department of Energy is an executive department of the U.S. federal government that oversees U.S. national energy policy and manages the research and development of nuclear power and nuclear weapons in the United States.



National Renewable Energy Laboratory

NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. NREL advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems.

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